With the world premiere only days away, the cast and filmmakers behind “Avengers: Age of Ultron” took the stage for a very brief press conference this past Saturday afternoon in Los Angeles. While there were few major revelations about the upcoming blockbuster, director Joss Whedon did let one item slip about “Guardians of the Galaxy,” Thanos and the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
When “Guardians” was first announced there were rumors that Thanos was going to be the primary villain. Granted, the supervillain had already been teased at the end of “The Avengers,” but it sort of made sense considering one of the “Guardians,” Gamora, is his daughter (literally in the comic books) and is arguably the team’s greatest nemesis. Of course, he also has a long history with Earth’s Mightiest Heroes.
During the press conference, a member of the media asked Whedon if planning for an “Avengers” sequel had affected any of the films that immediately followed it. Whedon passed the question to Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige.
“‘Iron Man 3,’ ‘Cap 2’ and ‘Thor 2’ were already in the works just as ‘Avengers’ was coming out,” Feige says. “I wouldn’t say it was more about how those movies were affected by the first ‘Avengers’ film, but I will say that I remember as we were putting Phase 2 movies together Joss very much liked the idea, and we honed in on that for him, that Hulk and Hawkeye would be two characters that hadn’t gotten a lot of exposure in-between the movies, because he said he had very big plans for the two of those characters in this one.”
Whedon then added, “The only thing I can think of was pulling Thanos out of ‘Guardians of the Galaxy.'”
“That’s true,” Feige says, “There was going to be more Thanos, yeah.”
Whedon continues, “It was like, ‘No, we need to thread him in more gently, but that was pretty much it.”
And there you have it, another Whedon contribution to the MCU. Thanos did appear, briefly, in “Guardians,” but the primary villain of James Gunn’s blockbuster turned out to be Ronan the Accuser. Now, Thanos is set up as the main adversary for the “Age of Ultron” follow up, a two-part “Avengers: Infinity War” which is set for 2018 and 2019.
“Avengers: Age of Ultron” opens nationwide in theaters on May 1.