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Thanos should be in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. We totally understand why you think that. We thought it too while we were on the set of James Gunn's sequel. After all, Thanos had his longest scene to date in the Marvel Cinematic Universe in Gunn's first movie, appearing on his throne and ordering Lee Pace's Ronan around. Plus, two major characters in the Guardians movies are the daughters of Thanos, Gamora (Zoe Saldana) and Nebula (Karen Gillan). And yet, Thanos will NOT be in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, and it's because Gunn wants to focus on these ladies -- not their father -- that the purple titan is absent. Gunn told us:
It's about two sisters. It's not about the sisters and their father. It's about two sisters, and what were the sisters' problems with each other. ... It really isn't about Thanos.
James Gunn went on to tell us that, when turning his attention to the type of story that he wanted to tell with Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, he "just wasn't inspired" to include the major Marvel villain in this film, opting to lean on the Ravagers (led by Taserface) and Ayesha -- two newcomers. The reason why we all are expecting it, though, is because Thanos will cause hell in the MCU in next year's Avengers: Infinity War, and so we need to start seeing him on screen soon.
However, it's that mandatory process that left a bad taste in James Gunn's mouth, as the director later told us during our set visit:
It wasn't the most fun part of the movie last time for me, and I just didn't want to do it this time. ... And again, it wasn't, the relationship with Thanos has nothing to do with it. It's not about their relationship with Thanos. It's about [Gamora and Nebula's] relationship to each other, and what is that. That was interesting to me, and I thought it was important to our story, and important to our characters.
This should give Marvel fans hope that James Gunn stood his ground and didn't allow the studio to force his hand to set up the next Avengers movie in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. Gunn certainly bought himself enough leeway by delivering a massive hit with the first Guardians movie, so he SHOULD be allowed to tell the story he wants, with the character emphasis he prefers. At the same, casual audiences might need some refresher course on Thanos (Josh Brolin), a villain we really haven't seen since this cut scene in Avengers: Age of Ultron:
But if the director is to be believed, Thanos will not be in this sequel. And I wouldn't expect him in a mid-credits scene. As James Gunn joked, his two scenes in the first Guardians involved a potted plant, and Howard the Duck. So setting up more MCU movies is not Gunn's bag. But we will know for sure when Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 opens on May 5. For more from our Marvel set visit, click here. And for all of the information on the Upcoming Marvel Movies, click that text.