I’m telling you right out of the gate, this article contains spoilers for The Avengers. If you have not seen the movie (how’s life been under the rock this weekend?), you should probably bookmark this for reading later.
You’ve been duly warned.
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The big news this weekend wasn’t that The Avengers owned the box office, smashing the previous opening record held by Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Part 2. It was the appearance of Thanos, the Mad Titan, in the end credits.
Who is Thanos?
If you’re not a comic book fan, you probably have never heard of him, which makes his inclusion in the movies a nod of appreciation to the fans and a feeling that future movies from Marvel Studios will lead to even more stellar sequels to The Avengers.
That’s because Thanos is a more powerful villain than The Avengers have faced before.
Thanos is an Eternal of the planet Titan, born with the Deviant gene. This means he looks different than all the other Eternals. He’s a bit self-conscious about it.
Being an Eternal, he has some special powers:
Thanos possesses the superhuman physiology of all Eternals, granting him superhuman strength, endurance, reflexes, and agility. His skin in nearly invulnerable, particulary against heat, cold, electricity, radiation, toxins, aging, and disease, and he can survive indefinitely without food or water even before his “curse” from Death left him immortal, unable to die. His mind is also invulnerable to most forms of psychic attack, and can project a psionic blast of energy as well as blasts of plasma/cosmic energy from his eyes and hands.
Yeah, he’s kind of a big deal.
Thanos lusted after power, acquiring more than any of the other Eternals. Since childhood, he had a preoccupation with death. During his travels across the universe, he actually meets Death, who takes the form of a woman. In the movie, the Chitauri leader tells Thanos that to invade Earth with the Avengers would be “courting Death itself.”
That makes Thanos smile. Courting Death is exactly what he’s doing.
Thanos became infatuated with Death, which led to the first Thanos war and his quest to please Death by killing everyone in the universe.
A bit over the top? Tell it to Thanos.
Thanos gathers an army of the worst aliens he can find and starts a multi-galaxy killing spree, starting with his home planet of Titan. After murdering millions there by nuclear bombardment, he goes after the Cosmic Cube.
Here’s where the Avengers enter the picture.
It’s possible the First Thanos War, or some variant of the story, will be the basis of the future Avengers movie. In the comics, Thanos comes to Earth in search of the Cosmic Cube. That’s the shiny box featured so heavily in the previous movies. It’s the object called the “Tesseract.”
Thanos wants to use the power of the cube to kill enough life to impress Death.
In his way stand the Avengers. Hopefully the movie will bring another character from the comics to life and include the Kree warrior Captain Mar-vell in the sequel. It was Captain Mar-vell, after all, that helped defeat Thanos and prevent the death of the universe.
Thanos wasn’t destroyed though. He returns over and over again, each time seeking the power needed to impress Death.
It’s also possible one of these stories, the Infinity Gauntlet, could be the angle Marvel Studios takes for the Avengers sequel. In the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos has collected the Infinity gems, each granting the bearer unlimited power over a specific aspect of the universe: Power, Reality, Space, Soul, and Time. Thanos takes all the gems and places them in the Infinity Gauntlet, giving him unlimited power which he uses to kill half the universe.
While we have yet to see any of the Infinity Gems, we have seen the Gauntlet. It appears briefly in Thor when the Destroyer is going buck wild in Odin’s vault:
Marvel even released stills of the Gauntlet and other artifacts, possibly to get people more familiar with the artifact.
Supporting this premise, Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige told Collider that “Loki has a part in Thor 2, but there will be a different, big villain.”
I’m assuming you’ve figured out the villain. Is Loki a big part, is he a minor part?
Feige: Loki has a part, but there will be a different villain, another big villain. But you can’t do a Thor movie without Loki.
Are we going to see Odin’s vault again? Is anything missing out of the vault or is anyone going after something in the vault?
Feige: You know, it remains to be seen. Whether it’s specifically that or along those same lines, the darn thing about the nine realms is that there are a lot of relics. Whether it’s a Casket of Ancient Winters or a Tesseract or something else, they wreak a lot of havoc.
Could it be Thanos coming for the Infinity Gauntlet? It’s not impossible.
In the meantime, we have these rumors to keep us interested between installments…
- There are rumblings that a New Mutants movie might be in the works. Collider asked Fox CEO Tom Rothman if, after the success of X-Men: First Class, there was a chance of seeing a New Mutants movie. Rothman’s response hinted there was.
- Iron Man 3 will be shot in North Carolina and will be a purely Tony Stark movie, says Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige. “…He’s stripped of everything, he’s backed up against a wall, and he’s gotta use his intelligence to get out of it. He can’t call Thor, he can’t call Cap, he can’t call Nick Fury, and he can’t look for the Helicarrier in the sky.” That’s how it should be. Sir Ben Kingsley will also join the cast this time.
- There was also talk of who would helm the red and gold if Robert Downey, Jr. decided to give up the role. Rather than reboot, Feige prefers the James Bond method.
- Fantastic Four 2 is the only movie I have ever watched in the theater and left angry. Not disappointed. Angry. Good news is the team is getting a reboot and Chronicle director Josh Trank is currently developing it … and could direct it. Word to the wise: read the comics and stick to the story. Works like a charm.
- Considering how hated the last Wolverine movie was, Fox had better bring their A game if they want fans to part with their money. Looks like they are. The Wolverine will follow the Frank Miller storyline, putting Logan in Japan facing the Silver Samurai. Please, Fox, don’t screw this up. too.
- Tapping another Frank Miller story arc, Daredevil might get new life on the screen. This makes me happy. I would prefer a complete reboot, and to have every copy of the Ben Affleck version collected and flown into the Sun, but I’ll take what I can get.
- Mark Ruffalo has a six (yes, six) picture deal with Marvel, so I’m guessing we’re going to be seeing a lot of him morphing into the Hulk. Plus, there’s talk of a TV series and another feature film.
Marvel is dominating the comic book movie scene, and it’s because they are willing to stay as true to the source material as possible and put quality into the movies. Bringing a character like Thanos — who is well-known to the comic book world but all but unknown to non-fanboys — shows a rare willingness to satisfy the True Believers and bring the superhero green horns along for the ride, too.
Oh, and speaking of rides, Disney has plans to build Avengers theme park rides.
Word of advice: take some Dramamine before riding the Quicksilver.