Thanos' Role In Guardians of the Galaxy Explained

The Mad Titan’s first big appearance in the MCU also proved to be slightly underwhelming, so let’s explore Thano’s small role in Guardians Of The Galaxy. While Marvel’s concept of a shared cinematic universe between their major heroes was initially considered a big risk, they had proven by the time The Avengers arrived that audiences were onboard for the ride. James Gunn’s Guardian Of The Galaxy was again considered a risk since it was based on one of Marvel’s more obscure properties, in addition to focusing on the cosmic side of the MCU.

The risk paid off again, with viewers instantly taking to Guardians Of The Galaxy’s motley crew of heroes. The movie was a colorful, fun adventure that also featured some great characters. The story sees the title anti-heroes steal a mysterious orb that is revealed to contain the Power Stone, one of the six Infinity Stones. Ronan the Accuser, the Kree villain of the film, wants to claim the stone for himself to destroy the planet Xander but is defeated by the Guardians in the finale.

Related: MCU Infinity Stones Guide: Locations, Powers & Future

Guardians Of The Galaxy also marked Josh Brolin’s debut appearance as Thanos. While the villain was first seen during a post-credit tease for The Avengers, Guardians had the tricky task of bringing him to life. Thanos’ quest is to gather the Infinity Stones together so he can “balance” the universe by wiping out half of all living creatures, and in Guardians Of The Galaxy he tasks Ronan The Accuser with recovering the orb holding the Power Stone. Ronan eventually defies Thanos, killing his servant The Other and seizing the Power Stone for himself.

While Brolin does a fine job during Thanos' brief appearance, fans felt somewhat underwhelmed by the Mad Titan’s debut. He does little more than sit in a rocket chair and deliver ominous threats against Ronan – none of which he delivers on. Director James Gunn later admitted the Thanos scenes were the hardest to crack, with the character having little function in Guardians Of The Galaxy’s story. He was there to set up future MCU appearances, and Gunn decided to have Ronan kill The Other as a way asserting some kind of power over Thanos.

Guardians Of The Galaxy also reveals Thanos' relationship with his adopted daughters Gamora and Nebula, with both having a burning hatred for their cruel father. These relationships would pay off in a major way in both Guardians Of The Galaxy Vol 2 and Avengers: Infinity War, but with his lack of agency in the actual plot, perhaps Thanos should have been saved for another MCU entry. Still, he proved with his actions in Infinity War that after years of build-up, he’s unquestionably the most powerful villain in the entire MCU.

Next: Who Dies In Infinity War? Here’s Every Dead Avenger

Key Release Dates
  • The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
Spider-Man Spider-Verse Comic Cover
This Spider-Man Comic Story Can REMOVE Him From The MCU

More in SR Originals