Ebony Maw proved himself to be one of the more perceivably complex villains of the Black Order in Avengers: Infinity War. We were certainly able to get a small glimpse into his character and horrific way of dealing with problematic beings that would dare stand in the way of Thanos during the film. His undying devotion to the Mad Titan is something that he would take with him to the underworld, which is where some of his personality’s inspiration resides, according to the movie’s directors.
Mephisto is basically Marvel’s version of the Devil, who lives in the fiery underworld beyond death. Normally, he’s causing big trouble for characters like Doctor Strange, but in the case of the Infinity Gauntlet comicbooks, he was playing a much more dangerous game. Teaming up with Thanos, Mephisto seemingly bowed before the Mad Titan as a servant of sorts. Although, it was later revealed that the demon was trying to trick Thanos into trusting him so that he could control the Infinity Gauntlet for himself.
With the arrival of the Avengers: Infinity War home release, we get some really amazing commentary from the team behind the film, which includes directing duo, the Russo Bros. In one of the segments, Joe Russo and screenwriter Stephen McFeely went back and forth about Ebony Maw and Mephisto.
“Talk about Maw,” Russo said, ” he is inspired a little bit by Mephistopheles from the original Starlin books.” McFeely confirmed, “Right, we did pull a couple of lines,” to which Joe replied, “There are some directly quoted lines from the book that we put in his mouth.”
The lines they are referring to originally came from Mephisto’s larger expression to Thanos in the comicbook when he said, “My humble personage bows before your grandeur. I am proud to be your first acolyte and bask in the glory of your divine presence. How may I serve you, Great Thanos?”
In the movie, Ebony Maw said, “My humble personage bows before your grandeur,” which was a direct nod to Mephisto’s role in the original source material.
Although Ebony Maw was killed in the first half of the film, it would have been interesting to play with a little more of Mephisto’s mischievous personality and see if Maw would betray Thanos in the end. This certainly would have given the villain a lot more depth, and really carved him out from the rest of the Black Order. What do you think?