Following the grand appearance of Thanos in the post-credits scene of the Avengers, fanboys everywhere began theorizing when we would see the Mad Titan. A few claimed he would be featured in Thor 2, while still others said he wouldn’t be seen again until the Avengers 2. As it turned out, he didn’t appear in Thor 2 and Marvel announced a new movie, Guardians of the Galaxy.
It’s obvious that Marvel had large plans for the death-obsessed Titan, but what are they exactly?
First, it’s obvious that Thanos will be a character in Guardians of the Galaxy. The cast members have confirmed this. He will not, however, be the main villain. That roll belongs to Ronan the Accuser, but it sounds like Thanos will be in the background, manipulating things. Assuming we won’t see him in Captain America 2, Guardians will be our next look at him.
But what about after Guardians of the Galaxy? Whedon threw us a curveball by announcing that Ultron would be the main villain of Avengers 2. So does that mean the Mad Titan is completely out of Avengers 2? Whedon, when asked about the theme of of Avengers 2, was quoted as saying, “Death. Death. Death.” This certainly sounds like a nod to Thanos, who was so obsessed with in the comics that he erased half the life in the Universe.
In my humble opinion, the Avengers worked because there was just enough room for each Avenger to have his or her own screen team, even if Hawkeye got shorted a little. Adding four new Avengers (Falcon and War Machine have been confirmed for the movie, in addition to the debut of Scarlett Witch and Quicksilver) and having two villains seems a bit heavy for this movie, so I would say that Thanos will not appear on the screen during Avengers 2.
Of course, just because Thanos wasn’t in Thor 2, doesn’t mean something important didn’t happen with his storyline. (Thor 2 spoilers follow)
Benicio Del Toro appeared as the Collector in the post-credits scene of Thor 2. There was talk of Infinity Stones, which anyone who knows about Thanos would immediately connect with Thanos’s primary weapon, the Infinity Gauntlet. Now we have seen the Infinity Gauntlet in the first Thor movie, but obviously it was the empty Gauntlet, not linked with the stones in any way. A comment was made about not wanting to have more than one infinity stone in any given place. Therefore, it is reasonable to assume that they are scattered across the Universe.
Over the course of the Marvel movies that we have seen, we can safely assume that we have only seen two of the six infinity stones. The Tesseract was a large part of Captain America: The First Avenger and the Avengers. Then we saw the Aether in Thor 2. So there are still four infinity stones remaining.
Marvel has been very smart about how they introduce concepts in their movies. They have, for the most part, introduced concepts in logical progressions and with good pace. To spend a Phase and a half having only introduced 2 stones and then to introduce 3 more in two movies to fit all six into the Avengers 2 is not Marvel’s style. And Thanos is too known for his Gauntlet to feature him as the primary villain without it.
More than likely we might receive a few nods about Thanos during the Avengers: Age of Ultron, but he won’t be the primary antagonist. Thanos will be the villain of The Avengers 3. We will see one, possibly two, new infinity stones in Guardians of the Galaxy and Phase 3 will see the Collector and / or Thanos mass the stones together.
It’s much too soon to say how exactly this will be done, although Guardians and Avengers 2 will definitely shed much more light on the Mad Titan and his roll in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
In short, Thanos is going to be built up for years. He will be the primary villain of the Cinematic Universe as a whole, and when it’s finished, we’ll realize that it was all building up to this from the very beginning.