Despite Thanos dramatically dying (twice!) in Avengers: Endgame, we continually hear gossip that Marvel Studios are eager to bring him back. From a commercial point of view, this makes sense. He was just named the most popular villain of the last 50 years of cinema and, given that he’s mainly CGI, Josh Brolin could continue to play him for many years to come. But when it comes to storytelling, well, my perspective has long been that bringing back ‘dead’ characters is a good indication that you’ve run out of ideas.
That makes it a little worrying that we’ve now heard from our source – the same ones who told us about the She-Hulk TV show, that the Justice League Snyder Cut is coming to HBO Max and that Taskmaster would be the villain of Black Widow – that Marvel Studios wants to bring Thanos back for a Secret Wars movie. As fans will know, this references two comic book series, one from 1984 (that introduced the symbiote Spider-Man suit) and a more recent 2015 arc. The 2015 one is an inter-dimensional romp that takes in various alternative Marvel Universes and multiple versions of iconic heroes, and this seems to be the version they want for the MCU.
From what we understand, one aspect they want to keep is the interaction between Thanos and Doctor Doom. In Secret Wars, Doom has become God Emperor Doom and is insanely powerful. Late in the story, he offers Thanos a chance to serve him as a god, but Thanos refuses as he already considers himself one. Doom then uh, rips out Thanos’ skeleton, which I guess answers the question of who’s more powerful. Apparently, the film would flesh this out a bit, to have the two actually battle, but the end result will be the same.
It’s important to note that this would be a Thanos from an alternative timeline we see in the Secret Wars movie, and not the Thanos we saw in Endgame (though he was also from an alternative timeline). This means that they’re technically not resurrecting him, but even so, I think the new big bad effortlessly killing the old one is a pretty cliche superhero story moment.
Whatever the case, if this is the Secret War they’re adapting, then it’s likely a ways away, as there’s a lot of groundwork to lay before we can get to it. Still, it’s an interesting prospect and while I can’t say I’m totally on board with bringing Thanos back in any form, I’m certainly intrigued to see how the adaptation as a whole plays out.