We know that Thanos' plan was to

instantly destroy half of all life in the universe

His plan doesn't appear to apply to lower or non sentient life forms

if it did half the trees in the final Wakanda scene would have disintegrated too

Does his plan apply to all beings more powerful than himself?

  • 3
    If they’re more powerful than him, could it affect them?
    – Adamant
    May 3, 2018 at 1:19
  • 21
    By the end of the movie, are there any beings more powerful than Thanos? (That we know exist in the MCU, that is?) May 3, 2018 at 2:27
  • 1
    @Adamant It could in the comics, for what it's worth.
    – Harris
    May 3, 2018 at 14:46
  • 1
    @HarryJohnston We saw The Watchers in Guardians of the Galaxy 2. Not sure if those count as “more powerful”.
    – Stevoisiak
    May 7, 2018 at 1:35
  • 2
    @Endgame, the odds against that are astronomical. Dec 8, 2018 at 9:32

6 Answers 6


According to Marvel producer Kevin Feige Thanos' 'finger snap' resulted in the destruction of half of all life in the universe, not just higher beings.

Q. Are half the animals dead? Are half of the horses gone? Half of the ants?

Feige: Yes! Yes. All life.

Kevin Feige Still Won’t Tell Us All Marvel’s Future Plans


Cap interjected, his rage uncharacteristically getting the better of him, “That maniac took out half of all life. Not just on Earth. In the universe.”

Nat explained, “Thanos apparently decided that the universe can’t support so much life, so he was going to cull the whole thing down to size.”

Look Out for the Little Guy by Scott Lang

  • 7
    All Life... Well with of 1/2 everything your problem doesn't go away, you just reduced the total number.... I mean unless you don't eat things that are alive?
    – Skooba
    Jul 10, 2018 at 13:02
  • 3
    gut flora too? 10 minutes after the snap everyone still existing is gonna need to take a massive potty break. Jan 10, 2019 at 17:15
  • 3
    @KevinMilner - Well, if you're gonna break it down that far, why not keep going? Technically all the mitochondria in your cells are captured bacteria - if you killed half of every living being's mitochondria, it would probably be fatal to the organism as a whole. Thus, the only things that would still be alive in the universe would be half of the single-celled organisms. Mar 5, 2019 at 15:21
  • 2
    Half of all the midichlorians too?!? Nov 1, 2019 at 13:20
  • 1
    @Celestialgranturismo - No, because Star Wars happened a long time ago
    – Valorum
    Nov 1, 2019 at 13:40

Thanos' plan was

destroy half of the life forms in the universe because of over-population and lack of resources.

In that, there is a distinction.

If he deleted all the trees, he would be removing resources leaving the living in the same problem.


he erased creatures that use up resources without giving back. So trees and non-sentient life are safe, and lower-life forms are okay because they serve a purpose to the biosphere. But humans, as well as other "dominant species", are what are causing there to be limited resources and must be forcibly reduced.

But when you get to things of a "higher order", you're generally talking about unique entities; such as the personification of "the Universe" and "The Beyonder". Since they are unique, you really can't wipe out "half"--which is...

...probably why Rocket lived as he is a unique creature onto himself.

The only race I could think of "higher" than Thanos would be the Watchers, in which case, it is likely they too were culled.

I guess a lot of it depends on what you call "higher order"...

  • 11
    I'm somehow on Thanos's side. May 11, 2018 at 15:45
  • 8
    @SovereignSun I think that was the point-- like Killmonger and lots of others, Thanos is a "good intention [make limited resources go farther] taken to an evil extreme [just slaughter lots of people]" type of villain. May 11, 2018 at 15:55
  • 9
    Except, now that poor cannibal culture is robbed of half its resources. Did you think about that Thanos? No, you only ever think about your self!
    – Möoz
    May 15, 2018 at 3:23
  • 4
    .. probably why Rocket lived as he is a unique creature onto himself. ~> That's wrong. Groot was last survivor of his race (said by Collector) and yet he died.
    – user931
    Jun 23, 2018 at 21:32
  • 5
    @TheWasp the Collector never says that. The line is "I never thought I'd meet a Groot." There's no implication that there's only one Groot.
    – OrangeDog
    Jul 10, 2018 at 13:15

The new trailer for Avengers: Endgame gives us an in-universe confirmation and a bit of a distinction from Kevin Feige's quote...

[Natasha Romanov] Thanos did exactly what he said he was gonna do, he wiped out fifty percent of all living creatures.

The distinction of creatures is an important one as it it defined as animals. So this is why all the trees and such are still standing. It also leaves room for unicellular organisms to remain.

  • I am not a biologist, but from my quick search, unicellular organisms do not seem be classified as animals, and therefore could be excluded from a definition of "creature".
    – Skooba
    Dec 7, 2018 at 13:39
  • 1
    In other words Thanos just screwed over the remaining creatures. Kill off 50% of all creatures that are involved in propagation of plant species - especially plants that are eaten by other creatures - and you have a recipe for environmental collapse.
    – Peter M
    Dec 8, 2018 at 12:18
  • -1 You are placing far too much weight on Black Widow's choice of words "creatures," as opposed to, say, Thanos' choice of words "life" (e.g., in conversation with Gamora in Infinity War).
    – Lexible
    Jan 3, 2020 at 3:34
  • @Lexible Maybe you are placing FAR too much weight on Thanos' choice of word "life"...in-universe Natasha saw the aftermath and is able to asses what is still there and what isn't.
    – Skooba
    Jan 3, 2020 at 12:34

Based on the precedent of the comics, he doesn't have the power to delete the truly cosmic-level entities - not that any of them have been )or will be) seen in the films.

Part of the problem is that while there are any number of beings of cosmic or universal power in the Marvel Universe, only a couple of the relatively weaker ones have been explicitly introduced in the films.

Dormammu is incredibly powerful, but he's nothing compared to, say, beings like the In-Betweener or the Living Tribunal. It'd be an argument whether or not the Celestials are more powerful than a Gauntlet-powered Thanos, but it'd be close. The Watchers are very powerful in the comics, but save for a cameo, we've no hard data about them in the MCU.

The truly cosmic entities joined the various fights against Thanos in the comics, but I don't recall any of them being destroyed or Snapped by him (corrections accepted). If we use that as a standard, it suggests that he doesn't have the power to delete them in the filmic universe either.

I suspect they won't be used in the movie, so the question will remain unanswered It'd take too long to explain who they are, not to mention we want to see the heroes win, not a literal deus ex machina where some totally new bunch of beings swoop in and save the day.

  • There's no good indication either way but there's no reason to assume that Thanos' 'snap' didn't work on every form of life in the universe.
    – Valorum
    Jul 10, 2018 at 13:32
  • I based my assumption on the comics, which seemed a good start. The hypothesis is that Thanos can only affect being whom he is more powerful than. So ants, trees, accountants, would all be subject to his power, while the "upper level" cosmic entities would not. He is certainly on par with some of them and their power, and can stand toe to toe with them in battle, and defeat, possibly even kill one, but not so powerful that he could wish one into the cornfield. Jul 10, 2018 at 13:39
  • "It'd be an argument whether or not the Celestials are more powerful than a Gauntlet-powered Thanos, but it'd be close." If we are referring to comics, I believe a few celestials joined in on trying to fight Thanos (w/ all 6 stones) and were soundly defeated - along with beings like Galactus and Eternity. It wasn't close.
    – enumaris
    Dec 8, 2018 at 0:33

The-One-Above-All (hyphens) is the Primal Entity of the Marvel Multiverse. As often as people want to pit Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet against other beings, only nigh-supreme cosmic beings generally have any chance against their combined power.

The Living Tribunal

But the-One -Above-All trumps all other powers in the Marvel Multiverse. It has supremacy over all things and has no equal save itself.

The Infinity Gauntlet is nothing in the face of its overwhelming capacity. This is one of its depictions as Above-All-Others from Thanos: The Infinity Finale #3. The One-Above-All is apparently responsible for the existence of all life in the Multiverse and possibly beyond, and is the master and sole superior of the cosmic overseer and arbitrator known as the Living Tribunal, whose faces, embodying equity, vengeance and necessity respectively, are in perfect alignment with one another as it passes judgment. While Thanos has few equals or betters while he wears it, the Infinity Gauntlet is one level of Infinity lower than needed to be a threat to The-One-Above-All. Even Thanos knows this and has done his very best to not bring himself to the focused attention of this Entity above all others.

  • 1
    Can you present any evidence that The-One-Above-All exists in the MCU? This related question about whether the MCU is in fact part of the Marvel comics multiverse never got a definitive answer. Dec 9, 2018 at 5:05
  • 2
    You talk about The-one-above-all and put a picture of The living tribunal. What are you tryin' to say? I'm lost....
    – Shreedhar
    Oct 30, 2019 at 12:56

Looking through the other answers here no one seems to address the OP’s concern about the Wakanda scene specifically - expecting to see 1/2 of every living thing (including grass and trees) vanish before our eyes. Eliminating half of anything doesn’t force you to be fair. In a room full of 100 trees with 1 bird in each tree, you can eliminate half the life by killing all the trees, all the birds, 75 trees and 25 birds, or half of the birds and trees. In the end, you start with 200 living things and end with 100 either way. In fact if the universe had a sense of humor Thanos’ snap could have left every humanoid alive and just wiped out some grasses, mosquitoes, viruses and some algae. As long as it equaled 1/2 of all life. Then he would really be the Mad Titan!

The only reason trees and grass in Wakanda would vanish would be if he eliminated “one half of each life form in the universe.” (How do you even eliminate half of the "Ego the Living Planets?") That is not what he said. After the snap, the number of living things in the universe was half of what it was before, and that is the only rule.

As far as higher order beings, there is no controversy over why even unique life forms like Galactus, One-Above-All, The Collector, or Eternity did not need to be killed. It applied to every living thing as a group. They just didn't lose the lottery.

  • 2
    The top two answers address trees and grass, albeit the first one indirectly.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Oct 30, 2019 at 12:45
  • No those answers leave out any explanation to why 1/2 the trees didn’t vanish in the movie. They broadly try to talk about what is and is not a living thing.
    – Vogon Poet
    Oct 30, 2019 at 12:48
  • Correct me if I'm wrong but the first part of this answer specifically addresses trees: "If he deleted all the trees, he would be removing resources leaving the living in the same problem."
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Oct 30, 2019 at 12:50
  • Ok, The OP said “if it did half the trees in the final Wakanda scene would have disintegrated too.” Literally that answer never even mentions the Wakanda scene. Or the movie at all for that matter. Just because an answer makes an obscure rationalized reference to the topic of a question doesn’t mean the question was answered. I simply explained why the scene in question did not show 1/2 of the trees vanishing, because no one else addressed it.
    – Vogon Poet
    Oct 30, 2019 at 12:58
  • 1
    @VogonPoet it was just for the sake of reference, as an example. You can't be serious that he was talking only about the trees in Wakanda? In that case we can have millions of questions asking only about trees in every city/country across the galaxy.
    – Shreedhar
    Oct 30, 2019 at 13:05

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