When he first appeared during the mid-credits scene of Avengers Assemble in 2012, we knew that Thanos (Josh Brolin) would become a key player within the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU).
Although we got to see more of him in action in Guardians of the Galaxy and another mid-credit scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thanos hasn't had a lot of time to shine. However, that all changes when Avengers: Infinity War arrives in April, allowing Thanos (aka the mad Titan) to take centre stage.
Brolin has recently compared playing the character in Infinity War and its sequel Avengers 4 to "punk rock mixed with experimental theatre", so we can look forward to seeing him give one heck of a performance. But how much do we really know about Thanos at this point – aside from being the purple man in the floating chair? Here's everything you need to know about the dreaded super-villain.
1. He's got Deviant Syndrome
With his striking purple hue, Thanos definitely looks like an alien, but his race, the Eternals from Saturn's Titan moon, aren't purple. The reason he has his distinctive look is because he was born with Deviant Syndrome, a mutation that essentially gives him an incredible amount of powers, but had the side effect of making him a rather strange looking baby.
Speaking of his birth, it was revealed in 2013 comic book series Thanos that it isn't even his real name. In the series, an older Thanos reminds his younger self of his birth name, spoken only once by his mother before she died: Dione. Of course, any sympathy for Thanos' childhood vanishes when you realise he killed his mother via dissection.
2. He has vulnerabilities
Just take a look at Thanos' sheer size and strength. You'd be hard pressed to think of anyone other than the Avengers who could possibly subdue this power hungry Titan. That said, taking a look back at his comic book appearances proves that Thanos isn't always as tough as he looks.
In Spidey Super Stories #39, published in March 1979, Thanos attempts to steal the Cosmic Cube (better known as the Tesseract), and is arrested by a regular policeman. Granted, Spider-Man and Hellcat did most of the work to get him away from the Cube, but we still find it hard to believe that all it takes to bring Thanos down is a pair of standard handcuffs and a prison cell.
That's not all. Thanos was also bested by lesser-known hero Squirrel Girl (aka Doreen Green) and her squirrel friends in GLX-MAS #1 (published in 2005). Do we really need all of the Avengers to defeat him in Infinity War? Maybe if Squirrel Girl and some cops were on standby to pitch in, the battle would be over before it began.
3. He has a self-destructive streak
Given he's hell-bent on securing the Infinity Stones, you'd think that nothing would stop Thanos from achieving his goal of becoming the supreme ruler of the universe. In fact, with the power of the Infinity Stones on his side, it would be impossible for anyone to stop him, even the Avengers.
Despite being essentially omnipotent at least three times within the comics, he was defeated every time. How is this even possible? Because deep down, he doesn't believe he's worthy to rule the galaxy. In fact, he's even given up his quest for domination to become a simple farmer in 1991's Infinity Gauntlet story arc.
Infinity War will be the first time we'll see Thanos deal with the Avengers head on, but will it be his own psychological demons that will cause his downfall?
4. Drax was created specifically to kill him
As moviegoers, we were first introduced to Drax the Destroyer (Dave Bautista) in Guardians of the Galaxy. He explained that he was on a personal quest to avenge his family who were murdered by the film's villain, Ronan (Lee Pace). After he achieved this goal, he turned his sights on Thanos, who was leading Ronan.
In the comics, however, Drax's story was drastically different. Before he was a member of the Guardians, he was Arthur Douglas, real estate agent from California. According to the comics, Arthur was driving with his family when Thanos destroyed their car believing he had been spotted while on his first scouting mission to Earth. Thinking Thanos went too far, his father and grandfather resurrected Arthur as Drax and gave him the sole purpose of killing Thanos.
Could we see some of Drax's comic book origins emerge when he appears alongside his fellow Guardians in Infinity War?
5. He has a huge army
Thus far in the MCU, we've learned that Thanos is the leader of the Chitauri from Avengers Assemble and the Kree from Guardians of the Galaxy.
In the Infinity War trailer, we see Thanos leading a new army of multi-armed aliens: genetically engineered assassins known as Outriders. Moreover, other shadowy figures appearing throughout the trailer have been confirmed as Thanos's loyal followers: the Black Order (pictured below). This mighty force is certainly the Avengers' toughest challenge yet, but Thanos may have another trick up his sleeve.
In the comics, Thanos has an army of clones fused with the DNA from heroes including Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) and Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Although it's unlikely we'll see these specific incarnations of the Mad Titan appear in Infinity War, the thought of more than one Thanos joining the party is an interesting one.
Thanos is the biggest threat to the Avengers so far, and they're going to need all the help they can get to take him down. Avengers: Infinity War is set to be the comic book film event of the year, and you can see it in Cineworld when it's released on 27th April.
Andy Murray is an Unlimited card holder who blogs for Cineworld as part of our news team.