Context: "Wonder Woman" 2017 film

Definition: Wonder Woman is an "amazon", that is, each woman specifically created by "god" "Zeus" to protect the world from "god" "Ares".

Point: this Wikipedia article describes "Zeus" and "Ares" as "gods" BUT Zeus died and so did Ares, eventually.

Question: how can those be gods if they died? If they are not gods, what are they?

My attempt at rationalizing: maybe they're aliens? Maybe they're "aliens addressed as gods" by extension and for the sake of simplicity due to their superhuman powers in the same way Odin, Thor, Loki and Hela are "aliens addressed as gods" in the Marvel universe?

  • 5
    This is a very interesting way of formatting a question, but welcome!
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 11:29
  • 17
    Who says that a god can't die?
    – Valorum
    Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 11:33
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    @Valorum noone actually says that gods can't die, but if they do, I'd expect at least to be somehow stated as in "Exodus: gods and kings" (unless in the original greek mythology Zeus could actually die and I'm not aware of that).
    – Markino
    Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 11:35
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    All I can say is: Puny god.
    – Adamant
    Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 13:44
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    Wonder Woman is not an Amazon herself, she is considerably more powerful
    – Gaius
    Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 18:44

4 Answers 4


In the source material, the Gods of Olympus are not aliens, in the strictest sense. They are more like extremely powerful metahumans. Their origin has to do with the creation of something called the Fourth World, and the resulting Godwave. That event carried a massive amount of cosmic energy to Earth, and created metahumans as well as the Gods of Olympus, thousands of years in the past.

In the movie universe, their origin hasn't been yet explained, but the link to the Fourth World and the Godwave is hinted at slightly. The Gods of Olympus are portrayed as being "from Earth", just existing before humans did, and being more powerful than any humans. Note, for example, that they are naturally immortal, and can only die if killed by one of their own.

More notably, the Fourth World is home to the "New Gods", one of which is Darkseid. He is a being of even greater power than the Gods of Olympus, and the villain of Justice League is Steppenwolf, Darkseid's lieutenant.


Note that the concept of gods being able to die is an old one: the Norse, Greco-Roman, Egyptian, Japanese, and Aztek pantheons all featured the death of assorted deities in their mythology, often killed by others. There's nothing special about it unless one's concept of a deity is based only on the Judeo-Christian-Islamic variety.

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    This is more of a commentary on gods in general; it doesn't really address the question within its own scope.
    – TylerH
    Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 21:45
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    The question asked was "How can those be gods if they died?" The answer is, mythologically speaking, there's nothing saying gods can't be killed, and indeed several famously were. So just because a god was killed doesn't mean it wasn't a god. Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 22:51
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    the question is tagged DC and DC Extended Universe; it's asking for the in-universe explanation behind the (im)mortality of the Greek gods. This is an out-of-universe answer about gods in general across pantheons.
    – TylerH
    Commented Nov 27, 2017 at 23:16
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    Fine, then. In the DC Universe gods have been shown to be killed or have been explicitly stated to be killed, or able to die. Bast at one point stated that gods fade away without worshipers. Lucifer killed the god Kagutsuchi with poison after tricking him into killing Tsuki-yomi. In the New 52, Jay Garrick became the Flash after Earth-2's Mercury, just before he died of wounds received in escaping Apokalips, granted Garrick some of his power. Mercury himself was the only survivor of the Roman pantheon, the rest having been killed in a war with Apokalips. Just for some examples. Commented Nov 28, 2017 at 17:36
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    that's a much better answer, but belongs in the answer above rather than as a comment.
    – TylerH
    Commented Nov 28, 2017 at 18:02

KutuluMike gave a good answer. In addition, the movie is very explicit about gods' death:

Only a god can kill another god.

Wonder Woman, being the daughter of a mortal and Zeus, is only a semi-god by Greek mythology standards, but the movie makes her special:

she is the "GodKiller"

and the Godkiller is referred in the first part of the movie as a weapon specially forged to kill gods (hence the name...).

Also, there are many gods dying in Greek mythology: Cronos killed his children by eating them for example. Zeus, the only one that avoided that fate, revolted and killed Cronos. In other mythologies, Osiris was killed by Seth,...


Even though, in the comics, Ares has been said to die, there isn't significant proof that they stay dead.


Ares was said to be killed by Wonder Woman, with an Ax, that split his head into two. But in the same source, I found this:

Despite being gone from the mortal world, Ares is still manipulating events to destroy the Amazons. His next plot involves the birth of five male children via five random Amazons. Once they are born he takes them under his wing before Ares is banished from Themyscira both in body and spirit by his father Zeus.

Source: Wikipedia


Again, there isn't significant proof that Zeus was killed. One can only assume that Zeus decided to temporarily vanish over a period of time, only to come back at his will.

Greek gods are immortal. They cannot truly 'die'. In order to 'kill' the gods, you have to destroy the significance their domains hold. For example, if Zeus has to 'die', his domain; the sky and the lightning must hold no significance. That means that when the sky and the lightning are no longer acknowledged and worshipped by the people, only then can Zeus die.

Source: Quora

As for the question: Can gods die?

I believe everything has an expiration date. Maybe gods don't just die and turn to dust, but they may be able to transfer their conscience into another body or form, when one form ages or wears out, beyond recovery.

According to mythology, Pan is the one such god that is suspected to have experienced death.

How did Pan die?

Gods cannot die, immortality being an attribute of all divine beings. Yet there have been some exceptions to this rule. One of them is Chiron, who, suffering from an incurable wound, was granted mortality by Zeus. Another is the first Dionysus, who was destroyed by the TITANS. Then on the death of Pan a rumour arose in the first century AD.

Source: Death of Pan

I also came across an article that says:

A dying god, or departure of the gods is a motif in mythology where one or more gods (of a pantheon) die or are destroyed, or where one or more of them departs permanently from their place on Earth to somewhere else.

Source: Departure of Gods

Again, there is no significant proof that gods die and cease to exist. In most cases, they just chose to be unseen, move form one place to another, or transform themselves into another entity.

In my opinion, we cannot say that gods are aliens, or neither can I deny the fact that they might be aliens. But, if you consider Asgard as a place that is not on Earth, then you can assume they are aliens. No harm in that.

The word 'god' is synonymous to a certain higher power that we cannot explain with available knowledge. The fear of the unknown drives us to believe that anything beyond our knowledge is superior to us. Be it aliens or gods.

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