It’s old news at this point that the Mad Titan Thanos will be putting in a small appearance in this weekend’s Guardians of the Galaxy. Teased during the after-credits easter egg in Joss Whedon’s first Avengers film, it’s been one of the worst-kept secrets of the Marvel Cinematic Universe that Thanos was being positioned to be a major foe for the Marvel heroes at some point down the road; it was just a question of when. Initially many assumed he’d be the primary villain for Avengers 2, but that role fell to Ultron instead. For Guardians we’re getting a bit more of Thanos, but only a bit. He makes a brief appearance and is pulling the strings behind the scenes of the events of Guardians, but Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) is the primary bad guy Star-Lord and company will be squaring off against. But while we will have to wait a few more years to see Thanos get his full due, thanks to an Instagram leak, we don’t have to wait to see what he’ll look like on screen.
Warning: visual spoilers below!
The still of Thanos is obviously grabbed from inside a movie theater, I’m guessing probably by a theater employee since the auditorium looks empty. Hopefully it wasn’t the dude actually posting the picture, as I imagine that sort of thing might get your ass fired. At any rate, Thanos looks great even in a low-res camera phone shot. They’ve got him in his iconic pose, chilling out on his throne against a starscape background, generally looking the badass. He appears to be fully CG, but, much like with Andy Serkis’ remarkable work on the Lord of the Rings and Planet of the Apes films, Thanos will be brought to life via motion capture, with actor Josh Brolin providing the dialogue. Thanos is a character that they probably could have gotten away with doing practically with makeup, but thankfully technology has advanced far enough that CGI creations like this are far more convincing than distracting.
I’ll be curious to see where Thanos turns up first in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 before he turns up in Avengers 3. The former is officially slated for a July 28, 2017 release, and the latest rumors suggest Avengers 3 may arrive in 2018, three years after Age of Ultron hits. If Thanos really is going to be the Big Bad for Avengers 3/Phase 3 of the MCU, it might make sense to have him be the main antagonist for Guardians 2 as well, or at least have a significant role. That would also then provide an easy way to connect the Guardians and the broader Marvel cosmos with the Earthbound adventures of the Avengers. Maybe the Guardians will travel to Earth to try and warn them that Thanos is on the way and packing the Infinity Gauntlet. Having the Avengers and Guardians team up to take Thanos down would be about as epic as epic gets.
Guardians of the Galaxy opens tomorrow, August 1, but there are Thursday-night screenings around if you look for them. You’d better believe that’s how I’m spending my evening tonight.