I have heard Thanos referred to as the Genghis Khan of the Marvel Cinematic Universe by Joe Russo. Why is he called that, though?

  • Does that mean Genghis Khan didn’t exist in the MCU? Was the power vacuum filled by the Ancient One or something? Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 19:54

2 Answers 2


I've found the full quote below where Russo compares Thanos to Genghis Khan. Here the main takeaway is that he's a very skilled fighter, smart and very strong. There doesn't seem to be much to it beyond that. The initial comparison seems to have been made about the fight with Hulk where he just says Thanos wins because he's just as strong but more skilled.

“I would say that he’s just that powerful. You didn’t see him actively use the power stone in that fight. I think ultimately, the way we looked at that fight and the way talked about it with our stunt team when we were executing it was Hulk is obviously very powerful, but he’s a little mindless in his fighting style. It’s aggressive, it’s pummeling. Thanos is the Genghis Kahn of the universe, he’s a very skilled fighter, equally as strong. So when you put those two up against each other, the more skilled fighter is going to win ultimately. Which is why Hulk has a moment where he overpowers Thanos, but ultimately Thanos is smart.”

LRM Online, Avengers: Infinity War – The Russo Brothers Say Thanos Is The ‘Genghis Khan’ of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

Russo later makes the same comparison and says something similar about how strong Thanos is, how great of a fighter is and why he has such a powerful weapon even before the Infinity Gauntlet and Infinity Stones.

With Thanos being one of the most iconic villains in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it's likely that some of his inspiration came from history. In an interview with ComicBook, Russo answered a question about Thanos' blade being able to break vibranium, supposedly one of the most durable materials to ever exist. Russo said:

"Clearly, Thanos, you know, is a thousand-year-old character who has fought everyone in the universe. He's the greatest. He's the Genghis Khan of the universe. He would have the greatest weapon."

ScreenRant, Thanos is a 1000-Year-Old Genghis Khan of the Universe, Says Joe Russo

  • Another source for the first quote is given in this answer.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 16:24
  • On lrmonline.com/news/… what does it mean that "Thanos is far more calculating in his attacks?" I didn't think it takes much thought to punch something.
    – user140105
    Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 16:32
  • There's probably more comparisons that can be made between the two figures, and there might be more to what the Russos have to say about it. However, so far I haven't found any other explicit reasons for why the Russos have made the comparisons.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 16:32
  • @FriendlyNeigbor It just means he thinks about where and when to punch. The comparison is saying Hulk blindly smashes whereas Thanos thinks about where and when to fight. A good fighter does that, be smart in how you fight and don't rush in blindly, for example.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 16:33
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    @FriendlyNeigbor there’s a novelisation of all the films I believe. But I wasn’t referring to that in my comment above.
    – TheLethalCarrot
    Commented Apr 19, 2021 at 16:40

Thanos killed half the universe. Genghis Khan's invasions killed a significant portion of the world's population. The estimates are around 37.75 - 60 million people in Eurasia, which could be about 11% of the world's population at the time.

So they're both guys known for killing a lot of people.

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