Breathe easy, Marvel fans. There are enough bad guys in “Avengers: Age of Ultron” to not worry about Thanos ... yet. The perennial threat from the last few Marvel movies gets another timely cameo in the latest chapter in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), but it is as it was in the first movie, just another teaser.
[Warning: “Avengers: Age of Ultron” spoilers ahead!]
This time, if audiences stick around after the final scene, they will see a mid-credits tag where Thanos reaches for the long-dreaded Infinity Gauntlet and says he will do the job himself. We’re assuming that job is destroying the universe.
Here’s four things we do know about the Avenger’s upcoming foe:
1. We’ve Seen Him Many Times Before
At the end of the first “Avengers” movie in 2012, audiences got their first look at the purple faced titan fueled by chaos and destruction. He had played Loki’s supplier who was severely disappointed by the Norse god’s defeat at the hands of the Avengers.
By the time the MCU reached last year’s “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Thanos had been updated to next-level looming bad guy. Thanos is revealed to be Ronan the Accuser’s boss and Gamora and Nebula’s father. Josh Brolin stepped up for vocal duties in James Gunn’s wildly successful surprise.
2. Thanos Almost Had A Bigger Part In “Avengers: Age Of Ultron”
He was so close to having a much more substantial role in this latest Marvel movie, but Joss Whedon decided to save it for another sequel.
3. Looks Like The MCU Is Keeping Him On Track For His "Infinity War" Story Line
In the comic book realm, Thanos was originally an Iron Man baddie from the early ‘70s. Several different iterations of the character through Marvel history led him to the "Infinity War" storyline where Thanos gets his gauntlet on the six Infinity Stones and becomes the most powerful being in the galaxy. Prepare for a giant superhero reunion.
4. There More In Store For Thanos
Looking ahead at the planned MCU slate, it’s a fair guess that Thanos will be the bad guy to beat for the two-part “Infinity War” coming in 2018 and 2019. As we see in “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” Thanos’ gauntlet is empty, lacking the six Infinity Stones he so desires. One of those coveted stones sits atop Vision’s head by the end of the movie. There’s at least four stones in the vision Thor has in “Avengers: Age of Ultron,” so Thanos could be picking up stones from “Captain America: Civil War” through “Captain Marvel” and “Black Panther.”
“Avengers: Age of Ultron” opens in theaters nationwide May 1.