Joss Whedon reveals he wasn’t sure what to do with Thanos in his movies


Thanos’ character wasn’t so easy for Joss Whedon to figure out, but he had hand it to the Russo brother’s for their take on Thanos in Infinity War.

There’s a lot of weight to carry on your shoulders when you’re poised have one of the most powerful villains in your movie franchise. And sometimes, it’s just better to hand that off to someone who knows what they’re doing if you can’t really handle that type of pressure.

In this case, we’re talking about Marvel’s big baddie, Thanos — a character who Joss Whedon admittedly did not understand all too much. In a recent interview with IGN, Whedon spoke about how the Mad Titan’s character (barely) came along under his direction, and how that changed from Thanos’ arrival in Avengers: Infinity War.

When the character was first revealed in the Avengers in 2012, moviegoers merely got a glimpse of him during the mid-credits scene. He wasn’t mentioned by name, but keen fans who about Thanos could anticipate what was to come in the next Marvel movies. Although, figuring out what’s to come wasn’t so easy, according to Whedon.

In the IGN interview, Whedon admitted:

"Honestly, I kind of hung [Thanos] out to dry. I love Thanos. I love his apocalyptic vision, his love affair with death. I love his power. But, I don’t really understand it. He’s had a lot of power, and he was cool in the comics. And I’m like, Thanos is the ultimate Marvel villain! And then I was like, I don’t actually know what I would do with Thanos… But it wasn’t like I was like, here’s a set of directions. I was like, I’m gonna get through Ultron, nap for four years, and then I’ll come to the premiere. Which I did! It was like, this is so cool!"

That explanation might be the reason why Whedon kept Thanos off to the side in the first place. In a way, through Loki, we did begin to learn that Thanos was hungry for the Infinity Stones. But in hindsight, it seems more like Whedon was putting Thanos off until later — kind of in the way you’d do a project at the last minute — rather than tackling him head-on. That route did build up a lot of anticipation for the character, but was it really just Whedon trying to avoid tackling the character altogether?

But because Whedon ended up dropping from the Avengers series after Age of Ultron, Thanos fell in the hands of Joe and Anthony Russo. Under their direction, things actually worked out well for Thanos. And much like everyone else, Whedon had nothing but praise for Thanos when he took the spotlight.

“[The Russos] gave him an actual perspective and made him feel righteous to himself, which is always a better idea,” Whedon said. “So I liked what they did very much. I did not know about it; I certainly didn’t come up with it.”

Whedon mainly like the idea that Thanos wasn’t just the comic book character who fell in love with death, but he actually had a bit of philosophy behind his decisions. Whether or not the philosophy was right is beside the point; Whedon recognized that the Russo’s “balancing the universe” idea for Thanos helped to make him a great, three-dimensional character.

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Thanos isn’t done just yet, and neither are the Russo Brothers. We’ll see how Thanos’ long-built character arc comes to a close when Avengers 4 hits theaters next year.