Late Friday, Marvel Studios released a ideo with our first glimpse of the set and concept art from “Avengers: Infinity War.” Along with confirmation that the Avengers will be joined for the first time by the Guardians of the Galaxy, the featured a look how the film’s villain, Thanos, will appear on screen.
While we’ve seen Thanos before in the Marvel Cinematic Universe — in mid-credits scenes in “Avengers” and “Age of Ultron,” as well as in a more prominent role in “Guardians of the Galaxy” — his screen time to date has been limited, so there’s been no guarantee his final look would be the same.
And, based on the concept art, it appears the Mad Titan has undergone an update. Instead of the familiar blue-and-gold costume Thanos has worn, with some variations, since his first appearance in 1973’s “Iron Man” #55, the art for “Avengers: Infinity War” reveals the cosmic villain in something more like an academic robe than armor, with twin golden stripes on either side of his chest in place of the traditional centered stripe.
The change suggests we might be getting a more intelligent, introspective Thanos than we’ve seen of late in Marvel’s comics (at least those not written by his creator Jim Starlin). This isn’t a Mad Titan who exerts his will through brute force, but instead through the power of his will.
We also get a brief glimpse of Thanos out of costume entirely, an image that brings to mind the famous epilogue of “Infinity Gauntlet” in which Thanos, after losing omnipotence for the second time, has retired to the quiet life of a farmer (at least temporarily). While it’s unlikely “Infinity War” will end with Farmer Thanos stoically tilling a field of corn, this image suggests the film will stay closer to Starlin’s vision of a character with a nuanced inner life, who can grow and change.
Finally, Thanos is depicted taking up the Infinity Gauntlet, a moment first shown in the mid-credits scene of “Avengers: Age of Ultron.” While some longtime fans have been skeptical of treating the Infinity Gauntlet as a cosmic artifact in its own right — it was initially just the glove Thanos had always worn, to which he affixed the Infinity Gems as he collected them — but the imagery of the Mad Titan picking it up is pretty impressive. The Gauntlet will probably also serve an important plot point, explaining how one person could harness all six Infinity Stones without being destroyed.
Directed by Anthony and Joe Russo (“Captain America: Civil War”), “Avengers: Infinity War” features a sprawling cast, including Robert Downey Jr., Chris Evans, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Hemsworth, Scarlett Johansson, Jeremy Renner, Elizabeth Olsen, Paul Bettany, Tom Holland, Sebastian Stan, Benedict Cumberbatch, Chris Pratt, Zoe Saldana, Dave Bautista, Vin Diesel, Karen Gillan, Pom Klementieff and Josh Brolin. Now in production at Pinewood Atlanta Studios, the film opens May 4, 2018, followed by an untitled sequel on May 3, 2019.