Thanos has been standing on the sidelines in the Marvel Cinematic Universe for years, but no more. Following the failure of his subordinates and partners, the Mad Titan is finally overseeing the collection of the Infinity Stones himself, and it all comes to a head later this month in Avengers: Infinity War. Besides being one of Marvel Comics' most powerful characters, Thanos also has an interesting backstory on the printed page, but Infinity War directors Joe and Anthony Russo opted not to show his movie's counterpart's past since it wasn't important to the overall story. As Joe Russo put it:
We were considering showing [Thanos'] backstory, but ultimately felt it wasn't necessary for the movie.
Just so it's clear, Avengers: Infinity War did crafts backstory for the MCU's Thanos. Part of the movie's action takes place on the villain's homeworld, Titan, and in this continuity, the planet is no longer inhabited due to events that Thanos was unable to prevent. Not wanting to see another type of extinction ever happen, Thanos believes that life in the universe is expanding outward unchecked, so he intends to use the Infinity Stones to change reality as he sees fit. However, as the Russos told Total Film Magazine, none of this will be outright shown during Infinity War. Thanos certainly won't be lacking for screen time, as the directing duo reaffirmed that the movie is being "told from his point of view"; we just won't see his origin story depicted. That said, with Josh Brolin reprising the purple-skinned alien warlord in Avengers 4 next year, perhaps that's where his past will be directly explored.
It's also worth noting that just because we won't see Thanos' backstory in Avengers: Infinity War doesn't mean the movie won't have any flashbacks. Those who watched Guardians of the Galaxy know that Thanos took Gamora as a child and raised her to be one of his many murderous "children," and in the most recent Infinity War trailer, we saw Thanos leading the young Gamora away while the Mad Titan's soldiers surrounded her people. But like the rest of Infinity War's players, the majority of Thanos' scenes will take place in the present, as he and the Black Order will battle the MCU's heroes for control of the Infinity Stones. It's already been shown that the main antagonist will insert the Space and Power Stones into his Infinity Gauntlet, but the fate of the other four Stones is still shrouded in mystery.
Avengers: Infinity War hits theaters on April 27, and it's projected to open at approximately $200 million. Keep checking in with CinemaBlend for more news about Infinity War in these remaining weeks, and to keep up to date about what else the MCU has in development, browse through our Marvel movies guide.