One of the scariest things about Thanos was that he had a point. A universe with limited resources will eventually descend into misery when the current way of life can’t be sustained, which is also a neat metaphor for many people’s concerns about our own planet. Thanos’ solution — to wipe out half of all life with the Infinity Gauntlet — was overly blunt and cruel, though nobody can deny he wasn’t true to his beliefs.
Now, fans on r/MarvelStudios are debating whether Thanos was so committed that he gave himself a 50/50 chance of survival. This means that immediately after the Snap he might have himself collapsed into dust, no doubt confident he’d saved the universe.
It’s a question that’s been pondered ever since Avengers: Infinity War‘s 2018 release, with even writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely unsure of the answer. In a 2019 interview, Markus said “Well, I think he probably put a little asterisk in his snap” to save himself, but McFeely added “But if it’s truly random, you know, perhaps…”
One important point is that if Thanos was dusted, the Infinity Stones would have fallen to the ground and been taken into the possession of the surviving heroes. Endgame shows that they’d have been able to reverse the Snap, so Thanos must be aware that he needs to be alive at least long enough to destroy them.
Others argue Thanos is a true believer in fate, and the fact that he exiled himself to an isolated planet proves his ambitions ended with the Snap. His commitment made him scary, so we’re prepared to believe he rolled the dice on his own existence. After all, him not being dusted can be seen as a sign from the universe that he was right all along.
Perhaps we might one day see something like this in a What If…? After all, if Thanos disappeared and the Infinity Gauntlet fell into the hands of Tony Stark it could ultimately prove a corrupting force and have led to even worse outcomes. Let’s hope that we get some kind of answer down the line.