What If Thor Went For Thanos’ Head In Avengers: Infinity War?

By | June 4, 2022

MCU arcs, stories, new heroes, films and Disney+ shows would all be completely different if Thor had gone for the Thanos’ head the first time around.

Thanos’ mocking words to Thor in Avengers: Infinity War scarred the God of Thunder, but what would have happened if Thor actually went for the head during his first attempt to kill the Mad Titan? After everything Thanos put Thor through in the opening scene of Infinity War, the Asgardian rightly had a keen sense of vengeance. He rampantly searched for a new weapon after the loss of his brother, Loki, and many of his people, taking the full force of a star so Eitri could forge Stormbreaker. Thor was undeterred in his mission, coming the closest to maiming Thanos than any other Avenger, but he didn’t quite finish the job, as Thanos muttered the eternal words, ”You should have gone for the head.”

First being teased in the post-credits scene for The Avengers, where it was discovered that Loki was acting on his orders, the powerful Thanos made a formidable first impression. As he etched closer to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, his abominable threat became more and more evident, proving himself to be a very worthy opponent for the Avengers as he planned to collect the powerful Infinity Stones. The stones were scattered throughout the plethora of MCU films introduced in Phases 1-3, and as Thanos grew stronger, it forced MCU heroes to come together on a massive scale that had not been seen before in order to stop his reign of terror.

Related: The Real Reason Doctor Strange Was Extra Hard On Loki – Theory Explained

Though they had the entirety of Wakanda on their side, the Avengers didn’t have the planning or the resources to take Thanos down the first time around in Infinity War. Tony and Steve were not on speaking terms, and there was no real plan of attack. This ultimately led to their failure, as Thanos snapped his fingers and successfully erased 50% of all living things in Infinity War before things were then set to rights in Avengers: Endgame. However, if Thor had a clearer view of things in Infinity War and gone for Thanos’ head immediately, events in the MCU would have played out very differently.

Why Thor Didn’t Go For Thanos’ Head In Infinity War

The opening scene of Infinity War did not hold back, and the emotional conclusion to the Infinity Saga was started with a bang. Thanos begins his hero thrashing in Infinity War by beating the Hulk, killing Heimdall with a spear, before finally strangling Loki to death. Thor, who had by this point lost his mother, father and evil sister, had now lost his brother and best friend. Loki and Thor had truly worked on mending their relationship by the end of Thor: Ragnarok, and a heartbreaking Infinity War detail in the Thor: Love & Thunder trailer further proves their newfound relationship. Thus, freshly feeling the grief of these events, Thor goes into the battle in Wakanda with vengeance firmly on his mind. His desire to see Thanos suffer outweighed his rational thinking, hence why he didn’t go for the head to kill him straight away; he wanted to revel in defeating Thanos.

Thor Killing Thanos In Infinity War Hurts His MCU Arc

Though Thor had made mistakes and grown from them in the past, his having to humble and heal himself after the failed attempt on Thanos’ life was his most crucial arc. Being the God of Thunder, strong in nearly every way, Thor’s hubris was him believing he can take on anything by himself. He craved the feeling of single-handedly beating Thanos as revenge for Idris Elba’s Heimdall and Tom Hiddleston’s Loki. Yet, when this failed, he blamed himself massively and had to bear that guilt alone. This led him down a dark path to alcoholism and depression in Endgame, no longer even feeling worthy and using Stormbreaker as a beer bottle opener. The lessons and growth he experiences in Endgame are a direct result of his Infinity War failure. He better understands teamwork, even smiling when it’s revealed that Steve is worthy of Mjolnir, and becomes more introspective in terms of who he wants to be. This even sets up the premise for Love & Thunder, which would have all been ruined if he had made the mistake of killing Thanos when he immediately had the chance.

What Happens To Thor After Beating Thanos In Infinity War?

Thor’s journey could be entirely different if he had beaten Thanos. Given that he likely would have never had his introspective journey inwards toward the kind of hero he wanted to be, he might have simply carried on in his old ways. This might mean that he could have felt more expected to rule New Asgard, instead of appointing Valkyrie as King. And, knowing from Endgame and the trailer for Love & Thunder that deep down he wants to discover what kind of person he is, his ruling New Asgard could have been a detriment for him, as well as damaging Valkyrie’s new and interesting character exploration.

Related: Thor Trailer Makes Love & Thunder Seem Like Hemsworth’s Last MCU Movie

All Other Original Avengers Get Different Endings (& Futures)

There would be no Endgame if it weren’t for the events of Infinity War, thus all the arcs concluded for the original six Avengers in Endgame would no longer exist. Tony and Nat wouldn’t have to sacrifice themselves, and somewhat tragically, Steve would never go back in time and stay with Peggy. Clint wouldn’t become Ronin, and perhaps Hawkeye would be a different show entirely or maybe not exist, given its purpose was to show him grieving Nat’s death. Finally, maybe Bruce wouldn’t have felt so encouraged to find a way to blend himself together with the Hulk had he not suffered the loss faced in Infinity War. Given that, for the most part, these conclusions have overall been very satisfying for each character, it’s hard to imagine their endings being any different.

What Would Avengers 4 Have Been About? Who Replaces Thanos?

The villainous Kang seems to be the next big bad in the MCU currently, but he perhaps could have come in earlier to replace Thanos if an alternate Avengers 4 was made. Given that Infinity War wouldn’t have concluded any of the original six’s arcs if Thor went for the head, then Avengers 4 would have to wrap them up with an even bigger threat (which Kang definitely is,) as the cast would by that time likely be more than ready to leave their roles behind. As Thanos was teased for years before his big battle, this same strategy for an alternate Avengers 4 would have been a hard thing to pull off, and likely would have felt slightly repetitive and too far gone.

Thor Killing Thanos Makes New MCU Heroes Harder To Introduce

The fact that the final Avengers movie, Endgame, had permanent consequences for some beloved MCU characters means it was a lot easier to introduce new heroes. With huge names like Tony, Nat and Steve gone, the MCU naturally opens up a gap to replace them. If Thor had gone for Thanos’ head, these original Avengers would probably all still be around in some capacity and there would be no push for fresh faces. With them gone, there have been seamless introductions for Shang-Chi, Sam as Captain America, Yelena, and Moon Knight, to name a few. If the original six had all stayed alive, th
e MCU would be even more crowded than it already feels.

Would The MCU Be As Successful If Thor Went For Thanos’ Head?

A huge drawing point for the conclusion of MCU Phase 3 was the two-part finale, which wouldn’t have happened if Thor killed Thanos in Infinity War. Something as colossal as the MCU, which started nearly 10 years ago at the time of Infinity War’s release, was ripe for an epic finish, and what better way to achieve that than with the conclusion being split into two films. This, and the fact that they were released a whole year apart—with Captain Marvel and Ant-Man & The Wasp released in between to build even more excitement—meant that the anticipation for the Infinity Saga conclusion was like no other. Though there’s no doubt that the MCU would still have been a success with a one-part finale for Thanos, as mentioned, it would have changed a lot in terms of the MCU’s Phase 4 line-up, which could have left it open to criticisms about not letting certain aspects die and move on.

Related: Is Iron Man’s Death An MCU Plot Hole? Why Tony Stark Had To Die In Endgame

Such a small comment from the Mad Titan opens up ample room for speculation, and goes to show how many different directions the Infinity Saga could have gone in. Thor really could have finished off Thanos for good if he hadn’t been so driven by hatred, and though he might have felt successful at the moment, his arc wouldn’t have been half as meaningful. Ultimately, the way things played out in Avengers: Infinity War truly was for the best in terms of wider storytelling, as well as kickstarting the MCU Phase 4 in the best way.

Next: What If The Avengers Hadn’t Made The Hulk Take The Stairs In Endgame?

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