SPOILERS for Avengers: Infinity War ahead.
Avengers: Infinity War VFX supervisor Matt Aitken has explained how the Marvel Cinematic Universe's Titans differ from Thanos in their appearance. In the world of Marvel Comics, Thanos differs physically from other Titans because he carries the gene of the Deviants, the cousin race of The Eternals. Thanos' experiences growing up and being prejudiced against by other Titans because of his looks are a key element of his backstory in the comic books, but Infinity War doesn't touch explicitly on that aspect of his history.
Infinity War only briefly touches on Titan and its people in general, via a scene where Thanos uses his Infinity Gauntlet to conjure up a vision of the planet before its environment was devastated. Other Titans can be seen in the background during that sequence and, like in the comics, they appear humanoid yet are noticeably different from Thanos in their physical form. According to Aitken, the Infinity War script included a more extensive flashback to Titan's past at one point, but the scene was ultimately revised and condensed into the version that made it onscreen.
Aitken, a longtime Weta Digital artist who also worked on Iron Man 3, told us in an interview that early on Infinity War included a longer sequence that fleshed out Thanos' experiences on Titan in greater depth. While that scene was ultimately reconfigured, Aitken said the film's VFX team still took it into consideration when designing the other Titans for the MCU:
Originally there had early on been a longer sequence that we were going to be involved in that was a longer flashback to the original Titan, which explained in more depth Thanos' motivations and what's driving him, but they ended up boiling it down to [what's in the movie]... It's essentially telling the same message but in a more concise format, with this more handful of shots.
We were prepared for that more in-depth look of Titan, should we have done that. Yes, Thanos is a little bit of a mutant of his own people. They're not humans in color but they're not as bright purple as he is and not as tall as he is and they don't have the same chin that he has. So, yeah, he definitely, he was designed and the other Titan residents to accentuate that difference for sure.
It's certainly possible Avengers 4 will include a more extensive flashback to Thanos' former life on Titan than Infinity War does. Much of Thanos' backstory in the MCU hasn't been touched upon yet and it would be interesting to learn more about just what makes the big screen version of the Mad Titan tick. At the same time, that's a bit irrelevant now that Thanos has accomplished what he set out to do and wiped out half of all living beings in the universe, as part of his plan to bring "balance" to the MCU.
Since Avengers 4 will focus primarily on the MCU's remaining superheroes attempting to undo Thanos' actions, it's plausible a richer exploration of Thanos' backstory and/or the history of Titan will be held back for a Phase 4 MCU movie instead. Infinity War has already laid the groundwork for that by confirming that Thanos in the MCU, like his comics counterpart, is the son of A'lars, the Eternal who established a colony on Titan. Since Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige has further confirmed that an Eternals film is among the projects being considered for Phase 4, that could be the perfect opportunity for the franchise to explore not only Thanos, but also Titan and its people in greater depth.
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018
- 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