The Avengers: Kevin Feige and Joss Whedon Give Up the Goods on the Mid-Credits Scene
05.07.12 by BJSprecher
We really hate to spoil the moviegoing experience for anyone, so if you haven't already seen The Avengers this is your cue to check out the latest Batman news or watch the new trailer for The Amazing Spider-Man instead. Still with us? Okay, strap in...
Like all of Marvel Studios' movies, there is a bonus scene at the very end of The Avengers, after the final credits have rolled away, which we recently learned was inspired by one of the better lines that Robert Downey Jr. improved. Unlike other Marvel movies, however, there are two bonus scenes at the end of The Avengers, the first of which takes place mid-credits and includes the reveal of a major Marvel Universe character not previously seen in any of the other movies. Though the character was hinted at in Thor, Marvel Studios President of Production Kevin Feige recently told /Film that the first bonus scene was all writer-director Joss Whedon's idea.
I wanted to get cosmic and did with Thor and told [Joss] that we wanted [the villains in The Avengers] to be aliens, that a portal opens in New York and aliens poor out, because the cosmic cube opened a portal. Who they were, what they were, and how they interacted was all Joss and Joss is a huge fan of Thanos.
Thanos? Who's Thanos? If you're not up on your Marvel Universe characters, the purple-skinned monster with the cheese-grater chin probably didn't look all that familiar to you when he turned to the camera and flashed a toothy grin during the mid-credits bonus scene. Don't worry, you're not alone. During our multiple viewings of The Avengers, we heard all manner of guesses as to the character's identify, from the Red Skull to the Abomination. One clueless moviegoer even shouted out, "Skeletor!"
Thanos is the evil overlord of the Marvel Universe, making Dr. Doom and Magneto look like amateurs, by comparison. A deformed member of the race of Eternals, Thanos was already extremely powerful and extremely long-lived before he had his body cybernetically enhanced. Even that was not enough for him, however. He traveled the universe in search of even greater power, eventually discovering the the incalculable power of the Cosmic Cube ("Tesseract" in the movies), which he hoped to use to kill trillions of souls in an effort to curry favor with Mistress Death, a physical manifestation of death itself (hence the grin when Thanos' minion tells him that challenging the humans is to "court death.")
The Cube/Tesseract has been linked with countless other would-be world conquerors in the comic books, which is why its appearance in Thor and in Captain America: The First Avenger did not immediately tip us off that Thanos would be involved in The Avengers. However, the combination of the Cube/Tesseract and the Infinity Gauntlet we spotted resting in Odin's (Sir Anthony Hopkins) vault in Thor, made it pretty obvious to us that Marvel was dropping hints that the dark Eternal was just around the bend. Of course, after hearing Feige say that Thanos was all Whedon's idea, we have to wonder whether the Infinity Gauntlet was really anything more than just an easter egg prop.
In another interview, also with /Film, Whedon does indeed take credit for Thanos' appearance in The Avengers, calling him the "great grand daddy of the badasses" and revealing his importance to the Marvel Universe. Unfortunately, he wouldn't reveal how, when or where we can expect to see Thanos' purple mug again.
[Thanos] for me is the most powerful and fascinating Marvel villain. He’s the great grand daddy of the badasses and he’s in love with death and I just think that’s so cute. For me, the greatest Avengers was The Avengers annual that Jim Starlin did followed by The Thing 2 in 1 that contained the death of Adam Warlock. Those were some of the most important texts and I think underrated milestones in Marvel history and Thanos is all over that, so somebody had to be in control and had to be behind Loki’s work and I was like 'It’s got to be Thanos.' And they said, 'Okay,' and I’m like, 'Oh my God!'
The all-star cast of The Avengers includes Robert Downey, Jr. as Iron Man, Mark Ruffalo as the Hulk, Chris Hemsworth as Thor, Chris Evans as Captain America, Jeremy Renner as Hawkeye, Scarlett Johansson as the Black Widow, Tom Hiddleston as Loki, Clark Gregg as S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Coulson, Cobie Smulders S.H.I.E.L.D. Agent Maria Hill, Samuel L. Jackson as S.H.I.E.L.D. Director Nick Fury, Stellan Skarsgård as Erik Selvig and Academy Award-winner Gwyneth Paltrow as Pepper Potts.