Although primarily associated with the Fantastic Four, Galactus is one of the most important characters in the whole Marvel Universe, being an essential figure in the upkeep of the whole fictional universe. He is known as the devourer of planets but is – interestingly enough – not always an antagonist as he’s taken on different roles in the history of the Marvel Universe. In today’s article, we are going to talk about Galactus’ (im)mortality.
Despite being killed in some alternative universes and having to feed on planets to survive, Galactus still remains the oldest living entity in the Marvel Universe and is therefore considered to be ageless, if not fully immortal.
Marvel Comics is a comic book publishing company founded in 1939 under the name Timely Comics. Timely Comics changed its name to Marvel Comics in 1961. Along with its chief rival, DC Comics, Marvel Comics is the biggest and most important mainstream comic book publisher in the United States.
Marvel has, along with DC Comics, contributed to the development of American comics, specializing in the superhero genre. Stan Lee, Steve Ditko and Jack Kirby are just some of the pivotal writers who’ve helped shape the style and universes of Marvel Comics. Throughout the years, Marvel has created several pivotal superhero characters and has launched successful franchises such as the Avengers, X-Men and Guardians of the Galaxy, all of which have been adapted into movies, TV shows and video games. Some of the most famous Marvel Comics heroes are Spider-Man, Iron Man, Hulk, Thor, Captain America, Black Widow, Wolverine, Professor X, Storm, Cyclops, Jean Grey; but, the franchise also includes famous supervillains such as Thanos, Apocalypse, Galactus, Loki, Magneto, the Mandarin, Doctor Octopus, the Green Goblin, Venom and others.
Who is Galactus?
Galactus is a fictional character from the Marvel Universe, a cosmic entity known as the devourer of planets. He was created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby, debuting in Fantastic Four #48 (1966). Despite usually being portrayed as an antagonist, Galactus is actually essential in the upkeep of the Marvel Universe and is not primarily a villain like some other characters. He has appeared as a protagonist in several stories, as well as being both a main and a recurring character over the years. He is considered to be one of the best and most popular Marvel villains.
Galactus was actually a humanoid alien explorer known as Galan from the Taa-an species. After passing a star, Galan gained god-like powers and turned into Galactus, a god-like entity that has to devour planets because he feeds on their energy. His origin was further expanded by revealing that he had lived during the previous universe, before the Big Bang that created the current one; Galactus still remains the last living being from the previous universe. Due to his nature, Galactus has been an inspiration for many writers who’ve explored his story and his character further.
Being a god-like entity, Galactus is usually depicted as having a very different sense or morality than regular humans, which often causes him to clash with Earth’s superheroes. He has an immense set of powers and is considered to be one of the most powerful beings in the whole Marvel Universe, especially if full on energy after having devoured several planets.
He is usually accompanied by a herald (the most famous one being the Silver Surfer) to whom he has granted cosmic powers. The herald travels the universe and searches for suitable planets for Galactus to feed on in order to satisfy his endless hunger. Although not impossible, it is exceptionally difficult to stop Galactus from devouring a planet once he’s decided to do so, which is why the best option is to leave the planet and let it get eaten.
It is presumed that Galactus cannot be stopped, even to the degree that he will probably be the last living being once this universe has collapsed, just like the one before it.
Due to his immense popularity, Galactus has appeared in a number of derivative media, including a cameo in the movie Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer (2007). He is one of the villains heavily rumoured to make a debut in the MCU.
Is Galactus immortal?
The great devourer of planets is a god-like cosmic entity with immense powers. He is virtually unstoppable, although he has been defeated and stopped on several occasions, but never permanently. Due to his nature and role in maintaining the Multiverse, he will probably be the last surviving remnant of the current universe, just as he was the last surviving remnant of the pre-Big Bang universe.
His powers include god-like qualities (such as speed, strength and stamina), levitation, psionic abilities (telekinesis, telepathy), the ability to teleport, energy manipulation and molecular manipulation (through which he can change the molecular structure of others). He is also invulnerable when at full energy and is practically immortal, although he can be weakened if not fed regularly. He also has other god-like abilities such as resurrection and creation (seemingly out of nothing), and can sense disturbances around the universe. He can also change his own shape and size. His true form is unknown; as Galan, he was a humanoid alien, but his true form as Galactus is unknown because he appears to each being in a form resembling their own (this is why humans see him as a giant, armoured human). His true form has never been shown.
Galactus is perceived as a cosmic-level threat and the Official Handbook of the Marvel Universe A-Z (2010) lists practically all of his powers at being 7/7 (intelligence, strength, speed, durability and energy projection), except his fighting skills (2/7), but with his set of powers, he has no need for a fist fight.
We’ve said above that Galactus is nigh immortal. Since he survived both the destruction of an old universe and the creation of a new one and is still living, we can fairly assume that Galactus is, indeed, immortal. Although he has been defeated in comic books, this was usually when his energy levels were very low. He has also been killed on several occasions (some being alternative timelines where he was killed by Deadpool and Thanos, for example, but you can’t actually consider these stories as being fully objective), but the only real ways by which he could die are starvation and (possibly!) the end of the universe. As for the latter, there are two possible theories – one states that Galactus will die with the current universe, being replaced by another being who would become the Galactus of the new universe (with the current Galactus possibly becoming a new cosmic entity), while the other states that he might actually survive another destruction (like he did before) and thus remain the only living being from this universe. But, until either of that happens, we can only assume what’ll happen.
So, there you have it. Although he can die in some ways, Galactus is nigh immortal and – due to his amazing powers and abilities – can be considered an ageless entity that is going to outlive everything.
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