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As audiences around the word were radiating with nerdgasms over Joss Whedon's insanely entertaining superhero ensemble adventure The Avengers, a sleek post credits scene revealed the true driving force behind the carnage-dealing Chitauri forces. It didn't matter how familiar you were with Marvel comics, if you'd been keeping up with the Marvel movies, you knew this purple brute would return to tangle with Earth's mightiest heroes again…eventually.

Earlier this week rumors emerged that purple beast of evil Thanos would be the key antagonist in both The Avengers 2 and the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy, but without confirmation from Marvel Studios exec and producer Kevin Feige weighing in, we were reluctant to believe just yet. Thankfully, MTV snagged a word with Feige who talked a bit about including Thanos in The Avengers' final moments as well as the studio's plans for this villain's future.
"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."

When probed for specifics—namely would Thanos being a central figure in Avengers 2 or Guardians of the Galaxy—Feige was predictably tight-lipped, but admitted he's well-aware of the power of the post-credit teaser scene, saying:
"There's a great track record now about lobbing something in at the last moment to get the audience buzzing. Particularly when it came to Thanos, [we knew] that most people in that audience had no idea who that purple guy was — but they could clearly tell he was important, and knew if they asked the two or three people sitting next to them, somebody would know who he was."

While Fiege is refusing to confirm Thanos involvement in the next crop of Marvel movies, it'd be true to form for this extraterrestrial mutant with a deep love of dealing out death and destruction to be woven into Marvel's next adventures. With Earth being hit hard in The Avengers, many savvy comic book fans have argued that the next frontier for the super team would have to be space, which would be a great fit for Thanos. Of course, since Whedon only recently committed to The Avengers 2 it's likely the script is too in flux to risk spoilers that may never make it to the shooting script.

But whenever Thanos may reappear, there's no guarantee on who might play him. Unfortunately for Damion Poitier, who lent his strong jawline and growling gravitas for Thanos' Avengers debut, Feige confesses Marvel's not tied to the actor, declaring:
"I think we feel pretty free to recast. That was cast for literally that one shot. Depending on what the role requires from future movies, we'll go from there."

In short, we may have to wait until the credits roll on Captain America: The Winter Soldier in the spring of 2014 to see what Marvel has in mind for Thanos. But you better believe we'll be watching casting notices for clues in the mean time.

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