Taneleer Tivan (The Collector)

CollectorFrom the prologue to the epilogue: the mid-credit scene of Thor: The Dark World sees Volstagg and Sif bring the Aethyr to a creepy and ambiguous “man”, portrayed by Benicio Del Toro. The owner of the cosmic zoo depicted in the scene is Taneleer Tivan, better known as The Collector, who then clarifies (mostly to the audience) that both the Aethyr and the Tesseract are Infinity Gems, a name the comicbook readers were waiting for. Tivan will appear as the main antagonist in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy, always portrayed by Del Toro, and he’ll likely be an ally to Thanos. It remains to be seen how much his portrayal will stick to the comics’ one. Anyway, let’s see together who one of the universe most devious and powerful beings is.

Taneleer Tivan was born more than five billions years ago on Cygnus X-1, a long lost planet which was one of the first worlds that developed life after the Big Bang. It’s unknown what happened on Cygnus, however Tivan was soon left the last one of his kind in the entire universe. He started traveling and visited other planets and stars, meeting other beings that, like him, were the last survivors of an extinct race. They started to refer one to another as “brothers”, founding the group known as the Elders of the Universe. One of them, a particularly ambitious alien called En Dwi Gast (later known as the Grandmaster), following a plot to kill the dangerous Galactus, organized a bet with Death, and purposefully lost it. The result was that all the Elders got forever banned from Death’s realm, thus becoming true immortals, unable to die. Tivan married another one of the Elders, Matani, and retired with her on a remote world, giving themselves to a life of collectorcomics2contemplation and meditation. The two eventually had a child, Carina, who however left her homeplanet to travel the universe by herself, abandoning her parents. While Tivan seemed mostly unaffected by Carina’s departure, Matani grew tired of meditation, and ended up giving herself to total apathy. Tired of living, she made another deal with Death, and gave up her immortality. Shocked, Tivan investigated the causes of his wife’s death, and when he realized it was immortality itself that had killed her, he summoned his brothers Elders. Together, they realized they should have found a passion to give savour to their eternal lives, and each one of them committed himself to something that slowly, with ages and millennia, became an obsession: some focused on bettering himself both physically and mentally, some other seeked absolute knowledge, some other started manipulating events in a cosmic chess game. Tivan became the Collector.

Tivan’s choice wasn’t without purpose: gifted with the ability of prophecy, he had forseen the coming of one or more beings capable and eager to destroy the entire universe, the first one being Thanos of Titan, the mad lover of Death. Tivan didn’t want races and cultures to just disappear without leaving a trace, and took measures to avoid it. He started collecting living beings, artifacts and texts from all over the universe, storing them into a gigantic spaceship he had built. Whenever the ship was full, he chose a remote world and transformed it into a museum, putting his treasures there, and leaving again to collect other creatures and artifacts. He wanted to save what he could from annihilation, so that, when the universe would have been destroyed, he could have repopulated it with his samples, and resurrected the cultures he had collected through their works of art, books and artifacts. Unfortunately,at least three billions of years passed before the first of the Collector’s prophecies started to fulfill itself, and, during the eons, Tivan’s mission had become quite an obsession, to the point he even lost the original reason he started to collect people and things. Tivan travelled the universe abducting and stealing everyone and everything he saw fit to be a part of his collection, and, in the collectorcomics1meanwhile, Thanos arose and was defeated without him even realizing it. The Collector finally reached Earth, a small, insignificant planet, on which he found, however, an incredible amount of material for his collection. He got particularly fascinated by their heroes, quite a large amount compared to the other worlds, and he tried to collect some of them, starting with the Wasp from the Avengers, then ThorIron ManDaredevil and many others. He was repelled every time, but, fighting the heroes, he remembered his mission. He foresaw the second threat coming, Korvac, a Machine Man from an alternate timeline. He used his daughter Carina to spy on him, and collected informations enough to inform the Avengers of the threat he posed, but Korvac found him out, and dispersed him in a cloud of atoms, killing an immortal. The Collector was revived some time later by the Grandmaster, ready to continue his collection, this time starting from Earth: MarinaSpider-Man and Alpha Flight were just the first heroes targeted by his renewed obsession.

Despite often appearing as an elderly, smiling man, Taneleer Tivan is an alien with immense power, one of the most ancient beings in the universe, and also one of the most deranged ones. Like all the other Elders of the Universe, Tivan developed a “hobby” to defeat boredome, but his humanitarian thirst to save cultures and races became a monomania and an obsession, leaving room for nothing else in his mind. As the Collector, Tivan has access to the Power Primordial, a force that allows him to manipulate energy and matter, giving him an almost unlimited power. Thanks to the eons spent meditating, he also mastered the power of prophecy: concentrating, he is able to see future events, even if not always complete with place and year; sometimes, he also sees something happening in different timelines and dimensions, thus this power is not always to be trusted. Fueled with an obsession that allows him to keep his will to live, the Collector will stop in front of nothing to gain a new, rare piece for his collection.

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10 Comments

  1. […] defeated and destroyed, and the Avengers were saved. Before any decision could be made, however, The Collector intervened, and abducted Jocasta to put her into his personal zoo: a unique being, the robotrix was […]

  2. […] we are, again for the few remaining characters from Guardians of the Galaxy. When The Collector explains to Star-Lord and the others what the Infinity Stones are, he projects a hologram. In […]

  3. […] here we are, for another character introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy. When The Collector‘s zoo is destroyed by the Orb‘s power, only some of the specimens survive, and while […]

  4. […] in Knowhere, near the end of the movie, a familiar alien will be seen drinking and chatting with The Collector, and that’s Howard the Duck. Exactly. The character already appeared in a notorious […]

  5. […] The Dark World: Carina, portrayed by Ophelia Lovibond. In The Dark World, she acted as an aide to The Collector, and welcomed Volstagg and Sif to her master’s zoo. She is set to appear in […]

  6. […] also interested in the artifact. He’s also the one who points the Ravagers to the Collector in exchange of his life. In the movie, the Broker deals with stolen objects and […]

  7. […] enhanced termites that ate all his hide. In shock and almost dead, Groot was saved by the Collector, who brought him into a subterranean zoo; years later, the Mole Man accidentally broke the […]

  8. […] of her life and Scarlet Witch save Iron Man, Thor, Captain America and Black Panther from The Collector, but immediately after that the team was involved in a fight with a powerful terrorist […]

  9. […] play a somewhat neutral role like the only other Elder of the Universe we met so far, the Collector. We’re of course speaking of the Grandmaster, portrayed by Jeff Goldblum. In the movie, […]

  10. […] Guardians of the Galaxy, as something that James Gunn confirmed to be his cocoon appeared in the Collector‘s museum. Now that he actually made an appearance, it’s safe to say that his origins […]


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