Starting with his introduction in 2012’s The Avengers, Thanos loomed large over the Marvel Cinematic Universe as the main antagonist of what we now know as The Infinity Saga. James Brolin first portrayed The Mad Titan in Guardians of the Galaxy, but it was in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame where the character took center stage. Thanos has gone down as one of Brolin’s most popular roles, and the actor recalled his time playing the “700-pound purple guy” while interviewing himself. Yes, you read that correctly.
Josh Brolin was supposed to have a chat with Jeremy Renner, a.k.a. the MCU’s Clint Barton/Hawkeye, for Variety’s Actors on Actors. However, Renner was a last-minute no-show for the segment, so rather than scrap it altogether, Brolin decided to follow Thanos’ words at the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron: “Fine, I’ll do it myself.” When Brolin capped off his interview by asking Brolin how he reacted when he was approached to play Thanos, here’s what Brolin had to say to Brolin:
This is an exceptional answer that Josh Brolin gave for Josh Brolin’s question. Unfortunately, him ruminating on playing Thanos apparently put the interviewer to sleep, so maybe he should have summarized his thoughts more succinctly. Still, I think we can all agree that Brolin took a role that he initially played as a cameo and proceeded knock it out of the park with the combo-hitter of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. As far as the interview as a whole goes, I’m hoping that Brolin has the opportunity to chat with Brolin like this again at some point… ok, that’s enough of this bit.
Following Damon Poitier briefly portraying Thanos in The Avengers, Josh Brolin took over the character for Guardians of the Galaxy, where he seen as Ronan the Accuser’s benefactor, though the Kree fanatic would later betray The Mad Titan after obtaining the Power Stone. Between that and Loki’s defeat at the Battle of New York, by the end of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Thanos decided to undertake the quest for the Infinity Stones personally, and he accomplished his mission at the end of Avengers: Infinity War. From there, he proceeded to wipe out half of all life in the universe, and then destroy the Infinity Stones using their own power so no one could undo his genocide.
While the original Thanos was beheaded by Thor early into Avengers: Endgame, that movie later brought in a past version of Thanos from an alternate timeline to try and destroy all of reality to remake it in his image. This Thanos met his demise when Tony Stark sacrificed his life to wipe out the “700-pound purple guy” and his army with the Infinity Stones acquired from the Infinity Stones. Josh Brolin later vocally reprised Thanos for an episode of What If… ?, and with the MCU multiverse being fully established, there’s always a slim chance we could see another alternate version of the character. For now though, his time to shine in live-action has come and gone.
Josh Brolin most recently starred in the Amazon series Outer Range, and he’s set to reprise Gurney Halleck in Dune: Part Two, which he specifically requested his publicist to put on IMDB a few months back. As for what the MCU landscape looks like in the coming years, you can find that information in our guides detailing upcoming Marvel movies and upcoming Marvel TV shows.
Connoisseur of Marvel, DC, Star Wars, John Wick, MonsterVerse and Doctor Who lore. He's aware he looks like Harry Potter and Clark Kent.
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