Fantastic Four antagonist Galactus may be feared throughout the Marvel Universe as a universal threat to all planets… but he’s also a pretty chill guy if people meet him on the right day. Setting aside the bad reputation Marvel’s heroes spread through their own stories, and it’s worth remembering Galactus isn’t really a villain, but a cosmic force of nature who only consumes planets in order to survive.
Marvel has even established the fact that every alien race sees Galactus differently, according to how they comprehend the Devourer of Worlds. That means if a given people aren’t so scared of the purple giant, they might see him in a new light. With that in mind, here are just a few of the occasions when Galactus was actually a completely relatable character.
Doreen Green (aka Squirrel Girl) has a reputation for being able to defeat any villain, from Doctor Doom to Thanos. But even she gets nervous when she learns Galactus is coming to eat the Earth (again) in The Unbeatable Squirrel Girl #4. Fortunately, Doreen’s peppy attitude makes her perceive Galactus as a laid-back giant who talks to squirrels and explains he needs to devour Earth because “a dude’s gotta eat.” When Doreen deduces Galactus only threatens Earth because he wants its heroes to find him a planetary substitute (making his regular attacks the cosmic version of “ordering in”), she leads Galactus to an uninhabited planet covered with nuts. The two pig out so much they end up in a food coma on the moon. “No regrets,” Galactus assures Doreen.
In this one-page story from What If –? Vol. 2 #3, fans get to see an alternate universe where Galactus, not Peter Parker, was Uncle Ben and Aunt May’s nephew. After showing his “universe-eating trick” on TV, Galactus returns home to learn his Uncle Ben has been shot by a burglar. Enraged, Galactus reduces the burglar to protoplasmic slime and uses the Power Cosmic to transform Uncle Ben into the Silver Surfer ( “I feel like I’ve eaten a whole box of bran!” proclaims Ben) Aunt May then feeds her hungry nephew “Galley” a stack of wheat cakes, proving her cooking can satisfy any appetite.
The Parkers continue having a positive effect on Galactus in Marvel Team-Up #137, where Galactus transforms Aunt May into his new herald, Golden Oldie. Instead of leading him to a populated planet, Golden Oldie takes Galactus to an alien baker who makes him planet-sized snack cakes. Although this was later revealed to be a dream, it’s possible a version of these events happened in an alternate universe somewhere.
In Marvel Adventures Avengers #26, Galactus falls victim to this universe’s version of the allegedly universe-destroying Ultimate Nullifier device. In the story, the Avengers try to stop Galactus from consuming an inhabited planet. Spider-Man finds the Ultimate Nullifier and turns it on – only to discover that it nullifies all power advantages, putting Galactus on equal footing with the Avengers. This forces Galactus to battle the Avengers in more mundane challenges, including chess, poker, and (as suggested by Captain America), baseball. While Galactus proves an intimidating batter and attempts to hit the ball all the way to the Arcturus star, pitcher Hank Pym ruins the game by creating a “Zeno’s Paradoxer” toss that prevents the ball from reaching Galactus. Fortunately, when the teams break for lunch, Galactus discovers he likes eating spicy uninhabited worlds and chooses to spare the aliens’ planet.
Most alien species flee or scream in terror when Galactus approaches. But for the Poppupians of the planet Popup, the coming of Galactus is a blessing. The shape-changing Poppupians had grown bored with living and evolved into a group mind, enabling their most adventurous member, the Impossible Man, to house their entire consciousness in his body. Opting for a more minimalist existence, the Poppupians requested that Galactus eat them, which he eagerly did. Unfortunately, Popup also gave Galactus indigestion.
Galactus may claim he’s unconcerned with lesser beings like humans, but in Fantastic Four #257, he reveals he carries a lot of guilt over his planetary diet. When he decides to stop eating inhabited worlds, he begins starving and has suicidal thoughts – prompting a visit from Marvel’s embodiment of oblivion, Mistress Death. Although Galactus asks Death to kill him, Mistress Death gives him a pep talk, telling Galactus his regular diet is part of the natural universal order. Reassured, Galactus ends his hunger strike and goes on to eat the Skrull Throne-World.
Why does Galactus secretly care so much about humanoid life? Because he was once a human-like alien himself! According to his origin, Galactus was originally a man named Galan who lived on a planet called Ta in the universe that preceded the current one. When Galan learned his universe was dying, he built a ship to help him survive the destruction, and later evolved into Galactus. He regressed back into Galan in Fantastic Four #522 when his cosmic essence was separated from his mortal self. Coming to admire humanity, Galan chose to exile himself to a different dimension so he would not threaten Earth if he became Galactus again.
Galan would become Galactus once more – but in a later storyline from Ultimates Vol. 2, he evolves again into the Lifebringer, a cosmic entity that goes around infusing dead planets with life energies instead of destroying them. Although he would eventually revert to the Devourer of Worlds, this period of Galactus’ existence shows him at his most benevolent.
Still, even Galactus’ Lifebringer phase couldn’t compare with the time when Thanos, in an alternate Infinity Gauntlet story told in What If –? #34, banished Galactus to Earth and transformed him into an identical duplicate of Elvis Presley. Stripped of his memories and powers, Galactus becomes a rock star (although his appetite for fried chicken and peanut butter and banana sandwiches threatens to make him gain as much weight as the original Elvis). When Adam Warlock returns to transform Galactus back into the Devourer of Worlds, Galactus turns him down, preferring to remain the King of Rock and Roll.
With Galactus slated to possibly become one of the major antagonists of MCU’s Phase 4, in ideally a better form than the cosmic cloud he appears as in Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer, it’s highly unlikely audiences will see his easygoing side on the big screen. Still, considering this cosmic entity’s main interests involve chilling and snacking, if you can get past his tendency to obliterate civilizations, Galactus would be a pretty fun guy to hang out with.
Next: Predicting Every Marvel What If…? Scenario