How and Why Does Galactus Eat Planets in the Marvel Universe? Full Explanation and Details!

Galactus has been and always will be one of the most important villains and beings in the Marvel Universe. He is traditionally a villain for the Fantastic 4 and The Silver Surfer; however, he also makes appearances in The Avengers, The Amazing Spider-Man, Doctor Strange, and much more. In-fact, Galactus is rumored to appear in Thor: Love and Thunder.

Galactus is such a force in the Marvel Universe that when asked who the most powerful being was, Stan Lee answered Galactus. The way artist Jack Kirby drew Galactus, you can tell he imagined someone immensely powerful and overwhelming. After all, the character's hallmark ability is eating planets!

Why Does Galactus Eat Other Planets? Full explanation.

First introduced in Fantastic Four #48 in "The Coming of Galactus", Galactus is introduced in the last panel of the issue, where he proclaims, "My journey is ended! This planet shall sustain me until it has been drained of all elemental life!"

Galactus first appearance in Fantastic 4 #48
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It becomes clear from the start that Galactus must eat planets to survive. But not any planet will do. It must have the necessary life force to provide him with sustenance. When asked by "The Watcher", a mysterious character who observes events in the Marvel Universe, why he eats planets, Galactus responds, "It is not my intention to injure any living being! But…. I must replenish my energy! If petty creatures are wiped out when I drain a planet, it is regrettable… but unavoidable!"

Galactus elaborates further, "This planet contains the energy I need to sustain me! I shall absorb it at will… as I have done for ages, in countless galaxies throughout the cosmos!"

So as originally introduced by Stan Lee, Galactus consumes the "elemental" or "life" energy of a planet in order to live. He does not need to consume or obtain energy from the living inhabitants.

How Does Galactus Eat Other Planets? Full explanation.

Typically in the comics, Galactus doesn't consume the planets with his body alone. He usually arrives by ship. His ship contains special instruments that allow him to consume the full life-force of the planet.

In Fantastic Four #69, The Watcher informs The Fantastic 4 that Galactus has an "elemental converter" which converts the planet into energy that he can consume.

How Galactus eats planets
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Is Galactus a villain?

While many consider Galactus a villain upon his arrival to their planet (or his heralds), he isn't meant as a villain in the Marvel universe. Rather, he is a being simply ensuring survival through the consumption of planets. For him, eating a planet is no different than us consuming a meal. If other creatures may perish, it is not his concern.

For this reason, many other characters have attempted to destroy Galactus in order to prevent him from consuming planets. This, however, turns out to be great trouble. Galactus is actually an integral part of the balance in the Marvel Universe. His consumption of planets is considered to bring equilibrium to all life. Just like a predator consuming prey maintains balance in an ecosystem, Galactus brings harmony to the universe, although it does bring suffering to many.

In-fact one comic explores this exact situation. In The Silver Surfer: Black by Donny Cates and Tradd Moore, the Silver Surfer has the chance to destroy Galactus forever or preserve the Marvel timeline as it is. Because of the importance of Galactus in the cosmic balance of the Universe, he keeps Galactus alive and becomes the one who sends Galactus on his path to consume his first planet.

Silver Surfer Black by Donny Cates and Tradd More
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So is Galactus a villain? No, Galactus isn't actually a villain. Although he does play his part as a villain in many issues of the comic, the character itself is more a cosmic force of the universe. Think of it no different than a black hole in space consuming everything it touches. Galactus does not consume planets out of hate, love, vengeance, grief, anger, or any emotion. He simply consumes to live. How can one consider that the trait of a villain?

Galactus is also expected to appear in upcoming MCU movies over the next few years. It will be interesting to see how they portray the character in film.

What do you think? Is Galactus a villain or simply a neutral being of the cosmos?

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