At the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, the mid-credits scene revealed that Thanos – the powerful intergalactic villain who revealed himself to be the “big-bad” of the Marvel Cinematic Universe in a similar scene in the first Avengers movie – was tired of the failures of his henchmen and would now start getting his own hands dirty to bring the Infinity Stones together.
It really set the wheels in motion for the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War movies in 2018 and 2019 respectively – two movies that will see the Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy having to combine to see off the threat of the Mad Titan wielding the Infinity Gauntlet – and got a lot of people thinking about what might happen in those movies.
In spite of his frustration at his lackey’s inability to gather the Infinity Stones for him, Thanos surely won’t be working alone in those movies. While he may be more involved in the conflict than previously, he will surely have a lieutenant by his side. These are the five most likely candidates for that role.
Up until recently, the idea of Mephisto appearing in the Marvel Cinematic Universe seemed like an extremely far-fetched one. He’s a supernatural character with mystical abilities – two things that haven’t been heavily delved into in the MCU, with the franchise focusing mostly on science for its stories and concepts.
That’s about to change, however, as Doctor Strange – a hero with whom Mephisto has faced-off on countless occasions in the comic books – is set to arrive in the MCU.
Strange’s arrival will surely act as a catalyst for more supernatural characters to arrive on screen and Mephisto could certainly be one of them. Moreover, Mephisto was the character who teamed-up with Thanos in the Infinity Gauntlet comic book arc – albeit with intentions of double-crossing the Mad Titan to gain power for himself – and that plot could easily be utilised on screen.
The Abomination – memorably played by Tim Roth in The Incredible Hulk – has become forgotten by most fans of the MCU. However, if Thanos is looking for some Earth-based muscle to assist him in his evil endeavours during the Infinity War movies, he may well be someone the Mad Titan looks to for said assistance.
The reasons for this are threefold; first, Abomination is currently incarcerated and would welcome Thanos’ assistance in him being set free. Second, Abomination has previous with the Hulk and would happily fight him again with revenge in mind – even if the green guy does have the Avengers alongside him. Third, Thanos may see the Hulk as the biggest threat to him and needs someone of similar power to nullify that threat.
Moreover, with William Hurt’s General Ross set to reappear in the MCU – starting with 2016’s Captain America: Civil War (or, potentially, a mid/post-credits appearance in July’s Ant-Man movie), he could serve as a means of reintroducing Abomination to the franchise.
Nebula – who was played by Karen Gillan in 2014’s brilliant Guardians of the Galaxy movie – was presented as one of Thanos’ adoptive daughters. She was, however, explicitly quoted as not being his favourite and, by the end of the movie, she had grown tired of him and was willing to side with Ronan when it came to attempting to take the Mad Titan down.
That being said, she didn’t make it known to him that she resented him, so she could quite easily attempt to take him down by feigning siding with him during the Infinity War movies, only to double-cross him by the end.
This would mirror what actually happened during the Infinity Gauntlet comic book arc, when she donned the Infinity Gauntlet itself when Thanos (her alleged grandfather in the comics) was prone and undid everything he had done – even restoring her own disfigurement in the process (perhaps she could restore the hand she lost in Guardians of the Galaxy in doing so in the MCU).
Although it appeared that the Red Skull perished at the end of Captain America: The First Avenger, the likelihood is that he was actually simply either absorbed into the Tesseract or sent to the other end of the universe by its power.
This theory is reinforced by the fact that the Tesseract is the MCU version of the Space Gem and, as such, by its very nature it moves and transports people. As a result – and with Thanos inevitably close to getting his hands on it – there’s every chance he could encounter Red Skull and utilise his services.
A revived Red Skull would be likely to want to double-cross Thanos as much as any other villain and his return could also allow for a re-emergence of HYDRA as a major entity in the MCU.
Moreover, his knowledge, resources and ruthlessness combined with Thanos’ power would make for one hell of a formidable partnership for the Avengers and their allies to overcome.
The most obvious contender to work alongside Thanos in the Infinity War movies is definitely Loki. The God of Mischief has already worked with the Mad Titan in the first Avengers movie, when his failure to conquer Earth for the powerful villain resulted in him being captured and taken back to Asgard as a prisoner by Thor.
However, the Chitauri commander known as The Other had previously warned Loki that his failure would result in severe punishment that would make him “wish for something as sweet as pain”. Given that the failure didn’t result in such punishment, one can only assume that Thanos has further plans for Loki that will come into fruition during the Infinity War movies.
Given that Loki now rules Asgard (albeit under the guise of Odin), it’s probably safe to assume that Thanos will use that leverage to acquire the Tesseract – which, of course, is currently being kept there.
Loki, by his very nature, will likely be plotting against Thanos whilst pretending to assist him – and getting his hands on the Infinity Gauntlet by double-crossing him would quench his ongoing thirst for power.
What do you think? Who will work with Thanos in the Infinity War movies? Any in this list? The Mandarin? The Collector? Surtur? A character thought to be dead like Ronan or Malekith? Have your say below.