Elon Musk has been called a real-life Tony Stark, but now the businessman behind Tesla and SpaceX has revealed which Marvel character he actually identifies with. In a presumably joking Instagram post that’s nonetheless telling, Musk compared himself to Thanos, the bad guy from Infinity War. That makes sense, as that supervillain had supposedly noble goals in service of a greater good, yet he caused immense destruction and had a group of ego-stroking sycophants who he could sic on anybody who wronged him.
Thanos wasn’t Musk’s first choice for an MCU doppelganger. On his Instagram account on Friday, he posted an illustration of Doctor Strange with the caption “selfie.” Doctor Strange, who has the likeness of actor Benedict Cumberbatch, looks like a badass, but it was curious that Musk opted to go with a hero who uses magic, rather than one who embraces technology, like Iron Man. Less surprising is that Musk didn’t make an effort to credit the fan artist who drew the illustration in the first place, sh2jw. A glance at sh2jw’s gallery reveals they mostly draw romantic Sherlock Holmes/John Watson fan art, although they also ship Doctor Strange and Everett Ross, since they’re played by the same actors.
However, shortly after posting the Doctor Strange “selfie,” Musk posted another image, this time of Thanos the Mad Titan. “Just kidding. This is me without Photoshop,” he wrote. This makes much, much more sense.
Like Thanos, Musk is pursuing some admirable goals, though the jury’s out on whether or not the execution is all that great. Thanos wanted to prevent the universe from running out of resources and destroying itself, so he gathered the Infinity Stones and eliminated 50 percent of all life. Elon Musk wants to make solar power, electric cars, and space flight a reality. On the other hand, his Twitter presence reveals him to be an elite, thin-skinned egotist who has to battle reports of unsafe practices and union-busting at his factories, and he has a vendetta against any journalism outlet that dares write anything slightly negative about him.
It’s worth noting that Musk is canonically part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as he had a cameo appearance in Iron Man 2. This mean that, in the fiction of the MCU, there’s a 50 percent chance that Thanos actually killed Musk.
Anyway, props to Elon Musk for a good, self-aware Marvel joke.