When people first saw the trailer for Avengers: Infinity War, there were two immediate, almost unanimous reactions: one of these heroes was going to die and Thanos’ new look was pretty gross.
The former assessment led to conversations about which superheroes would end up sacrificing themselves for the greater good, but it was the latter opinion that led to the newest Marvel Studios meme. The faces of popular cartoon characters, including Homer Simpson and Hank Hill from King of the Hill, have been ‘shopped on Thanos’ face.
Face swaps have become the most popular version of the meme, but it started with a hunt for Thanos’ “little hats.” Daniel Kibblesmith, a writer for Late Night with Steven Colbert tweeted out a photo of Thanos from the trailer, asking where his little hat was, and people began to respond with their own Photoshopped versions. Comic book writer Chip Zdarsky responded with a version of Thanos wearing a beret, while others used Cappy, Mario’s hat companion in Super Mario Odyssey, and Thanos’ sporting a Donald Trump-inspired toupee.
Here ya go! pic.twitter.com/RkPv9uyMZB— Bryan "Jolly" Daugherty❄️☃️ (@JediKnight97) November 29, 2017
The collection of Thanos Photoshops continues to grow. A Redditor who goes by the handle DarkJedi3000 posted a photo of Thanos’ head Photoshopped onto the body of Pawn Stars’ cast member, Rick Harrison. It was following this post in the popular Marvel subreddit, r/MarvelStudios that people started to get in on the Photoshop action, posting the aforementioned versions of Homer Simpson and Hank Hill on Twitter and Tumblr.
Buzzfeed’s deputy global news director and internet culture virtuoso, Ryan Broderick, tweeted a number of popular versions of the meme, including versions of Thanos reimagined as Shrek and a Minion.
guys I figured out how to make Thanos sexier pic.twitter.com/Ejy8wwOnua— Ryan Broderick (@broderick) November 30, 2017
Welcome to my swamp, Avengers pic.twitter.com/1CkObnBb89— Ryan Broderick (@broderick) November 30, 2017
The meme is a riff on Thanos’ current design, which differs quite a bit from the first time he was introduced to Marvel fans in The Avengers back in 2012. Thanos’ appearance in the Avengers: Infinity War trailer represents the third overall change in his aesthetic that we’ve seen over the past five years. As we said in our breakdown of his different looks over the last half decade:
The most noticeable aspect of his character is his skin. It’s no longer reddish or even purple, but ... pink? His armor isn’t as regal as the costume he’s wearing in Guardians of the Galaxy. He doesn’t look like he’s commanding an entire army, but instead seems like a powerful royal, or maybe a version of Bruce Willis with terrible indigestion.
We’re sure to get a better look at what Thanos looks like in action — hopefully reuniting with the regal armor that made him appear so god-like in Guardians of the Galaxy — with the release of future trailers, but this version of the character doesn’t leave us with much confidence.
Avengers: Infinity War will be released on May 4, 2018.