While mostly a standalone adventure, Marvel's Guardians of the Galaxy did help to deliver more information on big baddie Thanos (Josh Brolin) and the Infinity Stones. Though writer/director James Gunn has made statements about Thanos not playing a large part in the sequel before, many assumed that we would at least catch a glimpse of the Mad Titan in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
It seems that the fans were mistaken, however, as Thanos reportedly will not appear in the sequel at all. Not only that, but it seems that the Infinity Stones will apparently be absent as well.
Thanos will not appear in Vol. 2. No. As I've said before, Thanos isn't in this movie. I think he's gonna have a little bit to do and say when it comes to a certain wars and infinity. We've got other fish to fry in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2.
When the questioning shifted to the Infinity Stones, Gunn then offered up this "not really a thing" spoiler:
We're not really so much about the Infinity Stones in Guardians 2. Is that a spoiler? It's not really a thing.
This effectively cuts out two potential sources of plot material and establishes Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 as one of the more stand-alone sequels in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Though there is speculation, there's little concrete known about the film so far aside from some of the new additions to the cast. We know that the Guardians won't visit the Earth, won't feature Thanos or the Stones, will have a post-credits scene that's already been scripted, and that previous rumors about cameos by Iron Man or Hulk are nothing more than rumors. With Gunn confirming recently that filming starts on February 11, though, there will hopefully be more information coming soon.
It's honestly kind of refreshing to see a film in the MCU that doesn't just add on to the story leading up to Infinity War. One problem that the Marvel films sometimes have is that so much work is involved in connecting them that they have a hard time standing on their own. Some films fare better in this regard than others, but it's nice to see that moves can exist within the MCU without having to tie in directly to the goings on in other parts of the shared universe.
Hopefully, Vol. 2 not being bound to Thanos and the overarching Infinity Stones storyline will be good news to fans. This is especially true for those fans who were worried that the sequel would suffer from being a key part of the setup for Infinity War like Iron Man 2 did while setting up Avengers. Of course, it still remains to be seen whether Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 can recapture the lightning that made the first GotG such a success.
Captain America: Civil War will release on May 6, 2016, followed by Doctor Strange – November 4, 2016; Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 – May 5, 2017; Spider-Man – July 7, 2017; Thor: Ragnarok – November 3, 2017; Black Panther – February 16, 2018; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 1 – May 4, 2018; Ant-Man and the Wasp – July 6, 2018; Captain Marvel – March 8, 2019; The Avengers: Infinity War Part 2 – May 3, 2019; Inhumans – July 12, 2019; and as-yet untitled Marvel movies on May 1, July 10 and November 6, 2020.