Ever since his reveal during the credits of Joss Whedon‘s The Avengers, fans have enjoyed discussing Thanos and his impact in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. His inclusion was spurred by Whedon, who called him Marvel’s “most powerful and fascinating villain.” Speculation has all but settled on the fact that the character will somehow appear in James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy and then roll into The Avengers 2 but, with both of those films several years away, no one would dare confirm that.

Then, last week, the character’s creator – Jim Starlin – reportedly did. That lead MTV to ask Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige about the character and you can read his quotes below.

And while Thanos might be the driving force behind the Marvel Cinematic Universe in the coming films, The Avengers themselves are going to be driving some serious merchandising coin into the pockets of Disney. It’ll soon become the company’s primary toy franchise on shelves all over the world. Read more after the jump.

Here’s what Marvel President Kevin Feige said to MTV about Thanos:

Clearly, there’s a purpose to us putting him in the end of that movie. We do have plans for him. I wouldn’t say we ever feel the need to rush anything one way or the other. We succeeded in Phase One because we stuck to our guns and stuck to the plan. That plan took place over many, many years and it ultimately paid off. I see Phase Two unfolding in the same way of us taking our time, us doing what’s right for each individual movie, while folding in elements that will not only build up to the culmination of Phase Two, but even Phase Three.

I definitely think the slow burn is the way to go here, not put him in the first frame of Iron Man 3 or Thor: The Dark World. You’d imagine that, after The Avengers, the idea is to distance the audience from that team mentality, get back into the individual characters, and then as we get closer to The Avengers 2, introduce a threat that neccisitates them to come back together. Enter Thanos.

And while getting away from the team mentality might be the way to do it in the movies, it’s NOT how Disney and Marvel plan on doing it on toy shelves. In an article in the Los Angeles Times, it was revealed they are going to push the Avengers merchandise like it was Cars or Toy Story. The Avengers will even overshadow releases that focus on individual team members. Here’s chief financial officer Jay Rasulo:

We’re really going to put the weight and the breadth of the Walt Disney Company behind something like `Avengers,’ which had enough depth of content, enough characters, enough continuity in a story that could continue into future films, that this is where we wanted to make our big investment of time, organization and money….This is the `Disney machine,’ as some of our colleagues call it, that allows us to invest the money to create IP and then get the returns out of it. And I would say the `Avengers’ is just another great example along with Princesses, `Cars,’ `Toy Story.’ It’s just a next one in that line that our company will broadly use across all of our businesses.

Again, pretty much a no-brainer. The Avengers is now Disney’s highest grossing film of all time, and you can bet the company is going to milk it.

 

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