This month's Captain America: Civil War is already well on its way to becoming one of Marvel's most successful movies ever, after earning over $1 billion at the international box office in the few weeks since its release. As the first film of Phase Three, Civil War sets up this fall's Doctor Strange, next year's Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and a bunch of other films, all leading up to 2018 and 2019's two-part Avengers: Infinity War (titles TBD).
Yet with five movies left until Part 1 and another two until Part 2, anything can still happen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It's simply too early to tell from an outsider perspective how Doctor Strange, Guardians, Spider-Man, Thor and Black Panther will ultimately connect to Infinity War. Yet funny enough, that job of tying it all together may be even harder for the writers of Marvel's big team-up movie.
In an interview with CinemaBlend, writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely recently admitted that a lot of the Infinity War script is just 'informed guesswork' until all the other movies are figured out. At this point, the two writers are still getting tidbits about what's happening in the other movies, while also making their own suggestions as to what needs to happen, all in an effort to nail down their final script. There is one thing for certain about Infinity War though, and that's Thanos' role in it.
The villain Thanos has so far been seen in The Avengers, Guardians of the Galaxy and Avengers: Age of Ultron, as he tried to obtain the Infinity Stones which would grant him immense power. He was last seen in a post-credits scene for Age of Ultron, where he decided to retrieve an Infinity Gauntlet and take matters into his own hands to find the stones. There hasn't been a lot of backstory for Thanos so far, but McFeely says that'll change in Infinity War:
"I think the problem will be solved simply because he will be the villain, have lots of scenes, and you’ll understand his point of view. He’ll do lots of dastardly things. I’m not saying he’s not a challenge. He is, because he’s got so much power, but I guess find the, I’m using this in quotes, ‘the human underneath,’ but we’ll have the opportunity because he’ll have a lot of scenes."
The true challenge, of course, will be to try and make all the teases worth it when Thanos is finally revealed as a three-dimensional character in Infinity War. Markus further elaborated on their efforts to provide depth to the powerful villain, saying: "Yeah, and like any character, we’re going to learn about the character, not just as a villain. If you’ve got the guy taking you through more or less two movies, he can’t just be twisting his mustache the whole time."
In order to make him scarier and more likable, they'll need to make Thanos more well-rounded. We'll need to understand his motivations for destroying everything to gain control of all existence. Power is only a means to an end, and Thanos' reasons for wanting will probably remain a mystery until those two movies hit theaters.
Captain America: Civil War is in theaters now. Doctor Strange opens November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man: Homecoming – July 7, 2017;Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; Avengers: Infinity War Part 2– May 3, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on July 12, 2019, and on May 1, July 10, and November 6 in 2020.