- “Hear me and rejoice! You have had the privilege of being saved by the Great Titan. You may think this is suffering. No... it is salvation. The universal scales tip toward balance because of your sacrifice. Smile... for even in death, you have become children of Thanos.”
- ―Ebony Maw to the Asgardians[src]
Ebony Maw is the herald & second-in-command of the Black Order who has genius-level intellect, highly advanced psychic and telekinetic powers and specializes in persuasion.
His origins are mostly unknown, he was taken from a planet that Thanos decimated, probably at a young age. He is known to have never failed his adoptive father, to whom he is fanatically loyal.
Ebony Maw is sadistic, persistent, and fanatically loyal to Thanos, considering his goals to be honorable. He is more composed than the rest of Thanos' children, but he is also the most condescending, as he calls Iron Man a "chattering animal".
Powers and abilities
- Quantum Magic:
- Telekinesis: Ebony Maw was able to move and otherwise manipulate objects to his will to an immense degree, employing this power offensively, able to swiftly send Iron Man flying skyward, to knock aside Spider-Man by sending a billboard flying into him without even looking at him, to angle away the trajectory of Cull Obsidian after the latter was sent flying at him. His precision with his power was enough to allow him to cleanly slice apart a car hurled at him; and to sculpt sharpened spikes out of debris, before launching it at the combined might of Doctor Strange and Wong. Maw was also able to use his telekinesis to restrain and muzzle a defeated Thor with panels from the walls of the Statesman. He was also able to manipulate the environment to hinder Doctor Strange's escape, managing to defeat the sorcerer again and knock him out, making use of several structures in the vicinity, such as stop lights.
- Levitation: Ebony Maw could use his telekinesis to levitate, occasionally using this skill as a means of transportation, even able to make himself hover upside-down. He was also able to telekinetically take people with him while levitating himself, as seen when he lifted Doctor Strange into the air against a wall.
- Pilot: Ebony Maw knew how to fly a Q-Ship on his own, attempting to take one to Titan after he captured Doctor Strange.
- “Hear me and rejoice! You now have the privilege of dying at the hands of the Children of Thanos. Be grateful that your meaningless lives....”
- ―Ebony Maw confronting Iron Man and Doctor Strange before the latter interrupts him[src]
Ebony Maw enforces the will of Thanos, along with the other members of the Black Order. He helps him obtain the Tesseract and later battles Iron Man and Doctor Strange alongside Cull Obsidian in New York City, and finally succeeds in taking Strange captive. Later, Maw is seen in a flashback directing the Chitauri to massacre Gamora's people. In current time, Maw tortures Strange for the Time Stone. Unfortunately for Maw, Iron Man and his liege, Spider-Man, rescue Strange and Iron Man blasts apart a wall that results in Maw being sucked into the vacuum of space and killed, upon clever suggestion by Spider-Man. His frozen corpse is subsequently shown roaming outer space endlessly.
The original timeline of Ebony Maw does not appear in this film but the 2014-version of him does. He acts as one of the secondary antagonists and henchmen for the 2014-version of Thanos. He examined Nebula's mind when she time-traveled from 2023. He later fought the Avengers along with the time-traveled Black Order. He was seen among Thanos' army that turned to dust after Iron Man snapped his fingers.
- At one point, he is referred to as Squidward by Tony Stark. This is a reference to one of the characters from Nickelodeon's longest running cartoon, SpongeBob SquarePants. The French dub, however, has Tony call him Voldemort, a reference to the main antagonist from the Harry Potter franchise.
- He is the only member of the Black Order to be referred to by name in the movie, with Thanos saying “I take it the Maw is dead.” Thanos also addresses him by name in Avengers: Endgame.
- It is unclear why Thanos loves Gamora more than Maw, as he is on his adopted father's side, serves him loyally, never disobeys him, always gets the job done, and is exceptionally powerful. Whereas Gamora fills none of these requirements because she's indifferent to Thanos' affection for her.