Joss Whedon kicked off the Thanos hype by directing The Mad Titan’s first MCU appearance in The Avengers. That mid-credits scene remains one of the most exciting moments in Marvel Studios history, even if Whedon wasn’t sure how to properly pay it off at the time.

While speaking with IGN, Whedon admitted that he was not really sure what to do with Thanos, even after showing the character again in Avengers: Age of Ultron. He was, however, quite pleased with what directors Joe and Anthony Russo and writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely turned in for Avengers: Infinity War.

“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. 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!”

Whedon also talked about Thanos’ comic book love affair with the living manifestation of Death, which the director alluded to in The Avengers before that element was ultimately scrubbed from the character’s motivations in Infinity War.

“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.”

Thanos courting “Death” might have worked if they made Hela (Cate Blanchett) the person he was in love with, but ultimately, the motivation they gave the character in Infinity War was the better call.

Whedon explaining that he did not know what to do with Thanos might be, at least in part, the reason he opted for Ultron as the villain in his Avengers sequel. The original thought was that Thanos would be the villain in the second Avengers film while Civil War would be Avengers 3.

That plan obviously changed and it may have had nothing to do with Whedon’s lack of ideas for Thanos, but it is also possible those things are connected. In any event, Whedon not knowing what to do with Thanos worked out just fine for everyone.