The Elders of the Universe are powerful extraterrestrial
beings who are among the oldest sentient creatures in
all the cosmos. The individuals who comprise the Elders
are members of a number of the first intelligent humanoid
races to evolve in the universe. These races lived on
the first galaxies to form in the wake of the "Big
Bang," the event that began the universe. The Elders'
races achieved an extraordinarily high level of civilization
before they died out. The individuals comprising the Elders
are the last survivors of their respective races, each
Elder having found a means of achieving virtual immortality,
as well as mastering advanced technology that made it
possible for him to leave his home planet. Not only has
each Elder survived the death of his own race, but each
of them has even survived the death of his own galaxy,
and lived on while newer galaxies, such as Earth's own
Milky Way Galaxy, evolved.
Realizing that being the sole survivors of the first
era of this universe's history links them, the Elders
have come to regard each other figuratively as brothers.
However, in actuality, each of the known Elders belongs
to a different race, and none is biologically related
to any of the others (except for the Collector and his
late daughter Carina).
Each of the Elders has spent his eons-long life engaged
in highly individual pursuits and pastimes. Long ago,
the various Elders discovered that if they did not choose
an all-encompassing pastime to pursue, they would over
the eons lose the will to live, and would surrender their
immortality. The Collector's wife Matani lived for billions
of years before succumbing to apathy. Some Elders have
chosen to develop their full physical and mental potentials;
and thus become extremely powerful beings; others have
not, and rely on technology to perform various feats.
It is not known precisely how many Elders there are in
the universe. It is rumored that there is or was once
a council of the greatest Elders.