Thanos Guardians of the Galaxy

We got our very first glimpse of Thanos during the end credits of 2012′s The Avengers, and we know he’s likely to be the big bad in The Avengers 3. But in between, we’re going to be seeing him (voiced by Josh Brolin) in this summer’s Guardians of the Galaxy. So what, exactly, will he be doing there?

A new report offers some big clues about how and how much he’ll figure into Guardians – and where he might go from there. Hit the jump to get the details. (Be aware that potential spoilers lay ahead.)

Not much has been confirmed about Thanos’ upcoming story arcs — Marvel wouldn’t give up the goods this early, or this easily — but the general consensus among fans is that the film series leading up to the Infinity Gauntlet storyline. Which suggests that Thanos will spend the next few movies collecting the six Infinity Gems that make up his Infinity Gauntlet.

The latest scoop from Vulture bears out those assumptions. While Thanos is only “briefly glimpsed” throughout the film, he’ll be busy getting the pieces into place for plotlines to come. He’ll mostly appear in hologram form, although he does show up in person for a scene with his underlings Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) and Nebula (Karen Gillan). And he’ll weigh heavily on the other characters’ minds, including Zoe Saldana‘s Gamora, with whom he has a history.

Guardians will also further the Infinity Gauntlet storyline by introducing another of the six stones. (The others we’ve seen so far are the Tesseract from Captain America: The First Avenger, the Aether from Thor: The Dark World, and probably Loki’s scepter from The Avengers.) This is the orb we’ve seen in the trailers, and it’s reportedly the Power Stone.

After that, though, Thanos will probably lay low for a bit. He doesn’t have a big part to play in Avengers: Age of Ultron, which is the next Marvel Cinematic Universe release after Guardians and the last entry in Phase Two. So look for his Guardians movement to pay off in Phase Three instead.

Guardians of the Galaxy opens August 1.

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