Joss Whedon Thanos

After teasing his appearance for so long, Marvel finally unleashed Thanos this year in Avengers: Infinity War. But fans expected the gauntlet-wielding titan to show up much earlier – as soon as Avengers 2, in fact. But that didn’t happen. In a new interview, Avengers and Avengers: Age of Ultron director Joss Whedon reveals that ultimately, he just didn’t know what to do with Thanos as a character.

At the end of Avengers, audiences learned that Thanos was pulling the strings behind the huge alien invasion of New York. In a mid-credits scene, Thanos (looking completely different from his future Josh Brolin-inspired visage) pops-up and flashes a big, shit-eating grin. Many assumed this meant Thanos would be the big bad of the Avengers sequel. Instead, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes faced-off against Ultron in the follow-up film. So where was Thanos? At the time, director Joss Whedon said:

“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 and darkness.”

Now, Whedon has fessed up and reveled he didn’t know how to handle Thanos as a character. In a new interview with IGN, Whedon confessed that he was happy to leave Thanos’ big moment to the Russo Brothers rather than deal with it himself:

“Honestly, I kind of hung [Thanos] out to dry. I love Thanos. I love his apocalyptic vision, his love affair with death. I love his power. But, I don’t really understand it. He’s had a lot of power, and he was cool in the comics. And I’m like, Thanos is the ultimate Marvel villain! And then I was like, I don’t actually know what I would do with Thanos. So, I liked what [the Russo brothers] did so much, and I thought Josh Brolin killed it. And they did an amazing job of keeping that performance on-screen. But it wasn’t like I was like, here’s a set of directions. I was like, I’m gonna get through Ultron, nap for four years, and then I’ll come to the premiere. Which I did! It was like, this is so cool!”

I’m one of those weirdos who really liked Age of Ultron, so I never had any complaints about Whedon not using Thanos as his sequel villain. And ultimately, everything worked out for the better. While I wasn’t exactly blown away by Avengers: Infinity War, I will freely admit that Thanos is the best element of the entire movie, so it was worth the wait.

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