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We've known for a couple years now that the Mad Titan known as Thanos would be making his second Marvel Cinematic Universe appearance in Guardians of the Galaxy, but the question that has persisted is just how big his role will be. Will he only be making a small cameo appearance like in The Avengers, or does he have an expanded role? With less than two months to go before the film's release, we now have an answer.
WARNING: What follows may be considered by some of you to be spoilers for Guardians of the Galaxy. If you don't wish to know too much extra information about the film prior to release, I would recommend heading over HERE.
Following up on the breaking news from last week that Josh Brolin will be providing at the very least the voice of Thanos in Guardians of the Galaxy and future Marvel Studios movies, Vulture has gotten the skinny on exactly how big a role the character plays in writer/director James Gunn's film. According to their sources, Thanos actually shows up in person the first act of Guardians, though spends most of the rest of the movie in hologram form. He will be featured in a scene opposite Lee Pace's Ronan The Accuser and Karen Gillan's Nebula, but apparently he will be sticking to the shadows. Still, even when Thanos isn't on screen he will still be in the conversation, as the sources add "characters reference him often and fearfully, and he has familial ties to Gamora (Zoe Saldana), our green-skinned female lead." Basically, it's a substantial insubstantial role.
So what about Thanos' role in The Avengers: Age of Ultron? Apparently he doesn't really have one. Vulture adds in their report that the giant purple alien "will likely recede back into the shadows for a bit after Guardians," which means that he won't have anything to do with the superhero team's battle against the robotic menace known as Ultron. That said, many have speculated that the inevitable Avengers 3 will play out the Infinity Gauntlet story from the comics, where Thanos is the central villain - meaning that will be the time for him to shine.
Marvel Studios seems to be having quite a bit of fun hinting at Thanos' presence, having him not only make small appearances in Guardians of the Galaxy, but also casually referencing things like the Infinity Stones (which go in the aforementioned Infinity Gauntlet to create a glove that gives its wearer the powers of a god). After so much build up they will have to deliver in a big way, but knowing how much planning the Marvel folks do, one can imagine that they have the whole thing pretty much figured out.