Exclusive: Josh Brolin Returning As Thanos In Secret Wars

It already seemed... inevitable.

By Michileen Martin | Published

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The return of Thanos seemed… inevitable, didn’t it? Well, even if you didn’t think so, it doesn’t matter; he’s coming back. Our trusted and proven source has informed us that Josh Brolin is confirmed to return as the Mad Titan in 2025’s Avengers: Secret Wars. What remains to be seen is exactly what version of Thanos we’re bound to see in the event film, and what role he’ll play in the story.

One intriguing possibility is that when Josh Brolin appears in Secret Wars, it won’t be as a villain; or, at least, it won’t be as an antagonist. In the 2015-16 comic book inspiring the film, Thanos and the group of bad guys following him–The Cabal, a supervillain reflection of the Illuminati–do everything they can to oppose the villain God Doom (aka, Doctor Doom, but a whole lot more powerful). In fact, before Doom remakes Marvel’s Multiverse as a single planet over which he rules, Thanos and his Cabal work hard to stop the coming catastrophe from happening, but with fewer moral qualms than their Illuminati counterparts. They’re not only more than happy to destroy the realities involved in the Incursions for the sake of their own, but they often enjoy slaughtering the doomed worlds’ populace just for fun beforehand.

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Thanos and God Doom in Secret Wars #4, Marvel Comics 2015

Of course, Avengers: Secret Wars is bound to not be a carbon copy of the event upon which its based, just as films like Avengers: Age of Ultron and Captain America: Civil War took great liberties with the source material. Still, with Josh Brolin confirmed for Secret Wars, there’s no end of the possible versions of Thanos he could play. The comics have featured countless variants of Thanos from across the Multiverse; from the even more terrifying to the outright bizarre.

Josh Brolin could play King Thanos in Secret Wars — a variant of the Mad Titan who murders most of Marvel’s heroes and survives to a dark future where he sits upon a throne and keeps an elderly Hulk as his pet. The Cosmic Ghost Rider miniseries introduced a Punisher Thanos. When a variant Frank Castle goes back in time with plans to murder Thanos as an infant, he instead kidnaps the child and tries to raise him as a good man. Castle first thinks he’s succeeded when he meets the adult Thanos wearing the Punisher skull and ruling over an idyllic paradise, but that changes when he discovers the paradise is built on the backs of slave labor.

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Thanos in Cosmic Ghost Rider #3, Marvel Comics 2018

Of course, there’s always the possibility that Josh Brolin returning for Secret Wars has something to do with the post-credits scene of last year’s Eternals. Harry Styles’s cameo as Eros, aka Starfox, included a reference to him as a brother of Thanos. It’s a comment that begs for explanation. While Thanos is an Eternal in the comics, his origins have seemed to stray far from the source material; seeming to eliminate the possibility of his relation to Eros or the Eternals. Clearing all that up may very well need Brolin himself for a do-over.