Josh Brolin's Thanos is finally defeated in the most recent Avenger movie, marking the end of an era for the Marvel Cinematic Universe. With the Infinity Saga completed, the franchise is heading up into a transition period to create a brand new overarching narrative. A big part of this phase is to introduce the new casts of heroes and villains to replace the previous ones (who are either dead or retired). As fans eagerly wait for phase 4 to see who would ultimately be the next main villain in the MCU - there is still a possibility that the previous one: Thanos, the Mad Titan, would somehow come back to have his revenge.

Thanos is probably the best comic book villain ever adapted.

In this article below, we would list out some of the most likely ways that they could re-introduce Thanos into the MCU.

1 - The Eternals could explore Thanos' Backstory

While the first movie, Infinity War, did an overall decent job to delve into Thanos' past and his reason for living. However, due to time constraints, a lot of things about the villain is still in the dark - the rest of the movie was divided into pieces for the massive cast. We did only see Thanos' past in fragments when he recalled some of his most important moments that related to the movie.

The cast of Eternals and their movie appearances

The first time was to Gamora, when he explained to her about her childhood and the first time they met. The second time was to Doctor Strange, when he justified his motivations for genocide. Afterward, Endgame shifted the focus away from him, therefore there's no more opportunity to find out more about his back story...unless the upcoming Eternals movie change that.

The Eternals Concept Art1
The Celestials would appear in Eternals' backstory - the Purple giant in Guardians of the Galaxy is also a Celestial

The second phase 4 movie after Black Widow would introduce Eternals, the newest MCU hero team. They are a group of super-powered beings that were created by the Celestials, users of the infinity gems. The movie boasts an impressive cast, with Angelina Jolie as Thena, Salma Hayek as Ajak, Kit Harrington as Black Knight... and more. While the main story of the movie would be set after Endgame, Eternals' actual story would span thousands of years prior - it would also serve as some kind of a prequel for the whole MCU.

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The reason Thanos looks so different from his parents is that the guy is actually a Deviant, a mutated evil offshoot of the Eternals

How would Thanos factor into all of this? Well, the MCU's version of Thanos seems to use the original comic book origins, with him being the son of A'lars (revealed by Red Skull when Thanos arrives in Vormir). A'lars is actually an Eternals - there are unused concept arts of Infinity War showing a young Thanos and his Eternals family. If the character somehow involved in the next Eternals movie, we would definitely have more chance to learn about Thanos' upbringing before his madness.

2 - Thanos could appear in the Multiverse of MCU

Loki was killed after delivering the Tesseract to Thanos - but an alternate version of the guy survives because of the Time Heist

Avengers: Endgame introduced the concept of a multiverse into the MCU with the Time Heist. While Spider-Man: Far From Home didn't really take the concept very seriously, it doesn't mean that we would not see more of those alternate realities in the future. In fact, the multiverse would be the main topic of a brand new Doctor Strange Sequel: "In the Multiverse of Madness". While specific details about the plot of that movie are not available yet - from the title alone, we can predict what is going to happen.

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The Loki show would be released on Disney Hotstar in a few months

The Thanos who returned might as well be the one from another universe - maybe even from one where he has won the whole thing. Loki, one of the shows that are going to be released along with Disney Plus, used the version of the character right before Avenger 1's ending - the guy was fresh from working with Thanos. If Loki can come back from the dead being a different version from another timeline, Thanos definitely can.

3 - Could Thanos return from the dead in later Phases?

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Tony Stark used his own infinity gauntlet to destroy Thanos and his army - however, people can definitely come back from a snap

Aside from the above methods, there is actually one another way for the main villain of Infinity War to return to the MCU. After the Time Heist, Thanos' was defeated with Tony Stark's usage of the Infinity Gaunlet - the guy along with his whole army turns to dust. As people who were snapped away from existence can be recreated using another snap - if the infinity gems were assembled again using time travel, nothing is impossible. As we all know - anyone with the Pym Particle and access to the Quantum Tunnel can travel back in time. Amongst the likely villains for Marvel's phase 4 and beyond, there is one called Kang the Conqueror, whose main gist is time travel.

Loki might actually set up for Kang, Marvel's most infamous Time-traveling super villain to make his debut

For now, there is probably no concrete plans for later Thanos appearances in the MCU, however, it doesn't have to stay that way. Overall, it is a waste if the character is not going to return ever again, as Josh Brolin along with years of build-up has nailed his character design. With the MCU's main gist being the movies' interconnectivity, it is definitely possible for the Mad Titan to rise again in any upcoming storylines.

Interested in more of our Marvel Cinematic Universe related posts? Please check out this article to find out more about the alternate ending of Black Widow in Endgame.