Scattered throughout the various Marvel universes are a group of cosmic beings. They’ve held the Infinity Stones and plotted to end all reality. They’ve crossed blades with the Silver Surfer, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and the Mad Titan, Thanos. They are the last of their kinds, sole survivors from the earliest civilizations in the universe. They have only three things in common: a past shrouded in mystery, an endless life, and an intense, all-consuming pursuit of an activity of their choice. Individually, we know them as the Architect, the Champion, the Collector, the Grandmaster, the Runner, the Trader, and many more. Collectively, they are the Elders of the Universe.
Apart from Galactus, the Elders are the oldest beings in the universe, and they all possess cosmic power to some degree. Some Elders are pretty obscure; you won’t find too many comics about the Gardener or Father Time. Others are far more prominent: characters like the Grandmaster, the Collector, and Ego have even appeared in the MCU. With a vast scope of powers and a significant amount of influence in the universe, the Elders make fascinating foes and allies. Here are just a few little-known facts about this awesome group of characters.
15. THEIR STRONG WILLS MADE THEM THE LAST OF THEIR KINDS
Much of the history surrounding the Elders of the Universe remains shrouded in mystery, especially for the founding and senior members of the group. What we do know about them is they are survivors from an earlier period of the universe’s history and that they are almost always the last of their kind. As explained by The Collector, the Elders outlived their respective races with nothing but sheer willpower. “We Elders,” he explained in Steve Englehart’s Silver Surfer vol. 3 issue #3, “have lived so long because we have the will to live! Anyone can have it! You can have it!”
We see just how crucial willpower is to an Elder’s lifespan when the Collector’s wife Matani returns from the dead after two billion years. Despite the enormous effort used to bring her back from the dead, Matani doesn’t last more than a few moments. The life of an Elder is essentially unending, and without a purpose to live for Matani can’t bear the thought of returning to life. Not everyone is cut out for immortality. If the Elders of the Universe are any indication of how the rest of the universe would respond, there is apparently only one individual from a given species who can truly handle it.