Let’s say you’re one of the very, very few people who never made it out to theaters to catch Joss Whedon’s The Avengers. You’re probably still kicking yourself over that one, huh? That’s understandable, but we’ve got good news: This morning Marvel Studios officially released the first post-credits sequence that followed the end of the movie in an effort to promote the upcoming Avengers Blu-ray release. Please note that this is not the post-credit sequence that boosted sales of Lebanese food in Los Angeles shortly after The Avengers hit theaters. It is instead the good one, the one that gives movie-goers a first glimpse at Thanos.
“Who is Thanos?” you’re likely wondering if you are, as we established, one of the few who missed The Avengers. Good question! In short, he’s a nihilistic, death-obsessed, alien tyrant who has devoted his apparently eternal existence to wiping out all life, everywhere. The long version is far, far more verbose and often gets a bit existential, so let’s just have a look at the first paragraph:
On Saturn’s moon of Titan lived a colony of Eternals, and Thanos was born as one of the last sons of the original colonists, Mentor and Sui-San. However, he was born misshapen and monstrous in comparison to the other Eternals, particularly his handsome and carefree brother, Starfox, and Thanos grew into a melancholy, brooding individual, consumed with the concept of death. More than any of his people, Thanos sought out personal power and increased strength, endowing himself with cybernetic implants until he became more powerful than any of his brethren. At some point, he was exiled from his community, although the accounts differ as to its cause. Some say it was because he committed a crime by being the first to create a weapon. Thanos himself once claimed that he vivisected his own mother in an attempt to investigate how someone consumed with death such as himself could have come into being.
Grim stuff, no? Despite its length we do recommend reading that full Marvel Wiki entry linked above. Especially if you’re a fan of The Avengers, as that newly-released post-credits sequence sets Thanos up as the future antagonist of an Avengers film sequel.
Unfortunately, that possibility raises more questions than it answers. Thanos is generally a “cosmic-level” villain in the comic books, the kind that routinely battles with all of Marvel’s heroes simultaneously, so either the hypothetical sequel would need to introduce characters like the Silver Surfer and Adam Warlock to the already bloated Avengers cast, or it would need to rethink the Thanos character in a big way. Loki was a great villain in The Avengers, but his relative power level is infinitesimally small when compared to Thanos — and he’s effectively a god.
Don’t get us wrong, we like the idea of Iron Man, Thor, Cap and pals taking down one of Marvel’s most dangerous villains by themselves, but if that becomes part of Marvel movie universe canon, that reality will then necessarily feel “smaller” than the one Marvel has created in its comic books. To date comics fans have adored how reverent the Marvel Studios films have been of their source material, and we’d be sad to see the company throw a bit of that away simply so it can make a splash by including Thanos in an upcoming Avengers flick.
Anyway, they’ve got years to work this whole thing out. In the meantime, enjoy the clip: