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Thanos has been sitting on the sidelines in the Marvel Cinematic Universe since 2012, but that's about to change. Following the failure of his minions, the Mad Titan has decided to search for the Infinity Stones himself, and by Avengers: Infinity War, he'll be ready to battle almost all of the MCU's major heroes. Production on both the third and fourth Avengers movies kicked off last month, and the latest set photo from directors Joe and Anthony Russo indicate that we'll be revisiting an important location connected to Thanos: his vault.
To the uninitiated, this photo from the Russo Brothers looks like we're just peering through some kind of metal grate, which is covered by a shutter. However, if you take a look at Avengers: Age of Ultron's mid-credits scene (which you can re-watch below), this set-up resembles the vault where Thanos retrieved the Infinity Gauntlet and declared he'd "do it himself," i.e. retrieve the Infinity Stones solo. Granted, the lighting wasn't great when the vault opened and the mechanisms turned, but it would make sense if we returned to the room where Thanos keeps his most prized possessions. Since Thanos has already taken the Infinity Gauntlet from its resting place, perhaps we're peeking through those holes from one of the other shelves inside the vault.
Unlike in the Marvel comics universe, there are at least two Infinity Gauntlets in the MCU. The first was briefly seen in 2011's Thor within Odin's weapons vault, and was decorated with replicas of the Infinity Stones. Presumably it remains there with the rest of the dangerous artifacts, including the Space Stone. Then in Avengers: Age of Ultron, following the defeat of the megalomaniacal robot, Thanos decided that since Loki and Ronan weren't able to obtain the Space and Power Stones for him, respectively, he decided to get the job done himself and donned the golden glove. Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige later confirmed that the Infinity Gauntlet Thanos retrieved was not the one in Odin's vault, so if the Marvel heroes need their own Gauntlet, they can always ask Odin if they can borrow his.
Just like in the comics, Thanos' main goal in Avengers: Infinity War will be to "rebalance the universe" as he sees fit, and the only way he'll be able to do that is with the power of all six Infinity Stones. It's been confirmed the Mad Titan will not appear in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but beyond that, it's still a mystery whether we'll see him retrieve some of the Infinity Stones before Avengers: Infinity War or if he'll snag all of them during that epic blockbuster. Either way, it will be up to the MCU's superheroes, both on Earth and from other areas of the galaxy, to team up and stop Thanos from rewriting reality, whether that takes one movie or leaks over into Avengers 4 the following year.
Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters on May 4, 2018.