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In the mid-credit scene of Avengers: Age of Ultron, we saw that Thanos puts on the Infinity Gauntlet (without any Infinity Stones) on his hand and said:

Fine, I’ll do it myself.

Why would he say that in such a way? Someone says such things that way when their men or mercenaries fail to do something (after that they want to step in personally). Was Thanos somehow controlling the Ultron?

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It’s possible, but aside from the existence of the post-credits scene, nothing in Avengers: Age of Ultron (or any other movie) suggests it.

Before The Avengers,

Thanos gave the staff to Loki, in the hope that Loki would recover the Tesseract from Earth and deliver it to him.

And in Guardians of the Galaxy

Thanos was attempting to use Ronan to recover the Power Stone, although Ronan decided to (try to) keep it himself.

I think in the post-credits scene, Thanos was just referring to these two schemes and their failure, rather than anything that happened in Avengers: Age of Ultron.

Because if he did influence events in the movie, how? The best theory I’ve seen is that Thanos put some sort of artificial intelligence into the Mind Stone before giving the Sceptre to Loki, presumably in the hope that if Loki failed, someone else would use that intelligence to create a robot that would destroy the Earth.

That seems like a pretty speculative and remote backup plan for getting the Tesseract, especially as the The Avengers post-credits scene

suggests that Thanos didn’t know much about Earth before setting the Chitauri loose.

Note also that

Ultron makes no attempt to locate the Tesseract in Avengers: Age of Ultron, and never even mentions it.

(And, as it happens, Thanos wouldn’t have gotten anything even if Ultron succeeded, thanks to Thor taking the Tesseract back to Asgard at the end of The Avengers.)

The simpler explanation is Thanos gave the Mind Stone to Loki so that Loki could actually manage to carry out his plan: controlling the minds of Selvig and Hawkeye sure was helpful. A slightly-more-complicated, slightly-more-fun, barely-even-believable explanation is that Loki convinced Thanos to give him the Mind Stone using this reasoning, in hope of keeping it and the Tesseract for himself.

The scene is probably only included at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron because the next Avengers movie is called Avengers: Infinity War, and will thus presumably feature

Thanos attempting to personally recover all the Infinity McGuffins.

It’s marketing, not plot explanation, like Thor’s hammer in the post-credits scene of Iron Man 2.


Having pondered this fitfully every night for the last three years, before finally falling into a restless and troubled sleep each time, Avengers: Infinity War has finally come out.

During the movie, Thanos doesn’t mention anything about his actions in The Avengers. He certainly uses the Space, Power, Reality and Time stones directly in the movie to further his pursuit of the full set, so he could have been using the Mind stone indirectly, as an AI-bootstrap-honeypot-kinda-thing, when embedding it in Loki’s staff (as well as letting Loki use it directly to mind-control people). But there’s no reference to such a plan, or even any reference to Thanos having previously been in possession of the Mind Stone.

  • I wouldn't say 'zero indication'. Why could it not refer to a failed scheme in AoU if it also refers to 2 other failed schemes? It's a scene in AoU after all. It could imply that Thanos had something to do with the creation of Ultron (perhaps indirectly) or that he was at least observing the events. There's also the sudden and unexpected awakening of Ultron. – Dennis_E Apr 28 '15 at 10:44
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    @Dennis_E: “There's also the sudden and unexpected awakening of Ultron.” But there’s no indication that Thanos caused that, as opposed to your regular Terminator-style “artificial intelligence is born an immediately concludes that humanity must be destroyed” trope. I don’t see anything in the scene itself that suggests a connection to Ultron, other than the fact that it’s the mid-credits scene of the Ultron movie. Thor’s hammer was first seen at the end of Iron Man 2, but Thor didn’t have anything to do with Ivan Vanko. – Paul D. Waite Apr 28 '15 at 12:15
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    @Dennis_E: Well you also said there was more than ‘zero indication’ that the theory was correct. That’s what I’m disputing. – Paul D. Waite Apr 28 '15 at 15:28
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    “Maybe he took advantage of the situation.” What, the Ultron situation? Maybe. But again, there’s zero indication of that beyond the existence of the end credits scene, and that’s far more easily explained by “We wanted to start marketing Avengers 3”. – Paul D. Waite Apr 29 '15 at 8:27
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    You might be interested in looking at my answer. Whilst I share your opinion that it is unlikely, I found an interesting comment from Jackson Sze about it. – TheLethalCarrot Oct 25 at 9:37
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I think we are not really supposed to know what Thanos plans or what his machinations are. Thanos basically is the mastermind. You'll never know what he anticipated and what he'll simply shrug off as an inconvenience.
You're simply not supposed to. He gave the Scepter with the Mind Stone to Loki in a gamble to get the Tesseract. Which means he had the Mind Stone already in his possession and was willing to risk it for a second Infinity Stone. One would only do this if one had a backup plan/fail-safe in place. So he didn't care if he lost this Stone or he had a plan to use it to his advantage in case it was lost.

If you think about it, both Avengers movies are about the same thing. The Avengers destroying themselves. In the first movie it's Loki's plan to enrage the Hulk so that he disables/destroys the Avengers. This plan backfires. In the second movie it's Stark's vanity which gives birth to an entity which is capable of destroying the Avengers. Once again the plan backfires if only barely. In the first movie Thanos learns that Earth has a few heroes who will stand up to him and can hinder his plans. His adviser tells him as much. In the second movie something that might have been Thanos plan B almost destroys the Avengers along with all of Earth's defenses.

Did Thanos plan for it? Maybe he did. All we know from the post-credit scene is that Thanos is tired of using his lackeys and is now stepping into the ring himself. Which is nothing more than an announcement to the big finale in Avengers: Infinity War.

  • Good answer, but I'd contradict one thing here. Stark's vanity has nothing to do with the rise of Ultron, who emerges because Stark wants to protect the Earth from future invasion. It's fear, not vanity, that results in Ultron. – goblin Oct 26 at 4:52
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In the Avengers: Age of Ultron director's commentary, Joss Whedon recounts attempts to procure the Infinty Stones:

Loki failed. Red Skull failed. Ronan failed. Umm, so it's time. Third movie, it's time.

Note that in context, he's discussing Thanos, his schemes, and his imminent entry to the battlefield. The inclusion of Red Skull is odd, but the lack of mention of Ultron in a list of Thanos' minions indicates that Ultron is not counted among Thanos' attempts to obtain the Infinite Stones.

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    The inclusion of Red Skull is a little more interesting after Infinity War. – Paul D. Waite Apr 26 '18 at 12:30
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I watched the Ultron integration scene several times. The program doesn't become active until after Tony leaves the lab, JARVIS tells Ultron that he isn't sure what triggered Ultron's awakening. Ultron almost immediately destroys JARVIS. I believe Thanos was monitoring them through the staff and started the whole thing. We know the staff can communicate through space, as Loki did in the first one, so it would make sense, and explain Thanos' statement at the end of the film.

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I believe Thanos did have an involvement with the creation of Ultron. Two reasons why:

First, the mid-credits scene suggests that he did. "Fine, I'll do it myself" tells me he was the culprit to the whole thing.

Second, after Ultron makes his first appearance and the Avengers are hashing it out as to what just happened, Mr. Stark says that they did not have a successful interface, and it was never explained how exactly Ultron became successfully interfaced. Even JARVIS didn't know how Ultron came to be.

  • There's a bit of supposition in your answer, but you do have it backed up with some facts, so you get an upvote from me. Welcome to the site! – FuzzyBoots Dec 2 '15 at 18:37
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I've always held the theory that no, Thanos did not have any involvement in avengers: Age of Ultron. The best theory I have found to state how Thanos could have had some involvement is this answer by Spencer stating that Thanos somehow activated the interface. Probably coupled with Thanos potentially doing something with the Mind Stone. That said I still think Thanos wasn't involved.

However, on reading The Road to Marvel's Avengers: Endgame - The Art of the Marvel Cinematic Universe I noticed this interesting little bit from Jackson Sze on the Space Stone and the intro scene to Avengers: Infinity War:

Thanos, the puppeteer behind Loki's attack on New York, has been chasing the Infinity Stone for some time. In the opening sequence of Avengers: Infinity War, he finally gets hold of it. "I feel like this scene epitomizes what he said at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron," Senior Concept Illustrator Jackson Sze says. "When he says, 'I'm going to do it myself.' I think this is like a culmination of that scene where he's actually going for it, as opposed to relying on proxies like Ultron and Loki."

The Road to Marvel's Avengers: Endgame - The Art of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

This implies to me that Thanos did have some sort of hand in the events that transpired in Avengers: Age of Ultron. However, beyond this statement there isn't much to back up this theory.

Looking at how Thanos probably wasn't involved in the film's events we have quite a bit of evidence:

  • It's not mentioned by anyone in universe with the sole link being the post credits scene.
  • The post credits scene likely takes place on Nidavellir when Thanos has been having the Gauntlet made for him so he was likely too pre-occupied with that.
  • It also probably takes place a lot closer to Avengers: Infinity War than we are led to believe but no timeline is given for it.
  • Ultron never once mentioned or looked for the Tesseract (of course it was on Asgard), and that was Thanos' plan with Loki, the Mind Stone and the Chitauri.
  • Thanos is probably referring to the Loki, Ronan and Gamora schemes failing rather than anything else.
  • Out of universe it is of course a set up/marketing for Avengers: Infinity War so doesn't have to refer back to Avengers: Age of Ultron at all.
  • And most importantly: how could he have had an effect on the events of the film really? Whilst I like the aforementioned theory it is very thin with evidence so I doubt it to be true. The same goes for the other theories as well.
  • Ultron not mentioning looking for a stone means nothing; Ultron's primary motivation was to show up Stark, and then eliminate humanity. Thanos knew the Avengers were a threat to his plans, so having a proxy to take them out of the picture to he could carry on with what he was doing with less interference was in character with his other actions to that point. – Keith Morrison Oct 25 at 15:29
  • @KeithMorrison "Ultron not mentioning looking for a stone means nothing": It's a factor but by far not the only one as my none exhaustive list shows. And sure it's in character but most of the evidence points away from Thanos actually having been involved in that particular plan. – TheLethalCarrot Oct 25 at 15:32
  • @KeithMorrison: “Thanos knew the Avengers were a threat to his plans” — I don't think it's clear either way whether he even knew the Avengers existed before the events of The Avengers. As a team, they didn't exist before Loki showed up on Earth already in possession of the Mind Stone. – Paul D. Waite Oct 25 at 21:13
  • @TheLethalCarrot: good find, although I think this implies nothing more than Mr Sze was confused by the Age of Ultron stinger too. – Paul D. Waite Oct 25 at 21:15
  • @PaulD.Waite The thing that gets me is that it isn't just an interview. It is quoted in The Road to Marvel's Avengers: Endgame - The Art of the Marvel Cinematic Universe which, to me, would make it more official. – TheLethalCarrot Oct 28 at 11:37
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He gave Loki the stone, when Ultron was happening, Thanos was watching to see what developed and take it if events helped him. While not exactly planning it, he was watching in case it helped his plan.

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    Can you offer any evidence to back this up? – Valorum Aug 25 at 22:50
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I have a theory:

the base for creating Ultron was taken from Loki's staff, right?

Now think, who gave it to Loki??

What if Thanos 'put' the base for Ultron in the staff, like a Trojan horse, knowing that sooner or later someone will discover it and bring something like Ultron to life? (at the beginning of the film, it seems that HYDRA has discovered this and is making 'bodies' for this AI; which Ultron will claim later as it's main hardware).

After Ultron's rampage and destruction of mankind, Thanos just will have to claim the Mind Stone taking it from Ultron (like what is going to do with The Vision).

so, basically;

  • Thanos gives the staff to Loki with the base of a destructive AI (Ultron) on it (in case of Loki's defeat, knowing that humans will keep it and will investigate it) like a Trojan horse.

  • HYDRA takes it from SHIELD, finds the base of an AI within the scepter and makes a body for it.

  • Stark and the Avengers raid HYDRA's base and take the scepter, Stark discovers this and decides to create the definitive program (due to 'Scarlet Witch's dream') to protect the world, based on the structure of the AI found in the scepter, and gives it a name; ULTRON

It's just a theory, think about it.

  • As I mentioned in a comment discussion with @Dennis_E above, that’s a pretty long con. Consider also the mid-credits scene of Avengers — the Other is talking to Thanos, and says (and I’m paraphrasing here) “Phew, these humans aren’t the walkover we were promised.” That kind of suggests Thanos didn’t know that much about earth before giving the staff to Loki. – Paul D. Waite May 13 '15 at 8:03
  • Plus Ultron didn’t seem to be on a particularly Thanos-centric mission. He just decided to destroy the earth. He never even mentioned obtaining the Tesseract. – Paul D. Waite May 22 '15 at 14:05
  • @PaulD.Waite To be fair, even if Ultron was being influenced or controlled by Thanos, obtaining the Tesseract probably wouldn't be his mission. It had been taken to Asgard several years before. – Nerrolken May 22 '15 at 19:37
  • @Nerrolken: sure, but then what would Thanos have wanted Ultron to do? Just generally destroy stuff? Maybe. It still seems remote. – Paul D. Waite May 25 '15 at 17:52
  • @PaulD.Waite Maybe he just didn't know the teseract was no longer on Earth? – Luaan Jul 3 '15 at 11:15

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