In the first half of The Avengers movie, Loki was busy building a portal device using the Tesseract so that the Chitauri army could come to Earth. But, why was that needed, when we saw in the Avengers: Infinity War movie that

Thanos had access to FTL tech, using which he could transport big armies?

He had that tech for very long because, in a flashback, we saw his army (which also had Chitauri Leviathan ships)

conquering Gamora's home planet when she was a kid.

The events of The Avengers happened merely 6 years ago.

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    So they could all arrive at once, in the same place, for the minimum amount of effort? q.v. "Why do the goa'uld even bother with stargates...."
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 24, 2018 at 12:17
  • @Valorum Exactly the opposite. They were descending down from a small hole (just to get fried by Ironman's missiles and Thor's lightning). I hardly call it "arrive at once". The army which descended outside Wakandan force field were actually arriving at once.
    – user931
    Commented Jun 24, 2018 at 12:23
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    A fleet can only travel as fast as its slowest ship
    – Valorum
    Commented Jun 24, 2018 at 12:26
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    We also don't actually know the distances involved, its possible that chitar(?) or wherever is simply too far away from earth to set up proper supply lines and mount a whole invasion directly?
    – Ummdustry
    Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 8:54
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    Probably not enough for an answer, but the Chitauri did not expect resistance (they even complained to Thanos about it), so maybe they just thought the portal would be more convenient than space travel. And the whole invasion thing was just a side show in any case, the main objective was stealing the Tesseract for Thanos (which up to the nuke that ended the invasion had worked beautifully). Commented Jun 25, 2018 at 9:20

2 Answers 2


The Outriders from Infinity War and the Chitauri are 2 different races of aliens. Thanos prefers to use the weaker pawns before using his knights/rooks/bishops when attempting to conquer anything. It's very possible that sort of tech is expensive/and or rare, and outfitting the entire Chitauri army would have been unfeasible. It's also possible he was killing two birds with one stone, by getting the infinite stone-he can just teleport everyone and have his real prize.


I suspect that Thanos didn’t know the Tesseract was on earth.

Loki presumably made a deal with Thanos — give me the Mind Stone, and promise me an army; then I’ll go get the Tesseract for you, and use it to get the army to the planet so I can overthrow it.

If Loki tells Thanos which planet the stone is on, maybe Thanos just goes to get it for himself, and Loki gets nothing. Waiting for a portal to open is also a handy way to ensure Loki actually has the Tesseract before committing the army.

Even if Loki did reveal the Space Stone’s location, Thanos might have been being a bit more cautious at that point. He only had the Mind Stone, and aside from the mind control stuff we see in Avengers, it’s not clear what powers it has on its own. Thanos probably doesn’t know much about earth or its potential defenders — or he might be well aware that a certain aggressive and powerful Asgardian prince considers it as being under his protection.

He may not want to move his forces there and risk either immediate defeat, or more attention on him before he has more Infinity Stones to defend himself with. In Infinity War, he seems to collect the last five stones within a single day, having first got the Power Stone (which really does seem to make its bearer stronger and less vulnerable than almost any being we’ve seen) from Xandar the previous week.

  • How does this answer the question? You mean to say that Loki asked Thanos for army which already didn't have FTL tech and Thanos didn't give a thought how Loki would utilize the army without FTL tech?
    – user931
    Commented Aug 21, 2018 at 23:40
  • I’m not saying Thanos’s army couldn’t travel faster than light — I’m saying the Tesseract, being the Space Stone and all, means Loki didn’t need the army to travel across space. Opening a portal with it is handy proof that Loki’s actually obtained it. Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 8:17
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    -1 I suspect that Thanos didn’t know the Tesseract was on earth Sorry, no, Thanos absolutely did know the Tesseract was on earth. he reason he sent Loki to earth in the first place was to get the Tesseract, Loki even uses the Tesseract to get there. Thanos wanting the Tesseract is literally the plot that drives the movie. Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 12:19
  • @BinaryWorrier: I think I’ve explained what I meant by that pretty clearly — I’m not saying Thanos didn’t want the Tesseract, I’m saying it’s possible he didn’t know which planet it was on. (I haven’t watched Avengers for a while, so you may be quite right that it’s actually impossible for him not to have known that.) As I also explain, it’s also quite possible he did know it was on earth, but didn’t want to send his army there by conventional means to retrieve it. Commented Aug 22, 2018 at 12:32

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