Avengers: Infinity War co-director Joe Russo has made it clear he has big ambitions for Thanos, who's largely lurked in the shadows of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since 2012's The Avengers. So big, in fact, that the Mad Titan could rival one of the greatest movies of all time.
"The stakes are incredibly high," he told ComicBook.com at Comic-Con International in San Diego. "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."
Infinity War footage screened at D23 Expo and Comic-Con demonstrated Thanos' might as he confronted members of both the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy in his quest to complete his Infinity Gauntlet and attain infinite power. The final shot in the put that power on display as Thanos used the Gauntlet to pull down an entire planet on the opposing heroes.
As it stands, five of the six Infinity Stones will have to be retrieved -- the "Tesseract" or Space Stone is on Asgard; the Mind Stone is in Vision’s forehead on Earth; the Reality Stone, or "Aether," is with the Collector; the Power Stone, or the "Orb," is with the Nova Corps on Xandar; and the Time Stone is in the Eye of Agamotto on Earth -- with the location of the sixth, the Soul Stone, still unknown. With the Children of Thanos (or the Black Order in the comics) also revealed for the movie, Russo made it clear Thanos' quest will involve a lot of high-paced action to acquire these items.
"Structurally, with this first film, Avengers 3, we've been using smash and grab '90s heist films," he said. "There's a real urgency to the film and it adds a level of excitement and relentlessness to the movie. It's a lot of divergent narratives coming together into a climax." This further cements how the Mad Titan can be compared to the Sith overlord who used agents of the Empire to do his bidding in the Star Wars franchise to eliminate the Jedi.
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, Avengers: Infinity War boasts a sprawling ensemble cast that includes Robert Downey Jr., Josh Brolin, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Olsen, Sebastian Stan, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Bettany, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Benedict Wong, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Holland and Anthony Mackie. The film arrives in theaters May 4, 2018, with the untitled sequel opening May 3, 2019.