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 his fellow siblings except Gamora, however, Maw was well 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, Ebony 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. They then proceeded to wipe out half of the planet's population in accordance to Thanos's plan. Ebony Maw boarded the Asgardian ship in search of the Tesseract, which contained the Space Stone.
During the fight between Hulk and Thanos, Ebony Maw kept Cull Obsidian from intervening, instructing him to let their father have his fun. Thor eventually attempted to attack Thanos, which prompted Maw to use his telekinesis to restrain the Asgardian in his place. Right after Heimdall used dark magic to send the weakened Hulk to Earth, Thanos stabbed and killed him, causing Thor to yell out before being gagged by Maw.
Maw then humbly bowed down before Thanos as he presented the Tesseract to his master. He mused on how only Thanos has the power and nobility needed to wield the Infinity Stones as the Titan discarded his armor and then took the Tesseract from Maw's hand and proceeded to quickly crush it to unveil and add the Space Stone into the Infinity Gauntlet. Having retrieved two stones, Thanos ordered his children to retrieve the Mind and Time Stones on Earth and meet them on Titan after their success.
- "It's a simple spell, but quite unbreakable."
"Then I'll take it off your corpse!"
- ―Doctor Strange and Ebony Maw
Ebony Maw next went to Earth with Cull Obsidian in search of the Eye of Agamotto, which contained the Time Stone. Upon arriving on Earth, 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. A fight quickly began, with Iron Man and Banner mainly fighting Cull Obsidian while Doctor Strange and Wong mainly fought Ebony Maw.
Ebony Maw fought with little effort until Strange and Wong managed to injure him, at which point he grew annoyed and aggressive; Ebony Maw ended up knocking Strange unconscious. Eventually, Spider-Man joined the fray, attempting to stop Ebony Maw from getting to the unmoving Doctor Strange. Ultimately, Ebony Maw was able to take Doctor Strange and board the ship which Cull Obsidian and Maw used to invade Earth.
As the ship made its way to Titan where it was to rendezvous with Thanos, Ebony Maw began to torture Doctor Strange in an attempt to force him to give up the Time Stone. Maw explained to Strange how, if he were to arrive on Titan with Strange still in possession of the Stone, there would be punishment for Maw from Thanos.
As Strange kept himself quiet, Maw continued to torture him in a painful process of microsurgery needles. Unbeknownst to Maw, Iron Man and Spider-Man had snuck aboard the Q-Ship as it ascended into space. As Maw tortured Strange, he heard Iron Man behind him. Maw turned around and told Iron Man that he has come to save his friend in a mocking remark. 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 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 from Doctor Strange. Thanos swiftly deduced that Ebony Maw died upon seeing Strange free and waiting for him but showed regards for Maw for accomplishing his mission. 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.
- "There's another consciousness sharing her network. Another Nebula. This duplicate has a time stamp, from nine years in the future."
- ―Ebony Maw to Thanos
Maw insisted to Thanos that his daughter was a traitor, and fashioned a chain around her neck, but Thanos decided to spare her, hoping to find other use for her. As the future Nebula remained in 2014 due to her overload, Thanos captured her and decided to time travel to the future. Using magic, Maw helped Thanos to easily reverse engineer and mass produced Pym Particles, thus allowing Thanos' to bring the Black Order and his enormous armies to the future in order to get the Infinity Gauntlet.
Upon arriving in the year of 2023, Thanos declared his intentions of using the Infinity Gauntlet to destroy the universe and create a new one on his image. He 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, Ebony Maw fought against them, and also alerted Thanos to the Avengers trying to take the Gauntlet back through time.
Maw intervened and restrained Black Panther telekinetically, and nearly took the Infinity Gauntlet, only for Spider-Man to take it far 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 towards his master and kneeling before him before disintegrating into dust.
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 is shocked to see her father perish, Maw is calm, and merely tells Thanos that it is history 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.
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 Infinity 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.
- Master 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.
- Intelligence: Maw's keen intellect made him a valued lieutenant and advisor to Thanos during the Mad Titan's intergalactic campaign of violence. He was skilled in extracting information from captives and was knowledgeable enough in magic and science to reverse-engineer large-scale quantities of Pym Particles from a single sample.
- Master 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.
- 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 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".
- 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.
- In the French dubbing of Avengers: Infinity War, rather than call him Squidward, Tony Stark refers to Maw as Lord Voldemort.
- ↑ ‘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
- ↑ Russo bros FINALLY explain Hawkeye 'absence' for Avengers: Infinity War
- ↑ 'Avengers: Endgame' Writers Share Ideas Abandoned Along the Way