Every Way Thanos Almost Looked Different In The MCU


Various different designs were considered for Josh Brolin’s Thanos in the movies. Here’s every look that the Mad Titan almost had in the MCU.

Several different designs had been considered for Thanos in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Played by Josh Brolin, the Mad Titan is easily the most important villain ever to appear in the MCU. Years after appearing in a post-credits scene of The Avengers, the ambitious alien warlord served as the main antagonist of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame.

Thanos’ natural strength combined with the Infinity Stones made him the most powerful foe Earth’s Mightiest Heroes ever encountered in Infinity War. Unlike Loki (Tom Hiddleston) and Ultron (James Spader), Thanos was one Avengers villain who was actually able to beat the team. His victory in Infinity War was the first time a Marvel movie ended with the protagonists on the losing side, and that’s a big part of what makes him such an integral character.

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The significance of Thanos’ role in the MCU explains why so many different designs were considered for his look. It was of course important to Marvel that a character as essential as Thanos had the perfect design. The look that he had was adjusted slightly from movie to movie. He wore different suits of armor in some movies, and wore none at all for the bulk of Infinity War. Here are the different ways that Thanos could have looked in the MCU.

Thanos Could Have Had Lighter Skin

Thanos Smile in Marvel Comics

Concept art for Thanos’ first appearance in The Avengers reveals that he was always going to look like his comic book counterpart, who is known for his purple skin and Skrull-like chin. But, one image reveals that his skin could have been much a lighter shade of purple. This isn’t what Marvel went with, but it’s apparently not far from what the people of Thanos’ homeworld look like. It’s good that this wasn’t used, as Thanos’ comic look was one design that wasn’t really in need of updating.

Thanos Could Have Used A Battle Axe

Thanos Concept Art Axe Battle Armor Endgame

In a memorable action sequence, Thanos wielded a powerful, two-handed sword that was so strong that Thanos was able to destroy Captain America’s supposedly unbreakable shield with it. He was also able to block blows from Mjolnir and Stormbreaker, which were constructed by the Dwarves of Nidavellir, some of the greatest blacksmiths in the universe. This sword was his weapon of choice in Avengers: Endgame, but some artwork for the movie shows Thanos carrying a large battle axe in its place. Since a portion of the final battle had him going up against an axe-wielding Thor (Chris Hemsworth), it could have been decided that Thanos using a sword rather than an axe would make for a better visual.

Thanos Nearly Wore A Hood

When it was time for Thanos to ditch the armor in Infinity War, there was one outfit that he nearly wore which would have included a hood. He wouldn’t have had any protection on his torso or head, but he would have had gold metal plating on his forearms and legs. Also, the loincloth hanging down on the front of the belt would have drawn comparisons to the attire of knights in the Middle Ages. It’s an interesting design and not as simple as the one that Infinity War ultimately went with, but his lack of armor in the movie very much symbolized the “spiritual journey” he was on, according to co-director Joe Russo. For Thanos, armor became unnecessary once he started getting his hands on the Infinity Stones. All things considered, it makes sense that Infinity War decided to go with a more basic approach to Thanos’ choice of clothing during his crusade for the Stones. Plus, a hood would have felt like an odd fit for a character like Thanos, especially since hoods are typically worn by heroes and villains who like to remain hidden, which is a bit contrary to Thanos’ character and his presence in Infinity War.

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Thanos Almost Wore A Comic Book Accurate Helmet

The movies have drawn inspiration from Thanos’ comic costume, but don’t use the exact helmet that he uses in Marvel Comics. That being said, one that closely matches its design has surfaced in concept art. Like the comics, this helmet would have had a sleek, tight look to it, and purple rather than gold would have been the dominant color.

Thanos Almost Went Shirtless

Avengers Endgame Thanos Concept Art by Stephen Schirle CROPPED

Concept art has indicated that Marvel at least considered having Thanos go shirtless in Infinity War, and possibly in Endgame as well, as one image has depicted him with no shirt on during the final battle. Such a look would have allowed Marvel to show off his impressive physique and perhaps make him look even more physically imposing. However, the beginning of Infinity War would have taken away the need for that. That impression was made during Thanos’ grand entrance on Grandmaster’s ship. His brutal takedown of Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) was enough to prove that the Mad Titan was one of the most powerful forces in existence in the MCU.

Thanos Almost Looked More Like A Religious Leader

At some point in Infinity War’s development, Marvel contemplated making Thanos into a religious leader. At that time, a costume was designed to accompany that direction for the character. It would have incorporated the traditional helmet and armor on the arms and legs, but would have added long, fabrics flowing down from the top of his shoulders in both the back and the front. The cape would have made him look somewhat similar to an ancient Egyptian pharaoh. Since Marvel leaned away from this and closer to him being a warlord, this wouldn’t have been a fitting approach, nor would it have appropriately honored the villain from the comic books.

Marvel Considered Different Armor Designs For Thanos In Endgame

Thanos in Avengers Endgame Concept Art

When the Avengers used time travel, they encountered Thanos in the timeframe of Guardians of the Galaxy, which means that he had yet to go on the “spiritual journey” seen in Infinity War. That’s why in the movie, the Thanos that the team faces off against still wears armor. Marvel toyed with multiple armor designs before settling on the one that made it in to Endgame. One suit had a slightly different helmet and sliding armor plates on the shoulders, while another was much bulkier and involved Thanos wielding two double-bladed weapons. While each differed from the other in some way, none are radically different from the armor that Marvel did end up giving him for Endgame’s final confrontation with the Avengers.

More: Who The Most Powerful MCU Hero Is In Each Avengers Movie

Key Release Dates

  • Black Widow (2021)Release date: May 07, 2021
  • Eternals (2021)Release date: Nov 05, 2021
  • Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings (2021)Release date: Jul 09, 2021
  • Spider-Man: Homecoming 3 (2021)Release date: Dec 17, 2021
  • Thor: Love and Thunder (2022)Release date: Feb 11, 2022
  • Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (2022)Release date: Mar 25, 2022
  • Black Panther 2 (2022)Release date: May 06, 2022
  • Captain Marvel 2 (2022)Release date: Jul 08, 2022

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