Now that the world has seen Infinity War (at least twice over), the fanboys are out in spectacular fashion and the big question lots of people are asking is: “If Thanos could snap and make anything happen, why not create the resources needed to save everyone?”
You know you have a great villain when everyone expects them to do the noblest thing, rather than the foil they were created to be. But if you still feel some kinda way, we got you covered. Here’s why Thanos made his most logical chess move as opposed to the miracle that many feel he should have.
1. The Scientific Theory
If you’ve ever taken a basic science course after the 6th grade, you not doubt learned the law of matter first discovered by Julius Robert Mayer. In its simplest form the law states, “matter cannot be created, nor destroyed.” While it’s also true that there’s a contingency to that law that says “absent of any external forces,” in this case the Infinity Stones (for all intents and purposes) are physical objects of the universe.
Thus the stones are confined to a defined mass (despite any possible shift in form – ie the Aether) and a limited potential energy only held together via the gauntlet (which is visibly damaged after the single snap). Long story short, Thanos himself even says in Infinity War that “we live in a finite universe, with finite resources.” Furthermore, Thanos also recounts his life on planet Titan where he and other elders tried “safer” solutions that ultimately failed. Couple those takeaways from the film with the first law of matter and you arrive at conclusion #1: The MCU Infinity Gauntlet (with all stones) is not able to create all the resources needed to save the universe, without destroying a hell of a lot of matter to provide the raw material to create said new resources. How many planets, stars, satellites would that take? How would that affect the gravitational forces of each solar system? It would most likely have the opposite effect than was attended. For a tyrant who is trying to protect the Universe, destroying the star systems to make more doesn’t make any sense, after all – the planets aren’t the issue…
2. The One Wish Per Gauntlet Theory
Since Thanos’ snap is more or less a wish being granted by the Gauntlet. But what constitutes “a wish?” Since there’s not much in Infinity War Togo on, we could look at how wishes work in other stories in the fantasy genre. For example, in the Dragonball universe, a single wish is bound by the ability of the granting entity (Dragon) and thus may require multiple wishes to save the day. If you remember, during the Freeza saga, it took two wishes to get everyone on planet Namek to safety (eg 1: to revive them all, because they were either dying or dead already, and 2: to teleport them to earth because had they stayed on Namek, they would have died again as the planet was blowing up). Meanwhile, in Disney’s Aladdin, there was a “no wishing for more wishes rule.” Genie even goes as far as to explain how a single wish is confined to a specific request, thus prohibiting “and” being added to tie multiple miracles together in a single wish. There are other examples but essentially what it boils down to is an understood limitation for wishes in fantasy stories. These most likely ring true for the MCU; meaning even if the Gauntlet (with all stones) was capable of creating the resources (plural) Thanos refers to, he’d have to snap more than once for each said resource. And in case your reply is “you only need one wish to expand the universe” remember, more universe isn’t the sole issue, then you’d need more habitable planets for each species, then you’d need a means of convincing all races to split half their population between two distant planets (that may or may not be in the same star system), then for the more primitive races you’d need transportation to get said species to said new planet within said newly expanded universe…and…and…and. And when it’s all said and ready to be done, whose to say anyone would believe and obey Thanos without some act of tyranny. That’s a lot of work for a chance at success and the Gauntlet was fried after just one snap, so just to MAYBE save half the lives would have required in the range of 5-10 snaps (conservatively) and you saw what Thanos had to give his to get one snap off…whew!
3. The Population Control Theory
Overcrowding seems to be the crux of the mad Titan’s motivation. If that’s true (and we know it is) his problem then isn’t with the limitations of the Universe (as suggested in #1 above). Rather our villain has a problem with the populous having no respect for the limits the Universe has prescribed FOR us. WE are the virus that Thanos seeks to cure. We are just children, screwing like rabbits expecting the Infinity Gauntlet and a faceless savior to give us more, when really we should control our urges to overflow our respective toilets (in this case each planet). We see Thanos in flashbacks travel from planet to planet like Beerus the God of Destruction, laying down the law one race at a time – but the problem is ubiquitous. His rate of….education was taking too long. Eventually, he seeks the power of the stones to deliver a swift but merciful verdict as judge, jury and executioner.
At the end of the day, and the day has to end at some point – Thanos is a bad guy. As brilliant as the writing is, tricking us into seeing his logic, truth is we have to face the fact that he never sought to build a intergalactic United Nations to discuss how “fixing” the problem should be done. He never recruited the best scientists to figure out if the stones could defy the laws of science. Nor did he seek to build multiple Gauntlets to get the most out of his collection of celestial gems. He wanted to kill half the universe and he reasons that benefitting the greater good is a great excuse to do so. Say hello to the bad guy.
Special thanks to collaborators Jonathan Barron and Jay Daniel for assistance in the conception of this article