Thanos like Emperor Palpatine

The mad Titan Thanos, a character who is among the biggest of Marvel’s big bads, showed up at the end of The Avengers. That set him as a potential antagonist for, well, just about everyone. Defeating the guy is no small task. But we don’t know when that showdown will happen, or how. We do know that Thanos isn’t likely to have much of a role in Avengers: Age of Ultron. And beyond that? It’s all open to question. But Marvel chief Kevin Feige described the basic idea behind the portrayal of Thanos so far. The key concept to keep in mind here is “Emperor Palpatine.”

Note: there are some Guardians of the Galaxy spoilers below.

Kevin Feige told us the following at a Comic Con roundtable interview, but we held this quote until after the opening of Guardians of the Galaxy. (Even though it’s open knowledge by this point, thanks to Marvel and Gunn, that Thanos is part of Guardians.)

The idea [of this portrayal] was to be basically just another step forward based on what we saw in Avengers. In Avengers we saw the back of his throne and the turn toward camera, three-quarter smirk. We wanted Ronan to be the bad guy [in GotG]. We wanted to focus on the creation of the Guardians team itself, so didn’t want to spend too much time with Thanos.

But we wanted to showcase that there’s a guy behind the guy behind the guy. The Emperor in The Empire Strikes Back, [behind] Darth Vader. So we wanted to see a little bit more of him, a little bit of attitude. See him, and hear him for the first time. And just to get — which is one of my favorite shots in the whole movie — him leaning back on his throne and smirking, which he does on every cover of every Thanos comic book, which is cool.

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