Come 2018, it’s predicted that every known hero in the Marvel Cinematic Universe will join together in a battle against Thanos – a galactic emperor working to acquire the abilities of a god with the help of the six Infinity Stones. Given that he’s playing the Mad Titan, Josh Brolin has probably recognized this for some time, but it actually wasn’t until a particular interaction at a comic book store that he realized the significance of the role he is taking on.

Josh Brolin told me this story yesterday when I had the opportunity to interview him one-on-one during the press day for Hail, Caesar! in Los Angeles. The actor couldn’t say too much about the part - given that he has only had a few lines in the MCU thus far and has a big Thanos meeting scheduled later this month - but he did note how he has already see the character’s power. Said Brolin,
It was a great thing - when I was doing Sicario, up the street from where I rented a house there was a comic book store. And I walked into the comic book store wanting to get more information on Thanos, and not wanting to call Kevin Feige with ‘Hey man, can you send me more stuff?’ And I walked in there and they freaked. Dude, I’ve never seen that kind of reaction. I’ve never seen that reaction. It was like, ‘Uhuhuhuhuh.’ Freaking out! And I was like, wow, this means so much to some people!

So why were the comic book shop proprietors and patrons trembling before Thanos? Well, he is kind of a big deal in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. To paraphrase Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige from the October 2014 Phase Three announcement, everything that the company has done to this point has all been leading to a humungous showdown that will unfold in the two-part capstone film The Avengers: Infinity War - which is being directed by Captain America: The Winter Soldier/Civil War directors Joe and Anthony Russo. Key McGuffins – such as the Tesseract in The Avengers and the orb in Guardians of the Galaxy - all tie to Thanos’ master plan and his aforementioned desire for absolute power. It’s still kind of weird to just start stammering in front of an actor, but I’m trying to make an argument for the comic book aficionados.

Josh Brolin will soon be meeting with the key Avengers: Infinity War players to talk about what’s in store for Thanos in the next three years, but for now we’re a bit in the dark. As always, stay tuned for more details, and see Brolin in theaters this weekend in Hail, Caesar!

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