We haven’t even seen Avengers: Infinity War yet, but we already know what Thanos’ aims and motivations will be in the event movie. After years of being teased in cameos and post-credits scenes, Josh Brolin’s Mad Titan will be revealed to be on a quest to wipe out half of all life in the universe. The reason is because he’s seen his own planet, Titan, destroy itself due to overpopulation issues. Now, he wants to make sure that never happens on any other world.
It’s a psychotic, though also kind of noble, goal for the uber-villain to have… but the thing is that it’s original to the movies and replaces the traditional characterization of Thanos in the comics. In the source material, he’s in love with Lady Death and wipes out half the life in the universe with his Infinity Gauntlet in a bid to impress her.
This is a major alteration that fans weren’t expecting. So, what’s the story behind the change? Infinity War screenwriters Stephen McFeely and Christopher Markus explained the thinking behind reinterpreting Thanos’ motivations while talking to Coming Soon in a recent interview. Among others things, McFeely revealed that the new backstory was included as a way to help moviegoing audiences “empathize” with the villain.
“At the very beginning, just because it’s such a focal point of the comics, we talked about it. “It is not something that brings you closer to his motivation. It’s not something where the average moviegoer says, ‘Now I can kinda empathize with him because he’s in love with Death!’”
To be fair to the writers, you can completely understand where they’re coming from, as Thanos’ love affair with the personification of death is such a weird, comic book-y idea that it’d no doubt leave some people in cinemas scratching their heads. That said, Marvel Studios have already successfully sold such weird ideas as Star-Lord’s dad being a sentient planet, so they could have pulled this off if they really wanted to.
Though his infatuation with Death has been junked from the movie, McFeely went on say that they endeavored to retain that depth of feeling Thanos had for his lady love and just redirect it into a different passion – his quest to save the universe.
“But I think we took that passion that he has… he really is in love with Death in the comics! He’s a lovelorn, kinda sad little fella. We wanted to maintain that level of emotion on his part, just redirected.”
There’s not long now until we get to see if these major changes paid off and whether Thanos will manage to live up to all the hype and prove himself the MCU’s best villain ever, as Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters on April 27th.