Ebony Maw was a member of the Black Order and an adoptive son of Thanos. Gifted with powers of telekinesis, Maw was deeply loyal to Thanos and gave warnings of his power across the galaxy while assisting in the search for the Infinity Stones. Having assisted with wiping out half the Asgardians, both Maw and Cull Obsidian were instructed to locate the Time Stone, leading to Maw capturing Doctor Strange and torturing him in order to obtain the Stone. However, Maw was killed when Iron Man ejected Maw from his ship into outer space before rescuing Strange.
In 2023, Nebula traveled back in time to 2014 to obtain the Power Stone, inadvertently causing her younger form, then allied with Thanos, to gain knowledge of the future. This past version of Maw, along with Thanos and the rest of his army, were sent forward in time, where he participated in the Battle of Earth where he was killed by Iron Man after he snapped his fingers to wipe out all of Thanos' forces.
Ebony Maw, like the rest of the Black Order, was a member of a world destroyed by Thanos in his quest to wipe out half the universe. Thanos took the orphaned Maw and raised him as his own child, training him to be a deadly member of the Black Order. Unlike Corvus Glaive, Proxima Midnight, Cull Obsidian, Nebula and Gamora, his adopted siblings, Maw stood out by never failing Thanos during his time in the order. As with his fellow siblings, with the exception of Gamora, Maw was disliked by Nebula.
- "Zen-Whoberians, choose a side or die. One side is a revelation. The other is an honor known only to a few. Now go in peace and meet your Maker."
- ―Ebony Maw
Ebony Maw was present at the invasion of Zen-Whoberi, when Thanos took Gamora into his care. He heralded to the people of Zen-Whoberi as they were rounded up, having one side giving a chance to be spared and the other side to be massacred. Maw eventually commands the Chitauri to execute half of the population.
Obtaining the Tesseract
Along with the rest of the Black Order and Thanos, Maw and the Black Order first attacked Xandar in search of the Power Stone. Thanos eventually stole the Orb from the Nova Corps Headquarters after defeating the Nova Corps. Eventually, the Sanctuary II crossed paths in space with the Asgardian ship Statesman.
The Sanctuary II attacked the Asgardian ship, and Maw, and the rest of the Black Order boarded the ship and slaughtered the Asgardians in search of the Tesseract, which contained the Space Stone. While Thanos demanded that Loki hand over the Tesseract to him in exchange for his brother's life, Hulk appeared behind Thanos and started to attack him. During the fight between them, Maw kept Cull Obsidian from intervening, instructing him to let Thanos have his fun.
After Thanos defeated Hulk, Thor attempted to land a strike against the back of his head, but was kicked away. Noticing this interference from Thor, Maw swiftly used his telekinesis to restrain the Asgardian in his place. Right after Heimdall used dark magic to send the weakened Hulk back to Earth, Thanos stabbed and killed him, causing Thor to yell out before being gagged by Maw, who mockingly shushed him to be quiet.
With all the Asgardians defeated and the Tesseract in hand, Maw then humbly bowed down before Thanos as he presented the Tesseract to his master. Maw mused on how only Thanos has the power and nobility needed to wield the Infinity Stones as the Mad Titan discarded his armor and then took the Tesseract from his hand, proceeding to quickly crush it to unveil the Space Stone before adding it to the Infinity Gauntlet.
Having retrieved two Infinity Stones, Thanos ordered his children to retrieve the Mind and Time Stones on Earth and meet them on Titan after their success. Loki then tried to distract them by telling Thanos that he will be an allegiance to him; however, he was then killed and left his corpse on the ship. Using the power of the newly acquired Space Stone, Thanos made a portal which Maw and the Black Order departed through before using the Power Stone to detonate the ship.
Ebony Maw next went to Earth with Cull Obsidian in search of the Eye of Agamotto, which contained the Time Stone. Upon arriving in New York City, Maw and Obsidian were confronted by Doctor Strange, Wong, Iron Man, and Bruce Banner. As Maw was heralding to the four, he was interrupted by Iron Man, which irritated him. Maw went on to ask Strange if Stark was speaking on his behalf.
After confirming for Maw that Stark was correct, and that he was trespassing on Earth, Maw dismissively sent Cull Obsidian forward to retrieve the Stone for him. After Stark shot Obsidian back at Maw, Maw used his telekinetic powers to effortless flick Obsidian aside into some parked cars. When Stark threw a car at Maw, the alien once again used his powers to cleave the clean in half. As the fight broke out, Iron Man and Banner mainly fought Cull Obsidian while Doctor Strange and Wong confronted Ebony Maw.
Ebony Maw fought with little effort, first using his powers to rip up a chunk of ground under Iron Man as he was explaining his Mark L armor to Bruce Banner, before ripping up a couple of trees along the pavement, throwing them at his opponents. Stark then attacked Maw again, but he calmly sliced a car being thrown at him. As Iron Man headed toward him, Maw tried to stop him by raising concrete and moved his head to the left for Obsidian's Chain Hammer to fling into the Avenger and take him out of the fight.
Maw continued to confidently use his powers against Strange and Wong, lifting up bricks and turning them into razor sharp needles, before flinging them at Strange and Wong, who used their portals to send the spikes back at Maw. Maw easily blocked most the spikes with a car, but one slashed him at the side of his head, making him annoyed and aggressive and making his focus more on taking down the two Sorcerers.
Maw angrily made a water pump burst, which flung Wong back into some parked cars. Maw then levitated and lunged at Strange, pinning him to a wall upside down. Now on his trap, Maw began to muse at Strange, telling him that he must be popular with the children of his world. Maw attempted to grab the Eye of Aggamotto from Strange, but instead got his hand badly burned. As Strange told him the spell simple but quite unbreakable, Maw angrily suggested that he would rather take it off from Strange's dead corpse.
Maw used underground copper wiring to constrict Strange, making the Sorcerer fall unconscious. The battle to his favor, Maw levitated Strange and started to return to the ship, but unknown to him, the Cloak of Levitation had a mind of its own, and pulled Strange's body away from Maw, who expressed his annoyance of the situation. As Maw chased Strange, he used telegraph poles to try and grab the Cloak off of Strange.
Eventually, Spider-Man joined the fray, attempting to stop Ebony Maw from getting to the unmoving Doctor Strange. Maw threw a billboard almost carelessly at Spider-Man, temporarily knocking the webslinger down. Eventually, Maw used a pole to pull the Cloak of Levitation off Strange, and had his Q-Ship pull Strange up, taking Spider-Man and the Cloak with him. Maw himself then boarded the ship, and set a course for Titan.
As the Q-Ship made its way to Titan where it was to rendezvous with Thanos, Ebony Maw kept Doctor Strange restrained at the center of the ship and waited for him to wake from his unconsciousness. Once Strange had woken up from his previous battle, Maw confronted and informed him that in his many years of serving Thanos, he had never failed him.
Maw contained to tell Strange how, if he were to arrive on Titan with Strange still in possession of the Stone, there would be punishment for him from Thanos. Growing closer to Strange while he was floating up above, Maw told him to give up the Time Stone, as he began to torture Strange with one of the microsurgery needles that set up into place and control it with his mind that slowly stabbed Strange's left cheek from the inside.
As Strange kept himself quiet, Maw continued to torture him in a painful process of microsurgery needles, whispering to Strange that the needles were originally for microsurgery. Unbeknownst to Maw, Iron Man and Spider-Man had snuck aboard the Q-Ship. As Maw tortured Strange, he heard Iron Man behind him and guessed if was he was trying to save his friend. As Iron Man told him that he was not his friend and merely professional courtesy, Maw telekinetically picked up pieces of debris of his ship in preparation for a battle against him.
Showing off his abilities, Maw stated in front of Iron Man that he could kill Strange in an instant. Maw then told Iron Man that his powers are inconsequential compared to his: However, Iron Man replied that "the kid has seen more movies", at which point, he blasted a hole in the side of the ship, causing Maw to be flushed out into the vacuum of the space and killed, leaving his frozen body to be lost to the cosmos.
Following his obtainment of the Soul Stone, Thanos arrived on Titan to retrieve the Time Stone, assuming that Ebony Maw was successful in claiming the Time Stone from Doctor Strange. Thanos swiftly deduced that Ebony Maw had been killed upon seeing Strange free and waiting for him. Thanos remarked that the day had extracted a heavy toll, and showed regards for Maw for accomplishing his mission. Strange insisted that Maw had brought Thanos to him, to face the Master of the Mystic Arts. Ultimately, Maw's death wasn't in vain as his adoptive father ultimately managed to recover all the Infinity Stones, embedded them to the Infinity Gauntlet and snapped his fingers, causing half of life in the universe to fade away into nothingness.
Learning of Another Timeline
In an alternate 2014, Nebula overloaded due to sharing the same cerebral network with her future self who had traveled back in time. After Nebula was taken aboard the Sanctuary II on orders from Thanos, she was examined by Ebony Maw. Maw quickly remarked that Nebula's files were entangled, with memories that were not hers.
Maw concluded that there was another Nebula in their timeline, and discovered her time stamp to be from nine years into the future. Maw revealed that Nebula's future self was on Morag. Thanos then asked Maw to access the duplicate's memories, and search them for Infinity Stones. When the memories began to play, Thanos ordered Maw to freeze an image, revealing Nebula and the Avengers planning the Time Heist.
Demanding to see everything in the duplicate's mind, Thanos had Maw continue to play the memories, eventually reaching the day the Avengers confronted a weakened Thanos after he had succeeded in uniting the six Infinity Stones snapping his fingers. As the 2014 Thanos revealed in the fact that he was destined to succeed, Maw remarked that this was his future. However, the memory then showed Thanos' death at the hands of Thor.
Maw insisted to Thanos that his daughter was a traitor, and fashioned a chain around her neck to kill her, as Nebula desperately confessed it wasn't her. Thanos decided to spare her, hoping to find another use for her. As the future Nebula remained trapped in 2014 due to her overload, Thanos captured her and decided to time travel to the future. Maw helped Thanos to reverse-engineer and mass-produce Pym Particles, thus allowing Thanos to bring the Black Order and his enormous armies to the future in order to get all six Infinity Stones.
Upon arriving in the year of 2023, Thanos declared his intentions of using the Avengers' version of the Infinity Gauntlet to destroy the universe and create a new one on his image. Thanos then summoned his forces down from the Sanctuary II, including Maw and the Black Order. However, all of Thanos' victims in the original timeline, now revived, gathered to aid the Avengers in the decisive battle for the fate of the universe.
Engaging the Avengers' forces along with his adoptive brothers, Maw fought against them, until he noticed Hawkeye was on the battlefield with the Nano Gauntlet, complete with all six Infinity Stones. Maw alerted Thanos to look over to Hawkeye before he gave the Nano Gauntlet to Black Panther. Maw intervened and telekinetically restrained Black Panther from the concrete above ground, and nearly took the Gauntlet, only for Spider-Man to take it from his reach.
Ultimately, however, Iron Man opted to sacrifice himself, and after tricking Thanos, he snapped his fingers, thus wiping out Thanos' forces. As was the case with his adoptive siblings except the future Nebula and past Gamora, Maw was one of the last allies of Thanos to fade away into oblivion before Thanos himself, stumbling towards his master and kneeling before him before disintegrating into dust.
- "It's a simple spell, but quite unbreakable."
"Then I'll take it off your corpse!"
- ―Doctor Strange and Ebony Maw
As one of Thanos' most trusted lieutenants and chief thinker within the Black Order, Ebony Maw was calm and calculated during his service to his father, which was often in direct contrast with the bloodthirsty attitudes of the other members of the Black Order. Maw held great respect for Thanos, to the point of speaking quite reverently of the Mad Titan as he announced their arrival on various worlds and prostrating himself deeply before Thanos when addressing him directly. He also restrained Cull Obsidian during Thanos' fight with the Hulk aboard the Statesman, confident in his master's ability to prevail against his enemy. Maw was displeased by any perceived offenses against Thanos, as seen by Maw silencing Thor when the latter's cries interrupted Thanos' speech.
Due to the great amount of rivalry amongst the members of the Black Order for Thanos' favor, most of them despised each other, and Maw was no exception. Due to Nebula's mention that Gamora was so far the only of her adoptive siblings whom she less hated, it is thereby inferred that Maw was well hated by his adoptive sister, and such a feeling was mutual. When the future Nebula came to 2014 during the Time Heist and thus shared her memories with her past self, leading Maw to analyze the Nebula of his time under his father's orders, he immediately proposed to have his adoptive sister killed by strangling her with his telekinesis, showing his deep hatred towards Nebula, but was ultimately unable to do so due to Thanos' intervention.
Maw was well aware of Thanos' goal, and how important it was to him that he succeed. During Nebula's interrogation, Thanos and Maw witness 2018's Thanos die at the hands of Thor, and while past Gamora was shocked to see her father perish, Maw is calm, and merely tells Thanos that it is his destiny to succeed.
Maw was also quite haughty, as was seen by his referring to the lives of those killed during Thanos' quest as "meaningless". When he encountered the Avengers in New York City, Maw spoke contemptuously towards Iron Man and Doctor Strange, openly referring to the former as an "animal". He leisurely deflected their attacks while launching attacks of his own, only becoming serious after Strange and Wong managed to wound him. His frustration when Strange continuously denied him the Time Stone exposed his sadistic side as he slowly tortured the sorcerer, relishing Strange's pain. He held some respect for Strange for being a Stonekeeper, but would have killed him anyway in order to obtain the Stone.
When discovering the existence of Time Travel after Nebula overloaded, Maw remained calm and collected, only speaking when spoken to by Thanos.
During the Battle of Earth, Maw remained loyal to the end, alerting his father to Hawkeye taking the Nano Gauntlet, and after Iron Man's snap, Maw's final act was to kneel before his father, before being reduced to dust alongside Thanos' armies and then Thanos himself. Maw shows no love or desire for anyone, only immense respect and loyalty for his master.
Powers and Abilities
- "Your powers are inconsequential compared to mine."
- ―Ebony Maw to Iron Man
- Telekinesis: Ebony Maw was able to move and otherwise manipulate inanimate objects to his will to an immense degree, employing this power offensively, able to swiftly send Iron Man flying skyward, to knock aside Spider-Man by sending a billboard flying into him without even looking at him, and to angle away the trajectory of Cull Obsidian after the latter was sent flying at him. His precision with his power was enough to allow him to cleanly slice apart a car hurled at him as well as effortlessly sculpt sharpened spikes out of debris before launching it at the combined might of Doctor Strange and Wong. Maw was also able to use his telekinesis to restrain and muzzle a defeated Thor with panels from the walls of the Statesman. He was also able to manipulate the environment to hinder Doctor Strange's escape, managing to defeat the sorcerer again and knock him out by making use of several structures in the vicinity, such as stop lights. During the Battle of Earth, Maw used his powers to attempt to get the Nano Gauntlet from Black Panther. This also caused a tornado of rubble around him to rise as well, and he was able to use more rubble to form a rock fist around Black Panther in order to get the Nano Gauntlet.
- Levitation: Ebony Maw could use his telekinesis to levitate, occasionally using this skill as a means of transportation, even able to make himself hover upside-down. He was also able to telekinetically take people with him while levitating himself, as seen when he lifted Doctor Strange into the air against a wall. Maw also used his levitation during the Battle of Earth.
- Sorcerer: As a gifted sorcerer, Maw used magic to help his master, Thanos, easily reverse-engineer and mass produce Pym Particles, thereby allowing the Mad Titan to bring himself and the Black Order as well as his immense army to the future in order to get the Nano Gauntlet from the Avengers.
- Pilot: Ebony Maw knew how to fly a Q-Ship on his own, attempting to take one to Titan after he captured Doctor Strange.
- Tactician: Although he was not typically deployed in direct combat and whilst not as skilled in tactics as his adopted father, Thanos, Maw was able to quickly deduce his enemies' weaknesses and manipulate the environment to incapacitate them, as was shown when he bound Strange's hands after observing how he used his powers, as well as when fighting Black Panther in the Battle of Earth, Maw trapped him in a fist of rubble to prevent him from powering up his suit with kinetic energy, something Maw deduced in seconds during his fight to get the Gauntlet.
- "Painful aren't they? They were originally designed for microsurgery."
- ―Ebony Maw
- Microsurgery Needles: Ebony Maw used thin microsurgery needles when he tortured Doctor Strange in order to get the Time Stone. The needles were able to penetrate through Strange's skin thanks to Ebony Maw's telekinetic powers.
- Q-Ship: Ebony Maw, along with Cull Obsidian, used this spaceship to arrive on Earth to obtain the Time Stone. He later used it to address Titan, but was killed earlier.
- Sanctuary II: While Thanos attacked other planets to eliminate half the population, Maw was transported on this ship.
- Ebony Maw being sucked out into space is a reference to the Xenomorph Queen's death from Aliens (suggested by Spider-Man, when he is discussing how to dispose of Ebony Maw). Maw drifting towards and past the camera leaving the Q-Ship behind is nearly a shot-for-shot recreation of the Queen drifting away from the USS Sulaco after being ejected.
- Ebony Maw bears the Telekinesis and Levitation powers from Supergiant, who in the comics is also a member of the Black Order.
- Ebony Maw's portrayal in Avengers: Infinity War was inspired by that of Mephisto as Thanos' right-hand in Jim Starlin's The Infinity Gauntlet comic book storyline, which both Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame adapted. His phrase to Thanos: "My humble personage bows before your grandeur." is a reference to the Infinity Gauntlet Vol 1 #1 where this phrase was said by Mephisto.
Behind the Scenes
- Joe Russo calls Ebony Maw "Thanos' herald, a little bit of his hype man, and you know, Thanos is sort of a cult character, and Ebony Maw, the character who Tom plays, is the one who builds up the cult".
- In the French dubbing of Avengers: Infinity War, rather than call him Squidward, Tony Stark refers to Maw as Lord Voldemort.
- The fight between Ebony Maw and Black Panther during the Battle of Earth sequence in Avengers: Endgame was originally longer but it was cut.
- ↑ ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Directors Compare Thanos to Genghis Khan
- ↑ 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 Avengers: Infinity War
- ↑ Guardians of the Galaxy
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 Avengers: Endgame
- ↑ Joe Russo's Q&A about the plot of Avengers: Endgame in China
- ↑ 'Avengers: Endgame' Writers Share Ideas Abandoned Along the Way
- ↑ Russo bros FINALLY explain Hawkeye 'absence' for Avengers: Infinity War
- ↑ ‘Avengers: Endgame’ Final Battle Oral History: How the Biggest Scene in Comic Book Movie History Came Together