Joss Whedon admits to being a bit unsure of Thanos' future after The Avengers, but likes what Anthony and Joe Russo have done with him. One of Marvel Studios' biggest teases for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe came at the end of The Avengers, a movie that solidified their faith in this grand plan. Thanos' quick smirk in the post-credits scene teased his eventual arrival as a foe for the Earth's Mightiest Heroes. He was teased once again by Whedon in the post-credits for Avengers: Age of Ultron.
After that film, though, Whedon left Marvel behind, paving the way for the Russo brothers to direct Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4. They were the ones who fully realized the character on the big screen, after first having a small role in James Gunn's Guardians of the Galaxy, of course. The exploration of him and Josh Brolin's performance have made him one of Marvel's best villains, but Whedon knows he didn't really help much in getting him to this place.
IGN spoke to two-time MCU director Joss Whedon during San Diego Comic-Con and asked him about the set up for Thanos as well as what has happened with him since. Even though he got to bring his first appearance to the screen and loves the character, Whedon says he didn't know what to do with him. Without that larger plan in mind, he likes what the Russos have done with him.
"Honestly, I kind of hung [Thanos] out to dry. I love Thanos. I love his apocalyptic vision, his love affair with death. I love his power. But, I don’t really understand it. He’s had a lot of power, and he was cool in the comics. And I’m like, Thanos is the ultimate Marvel villain! And then I was like, I don’t actually know what I would do with Thanos. So, I liked what [the Russo brothers] did so much, and I thought Josh Brolin killed it. And they did an amazing job of keeping that performance on-screen. But it wasn’t like I was like, here’s a set of directions. I was like, I’m gonna get through Ultron, nap for four years, and then I’ll come to the premiere. Which I did! It was like, this is so cool!"
Whedon may not have had the foresight to know how to set up Thanos, but that is what Kevin Feige and everyone else at Marvel Studios are for. Whedon's job on Avengers and Age of Ultron was to make giant team-up blockbuster movies full of spectacle. He did that both times and made the studio nearly $3 billion at the box office in the process. So, even though his Thanos teases didn't mean much (and even complicated matters further with the Infinity Gauntlet), they still managed to build hype around Thanos' debut leading up to Infinity War.
Because of the Russos, as well as writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, Thanos became the main character of Infinity War. He ultimately succeeded in rebalancing the MCU's universe, leaving the heroes in complete devastation. Thanos is going to be a big part of Avengers 4 as well, so his story isn't over just yet. Figuring out how to wrap up his story (or at least this part of it) is much more important to the small teases that brought the MCU to this place after all. While Whedon didn't exactly know what he was doing with Thanos or where he was taking him, it all worked out in the end, which is all anyone could hope for.
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 05, 2019