The Avengers will face off against Thanos in Infinity War, but could some other familiar villains be making appearances as well?
We know that Thanos will be the “big bad” of Avengers: Infinity War, presumably wielding the power of the Infinity Gauntlet by the end of Infinity War – Part 1.
But it’s also a little hard to imagine he’ll be the only villain to turn up in the two-part Infinity War story.
Who might be aiding Thanos in his quest to prove his love for Death? The list of people who really want to see the end of the universe is pretty short, but there are a few old villains we could see show up as Thanos’s minions.
If there’s anyone we’re already familiar with who’s likely to stand by Thanos’s side, it’s his adopted daughter Nebula. Let’s be clear, though: by Thanos’s side might not be the safest spot for Nebula right now unless she can talk her way back into Thanos’s good graces. Remember, in Guardians of the Galaxy she kind of dumped him for an Infinity Stone-powered Ronan, then fled when Ronan was defeated.
But if she could convince Thanos that her “defection” was merely a ruse to help him defeat Ronan and obtain the Power Stone, she’d make perfect sense as Thanos’s lieutenant in Infinity War. Comic readers will know that she might have another role to play, but we’ll get to that.
The Dark Elves
Remember these guys in Thor: The Dark World? Their plan was to unleash the Aether (i.e. the Reality Stone) during a convergence of the Nine Realms (Earth, Asgard, etc.) and so destroy the known universe…for the Dark Elves to still exist in and rule, or something like that. It’s not the pure nihilism of Thanos, more self-interested, but still pretty evil.
So will the Dark Elves join his cause?
Doesn’t seem too likely. For one, their leader Malekith, died at the end of The Dark Word, and for another, they’re not the sort who share power well. Thanos is pretty all-controlling.
Whether he knew it or not, Loki worked for Thanos before (he made a deal with the Chitauri, who in turn paid their allegiance to Thanos, as you can see in the Avengers credits scene), and after Thor: Ragnarok exposes him for impersonating Odin (probably), he may be in a position to make a similar deal again.
That said, at some point Loki has to learn his lesson, right? He does want something, someone to rule, after all. That’s kind of at odds with Thanos’s “kill everything” plan.
We’ve already had our first taste of this villain in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and he’ll be back in Black Panther. Where that movie will leave him remains to be seen, but we know that Klaw only deals with “the man in charge.”
Who could be more in charge than Thanos? Not to mention that Klaw will probably have a very personal stake in seeing the Avengers destroyed after blaming Tony Stark for the loss of his arm and Black Panther for whatever he loses in Black Panther.
All that said, Klaw is small potatoes. What would Thanos really need a black market weapons dealer for anyways?
What if the Bad Guys Aren’t So Bad?
The recurring theme of even this short list of potential Thanos allies is that they don’t want what Thanos wants. Loki and the Dark Elves want their own kingdoms. Nebula wants power and freedom. Klaw wants to make some money. None of that happens if Thanos kills everything.
So what if instead these villains are part of the fight against Thanos? A Suicide Squad-style subplot in Infinity War?
And there’s actually some comics precedent for this, particularly given the smaller scope of the MCU as compared to the Marvel comics universe. In the “Civil War” comics run, for example, a group of villains was assembled to help track down and combat the anti-registration heroes. These are folks with some serious firepower at their disposal. When Thanos is in control of the Infinity Gauntlet, he’s basically all-powerful. Our heroes need all the help they can get, and they may have to rely on some “enemy of my enemy” motivation.
What It Would Mean for Infinity War
In the comics run, once Thanos gets the Infinity Gauntlet, he basically rolls through the entire roster of Marvel heroes, not to mention a lot of cosmic entities that probably won’t be included in the movie. (Things get really confusing when you start introducing characters like the embodiment of Eternity, we doubt the MCU will go there.) Once he’s killed a TON of heroes to prove himself to Death, he’s so powerful that he actually leaves his body and more or less becomes the universe. Yeah, weird.
Except that Thanos still has a body that still holds the Infinity Gauntlet, so in the comics Nebula just takes it off of his body’s hand and undoes all the havoc Thanos caused, including resurrecting all the dead heroes.
Will this happen in the movie? Again, probably not. Just in terms of basic storytelling rules, we in the audience wouldn’t want Nebula, a secondary character and a villain, to be the magical solution to all Thanos-related problems. That would feel pretty cheap, as would undoing any of the consequences we’d just spent a film or two addressing.
But it does lay some additional groundwork for the idea that a vast army of heroes and villains might stand in opposition to Thanos, and we’ll get an action sequence to put the first two Avengers climaxes to shame as Thanos stands alone against dozens of characters.
So Thanos Will Be the Only True Villain?
Not so fast; just because the other “villains” in the film who we’re already familiar with might oppose Thanos doesn’t mean he’ll be the only major antagonist in the movie. In fact, he could be the one who takes the whole “villains teaming with heroes” thing to a whole other level.
What do I mean? Click over here to find out!