Josh Brolin Talks Thanos’ Love for Death, Future Appearances, Character Comparisons, and More

     August 8, 2014


Although some might argue that Thanos kind of sucks at being a supervillain, I would counter that we’ve barely seen the big guy get going since he’s had less than five minutes of total screen time over the course of ten movies.  He’s going to be the culmination of a massive balancing act, and while it may all fall apart, Marvel at least has a great actor playing the part.  While doing press for Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, Josh Brolin was asked about playing Marvel’s Biggest Bad, and if it was similar to the Emperor from Star Wars.  “That sounds awesome, I love that,” said Brolin.  “It’s what he is.”  He also said that Apocalypse Now‘s Colonel Kurtz is also a source of inspiration, although Brolin noted he was drawing primarily from the comics.

Hit the jump for Brolin talking about how he prepared for playing Thanos, the character’s relationship with Death, his dynamic with Robert Downey Jr., and when we’ll be seeing Thanos again.

josh-brolin-thanos-comic-conWhen it came to researching Thanos, Brolin tells IGN that after he accepted the role, “they sent me so much frickin’ research. I was in the middle of doing Everest, and I was focusing more on Thanos than I was on Everest. But it’s an exciting prospect, truly.”  So remember, kids: If Brolin isn’t good in Everest, blame Marvel.

The best part of the interview is when Brolin talks about Thanos’ relationship with death.  Although his quest for the Infinity Stones is now on the record with Guardians of the Galaxy, in the comics, Thanos has a crazy crush on Death.  That’s why when Thanos is told at the end of The Avengers, “To challenge them is to court death,” he smiles.  So if you want to start up your casting sweepstakes, it sounds like Death will be a physical character in the MCU:

“His relationship with Death, who is actually the woman, I love that,” Brolin enthused. “You can take Sin City [in which Brolin plays a man obsessed with a dark-hearted woman] and pump it full of steroids, and then you have Thanos. I like that he’s motivated by that — not just motivated by destruction or death or this or that. He’s motivated by a very identifiable, human trait.”

And honestly, if they’re going to make Thanos interesting, that’s the essential part of the character, not how many Stones he’s collected.

josh-brolin-comic-con-marvelBrolin also said that Thanos’ relationship with the Avengers was illuminated, unexpectedly, at Comic-Con and the little bit they did there (Downey handed him a rose, and Brolin ate the bloom):

“Not that I’m ever 100-percent sure, but we had constructed this small thing, Kevin Feige and I and Robert, and going on-stage at Comic-Con. Then it became something else. Once I got on-stage, it sort of became its own improv. I knew at that point, because I saw the rivalry between Robert [Downey Jr.] and I, and I thought, ‘I get this. I suddenly really get it.’ So I feel like I’m more inside it than I was. It was more a display to me before that. It was more cosmetic. Now I think I’m starting to get who the guy is a little bit.”

So when do we get to see Thanos surface again?  Where can he fit in for future Marvel movies?  And how many times will we see him?

“I know what one appearance is going to be for sure. There’s one or two that I don’t know.”

The easy assumption is that the one appearance he knows is The Avengers 3, but I’ve found it’s best to avoid assumptions when it comes to Marvel.  At Comic-Con 2013, we assumed Thanos would be the big bad of The Avengers 2, and we got Ultron.  We’ll get the purple guy eventually, and he may even have some Infinity Stones by that point.  My bigger hope is that when we see him, he’ll get to be a more active character rather than chilling out on a throne.



  • Sam

    Absolutely Loved the movie!

  • Dmula

    Every movie since the tesseract was introduced has basically been leading into the Infinity Gauntlet story line for A3,they might have him fight without it and not succeed and then get it

    • Guest

      The Tesseract was used to create portals between wherever Thanos was and Earth. Now it’s in Odin’s vault so I’m assuming Thanos will use it to get into the vault and steal the Infinity Gauntlet which is also there.

      • Lex Walker

        Why would he need to break in? His ally from Avengers is sitting on the throne.

  • Person

    Curious to see how they move Thanos closer to Earth, I really don’t wanna have to wait til 2017 and Guardians 2 to see him again. As for Death… I have no idea who they’d cast, but I have faith in Marvel’s casting department.

    • theseeker7

      I thought I remembered sometime in the recent past Feige mentioning how they weren’t really looking in the direction of making Death a literal physical presence in their story, that it was going to stay more just metaphorical.

      but I have to say, if they did, I’m not sure Eva Green herself would necessarily be the worst choice in the world… :D

      • Person

        I thought of the exact same person, she’s fantastic in just about everything.

      • theseeker7

        well obviously it’s not like completely out of nowhere as they even clearly reference Sin City 2 in the piece and so you can already picture the two of them together, but even looking at it entirely in the Marvel context, I genuinely think Green could potentially be a great look for the manifestation of Lady Death.

        Beautiful and sexy, but also very striking and fierce, even sorta a little bit creepy (but in a good way lol)

  • bidi

    not sure what the firm release date (or if there even is a firm one) is for Avengers 3, but i think it would be pretty bad ass and really different if Marvel made Thanos the big bad in Guardians 2. maybe that movie will have a cameo from Thor and Odin as Thanos infiltrates Asgard and collects the Tesseract, thus completing his search for the Infinity Stones. the Guardians will do battle with him during the climax and lose, and it will then lead DIRECTLY into Avengers 3 as Thanos heads to Earth with the Infinity Gauntlet. like i said, i don’t know what the exact release dates are, but i think this would be really cool and really different to see the heroes actually lose for once (albeit briefly).

    • Lovecraftlives

      Dude, that sounds like a plan. I was thinking that myself, but I kept thinking that all could happen in Avengers 3. Maybe by Guardians 2, he may only have one of the stones. There are many ways they could go with this, but I hope the writing is good for all the films to come, which will be pretty cool if it happens like that.

  • TigerFIST

    I honestly feel like Thanos is too big of a villain for Avengers 3

    • Lex Walker

      So you’re thinking Avengers 7? Totally with you on that.

      • TigerFIST

        Lol. Maybe 5 or 6. You can wait that long and still have Thanos in other Marvel Films. Plus if you have him to early especially with the infinity Gauntlet you’re Cumming too quick. Take your time and continue to build. I consider every film directly connected (not Gotg) before A3 is the structure/foundation for the Avengers. Then after you can go even crazier.

        Other villians before Thanos
        - Red Skull
        - Baron Zemo & Masters of Evil
        - Kang the Conqueror
        - Michael Korvack
        - Taskmaster
        - Kree/Skull

        Before Thanos…

      • Lex Walker

        At that rate they could fit in the Civil War or Secret Wars before Thanos, which I’m not against, it just seems like waaay too long to tease Thanos. I mean that’d be over a decade from now based on Feige’s Avengers every 3 years statement. A4 might make sense, with that in mind. Civil War draws the two sides apart, and they have to reunite to beat Thanos.

      • TigerFIST

        Civil war and secret wars wouldn’t work b/c Marvel/Disney doesn’t own all the characters. They need to stall on those stories as long as possible b/c who knows. Marvel/Disney may get those characters back. And remember they don’t have to tease Thanos.

      • bidi

        well aren’t the leaders of the two factions in Civil War Cap and Iron Man? Marvel has those two. that’s all they need. they haven’t exactly been 100% faithful to the comics thus far anyway

      • Vulcan

        Yeah, but Spider-man, and the Fantastic Four made up the emotional core of the series. Also they would have to introduce a lot of characters quickly to have enough for civil war.

      • Lex Walker

        They’re introducing quite a few thanks to Netflix, and then they’re cramming a bunch into Agents of SHIELD (which might make people watch retroactively). But yeah, to really do it right you’d need those big franchises at the other studios.

      • Vulcan

        are they introducing other heros in Agents of SHIELD? I heard that they weren’t, which turned me off from watching.

      • TigerFIST

        Yes but it would be better with all the characters. I’m just saying hold off. There are a ton of other stories they can tell

      • Lex Walker

        IF they wait to get all the characters back, it’ll never get made. Fox is never going to let X-Men and F4 go. And Sony is either going to scrap their film division and sell off Spidey or keep it forever. Either they have to make deals for crossover, or they have to adapt the stories to fit their current characters. The latter makes more sense.

      • TigerFIST

        I’m just saying there are a ton of stories they can tell first before they go that route. I honestly don’t think we’ll ever get Xmen back, but if FF next year sucks and makes no money Marvel will get it back. And with Sony if they don’t knock this next one out the park critically and financially they’ll lose that one too. The Spidey films continue to make less than the previous.

      • Arthur Dent

        They don’t have to get the characters back for Secret Wars necessarily. They could actually use the fact that they are all in different universes as a story point in a Secret Wars series, where the Beyonder pulls them all together from their own universes on to one planet for them all to battle it out. That removes the need for getting the characters back and establishing them in the MCU, as long as all the studios involved would make a deal. Given the guaranteed metric shit-ton of cash that ALL of them would rake in, it would be stupid to not do it at some point.

    • Lovecraftlives

      Sorry, he is going to show up in Avengers 3 and have small parts in at least two other films before that. Maybe it might be in the form of a mid credits scene, but it will happen none the less. Marvel has been teasing the “fanboys” with this for awhile, so I don’t see them backing off from that.

      • TigerFIST

        Who knows

  • theseeker7

    btw, what kind of being is Thanos himself? He’s not a Kree, is he? is the blue skin just a coincidence.

    • Vulcan

      He is a Titan, which is a race of eternal beings that were originally intended to be guardians of Earth. Thanos is called the Mad Titan, and is obsessed with destroying the entire Universe in order to impress Death. The blue skin is just coincidence.

      • Snarky Daemon O’Mockery

        Hail Eris!

        Um, s/Titan/Eternal of Titan (Saturn’s moon), to be specific. His brother is Eros, commonly called “Starfox,” in the comics. I’d love to see Starfox…

        “I’ve never seen a real beaver, just the ones in the movies!”

    • R0yBatty

      He has purple skin, not blue.

      • theseeker7

        well actually he did look quite darker in the original Avengers cameo (more purple, I’d say) than the Guardians scene.

  • guest

    I’m gonna miss Loki to be honest, such an entertaining villain, though I can’t wait for Ultron…
    On the other hand, Josh Brolin is a great actor but he’s a total ass, that diminish my enthusiasm.

    • RedMercury

      Oh, I think you’ll still be seeing Loki in the Thor movies.

      • guest

        I hope so.
        Is Thor 3 confirmed?

  • milo

    In the linked “thanos sucks at being a supervillian” article, I love how there are so many comments from fanboys who completely missed that the article was a joke and responded with complete outrage. Oh, silly internet.

  • somejackball

    i wish he’d do a remake of ‘The Car’, or a sequel

    • theseeker7

      wow… I actually know a credited producer (though technically that’s not his primarily Hollywood gig) who’s had that exact dream project for several years.