Down with the Sickness

Eternals theory reveals Thanos' shocking true motivation

Is Thanos sicker than we first thought?

Thanos’ motivations have long been debated by MCU fans. Some weirdos insist he did nothing wrong, while others believe his overpopulation motivation is a poor excuse for murdering trillions. It’s a tough one! But what if Thanos’ true motivation wasn’t really overpopulation, but something far more nebulous — something no one would even know about until the release of Eternals? Here’s one theory as to why Thanos acted the way he did.

Redditor DangerAnger posits that the Mad Titan was just that — mad. Marvel comic fans will recall that Thanos is an Eternal, and in Eternals Thena suffers from a illness known as “mahd wy’ry” (pronounced “mad weary”). As screenwriter Nate Moore explains it, Mahd Wy’ry is the result of Thena’s brain overloading.

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Thena, seen here suffering from fantasy space dementia.

Marvel Studios

Basically, because of the sheer amount of memories weighing her down, Thena’s mind is becoming “unstuck” and she’s slowly forgetting who she is. It’s a disease that can strike any Eternal, so could the same thing be happening to Thanos?

If Thanos doesn’t know exactly who he is, he might be older than the 1,000 years we thought he’s lived. In fact, it’s possible he’s seen the rise and fall of many planets, and his “overpopulation” motivation actually comes from seeing multiple planets hit the population threshold to trigger an “Emergence,” as we see in Eternals.

Could this be true? Considering that Harry Styles appears with the claim that he’s Thanos’ brother, it could mean there are whole parts of his identity that the audience doesn’t know about; and that maybe Thanos himself doesn’t fully comprehend either. It would certainly explain his insistence on “helping” the Earth.

Okay, maybe they’re just half-brothers.

Marvel Studios

However, there’s also no evidence within the MCU that Thanos even knew about the ins and outs of the Emergence. Also, if Thanos really is “only” 1,000 years old, that would make him a moody teenager compared to the Eternals.

Still, years after the release of Avengers: Endgame, the Marvel fandom is still debating Thanos’ complex reasoning. Maybe future explorations of the Eternals will reveal more information about him. In the meantime, Thanos may be gone, but his legacy lives on, not just in the long-term effects of the Blip but in Eros, the strange new Eternal that will surely lead his companions on a new adventure.

Eternals is now streaming on Disney+.

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