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The Avenger Who Could Have Singlehandedly Defeated Thanos

Thanos may have ultimately gotten his just desserts from the whole crew in Avengers: Endgame, but he could have tasted defeat at the hands of just one of Earth's Mightiest Heroes. 

Chatting with ComicBook.com, Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige revealed that he believes an Avenger could have singlehandedly defeated Thanos (Josh Brolin) had he not called in an airstrike from his alien army. 

The hero who would have whooped Thanos' purple butt in a one-on-one battle? None other than Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), whom Feige said is "probably near the upper echelons of power" when it comes to ranking the heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe

"I contend she would have taken down Thanos if he hadn't called the [army]," he said. 

Feige isn't the only one who feels Scarlet Witch would have killed Thanos if he hadn't ordered his army to "rain fire" on the battlefield, which ultimately caused them significant harm. Avengers: Endgame co-screenwriter Stephen McFeely and co-director Joe Russo are of the opinion that Scarlet Witch was Thanos' greatest adversary in the final fight, and even shared that the Mad Titan had to "cheat" and put his troops in the line of fire just to beat her (via ComicBook.com). 

"She's really the biggest threat to Thanos on this field," said McFeely on the audio commentary track of Endgame included on the film's digital release. 

Added Russo, "She is a very powerful character, and he has to in a way, cheat, and sacrifice his own armies, just to escape her ... Wanda's powers have a lot to do with her internal life. And there's a growth to the powers based on the growth of her internal life and her ability to harness them, and the emotion and pain caused by Vision's death has caused an acceleration of that growth."

As we know, Scarlet Witch (a.k.a. Wanda Maximoff) came into close contact with Thanos at the tail end of Avengers: Infinity War, when the intergalactic tyrant was about to extract from the forehead of her lover, Vision (Paul Bettany), the Mind Stone to power his Infinity Gauntlet and wipe out half of the universe's population. Initially, Scarlet Witch made the difficult choice to pull the Mind Stone out of Vision herself, at his request, and destroy it before Thanos could get his hands on it. She was successful, but Thanos used the Time Stone to undo Scarlet Witch's actions and snatch the Stone for himself. With Vision dead and Thanos' Gauntlet ready for snapping, the Mad Titan carried out his dastardly plan and turned Scarlet Witch (and billions of other people) into space dust. 

Fast forward to the final battle of Avengers: Endgame, when the formerly dusted heroes came back to life after Professor Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) snapped the Avengers' Infinity Gauntlet powered by Infinity Stones they collected from various points in the past. Scarlet Witch was once again on the side of the living, and her rage over Thanos killing Vision was fresh in her mind. She faced off against Thanos, telling him that he took everything away from her, and used her mystical powers to throw him off balance. As soon as Scarlet Witch's powers proved too much for Thanos to take, he looked to Corvus Glaive (Michael James Shaw), a member of his Black Order, and ordered an airstrike. Though Corvus asked Thanos to think about the troops and how the airstrike would undoubtedly wound and kill many of them, the Mad Titan said to "just do it." That call pushed Scarlet Witch back and the subsequent chaos required action from the entire Avengers squad.

So, there you have it: if Thanos didn't have a fleet of intergalactic ships and a band of underlings on hand to help him with the battle, and if he didn't ask for them to "rain fire" when he was close to defeat, he could have lost it all to Scarlet Witch. 

That Scarlet Witch could have taken down Thanos on her own is intriguing — and not just because she doesn't seem like the obvious answer to the question of who could defeat the Mad Titan without assistance. With Phase 3 having ended with Spider-Man: Far From Home, the MCU is entering Phase 4 that begins on May 1, 2020 with the release of Black Widow. A handful of heroes won't be a part of the new phase, including Robert Downey Jr.'s Iron Man and Chris Evans' Captain America, but one who will be a prominent part of Phase 4 is Scarlet Witch herself. She'll appear alongside Vision on the upcoming Disney+ series WandaVision, and will be a starring character in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. Both projects will give fans a chance to see Scarlet Witch at the top of her game, channeling the fire and fury seen in Avengers: Endgame. Good thing Thanos won't be around in either.