In Avengers: Infinity War, up until Thanos

gets all six Stones

in order to use the Gauntlet he needs to close his fist, as we see in the fight scene on Titan.

Doctor Strange: "Don't let him close his fist!"

So why later does snapping work?

  • 3
    Because of the factor of cool™.
    – Hans Olo
    May 17, 2019 at 14:57
  • 5
    Because you can't snap your fingers without pretty much making a fist....but as discussed here and here the action is purely for the audience to understand what is foing on.
    – Paulie_D
    May 17, 2019 at 14:59
  • 5
    I think it works according to the same principles as Dorothy's ruby slippers.
    – Nathan K.
    May 17, 2019 at 17:41
  • Possibility: Using the individual powers of the stones - even in combinations - to change reality or affect time... that's not the same as using ALL the stones to use THE ultimate power - perfect control of the universe. I haven't seen the 2nd movie but he didn't snap until he had ALL the stones (unless I'm mistaken). So a fist is required to use the gauntlet... and a snap is required to use ALL of its power?
    – WernerCD
    May 17, 2019 at 20:48
  • The Snap was so disappointing... I was really hoping it would have been jazz hands or finger guns.
    – T.J.L.
    Oct 17, 2019 at 15:57

3 Answers 3


Closing the fist to use the Stones: The writers created this rule to even the fight

Mentioned by McFeely in an interview revealed,

“As you can imagine, when you have a gauntlet that has nearly unlimited power, and every time you use it you can do what you want ... we wanted to create small physical rules that would allow people to hang in a fight with him, so the idea that he had to, you know, close his fist to use a stone was the bare minimum that allowed us to have a fight,” McFeely said.

Snapping to dust everyone: Jim Starlin's idea

In an interview when asked, "Why a snap and not any other gesture?",

"It seemed the most dismissive gesture that I could come up with at the time. I wanted something casual, but something that would have a hook to it. I never in a million years imagined it would become this pop culture moment that it has become," Starlin said.

  • They seemed to have made a few mistakes then if a fist is required!
    – TheLethalCarrot
    May 17, 2019 at 15:24
  • @TheLethalCarrot How so? After snapping your fingers, your fist will be closed. Try it. And it seems clear that a fist is only required to use all the stones at once.
    – user91988
    May 17, 2019 at 19:36
  • @only_pro check the image in my answer
    – TheLethalCarrot
    May 17, 2019 at 21:00
  • @only_pro, just tried it and I can quite comfortably snap my fingers with my Vs up. Not sure when I'll ever be in a situation that calls upon this but you can bet that's how I'll do it if I'm ever snapping half of humanity out of existence. May 17, 2019 at 22:22

I believe any action you do with your hands doesn't really matter, controlling the Infinity Stones and so the Infinity Gauntlet appears to be more down to mentally doing so rather than any gesture. In fact we've seen Thanos use the Gauntlet without making a fist before, for example, when using the Power Stone in Avengers: Infinity War.

Thanos uses the Power Stone

Gamora and Thanos both say he could do it by snapping his fingers but I think they're saying it figuratively rather than saying it is actually required.

Gamora: If he gets all six Infinity Stones, he can do it with the snap of his fingers, like this.


Thanos: With all six stones, I could simply snap my fingers, and they would all cease to exist. I call that...mercy.

Avengers: Infinity War

Further Jim Starlin has said he chose the snap gesture because it was casual and looked good. Of course this is from an out of universe perspective and about The Infinity Gauntlet comic run that The Infinity Saga draws from but it helps understand it a bit more I think.

His answer: "It seemed the most dismissive gesture that I could come up with at the time. I wanted something casual, but something that would have a hook to it. I never in a million years imagined it would become this pop culture moment that it has become," Starlin said.

"But it was basically a contemptuous way of executing what he was planning on doing at the time. And it looked good with the gauntlet."

Mashable, Thanos' snap is all over 'Avengers: Endgame.' But why the heck was it a snap?

  • 5
    Worth adding the appropriate panel from Infinity Gauntlet (#2) (1992); i.stack.imgur.com/41TZr.jpg
    – Valorum
    May 17, 2019 at 17:37
  • 1
    I was going to comment that same picture since the snap is mentioned here but looks like @Valorum beat me to it. The same quote is mentioned in another answer and I'm confused as to why Jim Starlin says that the snap is "the most dismissive gesture that I could come up with" considering it's what Thanos does in the comic. Did he not just do the snap because that is what's done in the comic?
    – Dean
    May 17, 2019 at 20:21
  • 7
    @Deano If you follow the link, you'll find the guy being quoted, Jim Starlin, is the creator of Thanos and the guy who wrote the original comic.
    – trlkly
    May 17, 2019 at 22:09
  • I just watched that scene again and he activates the stone with a closed fist and then waves his hand and opens his fist as he tosses cap.
    – user97938
    May 18, 2019 at 2:37

For the same reason that computers have Enter keys, and SQL has the GO command.

What it will be doing is quite likely destructive process, so you don't want it dynamically acting on your orders (/desires/wishes) in real time until you've got all the exceptions, caveats, parameters, and whatnot laid out in your head. Otherwise one could imagine it would be like "Remove everyone from existence, except...." (Infinity Guantlet falls to the ground amid a pile of black ash).

So some kind of initiator is needed. It could probably be anything (eg: splitting your 3rd and 4th fingers apart and uttering "live long and prosper". Tapping one of the stones with a finger from the other hand, whatever you've prearranged.), but it needs to be something to tell the stones to execute your fully formed and complete commands.

  • "uttering 'live long and prosper'" is kind of the exact opposite of what's happening here, though... :P May 18, 2019 at 2:44
  • or clicking your heels/palms three times and uttering "there is no place like home".
    – Cœur
    May 18, 2019 at 8:54
  • 2
    @MasonWheeler Well, not entirely. As far as what Thanos believes, he's saving entire civilisations :) The needs of the many outweigh the needs of... just as many.
    – Luaan
    May 18, 2019 at 13:17

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