*** Warning: This post contains Avengers: Infinity War Spoilers ***
Thanos, the biggest and baddest villain to date in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, is unquestionably the star of Avengers: Infinity War… but he deserves more. And not just him, but the story surrounding his origin story, his family, and his adopted children. How Thanos is explored in Avengers 3 is a case of it being good or good enough, but not necessarily the greatest. Here’s why.
We knew going into the third Avengers instalment from directors Anthony and Joe Russo that the backstory of Thanos was cut, but so too were other key sequences of the film. Given how much was packed into one film, which in reality is still only part one of a two-part saga, there was a lot of telling instead of showing. In some ways, that’s a waste or at the very least, a wasted opportunity.
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Let’s start from the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War itself. The film begins seemingly right where Thor: Ragnarok ends. Asgard is not a place but its people – that was the theme of Ragnarok and something that’s all thrown away in the first seconds of Infinity War. When Thanos and the four members of his Black Order are introduced here they already have acquired the Power Stone. This means, Marvel Studios completely skipped over the siege of Xandar, home of the Nova Corps and a central location of the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie.
“We were considering showing [Thanos’] backstory,” says Anthony Russo, “but ultimately felt it wasn’t necessary for the movie.”
Later in Avengers: Infinity War when we meet the Guardians of the Galaxy, they’re conveniently tossed in, with not much change to who they are now, five years after the events of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Groot got bigger but they look the same and even dress the same otherwise.
And then of course there’s the missing Infinity Stone predicament which sets up the most personal element of Avengers: Infinity War, and some wonderful scenery, despite being entirely contrived. A Thanos solo movie could have rectified and improved upon all of these things while also giving Marvel it’s first real villain movie.
What A Thanos Movie Could Have Added
Imagine a story where, like in last few years of Marvel Comics, we see what happened when Thanos was born and labeled a defect (read: Jason Aaron’s “Thanos Rising” miniseries). Imagine a young, skinny Thanos growing up an outsider but one who was the most brilliant, curious, and ruthless. Imagine seeing what he does does to satisfy his curiosity, from killing his own mother to genetically enhancing himself, and meeting his infamous brother Starfox and father A’lars (who’s referenced in Infinity War as a clear nod to the in-development Eternals movie).
Imagine Thanos starting his intergalactic fleet and conquering world after world, adopting children along the way. Imagine seeing who the Black Order really are and how dangerous they could have been (since they certainly weren’t effective against the Avengers).
Imagine a story actually setting up the Soul Stone, what it does and how it ended up where it is. And certainly, wouldn’t it be great to see how Gamora knows about it without that fact being retconned into Avengers: Infinity War. And the best part? What if the final act of such a film shows Thanos making up for one of his dumber mistakes, and doing what Ronan the Accuser failed to do in attacking Xandar and acquiring the purple Power Stone, destroying the Nova Corps in the process.
Related: Infinity War Was Supposed to be the Thanos Origin Movie
This film could also be marketed not only as the setup to the biggest Avengers two-parter ever, it could have featured the Guardians of the Galaxy and better explained what they’ve been up to the last few years. It could set them up better for their appearance in Avengers: Infinity War. By showing fans Thanos defeating the Nova Corps it could also explain their need to form a new Nova Corps, a super-powered one like the comics and the setup for a Nova origin movie – something Kevin Feige says it likely happening sooner rather than later in the MCU.
This is all of course, just hopeful wishful thinking and conjecture, but wow, it’s undeniable that it would have helped make Marvel’s “greatest villain” more of a character. He deserves a movie if Thor can have three. Such a project could have tied together so many more of the cinematic universe interconnected elements and setup so much of what’s still to come on the cosmic side. And most of all, it would prevent Avengers: Infinity War and the assembly of the six Infinity Stones into the Infinity Gauntlet from feeling so rushed.
A Thanos movie, timed just a few months before Infinity War, could have even shown the sequence in history where Thanos had the gauntlet made in the first place, justifying the weird amount of time spent with Thor having the Stormbreaker weapon made by Eitri (Peter Dinklage).
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What do you think?
Thanos imagery crafted by me from art by Hamza Javed and Rodion Vlasov.