It has to be pretty stressful watching a character you created make their debut in a feature film – and a film you have no control over. How will your “baby” be interpreted? Will all of your hard work, your blood and sweat, be tossed out like bathwater in favor of a new director’s vision? Will it all turn out so very wrong?
These were the fears flowing through legendary comic-book writer Jim Starlin’s creative brain as Marvel Studios mounted both Avengers: Infinity War and its conclusion, Avengers: Endgame. The movies were going to be based on a story Starlin wrote in 1991 (The Infinity Gauntlet), and would be the first MCU movie to fully feature Thanos (Josh Brolin) as a significant character.
When we recently had the chance to sit down and interview Jim Starlin as Avengers: Endgame was making its way to DVD and Blu-ray, we asked him the moment that he realized that Thanos worked, and he could stop worrying. He told us:
If you can’t recall, Avengers: Infinity War begins where Thor: Ragnarok ends. Thanos and his Black Order have boarded a ship piloted by Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). He’s seeking the Tesseract, and he lays waste to a community of Asgardians. It’s a fantastic introduction for the iconic character.
So Jim Starlin admits that he was able to breathe easy almost immediately, as this opening scene – written by the brilliant Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely – eased him mind and made him realize that Marvel Studios was going to do justice to the Mad Titan. Even though the MCU required some major changes to the Infinity Gauntlet story, due to characters the studio does not own (like The Silver Surfer and Mephisto).
But there was another concern lingering in Jim Starlin’s mind as he approached the release of Avengers: Infinity War, and it had to do with the way that DC had tried, and failed, to being their major team to the big screen in Justice League the year prior. As Starlin told us:
Yeah, that’d be cause for alarm. Much like Steppenwolf and Darkseid in the DC universe, Thanos is a complicated character with a rich backstory. We get hints of it in Avengers: Infinity War. But the movie could have used more, as the books lend more layers to the dominant villain.
Want to watch our full interview with Jim Starlin? Then press play on the video down below:
Avengers: Endgame concludes the current run of Thanos in the MCU. Do you think that the Mad Titan will return in another Marvel series? Like, say, Eternals? Anything’s possible, so we’ll see where the future takes us as the MCU continues to grow on screen.
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Sean O’Connell is a journalist and CinemaBlend’s Managing Editor. Sean created ReelBlend, which he proudly cohosts with Jake Hamilton and Kevin McCarthy. And he's the author of RELEASE THE SNYDER CUT, the Spider-Man history book WITH GREAT POWER, and an upcoming book about Bruce Willis.