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Avengers: Endgame deleted scene explains how Thanos can return in Secret Wars

Published Mar 24th, 2023 8:39AM EDT
Avengers: Infinity War - Thanos
Image: Marvel Studios

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One of my favorite Avengers: Secret Wars rumors concerns Thanos (Josh Brolin), who might return despite dying in Endgame. Beloved characters returning to life in Secret Wars isn’t a big spoiler. We know the Multiverse Saga is ending with this massive story, and we expect Secret Wars to offer plenty of surprises, including cameos from old villains.

Thanos died twice in Endgame. First, the Avengers killed Earth-616’s Thanos variant, the bad guy who defeated them in Infinity War. Then they did the same thing to a variant of Thanos who came from the multiverse to grab all of the Infinity Stones at once. But a mind-blowing detail in a deleted scene from Avengers: Endgame explains how Thanos might come back to life in Secret Wars.

Before I explain why that’s both exciting and kind of a headache for Marvel, know that big spoilers follow below.

Why Thanos returning for Avengers: Secret Wars is so exciting

Thanos is one of the best villains of the Multiverse Saga, and a character Marvel underutilized. We only got tiny bits of Thanos action before Infinity War in the form of credits scenes for other MCU adventures. Avengers 3 then turned out to be a movie about Thanos, which made Marvel’s mistake crystal clear.

We really would have enjoyed the character in other movies, but it was too late to change the past. Thanos was to die twice in Endgame, and that was that.

But the Multiverse Saga opens up the possibility of seeing Thanos again. What If…? gave us a great taste of that from a universe where Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa leads the Guardians of the Galaxy, and Thanos is a member of the team. Therefore, he was a good guy rather than a villain. Although he still defends his idea of wiping out half the life in the universe.

Thanos in Avengers: Endgame final battle
Thanos (Josh Brolin) in Avengers: Endgame final battle. Image source: Marvel Studios

What’s great about that episode is that it introduces the possibility of Thanos being a hero when the situation demands it. Well, in his mind, Thanos is already a hero during the Infinity Saga. He thinks he’s saving the universe.

I’m referring to Thanos being a hero aligned with the Avengers. And that’s what makes the prospect of seeing him in Secret Wars so exciting. He might have to ally himself with the Avengers in order to defeat Kang (Jonathan Majors). And that’s a great prospect. 

We want Thanos the hero

We wouldn’t want just another Thanos from the multiverse to join the Avengers. There wouldn’t be enough exciting conflict. Instead, the Thanos that Iron Man willed out of existence at the end of Endgame should reluctantly accept joining Avengers despite the fact that he hates them more than any other Thanos variant.

Remember that Earth-616’s Thanos had nothing personal against the Avengers. It was all business for him. Whereas the variant in the film’s third act grows so annoyed at the Avengers challenging him that he promises to do unspeakable things to their planet before destroying all life to recreate it again.

Either of these two Thanos versions would be a great addition to a growing Avengers team in Secret Wars. But the non-Earth-616 one would be the ideal choice. If you still don’t see it, just imagine him having to fight alongside a returning Iron Man. They’d both love it 3,000.

Iron Man in Avengers: Endgame final battle
Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) in Avengers: Endgame final battle. Image source: Marvel Studios

Thanos might not be dead after Avengers: Endgame

Rumors say that Marvel will bring back all dead or retired Avengers, including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Steve Rogers (Chris Evans). Whatever plot detail helps them achieve that purpose would also allow them to bring Thanos back to life.

Marvel can pick between the two Thanos variants that died in Endgame. But this is where the mind-blowing deleted scene comes into play. Only one of the two Thanos versions is dead. The one whom Thor (Chris Hemsworth) cut his head early in the movie.

The other one turned to dust at the end of Endgame, when Tony Stark got a hold of his Infinity Glove.

The deleted scene shows an alternate conversation between Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton). Marvel didn’t use the material, but there’s a great detail in it that also applies to Thanos. She tells Bruce Banner that the people who seemingly died in Infinity War are not dead. Thanos just willed them out of existence.

Avengers: Endgame
Natasha Romanoff (Scarlett Johansson) and Clint Barton (Jeremy Renner). Image source: Marvel Studios

That’s a good explanation for why Smart Hulk could not bring Natasha back at the end of Endgame. She died a regular death compared to those he snapped back into existence.

We can apply the same logic to the non-Earth-616 Thanos that Iron Man “kills.” Tony just willed him and his armies out of existence at the end of Endgame. Whether this variant of Thanos comes back for Secret Wars or not, Marvel still has a way to bring him back, to will him back to existence in a future MCU adventure.

Bringing Thanos back in Secret Wars might be very complicated

This is just speculation, of course. And there are plot problems to iron out. First, we’re looking at information in a deleted scene, which isn’t official MCU magic/science. Marvel would have to explain this concept officially in some Multiverse Saga movie or TV show.

Secondly, Infinity Stones might be required to bring back Thanos. And they’re turned to atoms in the Earth-616 reality. Then again, a variant of Kang who opposes the other Kangs might have the tech necessary to bring back just Thanos, not his armies.

Remember that the Avengers’ victory against Thanos in Endgame isn’t a lucky event. The Avengers had one chance in 15 million, but this was really the one chain of events that He Who Remains had created. He always needed the Avengers to win and designated this path where they defeated Thanos in this specific way.

You can catch the Ancient One’s deleted scene on Disney Plus or watch the explanation below.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.