In a movie that’s already brimming with a reported 70-plus Marvel heroes, the creators of Avengers: Infinity War say one character is poised to overshadow them all: Thanos, the purple-skinned Mad Titan, who until now has been an enigmatic Marvel Cinematic Universe presence more often felt than seen.
All that’s about to change if Infinity War writer Stephen McFeely knows what’s up (and he, of all people, should). Not only will Thanos get a ton of screen time as he brings his megalomaniacal will to bear in a campaign to rein in life run rampant across the universe; he’s basically the movie’s central character.
How serious are the film’s creators when they make such a sweeping statement? Deadly.
“You could call this movie Avengers: Thanos if you wanted to,” McFeely flatly told Empire for its latest Avengers-inspired issue. “He is the main character.”
That’s an enormously ambitious, and perhaps even risk-taking approach to a film franchise stockpiled with A-list actors playing A-list heroes like Robert Downey Jr.’s Iron Man, Mark Ruffalo’s Hulk, Chris Evans’ Captain America, and Chadwick Boseman’s T’Challa. But it’s one that the creative team is clearly on the same page in taking.
“With a film this big, you have to tie it to a point of view,” co-director Joe Russo, who's already described Thanos as a "Darth Vader for a new generation," told Empire. “The point of view in this movie is Thanos, which makes this a really unique film. We want people to walk out of the theater going, ‘That is a bad man.’”
As you’d expect, that’s as far down the path toward spoiler territory that any of Infinity War’s in-the-know creatives are willing to take us. But they’re hinting that Thanos’ almost inconceivable superpowers may yield not to head-on brute force, but to the good guys’ ability to take a step back and scan for a very different kind of weakness.
“You have to find vulnerabilities for characters of that level of strength,” writer Anthony Russo said. “Look for their emotional and physical life — that’s where we figure out how we make those characters crack.”
Hey, we’ve seen that work before in other kinda-sorta-successful film franchises, so there’s good reason to believe it might just work for the MCU. The countdown to chaos is on: Avengers: Thanos — pardon; make that Avengers: Infinity War storms into theaters on April 27. And before you go, be sure to get in a cram session or two with our super-comprehensive explainer for the comics-based lowdown on all things Thanos.