The Problem With Bringing Thanos Into 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

"Having Thanos be in that scene was more helpful to the Marvel universe than it was to 'Guardians of the Galaxy' "
Marvel Studios

If there’s one thing that seems slightly… off in Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy, it’s the presence of Josh Brolin’s Thanos. He doesn’t really accomplish anything in the movie, beyond reminding us that he exists, and he risks making Ronan the Accuser look like little more than a minion by his very presence. It turns out, the movie’s co-writer and director, James Gunn, had exactly the same concerns.

“You’re setting up this gigantic character that, in one way, isn’t really a part of your movie,” he told Vulture, recounting the problems he had making the character fit into the movie. “His presence doesn’t really serve being in Guardians, and having Thanos be in that scene was more helpful to the Marvel universe than it was to Guardians of the Galaxy. I always wanted to have Thanos in there, but from a structural standpoint, you don’t need him.”

Another problem, he said, was that “you don’t want to belittle the actual antagonist of the film, which is Ronan. You don’t want him to seem like a big wussy.”

The key to saving both the scene — which he calls “one of the tougher things I wrote” — and Ronan’s reputation, Gunn revealed, was allowing Ronan to kill “the Other,” Thanos’ major domo from 2012’s The Avengers. “We’ve had the Other, who’s obviously very powerful even in comparison to Loki, and then we see Ronan wipe his ass with him,” he said. “So that I liked, but even that was sort of difficult, because it played as funnier when I first wrote it, and the humor didn’t work so much.”

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