Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame scribes Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely were given nearly free rein when hired in 2015 to pen Marvel Studios’ two-part conclusion to the Infinity Saga, save for one demand from parent company Disney.
“[Disney] basically said, ‘We want to bring the [Marvel Cinematic Universe] to the close of a definitive chapter,’” Markus told the Los Angeles Times. “‘We want to do two movies [that are] very different in tone, you can draw from anything, [but] Thanos [has to be] in it.’”
The purple-skinned Mad Titan was first glimpsed in a tease trailing 2012’s The Avengers before resurfacing in 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy and 2015’s Avengers: Age of Ultron. As the ultimate villain of the first 11-year chapter of the MCU, Josh Brolin’s alien warmonger had to prove himself the “greatest villain.”
“Thanos has been lurking in the shadows with a desire to obtain these Infinity Stones, which has played a big part in our other films,” Marvel Studios president and master architect Kevin Feige said in the Marvel Studios: The First Ten Years book.
“We’ve introduced the Tesseract, revealed to be the Space Stone; the Mind Stone, which came out of Loki’s scepter and then went into Vision’s forehead; and the Time Stone: the Eye of Agamotto that Doctor Strange wears is an Infinity Stone itself! And of course the Guardians dealt with the Power Stone. So these storytelling devices that we’ve seeded into every film will continue to play a part and come together.”
Feige continued, “We’ve been teasing this for six years. That’s a long time to tease something cinematically before paying it off. Thanos has to be the greatest villain in our movies.”
Telling Infinity War from Thanos’ point of view — “It’s his movie,” director Joe Russo once told Fandango — cemented the character as an icon who joined the zeitgeist with the snap of a finger. But it’s Brolin who made the character work, Feige noted in the Avengers: Endgame - Official Movie Special.
“The reason Thanos is now this iconic movie villain is because they understand where he was coming from is because of Josh Brolin,” Feige said. “People put ‘villain’ in quotes when they’re talking about Thanos.”
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