There's been a theory floating around the internet that Thanos waited so long to make his move to assemble the Infinity Gauntlet because the most powerful beings in the universe were still alive. The characters I am talking about are Odin, Ego the Living Planet, and the Ancient One. (See, for example, this article on Inverse.com.)

I re-watched Doctor Strange recently, and in that movie, after the Ancient One's death, Baron Mordo states that news of her death would spread throughout the universe.

I personally don't subscribe to the theory that Thanos waited for these people to die (Thor: Ragnarok takes place too close to Avengers: Infinity War for news of Odin's death to spread that quickly), but have the Russo brothers or the screenwriters commented on it? Is there any truth in the internet's words?

  • 10
    The commentary suggests that the catalyst for him starting the final stage of his campaign to gather the stones was his discovery that Gamora knew the location of the Soul Stone. Before that there was no point putting the other five together because that would just make him the biggest target in the universe,
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 22:11
  • 5
    Basically if Nebula hadn't rushed in, got captured and blabbed everyone would be fine.
    – IG_42
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 22:50
  • 6
    ....or if Star Lord had kep his cool and not blown it
    – NKCampbell
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 23:30
  • 9
    @NKCampbell - Or if Thor had gone for the head instead of the glory shot to the chest
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 23:30
  • 6
    Thanos actually waited for Superman to die.. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding. Ding.
    – user931
    Commented Sep 5, 2018 at 23:57

2 Answers 2


Per the film's Directors/Screenwriters Commentary, Thanos' motivation for deciding to gather the stones is that he finally (after many years of searching) learned the location of the lost Soul Stone. Before this he seems content to get on with obliterating one planet at a time and making sure that he knows roughly where the other stones are, safe in the knowledge that he's made himself powerful enough (through his armies and his 'children of Thanos') to go and collect them when the need arises.

Stephen McFeely: "The catalyst for the whole movie was when Thanos figured out where the Soul Stone was because he captured Nebula on his ship and rooted around in her brain and figured out that Gamora knew where the Soul Stone was."

Joseph Russo: "It's the reason why he hasn't gone for it before, because he knows that the minute he does, the forces of the universe are gonna line up against him. If he doesn't know where the Soul Stone is, then what's the point?"

  • 1
    If the Tesseract could be opened from either end, as we saw Loki do, then it was arguably the easiest stone to find.
    – Xantec
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 2:26
  • 1
    @user931 - (IMO) Thanos knew at least the tesseract was on Earth, maybe even the time stone. Whether he knew or not that the scepter had the mind stone in it (I can't remember if he knew for sure) Loki promised Thanos that Earth was an easy target and Thanos was gambling on him to retrieve the tesseract for him. Thanos at that point was still trying to remain kind of in the shadows regarding the stones and satisfied slowly conquering one planet at a time. And learning where the stones all where and having someone else find and get them to him gives him plausible deniablility if he needs it...
    – Odin1806
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 15:02
  • 1
    @Odin1806 except that Thanos already had the Mind Stone. He gave it to Loki when he handed over the scepter. This has been acknowledged by the "Infinity War" writers. Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 15:22
  • 1
    @user931 - Given that the Time Stone is somewhere on Earth, conquering the planet probably seems like quite a good idea. Also, Thanos' plan was almost certainly to halve the population.
    – Valorum
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 17:51
  • 1
    @Salmononius2 unlike most Marvel movies, GotG:V2 didn't take place during it's release year. It took place shortly after the first, still in 2014. So the events then and Nebula's development within happened before Age of Ultron.
    – IronSean
    Commented May 2, 2019 at 18:32

From Inverse.com:

'Avengers: Infinity War' Doesn't Actually Have a Mind Stone "Plot Hole"

Thanos has been culling populations for decades; He kidnapped Gamora around 18 years ago but has had his genocidal tendencies for far longer. He’s quietly sought Infinity Stones for years. He sent Gamora hunting for the Soul Stone long before the first Guardians of the Galaxy. But in Avengers, if Thanos had gotten directly involved and attacked Earth for the Tesseract himself, then he might have attracted the attention of characters like Odin, Ego, or the Ancient One, who could have contested his mission. Manipulating Loki into a red herring was a safer play, especially when Thanos couldn’t fully wield the Stones at that point.

It wasn’t until after Odin died in Thor: Ragnarok that Thanos had the chance to attack Nidavellir and force the dwarf king Eitri (Peter Dinklage) to build the Infinity Gauntlet. We know from a brief exchange between Eitri and Thor that the space station was under the protection of Asgard, so when Odin’s death unleashed Hela, leading to the destruction of Asgard, the dwarves were left unguarded. That’s when Thanos struck, had the Gauntlet made, and then quickly took each Stone one-by-one until he eliminated half the universe.

  • 8
    I’m unsure how this person’s opinion should be worth much, when the screenplay writers and directors have given quite a clear cut answer.
    – Edlothiad
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 15:32
  • 4
    @donatelloswansino - Is this perhaps the very theory you were looking to confirm or deny in your question?
    – RDFozz
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 16:52

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.