It looks like Thanos will continue to be the universe’s most inept villain when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 rolls around. The purple dude has been trying to collect himself some Infinity Stones since early on in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and while Avengers: Infinity War is imminent, we’re now 13 films in and the alien still has precisely zero stones in his possession. And now, according to writer/director James Gunn, it’ll stay that way in the highly anticipated sequel Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2.
The filmmaker took to his Facebook page over the weekend to answer some questions, and when asked about the presence of Infinity Stones in Guardians 2, Gunn flat out said, “There will be no Infinity Stones in Vol. 2.” When pressed, Gunn went one further and added, “There will be infinity nothing. It’s a story about the Guardians and isn’t meant to lead to anything else.”
Guardians of the Galaxy was the first time we actually saw Thanos in the context of a feature film aside from that brief tease during the end credits of The Avengers, and his purpose in that film was essentially to be introduced to audiences in a galactic setting. Gunn has since said that Thanos is not in Guardians 2, and with his confirmation here that the sequel has nothing to do with Infinity Stones, it sounds like that thread is being put on the backburner for this follow-up.
Thanos’ introduction in Guardians was probably a request from Marvel Studios given that they needed to properly unveil the character to audiences and the universe-set Guardians was a fitting place to do so. But given that Gunn built the sequel from the ground up, one imagines he had the ability to keep Thanos out of Guardians 2 so he could instead focus on the story at hand, which involves the search for Peter Quill’s father.
And while it’s nice to hear that Guardians of the Galaxy 2 will be standalone in nature, I am mighty interested to see how Thanos is shown as powerful in Infinity War if that Avengers sequel rolls around and he is still devoid of Infinity Stones. He’s been set up as the “big bad” of the MCU thus far, and yet all of his plans involve roundabout ways to mess with the Avengers. As we saw at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, he’s had enough of this managing-from-afar nonsense and intends to “do it himself.” But don’t expect him to make his move in Guardians 2.
Does this mean Thanos appears in Doctor Strange this November? We don’t know, but it seems more likely that his role and/or plans will become clearer in Thor: Ragnarok, which hits theaters a few months after Guardians 2. The Thor sequel’s title refers to a world-ending event, we know that it co-stars Mark Ruffalo as Hulk and Thor go on an intergalactic road trip of sorts, and the film will introduce Jeff Goldblum as Grandmaster, one of the Elders of the Universe. Indeed, with Infinity War being the next Marvel film after Ragnarok, it’s not hard to imagine the Thor sequel working as a serious table-setting film for the massive war to come.
For now, though, rest assured knowing that when Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2 opens in theaters on May 5, 2017, it’ll be entirely focused on the titular team.