'Avengers' Villain Continues Noble, Misguided Comic Book Traditions

Avengers : Infinity War Still 31 - Publicity - H 2018
Courtesy of Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures
The motivations of Thanos have been revealed, and fans might have a little deja vu.

The motivations of Avengers: Infinity War’s ultimate bad guy have been revealed, and it turns out Thanos isn’t who fans might have been expecting. Instead, he seems to be…an extreme environmentalist?

Although the comic book version of the character wished to destroy half of all life in existence because he is literally in love with death, a recent interview with Infinity War directors Joe and Anthony Russo revealed that the movie Thanos has a much more noble reason for his genocidal ambitions.

“He’s from a planet called Titan,” Joe Russo told The Times of India. “Many years prior to the film his planet was experiencing a cataclysmic shift. They were running out of resources, and they were overpopulated. Thanos made a recommendation that they exterminate half the population randomly in order to save the rest of the population. Of course, the Titans rejected his notion, branded him a mad man, exiled him, and the planet ended up dying. So he has taken it upon himself to go planet-by-planet throughout the universe and wipe out half of the population of each planet as a way to correct the planet and bring it back into balance.”

If this new motivation for Thanos sounds just a little familiar, it should; not only is the idea of a scientist realizing that his planet was in danger but being ignored by his peers, resulting in the death of said planet literally the story of Superman’s father Jor-El — did Thanos send any kids off into space before Titan died, I wonder? — but the notion of culling a percentage of the world’s population in order to avoid catastrophe is the plot of Richmond Valentine, the villain played by Samuel L. Jackson in 2014’s Kingsman: The Secret Service.

Avengers: Infinity War will be in theaters April 27. In the meantime, perhaps refresher views of Man of Steel and Kingsman: The Secret Service are in order, just in case.