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The conclusion of Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe brought with it an end to the most prominent Avengers villain to date. And now, fan theories are pointing to the notorious Marvel Comics baddie Galactus to make his grand appearance.
The death of Thanos and the defeat of his army cinched a victory for Earth and its mightiest heroes. With the Mad Titan defeated, however, it’s only a matter of time before another threat comes along to jeopardize life as we know it in the MCU. And while there’s already speculation rumbling regarding evildoers from Green Goblin to Kang the Conqueror—some of the most prominent theories have to do with Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds himself.
As with previous Phases of the MCU, the people at Marvel Studios have been tight-lipped about what fans can expect from Phase 4. It’s already been well established that Guardians Vol. 3 is forthcoming with a possible 2022 release. Not to mention, with The Eternals coming out in 2020 and Doctor Strange and the Multiverse of Madness in 2021, we know that events in Phase 4 will be happening on a far more cosmic scale.
With that in mind, the idea of Galactus as the MCU’s next major villain actually makes a lot of sense.
Who is Galactus?
Before we dive into the theories, let’s lay some groundwork. Rumors of Galactus joining the MCU have been bubbling for weeks, despite the traditionally secretive nature of Marvel Studios. But even without confirmation from the powers that be, many fans are firmly on board with Galactus as the next major threat to the Avengers and their ragtag band of superheroes.
So who is this Galactus, anyway? And more specifically, what exactly is he capable of?
Galan of Taa
Galactus was not always the world-consuming menace we know from comics. Before he became Galactus, this cosmic entity was just another mere mortal. Galen, an explorer from the planet Taa, sought to protect his planet—which existed before the Big Bang that created our universe—from an all-consuming cosmic cataclysm. Until, that is, it became clear that an encroaching plague of radiation would see the death of his planet and people.
With few other options, Galen and a small team of survivors flew a ship into the destructive mass as a final hurrah. While his fellows were destroyed by the intense radiation however, Galen miraculously survived to bond with the Sentience of the Universe. After a few billion years of gestation (give or take), he eventually reemerged as Galactus.
After waking from his long hibernation, Galactus created Taa II, a massive space station that would become his new home. It was there that his overwhelming need for planetary sustenance began to grow, leading Galactus to consume his first planet, the nearby Archeopia. But as his hunger only continued to intensify, Galactus acknowledged the need for Heralds—whom he tasked with locating new worlds ripe for the munching. The first of these Heralds was known as Tyrant.
Galactus first created Tyrant in his own image. A thirst for conquest eventually caused the living machine to rebel, however, leading to a fight between the two that resulted in Tyrant’s banishment to deep space. Eventually, it returned and attempted to harness greater power by consuming the collective abilities of a number of captured heroes and villains. Like Galactus, Tyrant also has the ability to harness massive cosmic energy.
Composed of dark energy, Fallen One was another short-lived minion to Galactus. While he dutifully served for a short time, Fallen One eventually exposed himself as too bloodthirsty even for Galactus. The Devourer of Worlds eventually imprisoned his creation, only to have him repeatedly escape and seek revenge for his confinement.
The most well-known of Galactus’ minions is, by far, the Silver Surfer. Otherwise known as his alter-ego Norrin Radd of the planet Zenn-La, the Silver Surfer offered himself to Galactus in exchange for his planet’s survival. Galactus accepted, and Radd was imbued with a portion of Galactus’ cosmic power. Armed with a new, powerful form (not to mention his trademark mode of transportation), the Silver Surfer roamed the cosmos searching for new worlds for Galactus to consume. Eventually, he located the planet Earth. Thankfully, the Fantastic Four intervened, convincing Radd to abandon his mission and join the rebellion against Galactus—leading to his exile on Earth.
Now that we’ve got all that unpacked, it’s time to dive into the theories that have been creating buzz online. The secrecy of Marvel Studios notwithstanding, enough potential hints have been dropped in previous films that some fans already suspect they know where Phase 4 is headed.
The Power Stone
The Power Stone theory posits that Galactus has already been introduced in the MCU, but hints that his presence went right over the heads of casual viewers. In Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 1, the Collector first explained the origins of the Infinity Stones. Prior to the existence of our universe, there were six singularities that had been forced into physical form by the Big Bang. Those singularities became the Infinity Stones, which represent different aspects of the universe. These remnants of a previous universe are imperative to the Power Stone theory.
As you’ll recall, Galactus, too, predates our universe. This theory, as formulated by the following YouTube video, hinges on the idea that when the Infinity Stones were created, Galactus was trapped inside the Power Stone. Several moments from previous MCU releases likewise reinforce this theory.
As the Collector gave the rundown to the Guardians, he illustrated the overwhelming power the stones can wield. “One of the Celestial beings, Eson the Searcher, uses this Power Stone to completely destroy an entire planet,” the narrator of the video explains. “Now who else do we know who can destroy an entire planet?”
It’s also noted that Eson’s staff looks remarkably similar to Galactus’ oddly shaped helmet. This, along with the purple-hued similarity of both the Power Stone and Galactus, seems to add credence to the Power Stone theory. The idea also includes the Watchers, who some fans believe had trapped Galactus in the Power Stone long before the events of the MCU transpired.
The theory posited in the video, however, is at odds with the idea that the Watchers had anything to do with the Infinity Stones. Instead, it suggests that the four entities—Infinity, Eternity, Death and Entropy—were instrumental in creating the stones. But regardless of how one reaches that conclusion, those who believe this theory think Galactus has been confined to the stone for millions of years.
If this theory is true, the series of events in Avengers: Endgame would mean Tony Stark’s sacrifice unwittingly unleashed an even greater evil on our universe. If Galactus really was contained in the Power Stone, Tony would have inadvertently freed the Destroyer of Worlds.
Thanos was the hero all along
Another intriguing theory comes from the mind of redditor jlefrench, who believes that Thanos may have been more altruistic than he was made out to be.
“What if Thanos has been right this whole time, what if he was doing this to protect the universe?” jlefrench proposes. The crux of the theory is that the explanation Thanos provided for the death of Titan doesn’t make sense. It’s also noted that Starlord believed Titan to have been knocked off its axis—which overpopulation certainly wouldn’t have caused.
Instead, jlefrench believes that Galactus destroyed Titan, consuming its core and leaving nothing but wreckage in his wake. “Thanos, being ‘cursed with knowledge’ figured out that Galactus would not attack any planets if they do not have enough life energy to eat,” they reasoned.
“This is the key to Thanos’s entire motivation, to destroy Galactus’s food source so that the other half of the universe will survive.” They also note Black Widow’s statement that Thanos “wiped out 50 percent of all living creatures.”
As jlefrench notes: “This make sense as Galactus feeds off of all life, not just sentience. It doesn’t even make sense that Thanos would kill off half of livestock and people if he wanted to prevent deaths from starvation.”
For what it’s worth, the theory is actually pretty solid. If Thanos truly did see Galactus coming, his actions would have verged on heroic. In an attempt to prevent the same calamity that struck his home, he performed an awful deed to save trillions. Given the nuanced nature of the character of Thanos, it’s not a stretch to believe he might be inclined to think this way.
Thanos created Galactus
Another theory revolving around Thanos postulates that the Mad Titan had a backup plan all along. Redditor UpwardSpiral00 writes that Thanos, in an attempt to protect his desired future, created Galactus as a failsafe. They note Thanos’ carefully laid plans and the glaring flaws that show through in hindsight.
“The world population in 2018 was roughly 7.7 billion,” they write. “Thanos snaps, we’re down to 3.85 billion, or roughly the global population at the end of 1972. So in 46 years, about half a human lifetime, the population would bounce back. Surely this would have occurred to someone as smart and methodical as Thanos.”
They write that Thanos could’ve easily used the Time Stone to foresee his death at the hands of the Avengers. Even if he didn’t, however, he likely could have foreseen that life, uh, finds a way. To prevent his hard labor being undone, Thanos created in Galactus an insurance policy that would see his goals completed regardless of his own demise.
If this theory comes to fruition, the MCU would be taking a sharp turn from Galactus’ origins in the comics. Still, given what we know about the Mad Titan, it wouldn’t be implausible that he would create multiple scenarios in which his plan could succeed.
Nahila Bonfiglio reports on geek culture and gaming. Her work has also appeared on KUT's Texas Standard (Austin), KPAC-FM (San Antonio), and the Daily Texan.