Joss Whedon: "Thanos Was Never Meant To Be The Next Villain"

The brilliance of Marvel is not only in the studio's execution of story; it's in the dissemination of information. Take, for example, Comic-Con. All Marvel President Kevin Feige and director Joss Whedon had to do was reveal three words, "Age of Ultron," to completely redirect the conversation about the path of the Marvel Cinematic Universe for the next few years.

Another example was the tag of 2012's The Avengers. Showing the uber-evil Thanos as the mastermind behind Loki's plan suggested he'd be the next great nemesis for the super-team. But, the reveal of Ultron as the villain in the Avengers: Age of Ultron changed that.

Joss Whedon, the writer and director of both The Avengers and next year's Avengers: Age of Ultron, now explained more about the role of Thanos. He was "never meant to be the next villain" and was only teased to give fans a taste of how big this Marvel Cinematic Universe can really get.

Though Kevin Feige had previous alluded to Thanos being a threat further down the line (it's confirmed he'll play a role in Guardians of the Galaxy, which isn't likely to tie in with Avengers: Age of Ultron), here's what Whedon recently said to Total Film (via Comic Book Movie):

We have to stay grounded. It's part of what makes the Marvel universe click – their relationship to the real world. It's science-fiction, and Thanos is not out of the mix, but Thanos was never meant to be the next villain. He's always been the overlord of villainy & darkness.

So, again, it's all about the dispersement of information. First, they reveal Thanos, and we all speculate he'll be the villain in Avengers 2. We have that conversation for two years and then, boom, Ultron. So now we have to talk about that character with the knowledge Thanos is still out there. At the moment, the general consensus seems to be whatever role Thanos plays in Guardians of the Galaxy, coupled with whatever befalls The Avengers in Age of Ultron, will somehow dovetail into a Guardians/Avengers team up against Thanos in Avengers 3.

Then again, one more piece of information and maybe that theory will get blow up too.

How do you think Thanos will eventually tie in?