No villain has been hyped for as long as Thanos. By the time audiences finally see Josh Brolin’s first full-time turn as The Mad Titan in Avengers: Infinity War, it will have been six years since audiences first saw the character in Marvel’s The Avengers. Fan expectations are high, but perhaps not quite as high as those director Joe Russo has for the character.
Russo, who is directing the film with this brother, Anthony, told Comicbook.com that he’s looking at an all-time antagonist as the standard for Thanos.
“The stakes are incredibly high. I wanted to turn Thanos into Darth Vader for a new generation. He’s an incredibly intense character. Sociopathic. He takes no prisoners. I think the audience needs to be prepared when they go see these movies.”
Darth Vader is already the Darth Vader for multiple generations. He is one of the greatest movie villains of all time and, in the eyes of many, the greatest. As cool as Thanos looks, he’s already behind when it comes to matching the iconic character design of Vader.
There’s nothing wrong with setting lofty goals, however, and the heart of Russo’s point is making sure the character is a villain worthy of such an unprecedented movie event. There’s really no way for Thanos to pull even with 41 years of history and reverence in a single outing, but the character does have the opportunity to start establishing his own legacy.
No villain will have ever battled a united force the size of The Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy. No villain will have ever been quite as powerful as Thanos once he has a fully assembled Infinity Gauntlet. Thanos will have every opportunity to shine, devastate, and obliterate. As some of us at D23 Expo and Comic-Con have seen, the guy can literally throw moons.
This culmination of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, which was born in 2008, deserves a great villain and Thanos can be just that, even if he isn’t quite on Vader’s level. Before completely counting him out, though, remember that we’ll never have to endure Thanos as a teenager whining about sand.