Josh Brolin Talks Future Thanos Appearances and ‘Death’ Relationship

Published 8 months ago by

Thanos Throne Guardians of the Galaxy Bright Josh Brolin Talks Future Thanos Appearances and Death Relationship

We saw him in The Avengers and we heard him speak in Guardians of the Galaxy – Thanos is the “emperor” of the villains of the Marvel Cinematic Universe to date, and he’s played by Josh Brolin. Despite two appearances in Marvel Studios productions over a three-year period we still know very little about the Mad Titan from Marvel Comics.

Other characters fear him, describe him as powerful, but that’s not something we’ve seen on screen yet. We’ve only seen Thanos on his throne, demanding that others do his work for him… and continually fail. What we do know is that Thanos is after the six Infinity Stones and that there are at least three (maybe four) that he doesn’t have.

We also know from his first appearance in the post-credits button of The Avengers that he smiles at the sound of the word “death” and that’s not because he’s fearless of it or enjoys a high-stakes challenge. It’s because Death is a personified being in the Marvel Comics, a character Thanos is obsessed with and aims to please. It’s part of that unique, and universe-altering relationship that had Brolin was attracted to the character.

“His relationship with Death, who is actually the woman, I love that. You can take Sin City [in which Brolin plays a man obsessed with a dark-hearted woman] and pump it full of steroids, and then you have Thanos. I like that he’s motivated by that — not just motivated by destruction or death or this or that. He’s motivated by a very identifiable, human trait.”

We knew Brolin was playing the character in Guardians of the Galaxy months ago but it wasn’t until San Diego Comic-Con in July where Marvel Studios made it official by bringing the star on stage. Brolin trotted out, toy Infinity Gauntlet (the glove that will eventually house all six Infinity Stones) in hand, and played a little skit with Robert Downey Jr. which saw him take… and then eat a pink rose. Thanos has no mercy.

Comic Con 2014 Josh Brolin Marvel Panel Eats Rose Infinity Gauntlet 850x1024 Josh Brolin Talks Future Thanos Appearances and Death Relationship

Brolin, who’s no stranger to comic book films having starred in the failed Jonah Hex and turned down certain other roles, is weary about studios and directors in this genre but loves how Marvel and their filmmakers have a clear idea and vision for what they’re trying to do. As a longtime friend of Marvel co-president Louis D’Esposito (a producer and director of a few Marvel One-Shots), it was easy for Brolin to get excited about what D’Esposito and eventually producer Jeremy Latcham and Marvel boss Kevin Feige, had to say about their plans for Thanos in the MCU.

“But there’s something about them that’s so insular and so geeky and so real. I loved it — because I’ve turned down a lot of those types of movies. Not Marvel, but I’ve turned down a lot of those types of movies. When they started telling me the story about them getting together in Palm Springs, nine of them flipping burgers and talking about what Thanos was going to do and going, ‘What do you think?’ like, ‘Captain America’s going to show up here!’ Then, ‘Oh my God, what if the Hulk came in at that point?’ and all that — I love that shit. I love it, because those guys are absolutely saturated with that world, and they love story. Another thing that I really loved is, they said that they didn’t use directors that did music videos and all that in the past. They would always look for people who had done stories. If you look at James Gunn’s oeuvre, he’s done even web series, but they’re all stories.”

The first time everything clicked for Brolin, as he describes, was when he took the stage as the surprise guest during Marvel’s Hall H panel at Comic-Con a few weeks ago. Him, Robert Downey Jr. and Feige had an idea in mind for what they could do and it became improv. He understood what this was really all about now and is embracing the character, and this back-and-forth with franchise poster boy Robert Downey Jr.

Comic Con 2014 Josh Brolin Marvel Press Line Infinity Gauntlet 761x1024 Josh Brolin Talks Future Thanos Appearances and Death Relationship

Josh Brolin with Hasbro Infinity Gauntlet

Brolin also spoke with IGN about his future with Marvel since nearly all actors are required to sign multi-picture deals. He wasn’t specific, but did say that he knows what his next appearance will be and has a rough idea of one or two after that. Expect a return in another space-based adventure (Guardians of the Galaxy 2 already has a release date) and his introduction to Earth in The Avengers 3. If you’ve read the books, Thanos isn’t a character that goes away so he could be around for the long haul, even if the heroes we’ve met so far are able to defeat him.


More: 12 Characters We Want To See In Guardians of the Galaxy Sequels


Guardians of the Galaxy is directed by James Gunn and stars Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel as Groot, Bradley Cooper as Rocket, Lee Pace, Michael Rooker, Karen Gillan, Djimon Hounsou, with John C. Reilly, Glenn Close as Nova Prime Rael and Benicio Del Toro as The Collector.

The Avengers: Age of Ultron on May 1, 2015, Ant-Man on July 17, 2015, Captain America 3 on May 6 2016, and unannounced films for July 8 2016 and May 5 2017, Guardians of the Galaxy 2 on July 28 2017, November 3 2017, May 4 2018, July 6 2018, November 2 2018 and May 3 2019.

Follow Rob on Twitter @rob_keyes for your Marvel movie and TV news!

Source: IGN

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  1. “Another thing that I really loved is, they said that they didn’t use directors that did music videos and all that in the past” Cheap shot at Zach Snyder??

    • Ratner came to mind. I didn’t know Snyder did MV too.

      • Didn’t Marc Webb do music video’s too before 500 Days of Summer?

      • Mark Webb too

        • Edgar Wright also had his start in the music video business.

          He most famously directed the music videos for The Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster (who have had their songs featured in the Cornetto Trilogy, in particular, “Mister Mental” when Shaun drove to pick up his mother in Shaun Of The Dead).

    • Didn’t Michael Bay direct Meatloaf’s “I would do anything for love”?

      • I think so. He definitely started out in marketing for Victoria’s Secret and people in advertising usually move into music videos and then movies (12 Years A Slave director Steve McQueen started out with music videos too and Idris Elba has directed a few bands over the years).

  2. I look foward to seeing more of this character also. Mr keyes pointed out
    Something another writer pointed out which has been a sticking point
    For me is thanos failure to collect any gems.

  3. Josh should have held out to play Darkseid!

    • Why? Anyone could play Darkseid, he’s a pretty one dimensional villain, Thanos is far more layered/interesting (well in the comics anyway)

      • what you mean thanos copy of darkseid? anyone could mo cap thanos OR darkseid

        • Agreed.

        • Thanos was only copied in design the character itself is about as different from Darkseid as you can get. Darkseid is just a villain with no nuance what so ever, Thanos has real depth to him

          • Darkseid is one of DC’s “New Gods” and when Jim Starlin created Thanos, one of Marvel’s editors said “If you’re going to rip off one of the New Gods, just copy Darkseid”.

            And thus, Thanos was turned into an almost God-like being of immense power.

            He’s been fleshed out since (mainly beginning in the early 90s) but he’s still pretty much moulded in every sense from Darkseid, not just physically.

            • No the look of the character was inspired by Darkseid not the character itself, Starlin was more inspired by Metron for the character itself and his stint in the army had left him with a nihilistic outlook which bled through to Thanos, it was marvel who asked that he look more like Darkseid, but that was after Starlin had already created him

              In what way besides physically is the Godlike ruler of a planet who’s only goal is death and enslavement the same a powerful being obsessed with courting the physical embodiment of death?

              Would it be believable for Darkseid as a character to team up with Superman and save the universe multiple times? No it wouldn’t, because reason and rational isn’t in Darkseids wheelhouse

              • As far as i agree with you, i want to play the devils advocate and say that as much as Darkseid is purely evil, he did team up with Superman in the DCAU. Thats not the original Darkseid but nonetheless. Thanos would not unite with heroes to save the universe, as he wants it all dead. So there is that.

                Otheriwse there is just a bit more nuance to Thanos than to Darkseid.

                • “Thanos would not unite with heroes to save the universe, as he wants it all dead”

                  Yes he would and has on multiple occasions.

                  He has saved the universe from both of Warlocks alter ego’s, from a group of celestials who enslaved the universe, was a member of the infinity watch (with warlock and drax) and had his own series (which lead into the annihilation event) where he saved the galaxy a few times with the aid of Adam Warlock (his main nemeses).

                  In one of the stories (the one with the celestials) to save the day he becomes an all powerful god and destroys everything and then recreates it as it was before the event, with the only exception being that he wiped himself from all existence (only to be brought back by Warlock to atone for his sins)

            • I’ve read both Marvel and DC comics, and I found Thanos had more depth and personality than Darkseid.

      • Fanboy lol

        • Has nothing to do with being a fan boy, I like both DC and Marvel comics, and anyone that reads both will tell you that Thanos has far more dimensions to him than Darkseid does. That’s why Thanos has been a hero almost as often as hes been a villain, because he has the depth of character where he can get away with being both

          • I like both the characters as well, but between the two I’ll have to put my money on Darkseid in terms of awesomeness / fleshed-out. Foremost, of course, despite how brilliant Kirby’s New Gods were, comic-book characters tend to be more fleshed-out in subsequent decades, especially in animated or cinematic media. And in that way, Darkseid has managed to be more popular with appearances in animated shows going as far back as Super Friends. And he IS fleshed out. He is literally the god of Apokolips, when Superman tries to free them they all stop and look at Darkseid because they have no concept of freedom, to them following Darkseid is the best thing in the world (it’s surprising how a lot of countries in our world today have similar sentiments from their “citizens” and a media-saturated United States with its celebrity class worship is no different either, mind you).

            In Kingdom Come and Superman/Batman, Darkseid/ruler of Apokolips is portrayed more as an ideological opponent who cannot be overcome with sheer strength or Earthly ideals either. That’s why he makes such an interesting enemy for Batman in a JLA film, their battle is akin to the philosophic dispute Bruce has with Ra’s Al Ghul in Batman Begins, rather than on mere physical terms.

            Compared to that, Thanos is mere allegory. So no, I’d still put my money on Kirby’s Big Bad.

            • Non of that describes a character with nuance though, hes just an extremely powerful villain, 100% about death and subjugation, he is a character completely devoid of rational or reason.

              I’m not trying to say he is a weaker villain, or any less of a threat but when we are talking (like we are) about a layered role that an actor can get his teeth into the Darkseid doesn’t hold a candle Thanos in any way

              • Well it’s really about how they play the character though. But to my understanding Darkseid has always been rational in order to keep his shaky truce with the Highfather, add in Orion and Kalibak, along with the interactions he has with Desaad and you have what amounts to be one big egotistic megalomaniac with Mussolini-levels of intricacy. I love how Thanos has the Infinity Gems and that love-affair with Death, but Darkseid always seems much more complex to me. Not New-52 Darkseid, though, where he has the subtlety of Shao Kahn.

                But then again, there has to be several of Thanos’ stories that I may be guilty of ignoring. Most of the stories I saw him in depicts an angry last-Titan who is driven by his desires. Yes Brolin could have a field-day with that, but at the same time whoever plays Darkseid, if written write, could get a kick out of it like Liam Neeson’s Ra’s Al Ghul. But hey, as an actor I’m glad Brolin was cast for Thanos, I can only imagine where he can take the character.

      • Agreed.

    • Why wait when you have such an amazing cast and crew at Marvel Studios with multi-picture deals lined up? I’m sure Darkseid would’ve been a much more artistically fulfilling role than Thanos, but he’s still, at the very best, a few years away. Thanos is NOW. Also, at the rate DC is going I wouldn’t be surprised if we get a comics-accurate Darkseid to go along with Thanos and BOOM. Random, needless, fan-comparisons and discussions about who ripped off whom.

      All the while Episode 7 comes out and people cry foul for no Darth Vader (or will they?)

    • Considering one of his reasons for signing on to play Thanos was the fact that the filmmakers have a clear idea and vision for what they want to do, it isn’t surprising he’d be uninterested in doing DC movies. They really have no clear direction for the DC live-action movies as a whole. Marvel also has a much better track record so far.

  4. I think we’ll see Brolin in a six pic deal as THANOS, The Mad Titan in (besides Guardians1)
    Avengers 2 (cameo)
    Thor 3 (small role)
    Guardians 2 (small role)
    Dr. Strange (cameo)
    Inhumans (cameo)
    Avengers 3 (main baddie)

    beyond that? Thanos must die to truly understand mistress death.

    • Are we ever going to get a Thor 3 what with the extremely mediocre turn out for Dark World? What stories can they possibly tell that will seem original? Feige’s entire concept of Thor seems to be that he’s borne of magic and science fantasy, and … well… just sort of stop there.

      We needed Peter Jackson to follow up on Branagh’s Thor. Seriously.

      • Thor 2 made like 650mil. How is that an extremely medicore turn out?

        • Apologies — I meant mediocre quality. The entire execution of the film itself was mediocre.

          But isn’t 650M low compared to the sort of money IM3 made?

          • It would have made more if the movie wasn’t terrible. I am praying that 3 won’t suck. I had such high hopes for 2. I talked about it on here for months before its release.

            I’m not holding my breath.


      • 650 million is not a mediocre turn out, man of steel only made slightly more than that (less once you take budget into account) and an entire cinematic universe is coming out of that film

    • Ant – Man is up and coming; could give way to the Negative Zone that Reed Richards opens. I mean come on, Iron Man making up Ultron. Why not change up who invented what. No one will know but those that read comics anyways right?

  5. I look forward to seeing Thanos in the upcoming Marvel films, as I find the character interesting. I must say, however, that I was not at all impressed by his look OR his presence in GotG…There was one point I actually had to stifle a laugh when I looked at him onscreen.

  6. oohh I know they want a GOTG Avengers crossover well…
    Maybe they could tam up to defeat Thanos it would connect the two so well am i right?
    please reply

    • I think you’re right. At some point all the heroes will probably join forces to fight their greatest threat yet – and that might be Thanos.

      • I’d love for it to be a situation where you don’t necessarily have ALL the heroes band together as an army against Thanos but that each character introduced before Avengers 3 (or whichever movie Thanos is finally fought and defeated) brings something unique that could play a part in his downfall.

        Almost like a factory, each worker has their own individual skill to help create a whole but you don’t necessarily see the people who bolt an engine together working on the final stage of vehicle production or the painting process.

        • What would be cool is that in Avengers 3, Thanos is defeated but not killed off. Then he makes a final return in Guardians 3/modeled after Thanos Imperative.

          This way, Avengers 3 isn’t overly crowed with both Guardians and Avengers. Like Gunn said, we can have one or two Guardians come to Earth for Avengers 3. All we really need is Adam Warlock.

          Drax and Gamora can get their final cracks at Thanos in Guardians 3, where he can be ultimately killed off.

          • Yeah, that sort of plays into what I was thinking. Several providing the means to beat him but not having to appear in the film and risk over-crowding.

            • I really want at least some of the Guardians to cross over, though, just so we can see the interactions between Tony Stark and Peter Quill. Everyone else can stay home, but that verbal sparring needs to happen.

              • I just want rocket to come to earth and see a real raccoon and watch him have a nervous breakdown because he realizes what he is.

                • And see Groot talk to the trees.

        • If he destroys half the universe with the gauntlet, maybe he takes half the avengers and guardians with it and the remaining members would team up?

        • That’s actually a much better (and more mature) way of going about it! I like the idea. I always wanted to see how Batman can sort of attack Darkseid from Gotham City without ever needing to leave to Apokolips. For Marvel U, that would be like seeing Dr. Strange giving a blow to Thanos in his own movie, then CapAm on his own, and somehow by the time Thanos is ready for his last strike on Earth, the Avengers give the final blow.

          If that’s what you’re suggesting then hell yes!

      • I’ve heard this mentioned before, but I wonder if the final battle with Thanos will play out over more than one movie. I could see Marvel doing a two or three movie crossover. Crossovers are the norm in comics and I think it would be refreshing to see the battle with Thanos start in Thor 3 or Dr. Strange, move to a Guardians’ movie and carry over into the Avengers. I would imagine you’d have one or two Guardians head to earth seeking help to beat Thanos. The full Guardians cast coupled with the full Avengers cast would be too many characters for one movie.

        • Part one in avengers 3 then part 2 in gotg 3…

      • What I would love to see is a two part story that starts in GotG 2 (with the Avengers guest appearing) and finishes in Avengers 3 (with the Guardians guest appearing). The conflict could start in space, then the battle moves to Earth to up the stakes for Avengers 3.

        That would be great :)

    • I’m pretty certain you’re right. It all just makes sense. It’s been confirmed that the Avengers will face Thanos, and since he’s so well-connected to GotG, it just seems right.

  7. Who cares about THANOS, I was really hoping to see Mistress Death in GOTG. I want it’s appearance to be epic in scale. Mistress Death needs to be featured in GOTG2, or even Avengers 3.

    • I’d like for Death to be a cameo character in Avengers 2 since Whedon said someone will die. That could be cool, the character’s soul awakening outside the body and seeing things in a surreal kaleidoscope with an ethereal voice floating towards him/her and when the character turns to find the source, there’s Mistress Death.

      It might potentially destroy an emotional moment but it would be cool to see that Death exists in this universe as an actual figure rather than a concept and make it more acceptable for Thanos to be so in love with her that he’ll commit mass genocide to impress her.

      • I’m getting a serious Terry Pratchett vibe from that.

  8. Ok….. Time for some fantasy casting…… Who should play Lady Death?

    Tatiana Maslany

    • Sorry…. Mistress Death.

      Lady Death is a different comic book character.

    • I actually thought of her as my last comment was being posted, good call.

      • It doesn’t really matter who plays Mistress Death. Depending on which version they use anyway. I prefer the skeletal version. If they go that route, it really doesn’t matter.

        • Or maybe go with both?

          Actress playing her when Thanos sees her, same actress mo-caps the skeletal version everyone else sees.

  9. After reading Thanos: The Infinity Revelation yesterday and reading from this article and from the comments above, I think there should be a Thanos solo film that leads into Avengers 3.

    Model the movie after Thanos Quest. Thanos is more than a villain; he’s ruthless and mad but he’s so human like Brolin stated, he fights for Death’s love. His quests for power are filled with unique cosmic discoveries with philosophical questions; it’s very entertaining. I’d like to see Jim Starlin write the initial script to the Thanos solo film. That would be the most mind blowing movie of all time.

    Great report!

    • I hadn’t thought of that before. That would be excellent! the character would mean so much after that. It would be like Silence of the Lambs. My question is, who would be Thanos’ antagonist?

      • The Living Tribunal, Eternity (who both 1st appeared in a Doctor Strange arc so they can be potential Easter Eggs), Infinity, Kronos, various Elders of the Universe (such as The Collector!), and anyone else who dare stand in the way of Thanos’ quest for the Infinity Stones.

        Like said before, his lackeys keep failing him. So now it’s time for him to do the work.

        They have so much source material for a Thanos solo film. Thanos Quest and Thanos Rising would be perfect models.

  10. Has this already been mentioned? Why is he red in avengers and blue in GOTG?

    • He was blueish-purple in both.

  11. I don’t like Josh Brolin for Thanos. His voice was too normal. Bane’s voice raised the bar for.. uh villain voices, and Brolin should have took notes. They dropped the ball a bit on Thanos in Guardians.

    • I’m pretty sure everyone took notes from Bane’s voice. Those notes read: “Don’t make your villain sound like Darth Vader swallowed a bag of marbles.”

      I personally had no problem with Bane’s voice, but a lot of the general audience couldn’t understand him. I also like how they didn’t just throw a pseudo-British accent on Thanos and call it a day. His voice is surprisingly “normal” (for us here in the USA), and I think that lends him a surprising humanity.

      • But it’s Thanos! His voice should have its own sub-woofers! The smile shows off his humanity. But his voice was pretty unremarkable.

        I loved GotG but the Thanos scene was my only issue with the film. Seeing Thanos upon his throne didn’t hit me the way I was expecting.

    • Personally, I thought X-Men: DoFP’s tease of Apocalypse was better than the two teasers of Thanos we’ve had so far in MCU. Got to see the four horsemen of Apocalypse but not a whole lot of Thanos’ posse besides that one guy. Got a display of his powers which had some gravitas, to me.

  12. Um guys? I don’t think Marvel wants to keep this Death character.
    Didn’t Marvel say they weren’t gonna go full supernatural?

    • Errr… No! Death is not supernatural, she is a cosmic entity like Galactus. Now Mephisto or Hela, they are the supernatural counterparts of Death.

      • Death is an abstract entity, whereas Galactus is a living entity. As power full as he is, Galactus can die. Death on the other hand is the opposite of Eternity. Eternity being the embodiment of all life in the universe, Death is the embodiment of the end of all life in the universe.

        • Yeah, I know that. I was just pointing out the fact she is not supernatural but more along with the line where Marvel tries to explain the universe from a more scientific perspective. I thought it would be easier for non comic book reader to understand Death’s identity when compared with a popular character like Galactus than a relatively lesser known character like Eternity.

          • Good point

    • Well, they mentioned her at the end of Avengers, so I don’t think they can shy away from her now. She is Thanos’ motivation and all…

  13. Great article. In all non-dickiness, I wanted to point out that I think you meant “wary,” not “weary.” Love you guys, keep it up!

  14. Death should be played by Angelina Jolie, Kate Beckinsale, or Olivia Wilde

    • I don’t remember where but one artist actually drew death with Jolie’s face and (I’m guessing, his perception of) what Jolie’s body looked like.

    • Kate Beckinsale to play Mistress Death is a pretty good pick.

      • Yeah I love Kate Beckinsale
        She would also be perfect for Hippolyta (Wonder Woman’s mother for DC)
        Cuz she could look pretty similar to an older version of Gal Gadot
        But if they make her super gothic and creepy looking, like 10 times darker than in Underworld, then she could totally pull off being Death
        She would be playing SOOOO hard to get for Josh Brolin hahahahaha

  15. Considering this development, it would be nice if Marvel could get the Deadpool rights back.

  16. This, I love. This assures me that not only do the writers have a good handle on what makes Thanos tick, but so does Brolin himself. He sounds like he’s done his homework and is genuinely excited to play the character, which is exactly what is needed to really make him come alive on the screen. Of all the Marvel villains, I would say Thanos is definitely one of the most deep, complex, unpredictable, dangerous, and fascinating ones out there. And I can’t wait to see all that come to big, roaring, purple life on the big screen!

  17. So if they decide to release Thor 3 (Ragnarok) in November 2017,
    Then this would be the last movie of phase 3 before Avengers 3 (Infinity War) in May 2018.
    If so, then the end scene in Thor: Ragnarok should have Thanos breaking into Odin’s Vault in Asgard and taking the Infinity Gauntlet
    That way, Avengers: Infinity War will start out with Thanos having the Infinity Gauntlet

  18. Everyone go follow screenrant on instagram @screenrantnews

  19. I enjoy thanos is 100 pure evil and greatest marvel vilain of all time and he want to destroy all life in the universe and super heros as well and he want to conquest the earth to be with death and death will be in guardians of the galaxy 2 or the avengers 3 for future marvel movies and we will see thanos,death deadly romance .

  20. one thing though, Loki staff could still be a infinity stone. First off while all these infinity items must of started as gem objects in the first place, we can also say that some of them could be manipulated . So the aether as seen in Thor 2 changed into a liquidy sort of shaped as Malekith probably manipulated it for the sole goal of turning the universe into darkness thing , so this could be the reason why some of the infinity stones have different forms than others, as some of them have been manipulated by a ‘immensely powerful person’.

    Second of : As to why loki staff is a inifinty stone, the reason i believe it could of shut down the tesseract, was that they are both infinity stones and as such they both are linked together in the first place.

    Third of: as stated in my first point as the stones can be manipulated that may be the reason for the similiar colour as while the mind gem was under Thanos control , he may have changed it somehow to be similiar and much more interlinked with the tesseract.

    4Th point: As to why Thanos is willingly to give Loki the gem? well i believe Thanos is honestly toying with the whole universe , he is stated as being the most powerful being in the universe and he somehow knows where all the known infinity gems are and probably the unknown ones are atm. So theoretically he could simply just get out of his lazy ass chair and get it himself… but i believe he’s looking for a challenge or wants to savour it , thats why i believe he didnt mind losing the mind gems as he didn’t really care about Ronan getting the power gem when he could of gotten it himself.