Whispers are fine, heralds are nice for setting the mood and magic spears have their uses, but when it comes to razing an entire planet, sometimes you just need someone who is damn good at pummeling. Cull Obsidian looks to fill that role for Thanos in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War. The hulking brute will be the Mad Titan’s powerhouse when his Outriders descent upon our unsuspecting world, crushing everything in their wake as they search endlessly for the Infinity Stones. So, what do we know about Cull Obsidian in the film, and how does that map to what we know about the character from the comics?
In terms of the movie, we know very little about Cull Obsidian. Terry Notary, who has done motion-capture acting on films like Rampage and Kong: Skull Island, will play the big guy. Aside from that, Cull Obsidian has only been glimpsed in promotional material and no one is quite sure just how present he will be in Infinity War. In many ways, Cull Obsidian is a mystery when it comes to Infinity War. When in doubt, there is no better place to turn to than the comics.
Marvel Comics fans might know Cull Obsidian by another name: Black Dwarf. Cull Obsidian is actually the original name for Thanos’ Black Order. According to Corvus Glaive, the group's name means Midnight Slaughter, but they changed it to the Black Order so that they would not sound so foreboding. Corvus did not go on to explain why they cared about such a thing when their primary objective is skipping across the galaxy, razing worlds and demanding the heads of children (an inherently foreboding thing). Either way, they call themselves the Black Order now. It might be confusing, but it will probably make sense to anyone who was in a high school band that changed its name weekly out of indecision.
First introduced in New Avengers Vol. 2 #8, Black Dwarf was created by Jonathan Hickman and Jerome Opeña for the Infinity arc. Black Dwarf’s role in Infinity is to seek out the one remaining Infinity Gem (the comic book version of the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Infinity Stones) on Earth, which is a glorified side quest in the grand scheme of things -- most everyone else is looking for Thanos’ bastard son, Thane, who the Mad Titan is dead set on killing. Black Dwarf does not get the memo though. Instead, he is sent to Wakanda to seek the gem or someone who can tell him where it is. Wakanda is on high alert after a sneak attack on Atlantis, though, so while they were not waiting for an attack from Thanos they are nonetheless prepared. Black Dwarf is wounded in the fight and slinks back to his master.
Returning to Thanos empty-handed can be dangerous for one’s health, though. Black Dwarf is summarily pummeled for his failure and his razing duties are rescinded. He spends the rest of his time aboard The Peak, the occupied orbiting planetary defense space station usually helmed by S.W.O.R.D. His one job is to defend the space station from being retaken, but a group of heroes returning from fighting the Builders in outer space stage a daring surprise attack and engage Black Dwarf’s forces directly. Thanos’ prime bruiser ends up being felled by none other than Ronan the Accuser in one gory blow from his Universal Weapon. Black Dwarf is one of only two Black Order members who die in the attack on Earth, the other being Supergiant.
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, Marvel Studios’ Avengers: Infinity War stars Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Jeremy Renner, Scarlett Johansson, Paul Bettany, Anthony Mackie, Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Olsen, Tom Holland, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chadwick Boseman, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Bradley Cooper, Vin Diesel, Tom Hiddleston and Josh Brolin, among others. The film opens April 27 worldwide.