Considering the significance of "Captain America: Civil War" to the overall Marvel Cinematic Universe, it's surprising to some that the shared world's chief antagonist, Thanos -- who's been teased since the end-credits of 2012's "The Avengers" -- didn't make an appearance in the film. According to screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, that was a deliberate choice, due to the film's more personal conflict.
When asked about the character's absence, Markus told The Verge, "Well, I mean, he's going to have two movies...So we didn't want to play him out and then have people be like, 'Eh, more of this guy...'"
McFeely joked, "'Yet again, they gave me 45 seconds of Thanos!' That does nobody any good. The Civil War story is about this group breaking up on their own accord, and they do not need to be helped by the guy from space."
The duo says they viewed the film as more "grounded," and didn't feel a Thanos cameo would support the movie's more realistic approach: "We also wanted [Civil War] to be a very kind of boots-on-the-ground, grounded movie that set the stage for Infinity War, that sets all the Avengers apart from each other and at their weakest point. So that when this giant purple man does show up, they're not ready for it."