'Avengers: Infinity War' Writers Open Up About Thanos And His Hero's Journey

If you were to ask fans whether Thanos is a hero, you would get some rather passionate responses. With Avengers: Infinity War in theaters, millions have sat down for the epic feature, and the blockbuster sees Thanos do some impossible and unforgivable things. His entire journey in the third Avengers flick mimics that of the hero’s journey, the one your high school teacher tried to tell you about. And, now, the writers behind the movie are opening up about that piece of Thanos’ arc.

So, this is our obligatory spoilers warning. If you have not seen Avengers: Infinity War yet, do not read below this paragraph. Major spoilers for the film lie below! We repeat: MAJOR spoilers for the movie lie below. You’ve been warned.

Recently, Buzzfeed News had the chance to speak with screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely about their work on the MCU. The duo are in the spotlight these days thanks to their treatment of Avengers: Infinity War, and both said they knew Thanos would get what he wanted in the third and fourth Avengers flicks. It all just came down to a matter of how.

“This is the hero's journey for Thanos,” McFeely explained. “By the end of the hero's journey, our main character, our protagonist — at least, in this case — gets what he wants.”

According to Buzzfeed, the two writers didn’t know when they wanted Thanos to snap his fearsome Infinity Gauntlet, but they knew it was going to happen. After lots of drafting and deliberation, the writers realized the so-called snappening needed to happen at the climax of Avengers: Infinity War to give it a strong ending.

“Even if the end is a tragedy, we wanted it to be definitive,” Markus said, explaining why Thanos needed to complete his gauntlet before the third Avengers film wrapped.

“To say, ‘Oh my gosh, what's he going to do?! He's only got one [Infinity Stone] left! I wonder if he'll get the other one!’ That just seemed like ‘Tune in next week’ jerking around.”

Looking at the standard take on The Hero’s Journey, Thanos is not yet done with his journey. Avengers: Infinity War brought the protagonist right up to his reward as his sacrifices and battles led him to wield the completed Infinity Gauntlet. The latest Avengers flick ended with Thanos on an mysterious planet enjoying the boon of his reward, but his road home is not quite over. The Hero’s Journey demands Thanos become a changed man before his story comes to an end, and such a shift could bode well for the Avengers. If Thanos came to realize the error of his ways (as he does in the comics), then undoing the mess he made would become infinitely easier. So, fans will definitely want to brush up on their Hero’s Journey lessons before Avengers 4 hits theaters next year.

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Marvel Studios' Black Panther is still in theaters, while Avengers: Infinity War hit theaters this weekend. It will be followed by Ant-Man and The Wasp on July 6, 2018, Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019, the fourth Avengers movie on May 3, 2019, the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming on July 5, 2019, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2020.