The Thanos Copter Is a Good Reason Why Nerds Should Shut Up About Source Material

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Jul. 8 2021, Published 1:52 p.m. ET

Everything you've loved or accomplished is at risk of being lost or ultimately reduced to a trite joke. Black Mirror's "Fifteen Million Merits" is a perfect example of that. When Daniel Kaluuya's character gives a bastardized version of his impassioned counter-culture monologue while sipping orange juice from his picturesque new apartment, you can't help but feel a sense of shame and disgust. It's probably what Marvel fans felt when they first saw the Thanos Copter in comics, and why it's becoming a huge meme now.

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Confused by all of the Thanos Copter memes on social media now? Here's a quick rundown.

Marvel hasn't really been known for its awesome villains. The strength of the brand firmly relied on heroes and anti-heroes. Thanos is probably the only one that folks truly remember, and you can throw in Magneto and Venom (who's really a good guy) and maybe Carnage. Meanwhile, the Batman franchise alone has a ton of great bad guys that have been solidified in comic book legend.

But Thanos was such an intriguing character that people who didn't even like comic book flicks ended up liking Infinity War, even though the movie just chronicled the exploits of a Mad Space Hitler who succeeded in killing half of the known universe.

But the movie version of Thanos is a heck of a lot different than the version, or versions, of the Mad Titan in the comics.

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thanos copter meme
Source: Twitter

Sure, there are story lines where the purple tyrant "wins" and enslaves Hulk, making him his attack dog who eats Captain America, but these are comic books we're talking about. There's merchandise to be sold, kid-friendly versions of these cool character designs that need to exist — which is where the Thanos Copter comes from.

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That's right, there's a version of Thanos, who moviegoers are used to seeing riding around in space ships and committing cosmic genocide, traipsing around in what appears to be a one-person Doppler 5000 committing petty crimes. And using a helicopter to do so.

It's such a weird image, and one that the show Loki reintroduced fans to in an Easter Egg during the God of Mischief's visit to the timeline junkyard.

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And tons of folks are cracking up at the 'Loki' Episode 5 inclusion and want to know if it'll be further explained in Episode 6.

Of course this opens up a ton of fan theories and questions. Namely: Why in the heck is there a yellow helicopter with Thanos' name on it? Does it mean that there's an alternate timeline version of Thanos who decided to use his powers for more low-level villainy? Does that mean there's a Thanos timeline where he decided to dedicate all of his powers into getting a Juilliard dance school scholarship?

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Not many people know this, but the Thanos Copter seems to be a joke among creatives in the MCU. Remember his double-bladed sword in Endgame? Yeah, that was modeled after the propellers from the Thanos copter.

The very plain-looking aerial vehicle first appeared in Spidey Super Stories in 1979. Seeing as the Mad Titan is the MCU's most successful and influential villain, does that mean that Thanos will make a return in some way, shape, or form?

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The creator of Thanos, Jim Starlin, told Digital Spy in 2019 that he was never a fan of the yellow copter: "The one thing they did and I will never forgive the Russos and [writers] Markus and McFeely was they brought that weapon he had in, which is inspired from the Thanos helicopter which most everybody had almost forgot all about. Originally, the ThanosCopter was created by Larry Lieber for some kids' books called Spidey Super Stories. Thanos was running around robbing banks with the name Thanos written on the side of his copter which always struck me as a little strange all by itself."

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OK, so what does Starlin's chagrin have to do with his possible return in the MCU? Well, in the creator's own words, as he told Pop Corn Talk in 2019: "You know, they’ve made so much money off him. I can’t believe they're not gonna do it again."

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So while these memes are poking fun at such an oddball inclusion in the popular Disney Plus program, you have to wonder if this is a way for Disney to get some more mileage out of Thanos in future projects. And Josh Brolin seemed to enjoy playing the character a lot, so why not?

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