Joss Whedon Promises Thanos Is Part Of The Plan For The Avengers 2

To dedicated fans of the Marvel universe, Thanos is a Bronze Age baddie who is essentially death personified. To the rest of us, he's the smirking purple guy that exuded menace in during The Avengers end credits. His appearance sparked sprawling speculation on how Marvel might weave him into their expanding superhero franchise. And with Iron Man 3 opening all over the world, Joss Whedon has surfaced with a tantalizing tease about Thanos' involvement in Avengers 2.

Speaking with Desde Hollywood (via Screen Rant) Whedon allowed that Earth's mightiest heroes are powerful, but:

“Well, Thanos is more powerful. He is so powerful; he is not someone you can just trot out and punch him. Like he did in the comics, you want him threading through the universe and to save the big finale for the big finale. He is definitely a part of what I have got going on. The thing about The Avengers is that they are very powerful but not very stable. So, there will definitely be some people that will shake them up in the next installment.”

This description of Thanos seems to suggest he won't be the main antagonist of The Avengers 2, but rather the puppeteer, pulling the strings of "the people" that the Avengers will tangle with in the sequel. It sounds to me like Thanos is being set up in a way similar to how Stephen Moffat set up Moriarty in his captivating Sherlock mini-series that is essentially six feature-length films (and counting). In Sherlock, each adventure had our hero facing off against some mysterious evildoer. But even upon our hero's collaring of the criminal, something hung in the air. Someone lurked in the shadows, plotting and pulling the strings to cause carnage. It sounds like this will be Thanos's role for a spell in Marvel's franchise.

Screenrant posits that this might mean he won't be the main antagonist until Avengers 3, a theory that may be supported by comments Marvel Studios exec and producer Kevin Feige made last fall:

"Clearly, there's a purpose to us putting him in the end of that movie. We do have plans for him. I wouldn't say we ever feel the need to rush anything one way or the other. We succeeded in Phase One because we stuck to our guns and stuck to the plan. That plan took place over many, many years and it ultimately paid off. I see Phase Two unfolding in the same way of us taking our time, us doing what's right for each individual movie, while folding in elements that will not only build up to the culmination of Phase Two, but even Phase Three."

So how far down the road are Whedon and Feige looking as far as Thanos is concerned? It's hard to determine, especially because Marvel is creating a rich cinematic world unlike any we've seen before, one that pulls in multiple films and spin-offs in a way that actually engages the audience instead of inciting enraged cries of "cash grab!" Thanos could prove the finale to Phase Two, or even the kick-off into Phase Three. In the meantime, who are "the people" Whedon's alluding to? Could they be Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver? Sound off with your guesses in comments.

Staff writer at CinemaBlend.