Thanos and death are completely linked, but the question of whether the Mad Titan might actually meet his demise in Avengers: Endgame isn’t as clear as it may seem. There are plenty of reasons we could see his nihilistic life come to an end in Endgame…but there are also some good arguments that we probably won’t.
The comics version of the snap that wipes out half of all life doesn’t happen at the end of 1991’s Infinity Gauntlet, or even close to it. It actually happens about halfway through the first issue. That’s partly because of the story so much of the movie Infinity War covers — with Thanos acquiring the Infinity Gems — occurs in the prequel comic Thanos Quest. It’s also not the end of the story.
After a massive battle in space that ends with Thanos defeating most of the remaining assembled superheroes from Earth, he has to contend with the Marvel Universe’s cosmic heavy hitters. Eventually, he loses possession of the gauntlet and it becomes something of a hyper-powerful football. Nebula is the first to recover it, and Thanos has to join forces with the revived superheroes to get it away from her. Then Adam Warlock takes possession of it, and he blasts Thanos into space, where the Mad Titan seemingly explodes.
What really happens is Thanos is sent 60 days into the future, where he’s living on an unnamed planet and suffering from a fuzzy memory. He remembers his failures, though, and he promises Warlock that he will lead a “quiet life” as a farmer. Avengers Infinity War doesn’t perfectly mirror Infinity Gauntlet’s story, but it hits enough similar beats that Endgame could recreate its ending.
According to Marvel, one of Thanos’s powers is “immortality.” But he does die one sort of death well before Infinity Gauntlet even starts. Marvel Two-in-One Annual #2 from 1977 is one long fight between Thanos and a whole host of Marvel superheroes, and it ends with Adam Warlock using the power of the Soul Gem to turn Thanos to stone. That story describes Thanos as “trapped within the petrified form of his own corruption,” but 13 years later, when Death revives him in Silver Surfer #34, the cosmic nihilist is described as having been full-on dead.
The Marvel Comics embodiment of Death can’t have that, though, because she needs Thanos to do her bidding. It’s not until 2018’s Thanos #18 that Death finally decides to let The Mad Titan rest. Determined to prove his worth to Death, an old Thanos transports his younger self to the end of time for one big final showdown, hoping to die in the process. The old Thanos loses the fight, but his younger self refuses to end his life. It’s only after the younger Thanos goes back to his time that Death declares his victory, and allows the old Thanos to be erased from existence. Keep watching the video to see how will Thanos die in Endgame.