Ever since that puzzling mid-credits sequence in The Avengers, fans have been wondering when we’d see that big purple alien guy return in a Marvel movie. Thanos, as he’s known in the comics, is one of the principal villains of the Avengers, wielding an enormous amount of power and wreaking havoc on essentially the entire universe. Fans were sure that Thanos would return as the “Big Bad” for The Avengers 2, but instead writer/director Joss Whedon settled on the robot Ultron as that pic’s chief baddie. We know that Thanos will make his on-screen return with this summer’s space-set Guardians of the Galaxy, with Josh Brolin filling the role, but we’re still unclear on just how much of a factor Thanos will be in the Marvel pic.
However, a new report has shed some light on exactly how much Thanos we’ll see in Guardians of the Galaxy and what kind of role he’ll play in the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron. If you don’t mind mild spoilers for Guardians, hit the jump to learn more.
We’ve known that Thanos would appear in Guardians of the Galaxy for some time now, with Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige even describing a scene involving the character’s rocket throne a while back. Now the folks over at Vulture have details on exactly how Thanos fits into the Guardians world, saying he makes his first appearance in the first act via hologram. Unsurprisingly, the film’s chief villains Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) and Nebula (Karen Gillan) are acting on Thanos’ orders, but they’ll mainly communicate with him through hologram until a scene later in the film, when the baddie finally appears in the (purple) flesh.
Though the character doesn’t appear to have a large role visually in Guardians of the Galaxy, the report notes that he is referenced throughout and looms large over the film’s proceedings. This explains why Brolin was cast in the part after production wrapped, as he’ll be voicing the digital iteration of the character.
Brolin’s Thanos remains a major part of the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe, and while Vulture’s report notes that he’ll “recede back into the shadows” after Guardians, he will apparently re-emerge after the events of Avengers: Age of Ultron.
In the comics, Thanos gets his power from the Infinity Gauntlet, which is made up of six Infinity Gems. In the MCU, these are referred to as “Infinity Stones”, and we saw Benicio Del Toro’s The Collector come into possession of one (the Aether from Thor: The Dark World) in the post-credits scene at the end of Thor 2. The Tesseract and Loki’s scepter are likely two more Infinity Stones, and the Guardians of the Galaxy will introduce yet another—probably the orb that Chris Pratt’s Star-Lord has been seen eyeing.
We’ll surely learn more about Thanos and have a better idea of his overall plan once we see Guardians, but it’s definitely exciting to get a glimpse of how he fits into the story. Guardians of the Galaxy opens in theaters on August 1st.