Jim Starlin created the character Thanos and was responsible for his most popular appearances beginning with the Infinity Gauntlet miniseries. He was not however, given any credit, notice or as he points out, a ticket to see The Avengers movie despite his creation showing up at the end. He loved the movie but was none to happy about how he was(n't) treated by Marvel. He said the following to Hero Complex about Thanos showing up in The Avengers a week after the film hit North American theaters.
"It’s nice to see my work recognized as being worth something beyond the printed page, and it was very cool seeing Thanos up on the big screen. Joss Whedon and his crew did an excellent job on The Avengers movie and I look forward to the sequel, for obvious reasons. But this is the second film that had something I created for Marvel in it — the Infinity Gauntlet in Thor being the other – and both films I had to pay for my own ticket to see them. Financial compensation to the creators of these characters doesn’t appear to be part of the equation."
Negative buzz - or potential legal proceedings - from an unhappy creator of a character key to the film franchise is the last thing Marvel Studios needs and Starlin was quickly brought in for damage control (oddly enough, the Thanos prequel comic was also suspiciously canceled by Marvel in July). Starlin has since chatted with Comic Book Therapy where he revealed that he was "in talks" with David Bogart, SVP of Operations & Procurement, Publishing at Marvel Entertainment. According to a reader of Cosmic Book News who chatted with Starlin at Montreal Comic-Con this weekend, Starlin now has a deal in place with Marvel and will seemingly be compensated for his creations being used in the films.
And we pluralize "films" because Starlin said that Thanos will appear in both Guardians of the Galaxy and The Avengers 2. It's not a surprise as Thanos' role in Marvel Comics is much more far-reaching than that of a villain relegated to battling only the Guardians and it opens the doors to a lot of speculation about the connectivity between a few of the Phase Two films. Without getting into too much detail or summing up key story lines from the books, Thanos is going to want/need that pretty golden glove hidden away in Odin's Vault, as revealed in Thor. That's the overly powerful Infinity Gauntlet and from the sounds of it, quite a few of the items in that vault may no longer be in the vault a few films from now.
That could mean that Thor: The Dark World will tease Guardians of the Galaxy and the villains of the Thor sequel may breakout the items from the vault (bring on Dr. Strange!). Either way, The Guardians of the Galaxy are going to be protecting Earth from the villain also known as The Mad Titan and they do not want him to get the Infinity Gauntlet. The Avengers really won't want him to have that glove either come time for their second team-up.
Anxious to see Thanos courting Death?
Iron Man 3 releases May 3, 2013, Thor: The Dark World on November 8, 2013, Captain America: The Winter Soldier on April 4, 2014, Guardians of the Galaxy on August 1, 2014 and The Avengers 2 on May 1, 2015.
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Header image edited from The Thanos Imperative (2010) #3 covert art by Aleksi Briclot.