After six years of being hyped up in cameos and post-credits scene, Thanos (Josh Brolin) will make his long awaited mark on the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Avengers: Infinity War. But after so much build-up, how will the Mad Titan manage to stand out amongst the sea of other supervillains that have appeared in the franchise’s past entires?
CinemaBlend spoke to the film’s screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely recently and asked them about what sets Thanos apart from the herd. The key for them is his more nuanced motivation for what he does, as opposed to causing destruction for the sake of it. Which, it has to be said, has been the case with a handful of previous antagonists.
Here’s what Markus said:
“Well, part of it is motivation, where if you have a villain who just wants to kill somebody or just wants to take over the world because it seems like a fun thing to do… that guy isn’t very interesting. He’s pathetic. But, we take this from [Thanos creator Jim] Starlin. Thanos is an amoral philosopher. He’s not the Devil — although he does sometimes have the Devil standing next to him. We wanted that all the way through. To have a villain with understandable motivations and emotions. Thanos has family. Thanos has two daughters that we know of. Thanos has 8 million back stories in the comics but they’re all kind of sad.”
Directors Joe and Anthony Russo have previously revealed just what this motivation is. As teased in the recent trailer for Infinity War, Thanos’ ultimate goal is to wipe out half of the universe. The reason why is because he believes this is the only way to save it from itself – to him this is an extreme but effective method of curbing overpopulation problems. It’s also hinted that his aims are tied into what happened to his now ruined homeworld of Titan.
To illustrate his co-writer’s point, Stephen McFeely named his two favourite MCU villains to date. Tellingly, they’re both antagonists who combine being sinister with a moral code that isn’t simply black and white. Namely, Tom Hiddleston’s Loki (natch) and David Tennant’s Kilgrave, from the TV side of things.
Stephen McFeely: What I want to point out, is that my favorite two [villains] in the entire MCU are Loki and Kilgrave, because he’s creepy and awful, but really cares in a strange way.
Thanos will bring balance to the universe when Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters on April 27th.