In the MCU, what is a 'god'?

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Idle musings about questions that don't matter. But I'll muse anway!

Thor is a god, as is Loki. Zeus is a god.

Are 'gods' merely advanced aliens? In which case what makes one advanced alien a god and not another? Why is Thor a god, and not Thanos?

We're told that not all Asgardians are gods, I believe.

Is it merely because somebody worships them? Or believes in them?

Do you have to be an alien, or merely powerful? Does Captain Marvel qualify, or is she disqualified because she's human?

The latest movie has a sword that can kill gods. But we've seen these 'gods' killed without it. They're tough, but they can be killed. Loki got his neck snapped, for example. Heimdall was stabbed, IIRC. So is the sword really necessary?

Anyway, yeah. What is a god in the MCU?
 

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Cadence

Legend
Supporter
If the MCU is anything like the comics it will never be entirely clear and will change quite a bit from writer to writer. (As opposed to DC comics where one of the characters is the archangel to whom has been entrusted the vengeance of the Lord and Lucifer had his own series iirc).

In the Marvel comics they always seem to come back from the dead, as if fulfilling some need - Thor has died a lot! - but then again what superhero in the comics besides the original Mar-vell hasn't. So maybe all popular super-heroes are gods.

But there is an older Thor issue about him hearing the prayers of his last viking worshipper. And the issues the latest Thor movie is based on have a lot of musing about it (and the first 80% or so of Aaron's run on Thor is great - with both the Gor and the Jane as Thor stories).

Anyway, here's Thor in a convent/church from Avengers 171:

f392178d14c84c3d8d08491a0dd8ddea--avengers--scarlet-witch.jpg
 

Hriston

Dungeon Master of Middle-earth
I’m not too familiar with the MCU, but my impression is it’s any character based on a real-world god. I.e. their identification as gods pre-exists their execution in the comics.
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
I’m not too familiar with the MCU, but my impression is it’s any character based on a real-world god. I.e. their identification as gods pre-exists their execution in the comics.
Thor: Love and Thunder also features alien gods and Bao, the god of dumplings who was made up for the movie.

Odin outright says that the Asgardians are not truely gods, they arent immortal but they have achieved a level of science that is so advnced to be magical and I suspect that the Odinforce is god-tier power (as is the Thorforce).

It would appear though that gods in the MCU arent a single type but rather refers to any being with an ability to transcend the Multiverse and not just pass between dimensions without aid of artifacts.

This would include the Celestials and Abstracts Entities (Eternity, the Watcher, maybe Dormammu) and the classic gods (Asgardians with Odinforce power), the Egyptian Ennead in the Overvoid and the Greek pantheon in Omnipotence city. But not Thanos (who needed the Infinity Gauntlet) or Doctor Strange (who needs a sling ring). It does mean that Kang should be considered a god, since he too found a way to transcend the multiverse via time travel. Uncertain re Scarlet Witch or America Chavez though
 


The latest movie has a sword that can kill gods. But we've seen these 'gods' killed without it. They're tough, but they can be killed. Loki got his neck snapped, for example. Heimdall was stabbed, IIRC. So is the sword really necessary?

Beings with god-level powers can be killed by other beings with god-level powers. That sword is for average mortal-types to get around that and kill a god-level being.
 

aco175

Legend
I suspect that the MCU is like much of the modern world and God is dead, but they do not come out and say it. Technology has the power to make beings have the power once thought of as god-like. It is likely hard to have all these beings from history and jive them in any church doctrine, so they should just leave it out.
 

Morrus

Well, that was fun
Staff member
Beings with god-level powers can be killed by other beings with god-level powers. That sword is for average mortal-types to get around that and kill a god-level being.
That’s definitely a good guess. I dunno how well the movies support that though (or is Thor never in any danger unless fighting Thanos? What about Hulk?)
 

Ryujin

Legend
I'd say that the difference between gods and beings that are simply powerful, in the MCU, is that gods either are or once were worshipped as such. Thanos, for example, is a leader. There's no indication that he's ever worshipped by anyone, except maybe some hero worship by his followers. So, in my estimation, the followers define the gods. Whether gods get any tangible benefit from that worship is up for grabs.
 

MarkB

Legend
Thor Love and Thunder does appear to present them as something unique and different. Aside from the fact that they have their own clubhouse, the Godkiller weapon seems to be very specifically designed for and intent upon killing them, so it must have some working definition - and there does appear to be some aspect of worship.

I'd say that the difference between gods and beings that are simply powerful, in the MCU, is that gods either are or once were worshipped as such. Thanos, for example, is a leader. There's no indication that he's ever worshipped by anyone, except maybe some hero worship by his followers. So, in my estimation, the followers define the gods. Whether gods get any tangible benefit from that worship is up for grabs.
Avengers_Infinity_War_Trailer_2_40.jpg

In Infinity War, the Children of Thanos - especially this guy - did seem to present his crusade as some form of divine judgement. I think it tips over from hero worship into actual worship.
 

Ryujin

Legend
Thor Love and Thunder does appear to present them as something unique and different. Aside from the fact that they have their own clubhouse, the Godkiller weapon seems to be very specifically designed for and intent upon killing them, so it must have some working definition - and there does appear to be some aspect of worship.


Avengers_Infinity_War_Trailer_2_40.jpg

In Infinity War, the Children of Thanos - especially this guy - did seem to present his crusade as some form of divine judgement. I think it tips over from hero worship into actual worship.
Perhaps. While I don't believe that it's stated in the MCU, in comics Thanos is canonically an Eternal.
 



Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Perhaps. While I don't believe that it's stated in the MCU, in comics Thanos is canonically an Eternal.

The Eternals aren’t gods though, even in comic lore. The Celestials are “space gods” but Eternals are their creation and merely mistaken for gods

Maybe the Power Cosmic has something to do with MCU-godliness as opposed to other power sources
 

Ryujin

Legend
The Eternals aren’t gods though, even in comic lore. The Celestials are “space gods” but Eternals are their creation and merely mistaken for gods

Maybe the Power Cosmic has something to do with MCU-godliness as opposed to other power sources
I'm well aware of that. The "mistaken for" is why I mentioned Eternals. It does muddy the waters as to what makes a god a god in the MCU, however, casting doubt on my own theory. Guess I'm playing both sides against the middle ;)
 

Janx

Hero
Marketing. If you're old enough to have been powerful AND alive back when other species were primitive, you got god status.

If you got popular amongst advanced species, not so much.
 

MarkB

Legend
The Eternals aren’t gods though, even in comic lore. The Celestials are “space gods” but Eternals are their creation and merely mistaken for gods
Well, that's kind-of the point, though. Early on in the MCU, the Asgardians were portrayed as powerful aliens who came to Earth and were mistaken for gods and worshipped as such. The MCU Eternals are powerful beings who came to Earth and were mistaken for gods and worshipped as such. What distinguishes one from the other?
 

Tonguez

A suffusion of yellow
Well, that's kind-of the point, though. Early on in the MCU, the Asgardians were portrayed as powerful aliens who came to Earth and were mistaken for gods and worshipped as such. The MCU Eternals are powerful beings who came to Earth and were mistaken for gods and worshipped as such. What distinguishes one from the other?

Thats only relevant from an Earth-centric position

Asgardians are still regarded as gods by beings not from Earth so how earth humans view one or the other is not fundamental to the MCU definition of godliness.

MCU Ego the Living Planet when explaining Celestials makes a distinction between big G “God” and little g “god”, so we can remove big G theism from the discussion and with the Eternals we distinguish between “gods” and “mistaken for gods”

Loki is also an interesting case as he is a Frost Giant by birth but becomes a god by adoption (?)
- thats why Im thinking exposure to the Odinforce is what makes Odins family gods and not an inherent trait
 


Cadence

Legend
Supporter
Three ways to become a god:

1. Be born as one.
2. Ascension.
3. Godoption.

During his run in the comics (that inspired a lot of the movie), Jason Aaron has Thor engaged in the "Challenge of the Gods" against those from another world, who want to show they're better at being gods. It doesn't get to all of the challenges in issue 16 and 17, but does show several of them...

1. Challenge of Natural Disasters
2. Challenge of Cosmic Manipulation
3. Challenge of Inspirational Infanticide
4. Something with raining fire and brimstone
5. Genesis round, where making a race that tries to murder each other gets points apparently
6. Apocalypse round
7. Genocide round
 

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