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"In all my years of conquest, violence, slaughter, it was never personal. But I'll tell you now, what I'm about to do to your stubborn, annoying little planet... I'm gonna enjoy it. Very, very much."
Thanos to Captain America[src]

The Battle of Earth was the ultimate battle for the fate of the planet and the entire universe, fought among the Avengers and their allies united against alternate timeline versions of Thanos, the Black Order, and their full arsenal of Chitauri, Sakaaran, and Outrider armies. To date, it is the largest extraterrestrial battle in Earth's history.

The battle took place in and around the demolished ruins of the Avengers Compound in New York, shortly after it was destroyed by Thanos' flagship, the Sanctuary II. After the Avengers, united under the banner of Captain America, rallied their own defenses in the united Wakandan forces, the Masters of the Mystic Arts, the Ravagers, the Asgardians, and the Guardians of the Galaxy, both sides then collided to a head in a massive assault, fighting for possession of the Infinity Stones. Many casualties from both battlefronts resulted from the battle.

With both sides vying for supremacy, the tide turned in favor of the Avengers when Captain Marvel arrived and used her cosmic powers to destroy the Sanctuary II, which had pinned down the Avengers until that point and gave Thanos the tactical advantage. The battle came to a decisive close when Iron Man sacrificed his life to activate the completed Nano Gauntlet, wiping out Thanos and his armies, effectively avenging the resurrected trillions who previously perished in the Snap, and ending Thanos' war on Earth.

Background

Tony Stark's Nightmare

"We can bust down arms dealers all the livelong day, but that up there? That's the endgame."
Iron Man[src]

Tony Stark's vision

During the War on HYDRA, when the Avengers attacked Baron Strucker's base in Sokovia, Tony Stark was induced to a horrific vision by Wanda Maximoff of the impending Battle of Earth, where the Avengers laid either dead or mortally injured, and a swarm of Leviathans were descending upon the planet under Thanos' command. Keeping this vision to himself, Stark became increasingly fearful for the planet's safety. However, most of his efforts to protect the planet were mere stepping stones to place these grave events closer into motion, including the campaign against Ultron,[3] the Avengers Civil War,[4] and inevitably, the Snap.[5]

Attack on the Avengers Compound

"I'm thankful because now I know what I must do. I will shred this universe, down to its last atom. And then, with the stones you have collected for me, create a new one. Teeming with life that knows not what it has lost, but only what it has been given. A grateful universe."
"Born out of blood."
"They'll never know it. Because you won't be alive to tell them."
Thanos and Captain America[src]

In 2023, five years after the Snap, the Avengers began orchestrating a Time Heist to recollect the Infinity Stones from the past. During the Theft of the Power Stone, Thanos, from an alternate version of 2014, had learned from Nebula that the Avengers would defeat him, and resurrect the victims of the Snap. Now fully convinced that the universe wouldn't be grateful for his actions and wouldn't let go of the past, he set off with a new plan to destroy the current universe with the Infinity Stones and start fresh by creating a new universe which Thanos had deemed to be peaceful. After capturing the original timeline version of Nebula, Thanos sent an alternate version of Nebula from 2014 to infiltrate the Avengers. Once in their time period, the alternate version of Nebula used the Quantum Tunnel to draw the Sanctuary II to their timeline in 2023.

Captain America battles Thanos using Mjølnir

Following the Blip, Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, and Thor rallied themselves and confronted Thanos after he destroyed the Avengers Compound with bombs fired from the Sanctuary II. The Mad Titan arrived and incapacitated Iron Man and overpowered Thor, but Rogers proved worthy to wield Mjølnir and intervened. Rogers was eventually overpowered and his shield was split in half. Meanwhile, the alternate version of Nebula took the Nano Gauntlet, only to be confronted by an alternate version of Gamora and the original timeline version of Nebula, resulting in her being killed by her future self.

The Avengers and their allies have all assembled

Believing his foes defeated, Thanos vowed to take great pleasure in destroying Earth as revenge against the Avengers for interfering in his plans. Thanos then summoned the full might of his army, composed of the Black Order, Chitauri, Chitauri Gorillas, Sakaarans, Outriders, and Leviathans, to the surface. In spite of overwhelming odds, Rogers rose to stand against the invaders when he suddenly received a message over his communications from Falcon. Within seconds, portals created by Doctor Strange and the Masters of the Mystic Arts began to open up behind them, revealing the allies of the Avengers: the Guardians of the Galaxy, the Dora Milaje and the Wakandan tribes, and the Masters of the Mystic Arts from all around the world, as well as the Asgardians and the Ravagers. Heroes who were turned to dust by Thanos also returned: Black Panther, Shuri, Falcon, Doctor Strange, Drax, Mantis, Star-Lord, Spider-Man, Winter Soldier, Groot, Scarlet Witch, and Wasp. Heroes who were not killed by the Snap also appeared to aid the Avengers in battle: Pepper Potts, donning a blue-and-silver armor, Okoye, M'Baku, Valkyrie, Korg, Miek, Wong, Howard the Duck, Kraglin Obfonteri, and 2014 Gamora. The two sides held a short standoff before Captain America gave the call sign and the two sides collided.[1]

Battle

Engaging the Armies

The two armies collide into battle

A violent battle immediately began between the Avengers, their allies and Thanos' army. Both sides collided with each other on the ground and in the air, as Giant-Man punched a Leviathan to the ground. Iron Man and Pepper Potts fought together in the air, as Captain America and Thor traded Mjølnir and Stormbreaker as they fought off Chitauri. Iron Man was ambushed by Cull Obsidian, but he was saved as Spider-Man grabbed the Black Order member with his web and caused him to fall, with Giant-Man crushing him to death underfoot. Spider-Man checked on his injured mentor and attempted to put him to speed on what happened after he was resurrected, but Iron Man quietly interrupts Spider-Man by hugging him, much to his surprise and returns the hug.

Star-Lord introduces himself to an alternate version of Gamora

Star-Lord fought off a pair of Sakaarans who began to overpower him but was saved by Gamora. Star-Lord was shocked to see Gamora alive, not realizing she was not the Gamora he knew. He caressed her face, which prompted Gamora to knee him in the groin. She showed disgust that Star-Lord was the one she ends up forming a relationship with, and Nebula commented that it was either him or "a tree."[1]

Chase for the Gauntlet

Hawkeye holds the Nano Gauntlet in battle

"Cap, what do you want me to do with this damn thing?"
"Get those stones as far away as possible!"
"No! We need to get them back where they came from."
Hawkeye, Captain America and Hulk[src]

Hawkeye runs around carrying the Nano Gauntlet, asking Captain America what he should do with it. Captain America told him to take the stones as far away as possible, but Hulk said the stones must be returned where they came from, but they realized that Thanos' attack destroyed their Quantum Tunnel. Ant-Man reminds the group that they have another tunnel to use, calling the horn of Luis' Van as Valkyrie spots its location in the air, deep in the area Thanos' army had claimed on the battlefield.

Ant-Man and Wasp hotwire the van's engine

As Captain America and Iron Man tell Ant-Man, with Wasp arriving by his side, to get the van started, they will hold off Thanos' army and deliver the stones to them. Iron Man meets up with Doctor Strange and asks if this is the outcome they win. Doctor Strange answers that if he tells him, it won't be. Ant-Man and Wasp arrive at the van but find it broken down, forcing Ant-Man to hotwire it. Thanos and the Black Order realize that Nebula is not answering their transmission, but immediately spot Hawkeye running away with the stones.

Spider-Man protects the Nano Gauntlet

With Thanos' soldiers closing in on Hawkeye, Black Panther drives them away and tells Hawkeye to pass him the gauntlet as he fights through Thanos' soldiers to reach Luis' van. Thanos himself closes in on Black Panther but he is immediately confronted by an enraged Scarlet Witch, determined to avenge her lover's death and everything she lost because of him. As Scarlet Witch holds off Thanos, Black Panther continues to transport the gauntlet. Black Panther was then stopped in his tracks by Ebony Maw, but Spider-Man arrives to take the gauntlet himself, activating his suit's "instant kill mode" to fight off Thanos' soldiers that are advancing towards him.[1]

Destruction of the Sanctuary II

Thanos battles against Scarlet Witch

"F.R.I.D.A.Y., what are they firing at?"
"Something just entered the upper atmosphere!"
Iron Man and F.R.I.D.A.Y.[src]

When Thanos is quickly overpowered by Scarlet Witch, he orders the Black Order to call an airstrike on the battlefield. Corvus Glaive protests, pointing out that their own troops will suffer in the bombardment, but Thanos, on the verge of being overwhelmed, orders the attack regardless. The Black Order comply and call a rain of missiles on the battlefield, and Scarlet Witch is blown aside, ending her face-to-face melee with Thanos. As the missiles fall, the Masters of the Mystic Arts summon Tao Mandalas to protect the Avengers and allies from the attack. Meanwhile, Doctor Strange uses his powers to protect the army from drowning in the seawater that is approaching them after the airstrike caused a dam to break.

Captain Marvel destroys the Sanctuary II

As Spider-Man is being greatly outnumbered by Thanos' soldiers, he is saved by Captain America throwing him Mjølnir to hang on to, he is then grabbed by Pepper Potts in her Iron Man armor, who then throws him onto Aragorn, who is being ridden by Valkyrie. All help him get closer to Luis' Van. The Avengers' army is pinned down by the airstrike, but every weapon suddenly stops firing at them and aims at the sky. Confused, Iron Man is told by F.R.I.D.A.Y. that something suddenly entered the atmosphere. It is then that Captain Marvel arrives from above and single-handedly destroys the Sanctuary II, ending the airstrike while a bewildered Thanos looks on.

Captain Marvel is given help to protect the Nano Gauntlet

Captain Marvel then flies down to Spider-Man, who nervously greets her and gives her the gauntlet, and as the two are approached by a large number of Outriders and Chitauri, they are immediately supported by Pepper Potts, Scarlet Witch, Mantis, Okoye, Shuri, Valkyrie, Wasp, Gamora, and Nebula who all assault Thanos' army and create a path for Captain Marvel. With Luis' Van restored, Captain Marvel takes flight making a beeline towards the Quantum Tunnel. Thanos tries to stop Captain Marvel, but he is quickly pushed back by Potts, Shuri, and Wasp.

Thanos fights Thor and Captain America

While seeing her carrying around the gauntlet, Thanos then throws his sword at the van, destroying it. The explosion sends Captain Marvel reeling back and leaving the gauntlet on the ground, unsecured. Thanos and Iron Man wrestle for the gauntlet, but Iron Man was immediately overpowered. Thor and Captain America try to assist by trying to kill Thanos with Stormbreaker but are swiftly also overpowered by Thanos.[1]

The Culminating Standoff

Captain Marvel fighting against Thanos

"I am... inevitable."
"And I... am... Iron Man."
Thanos and Iron Man[src]

Now noticing the Nano Gauntlet on the ground, Thanos retrieved the gauntlet and tried to put it on, but he entered a heated battle with Captain Marvel who is unaffected by Thanos' hits and completely overpowers him. Cornered, Thanos grabs the Power Stone from the gauntlet and uses its power to blast Captain Marvel off of him. Iron Man glanced at Doctor Strange, who signaled to him that this is the one outcome in which he knew they could win.

Iron Man wields the Infinity Stones

As Thanos puts on the gauntlet once more, a weakened Iron Man once again grappled with Thanos but is brushed aside easily. Thanos smugly put on the gauntlet, boasting that he was inevitable and snapped his fingers. However, when nothing happened, Thanos quickly realized and was shocked that the Infinity Stones had been taken out of the gauntlet and inserted into Stark's armor. Declaring himself to be Iron Man as a final taunt to Thanos, Stark snapped his fingers.[1]

Aftermath

Defeat of Thanos' Forces

Thanos accepts his fate as he disintegrates

The effects of Iron Man's use of the Infinity Stones became instantly apparent as the Leviathan that was about to attack Rocket Raccoon disintegrated. Soon afterwards, Proxima Midnight, Ebony Maw, and the remainder of Thanos' forces disintegrated. As alternate Thanos looked around in disbelief, he then sat down on a pile of the Avengers Compound's ruins, finally accepting his inevitable defeat as he disintegrated. His death meant the ultimate victory for the Avengers and indeed the world.[1]

Death of Tony Stark

Iron Man dies from his inevitable sacrifice

"Hey, Pep."
"Tony. Look at me. We're gonna be okay. You can rest now."
Tony Stark and Pepper Potts[src]

Tony Stark then stumbled and fell by a pile of wreckage. James Rhodes landed by his side and realized in horror that Stark's injuries from the Stones' raw power and gamma radiation were fatal; the right half of Stark's body was charred so badly that Stark could barely speak. Peter Parker also rushed toward Stark, proclaiming victory before tearfully realizing that Stark was dying. Stark's wife Pepper Potts joined Rhodes and Parker, and Stark managed to acknowledge her, placing her hand on his chest as a final gesture of love to his wife, who assured him of their victory. Stark finally succumbed to his injuries immediately thereafter, and his Arc Reactor powered down for the last time, leaving Potts weeping.

The heroes attend Tony Stark's funeral

A week later, Stark was laid to rest at his house, with the remaining Avengers and their allies attending. A wreath holding Stark's Mark I chest piece, inscribed by Potts with the words "Proof That Tony Stark Has A Heart," was laid on the river and floated away. Happy Hogan comforted Morgan Stark during the funeral and asked if she was hungry. Morgan responded to Hogan that she wanted cheeseburgers, with Hogan saying that her father loved cheeseburgers and he would get her all the cheeseburgers she wanted if it made her happy. Pepper then brought in a damaged Iron Man helmet with a message specifically for Morgan.[1]

Thor Joins the Guardians

Thor meets up with the Guardians of the Galaxy

After the funeral, Thor decided that being a leader isn't who he was, so he passed his leadership role to Valkyrie, making her the new leader of New Asgard. Instead, Thor decided to join the Guardians of the Galaxy. Peter Quill continued his search for the alternate 2014 version of Gamora since she disappeared after the battle. Thor asked their next destination, as he touched the map, but as Quill made sure that he was in charge, the team assured a duel should take place. Thor and Quill hesitantly declined the duel, laughing it off as Thor assured Quill that he was in charge and they departed for space.[1]

Steve Rogers' Return to 1940s

Steve Rogers goes back in time

"So did something go wrong, or did something go right?"
"Well, after I put the stones back, I thought, maybe I'll try some of that life Tony was telling me to get."
Sam Wilson and Steve Rogers[src]

Following the funeral, with cleanup already underway at the Avengers Compound, Steve Rogers took it upon himself to return the Infinity Stones and Mjølnir to the timelines from whence they were taken in order to prevent the futures of those timelines from branching out dangerously. Bruce Banner, Bucky Barnes, and Sam Wilson saw Rogers off as he used the Quantum Tunnel to send Rogers back in time. Rogers then proceeded to return the Stones, including the Soul Stone on Vormir, where he encountered Red Skull for the first time since World War II.

Rogers and Peggy Carter kiss

Once his job was completed, Rogers chose to travel to 1949, thus creating an alternate timeline, in order to live out the rest of his life with an alternate Peggy Carter instead of returning to 2023. Reunited with Carter, he gave her the dance he promised her, and the two eventually got married.[1]

Passing Down the Shield

Bucky Barnes and Sam Wilson seeing an elderly Steve Rogers

"How does it feel?"
"Like it's someone else's."
"It isn't."
Steve Rogers and Sam Wilson[src]

As Rogers disappeared through time, Banner prepared to return him on the count of five; however, after five, Rogers did not return, despite Banner's efforts. Fearing the worst, that perhaps he had failed somewhere, Banner and Wilson panicked, whilst Barnes noticed an elderly man nearby, sitting alone on a bench on the shore of the lake. Barnes called Wilson over, who understood what the man meant immediately, walking over to reveal an aged Rogers sitting by a circular bag.

Steve Rogers passes his shield to Sam Wilson

Rogers and Wilson spoke, where Rogers reveals that after completing his mission he instead chose to stay in the past and live the normal life Stark had previously spoken of. Wilson congratulated him but stated that his only regret was living in a world without Captain America. In response, Rogers opened the bag next to him, which contained his shield. Rogers asked Wilson to try it on, bequeathing it to him. Whilst shocked, Wilson accepted the honor and assured Rogers that he would do his best. As they shook hands, Wilson noticed a wedding ring on Rogers' ring finger and asked him if he was going to tell him about his wife, to which Rogers simply told Wilson that he didn't think he would.[1]

World's Reaction

One of New York City's tribute to Iron Man

"The Battle of Earth. Now we all know the story. The Avengers were trying to save the world, but if we're being honest here, they were losing, badly. Alien ships invading, Thanos being a jerk about magical Stones. Our heroes were done for. Until... Captain Marvel blasted in!"
Kamala Khan[src]

Following the Blip, public reception of the Avengers became increasingly positive, and the team was held in high regard for defeating Thanos and resurrecting the victims of the Snap. As a result of Scott Lang giving podcast interviews and a book titled I Was There... written by a S.H.I.E.L.D. agent who was present at the battle, the details of the battle became public knowledge. As a result, the citizens of Earth learned about the existence of the Guardians of the Galaxy and Captain Marvel, including the fact that the Guardians were led by Peter Quill, that Captain Marvel was Carol Danvers[6], and that she had obtained her powers from an Infinity Stone.[7]

However, not all of the details of the battle were made public knowledge. Due to the events of the Time Heist not being shared, the general public believed that the Thanos who was defeated during the Battle of Earth was the same one who caused the Snap in 2018 and that Natasha Romanoff had died during the battle.[8][9]

In 2024, the students of Midtown School of Science and Technology made a memorial video featuring Natasha Romanoff, Steve Rogers, Vision, and Tony Stark. Stark's sacrifice earned him several international memorials across Europe and the United States of America, as well as a documentary called Heart of Iron: The Tony Stark Story.[2] The first annual New Jersey AvengerCon also had memorial artwork for Romanoff and Stark thanking them for their sacrifice.[6]

Appearances

Appearances for the Battle of Earth

In chronological order:

Outside of time:

Behind the Scenes

References

Wars and Conflicts in Asgardian History
First Dark Elf Conflict (2988 B.C.) • Subjugation of the Nine Realms (1st Millennium) • Asgard-Jotunheim War (965 A.D.-2010) • Battle of HarokinWar of the Nine Realms (20112013) • Chitauri Invasion (2012) • Second Dark Elf Conflict (2013) • Ragnarök (2017) • Infinity War (2018) • Battle of Earth (2023)
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