With Phase 3 of the Marvel Cinematic Universe now underway, everything is building up to the major Avengers: Infinity War event that will serve as the culmination of everything that's come before. That means soon Earth's Mightiest will assemble to do battle with the Mad Titan himself, Thanos (Josh Brolin), a villain who has only been teased briefly in a few MCU installments to date. Many fans are eagerly awaiting the character getting a larger role, but Thanos poses a considerable challenge for the screenwriters due to the immense power he possesses.
Thanos has been set up as the big bad for this saga of the MCU; last viewers saw him in Avengers: Age of Ultron he was grabbing his Infinity Gauntlet, saying "I'll do it myself." That certainly sounds menacing, but longtime fans are aware that this particular franchise has something of a villain problem. Ones not named Loki often struggle to leave a meaningful impression, and the hope is Thanos will be able to buck the trend. If recent comments from Brolin are anything to go by, he'll make sure that various layers of the evildoer are presented.
"Yeah: where's the humanity? There's parts of him that are unfounded to me, which will be found. That's all I'll say."
The big mystery surrounding Thanos right now is his motivation (outside of gaining more power). His cameo in the first Avengers movie may hold some clues. The Other said that to challenge the Avengers is to "court death," which made Thanos smile. In the comics, there's a character called Lady Death who is famous for her romance with Thanos. Conceivably, the MCU's Thanos could be trying to win over Death's affections by proving his worth in a showdown with the various superheroes. Until Infinity War plot details are revealed, this theory is as sound as any and would be an interesting angle to explore.
Marvel using Thanos as a principal villain in multiple films is an illustration of how far moviemaking technology has advanced over the years. It's difficult to envision anything except motion capture being used to bring the Mad Titan to life in the most realistic way possible. Brolin is somewhat familiar with the technique, having played Thanos in both Guardians of the Galaxy and Age of Ultron, but his work will probably be more extensive on Infinity War. Fortunately for Brolin, he has a trusted friend in Mark Ruffalo who can provide some pieces of advice.
"There's just something I love about what they're doing, and I'm really, really pleased that I get to play this part. The last thing, I talked to [Mark] Ruffalo. Ruffalo's been a friend for a long time, and I just said, what do I have to look forward to? And he said, man, the first time I did, the first movie as Hulk, was really embarrassing because I'm out there and I'm like on cinder blocks and shit trying to act out this stuff for other people. And then I saw the movie, and he says, I'm so blown away that I couldn't actually wait to get back there and to do all that stuff again that I found embarrassing in the beginning. He says, 'You're going to have a blast. You're just going to have a blast.'"
There's no denying that during principal photography, actors can look a little silly in their mo-cap getups, which typically involve tight spandex and a collection of dots placed around the body. When an actor is supposed to be playing an enormous green rage monster or an intimidating villain, that costume could make it difficult to get into character. But knowing what the visual effects team is capable of ahead of time understandably makes it easier to buy into the process. The good news for Brolin is that he's already seen the full rendered Thanos, so chances are he won't feel as ridiculous as Ruffalo did back on the original Avengers. Brolin is a great actor with a long list of fantastic performances, meaning an expanded role for him in the MCU sounds like a treat.
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.