I’ve always loved that after Thanos achieved his goal of wiping out half of the universe in the original comic, he settled down for a quiet life as an isolated farmer. That he isn’t some crazed conqueror seeking power for its own ends and desiring a throne to rule over everyone makes his desires sincere rather than self-serving.
It’s also a neat classical allusion to the Roman patrician Cincinnatus. He was a military leader who was called upon to defend Rome and in doing so achieved complete power over the state. He could have become a despot like so many Emperors, but instead willingly gave up his absolute power and became a simple country farmer.
It seems that we’ll get to see Thanos do this in Avengers: Endgame, with the first trailer showing his old armor being used as a scarecrow to protect his field of wheat. If his fight’s indeed over, the surviving Avengers might turn up expecting a pitched battle only to find a slightly tired shell of the opponent they once feared. This pastoral phase in Thanos’ life is what’s been chosen as the subscriber cover for next month’s issue of Empire, with artist Vincent McIndoe creating a gorgeous soft-toned image of Thanos’ farm on Titan 2.
It remains to be seen how the villain might react to the surviving Avengers undoing his greatest achievement. Given that this is a summer blockbuster, you’d expect there to be some giant titanic battle in the final act, but perhaps this may be tempered by the fact that after having killed half of all life in the universe (and killing his beloved daughter), the Mad Titan is feeling some remorse and guilt.
That we can talk about the character in these relatively complex terms is impressive given that prior to Infinity War he was a generic purple space tyrant. It’s a real credit to the animators, writers and, of course, Josh Brolin, that he was so beautifully brought to life, and I can’t wait to see him back in Avengers: Endgame.