lady death marvel

A huge motivator for Thanos’ reign of destruction is the Mad Titan’s obsession with Death. Death, that is. In the Marvel comics, the manifestation of death is an on-again, off-again girlfriend of Thanos, and the reason that he seeks out the Infinity Gauntlet — so that he can destroy half the universe and earn her attention and affection once and for all.

But Thanos will have a different backstory in Avengers: Infinity War, according to co-director Joe Russo. And Death will not be a part of that motivation.

A Death Marvel Cinematic Universe appearance will not happen, Joe Russo revealed in an interview with Screen Rant. Rather, Avengers: Infinity War will create an entirely new backstory and set of motivations for the Marvel Big Bad.

“We’re telling the story of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, not the Marvel Comic Universe. Like growing up I’m a huge comic book fan. I still have my entire collection, my closet. For me, I’m not interested as a director or as a comic book fan in a literal interpretation of a book. I know that story. I’ve read it. I’m not going to go to the theater and be surprised by it, We’re interested in surprising you. Borrowing elements and the mojo from it but in completing this giant mosaic of the story that’s being told in these movies, not in those books, which is why Death is not in this film.”

The MCU has always been grounded in reality — the first Thor went out of its way to explain that magic is just fancy science — though the movies have slowly become more cosmic and fantastical as time has gone on. But bringing aboard the personification of Death might have been a step too far.

In the comics, Death takes on the form of a cloaked figure who sometimes looks like a pretty goth girl, and other times like a skeleton with boobs. She never speaks a word, usually observing horrific events and deaths from a distance.

At a young age, Thanos catches a glimpse of Death and becomes infatuated with her, murdering his family, crew, and the denizens of hundreds of planets to attract her attention. At one point, she does set him on her throne alongside him, but never deigns to speak to him — to his frustration. Thanos’ quest for the Infinity Gauntlet, which would give him the power to murder half the universe, is the Mad Titan’s last-ditch effort to win over Death once and for all. They have a complicated relationship.

But it seems like Death won’t exist at all in the MCU. Which may be better for it. Her appearance would complicate an already-crowded Avengers: Infinity War. This way, Joe and Anthony Russo get to craft their own backstory for Thanos and not have to delve too deeply into the Avengers post-credits scene about Thanos “courting” death.

Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters on April 27, 2018.

Correction: A previous version of this post referred to Death as Lady Death, a completely different (and non-Marvel) character. We regret the error.

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