We’ve seen the last trailer ahead of the release of “Avengers: Infinity War,” and it drops a few new hints as to what might happen to the mightiest heroes of Earth as they go up against the supervillain Thanos.
Previously, we’ve seen goons serving Thanos (Josh Brolin) doing a number on a few key heroes as they struggle to get Earth’s Infinity Stones, the insanely powerful gems that most of the Marvel Cinematic Universe movies have actually been about, away from the heroes who have them.
The last “Infinity War” trailer, dropped Friday, showed an attack on the Vision (Paul Bettany), who has the Mind Stone stuck in his forehead. It also shows a previously unannounced character going after Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), who we know wears an amulet that houses the Time Stone.
So just who is that guy who looks like he’s using magic needles to torture Dr. Strange?
It’s not 100-percent clear, but the smart money is on Marvel Comics character Ebony Maw, one of Thanos’ powerful lieutenants.
Ebony Maw isn’t a soldier in Thanos’ army, but more of an intelligence officer. He’s a member of the elite Black Order, which includes some of the toughest and most powerful folks serving in the army. In the comics, when Thanos comes to Earth, he sends Ebony Maw specifically to deal with Dr. Strange. Ebony Maw’s powers lie specifically in deception and manipulation, rather than brute force — and he manages to use those powers to make Dr. Strange do his bidding.
The comics include a subplot in which Ebony Maw is dispatched to find Thanos’ hidden son, Thane, on Earth, and Dr. Strange is the tool Ebony Maw uses to do it. Maw can apparently dominate minds through his powers of persuasion, specifically through talking people.
In the comics, that manipulative power extends to the ability to make people forget things, as well, and after he uses Dr. Strange to get what he wants, Ebony Maw makes him forget the encounter altogether.
We haven’t gotten a hint yet Thane might be a part of “Infinity War,” but it does seem like Ebony Maw is taking a special interest in Dr. Strange in the trailer. That might just be to get him to give up the Time Stone through brutal interrogation, but if Maw has the same abilities in the movie that he does in the Marvel comics, he could also be working to bend Strange’s will to his own.
If that really is Ebony Maw, it suggests an aspect of the “Infinity War” plot we haven’t seen yet. There’s been no indication that Thanos’ son might be in the mix, but Maw could potentially use his powers of persuasion for other ends. He’s not much of a fighter, but if he can manipulate the heroes to turn them against each other, Ebony Maw could be a serious problem in the fight to save Earth from Thanos’ destruction.