James Gunn Explains Why Guardians Of The Galaxy's Thanos Scene ‘Complicated’ The Story

Thanos in Guardians of the Galaxy

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It's been years since Guardians of the Galaxy arrived in theaters, instantly making the motley crew of heroes into MCU fan favorites. James Gunn is the architect of the cosmic franchise, and has put his sense of humor, taste in music, and dance movies into the Guardians' adventures through the galaxy. The original movie debuted back in 2014, and the movie also briefly featured Josh Brolin's Thanos. And it turns out that the Mad Titan made things a bit more complicated for the acclaimed filmmaker.

Guardians of the Galaxy did a ton of world building, taking the Marvel Cinematic Universe into space for the first time. While Thanos had a brief moment in The Avengers' post-credits scene, this was the first major appearance of Josh Brolin's big purple villain. James Gunn was recently asked about how that affected his job as a filmmaker, and he opened up saying:

Aha. It looks like Thanos' inclusion required some exposition from other characters like Gamora, Nebula, and Ronin. And trying to properly service that story within the confines of the Guardians' origin story was a difficult part of the process for James Gunn.

James Gunn's comments about the first Guardians of the Galaxy movie came from his recent participation in ComicBook's #QuarantineWatchParty. Gunn watched his Marvel debut along with the fans who are self-isolating, and answering questions on Twitter. The social media outlet might have temporarily cost the filmmaker his job helming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, but that hasn't stopped him from using it to directly communicate with fans.

Guardians of the Galaxy had to introduce a slew of colorful characters into the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Each member of the titular team needed some backstory. There was also a trio of villains in Thanos, Nebula, and Ronin. The latter was the primary antagonist of the blockbuster, but Thanos' inclusion did a ton of set up for the Mad Titan's eventual appearance in Avengers: Infinity War.

Marvel fans can rewatch the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise on Disney+. You can use this link for a free 7-day trial to the streaming service.

James Gunn seems to think that trying to establish the history of Guardians' villains was one of the more challenging aspects of crafting the movie. Audiences needed to properly understand who Thanos was, and his history with Ronin as well as his adopted daughters. It's a complex backstory, which needed to be simplified into two brief seqeuences.

As a reminder, you can check out Thanos' first scene in Guardians of the Galaxy below.

Audiences knew that Thanos was somebody important and powerful, but they likely had no idea just how much he'd affect the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe. Josh Brolin's hulking purple villain proved endlessly challenging for Earth's Mightiest Heroes, and actually managed to accrue the Infinity Stones and wipe out half of all life. Luckily, the Time Heist in Avengers: Endgame helped the heroes reverse this, and team up for the biggest action sequence in Marvel history.

The next installment in the MCU is Black Widow on November 7th. In the meantime, check out our 2020 release list to plan your next trip to the movies.

Corey Chichizola
Movies Editor

Corey was born and raised in New Jersey. Graduated with degrees theater and literature from Ramapo College of New Jersey. After working in administrative theater for a year in New York, he started as the Weekend Editor at CinemaBlend. He's since been able to work himself up to reviews, phoners, and press junkets-- and is now able to appear on camera with some of his favorite actors... just not as he would have predicted as a kid. He's particularly proud of covering horror franchises like Scream and Halloween, as well as movie musicals like West Side Story. Favorite interviews include Steven Spielberg, Spike Lee, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more.