During an interview with Joss Whedon at San Diego Comic-Con this year, IGN asked his thoughts about Thanos and how the Russo Brothers interpreted the character in Avengers: Infinity War. He was incredibly forthwith in saying that he didn’t really have a plan for Thanos beyond The Avengers and what he initially found appealing about the character – his infatuation with the physical manifestation of death.
“Honestly, I kind of hung [Thanos] out to dry,” Whedon said of how he first teased Thanos. “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. So, I liked what [the Russo brothers] did so much, and I thought Josh Brolin killed it. And they did an amazing job of keeping that performance on-screen. 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!”
It’s interesting to see how Thanos evolved from the death seeking tyrant in The Avengers and Guardians of the Galaxy to Avengers: Infinity War as the philosophical Mad Titan he is now.
“I thought they did what they needed to do. [Thanos falling in love with Death is] not a concept that will necessarily translate. It’s sometimes also an easy out for a villain. To say, I love destruction! No, really, I’m in love with it. And yet, you’re still just a nihilist. Whereas they gave him an actual perspective and made him feel righteous to himself, which is always a better idea. So I liked what they did very much. I did not know about it, I certainly didn’t come up with it.”
While I was admittedly one of dozens that wanted to see Josh Brolin attempt to woo a skeleton in a robe by way of mass genocide, Joss Whedon is right in that it likely would not have translated well to the big screen and that we’re better off with the self-righteous Titan we got.