Avengers: Infinity War Will Feature Flashbacks To Thanos’ Youth


After years of waiting in the shadows, Thanos is about to make his mark on the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Avengers: Infinity War. But will he be able to live up to all the hype? While talking to EW, Josh Brolin gave us a fair bit of new info on the villain that makes us very hopeful that the Mad Titan will actually be a three-dimensional threat with a lot of layers.

First off, the star, who’s played the role since 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy, promised that Thanos isn’t just a “cackling madman” and actually has the capacity to “love very much and very deeply.”

“When you see the relationship with Gamora and you see that evolves, God I wish I could tell you. I can’t! When [directors Joe and Anthony Russo] came up to me after we had done maybe three quarters of the film, they said, “It wasn’t necessarily intended that you feel for this guy as much as you do.” Obviously he has a grand plan, like somebody who’s pulling in kids for their own selfish bloodshed. But he has a capacity to love very much and very deeply. You need that for a character like this because if he’s just a cackling madman bent on destroying everything, it’s less interesting.”

Brolin also revealed that Infinity War would dive back in time to explore Thanos’ youth. As comic fans know, Thanos is one of the Eternals from Titan. However, he was born a deformed mutant known as a Deviant, meaning he was cast off by his race as they value perfection. Understandably, this has caused him to develop some serious issues.

“He’s different from his family. They’re all Titans and they all look similar, but he was born deformed. You see how he grew up, you see he was like the Quasimodo of this time, or if you’ve ever read Perfume [Patrick Süskind ‘s 1985 novel about a serial killer who craves beautiful scenes but is disgusted by the smell of humanity], it’s a great parallel to Thanos. He stuck out. He was an anomaly. He was a freak. And that lent to this apparent insanity.”

Thanos Infinity War

As Brolin hints at, Thanos might not be as insane as you’d think. The actor went on to touch on the reasons for the villain’s quest for the Infinity Stones, revealing that he’s actually driven by an extreme intelligence and a wish to “save” the universe, even if that means laying waste to billions of lives in the process.

“You want to write him off as insane, and yet what he’s doing makes sense, if you break it down. You think of overpopulation and killing half the universe in order to save the other half and all this kind of stuff. You have this struggle watching him. It’s this love-hate thing, you know? So I don’t know …

Who in our society do we love and hate? You see this lughead and this guy who you pigeonhole right from the first cosmetic reaction to him. And what I see is this in this guy’s eyes. This super, super, super intelligence. There’s this constant contrasting thing about this Neanderthalic lughead who’s way more intelligent than anybody else in the movie, by far.”

This is very illuminating stuff. For one, Brolin might have just revealed that Thanos will wipe out half the population of the universe, which is a direct lift from the comics. However, in the source material, this is a gesture to Lady Death, who Thanos is infatuated with. In the movie, it appears that he does this as an extreme measure to combat over-population.

Thanos in Avengers Infinity War

This fits with what we’ve already heard about Thanos believing that he’s the one “saving the universe” and not the Avengers. It’s a huge and intriguing shift of the Mad Titan’s motivations, and it’s probably a smart move, too, as previous MCU villains with a bland desire to destroy for the sake of it have fallen short. Black Panther‘s Killlmonger, on the other hand, showed that antagonists who believe they’re the star of the show are much more compelling.

We’ll finally get our chance to boo Thanos – or maybe even cheer him on? – when Avengers: Infinity War hits screens worldwide on April 27th – or the 26th, if you’re in the UK.