Why Captain America: Civil War Isn't Using Thanos

As we get closer to Avengers: Infinity War, Part 1 and Part 2, Marvelites have been on the lookout for Thanos. The Mad Titan, voiced by Josh Brolin, who last popped up in the MCU during the post-credits scene for Age of Ultron, which saw him grabbing an spare Infinity Gauntlet from his vault and exclaiming, "I’ll do it myself," teasing his efforts to collect all six Infinity Stones. While fans continue to speculate where he might show his face next, writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely confirmed he won’t be appearing in this May’s Captain America: Civil War -- but for a very logical reason.

When asked by press on the film’s set in Atlanta, Georgia, about cosmic threats, Markus said:

Because we've got so much cosmic-ness waiting, we are more than happy to keep it waiting. Because, you know... Civil War is such a grounded argument, that you don't want to go, [whispers] 'Actually, that's not very important because there's a space man coming.' We all know there's a space man coming, but it's going to blow this argument out of the water if you bring it up. So all that has to stay far enough away.

Makes sense to us. While we know that an Infinity War is coming, the Avengers do not. And their Civil War might seem too small-scale in comparison. If directors Joe and Anthony Russo get their way, however, audiences will walk out of the theaters confused and debating who’s in the right, Captain America or Iron Man. The pair realize it’ll be easier for audiences to rally around Team Cap because Civil War is fundamentally a story about Steve Rogers, but Tony’s motivation is "the most human motivation." Joe explained:

It's natural instinct for an audience member to want to get behind the person that has more screen time and somebody as likable and root-able as Cap, so you have to work really hard to make sure that this is not a protagonist/antagonist movie. Hopefully by the time we're done it's a very complex film where you walk out of the film having a fight with your buddy or your boyfriend/girlfriend about who was right in the film.

In addition, Civil War juggles a variety of characters, including (but not limited to) Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), Falcon (Anthony Mackie), Vision (Paul Bettany), Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen), Black Panther (Chadwick Boseman), Agent 13 (Emily VanCamp), Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), and Spider-Man (Tom Holland). Adding Thanos into this capacity is a major undertaking of its own.

So, where might Thanos pop up next? Barring any post-credits sequence, which could feature him in any film, the character at least won’t be showing up in Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol. 2, as confirmed by writer-director James Gunn. Given Thanos’ cosmic implications, Captain Marvel (which still needs a leading lady), Thor: Ragnarok, and perhaps even Doctor Strange seem like good bets. When last we heard, Brolin said in September that a full appearance would happen "soon." Then again, everyone has a different definition of "soon."