The Russo Brothers Say Avengers: Infinity War is a Thanos Movie

The Avengers: Infinity War gang are on their global press tour, which means a lot of interesting tidbits about the film are pouring in from overseas. This includes an interview directors Joe and Anthony Russo did with The Telegraph Indiain which they talk about the unprecedented nature of the film. We’ve cherry picked a few of our favorite bits that speak to one of the most intriguing aspects of Infinity War and the untitled Avengers 4, which the Russo Brother shot back-to-back—that this movie will have grave consequences for some of our favorite characters, and that Infinity War belongs to Thanos.

Marvel Studios’ AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR..L to R: Director Joe Russo, Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Director Anthony Russo..Photo: Chuck Zlotnick..©Marvel Studios 2018

A Definitive Ending

Marvel Studios’ AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. L to R: Captain America/Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) and Bruce Banner/Hulk (Mark Ruffalo). Photo: Chuck Zlotnick. ©Marvel Studios 2018

By its nature, the Marvel Cinematic Universe makes it so that even when a single film within the MCU ends, the story keeps going. This is most evident in now ubiquitous post-credits scene, which every Marvel fan knows to wait for. Yet for Infinity War and Avengers 4, that won’t necessarily be the case. We’ve already written about how Captain America himself, Chris Evans, is done with Marvel after Avengers 4. Here’s Joe Russo on how these films are about endings as much as new beginnings:

“I don’t think that they’ve seen anything on this level of intensity with these levels of stakes and ramifications in the Marvel Cinematic Universe before. There’s nothing comparable to it. If Marvel Studios has been writing a book for the last 10 years, then these are the final chapters of the book. There’s finality, and there will be endings. And there will be new beginnings”

Dealing With This Many Characters

Marvel Studios’ AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. L to R: Spider-Man/Peter Parker (Tom Holland), Iron Man/Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.), Drax (Dave Bautista), Star-Lord/Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and Mantis (Pom Klementieff). Photo: Film Frame. ©Marvel Studios 2018

How do you take characters that have already been memorably realized by other writers and directors, from James Gunn’s Guardians of the Galaxy to Taika Waititi’s version of Thor, and make sure they retain those previous characterizations while also fitting into your mega-film? By wondering how each of these characters would interact and react to Thanos:

“It’s not dissimilar to comic books where different writers come in and work on different runs,” Joe Russo told The Telegraph. “I think the audience appreciates that our interpretation of the Guardians (of the Galaxy) can be slightly different than James’s (Gunn) interpretation of the Guardians. Our interpretation of Thor is going to be slightly different than Taika’s (Waititi) interpretation of Thor. But that’s what surprises the audience, and I think that they understand how the tones shift from film to film. When we dig in on the characters it is the four of us sitting in a room with every character’s photo on a board. And we literally just start talking about how they could potentially interact with what the villain wants in the film. It’s an arduous process that takes months. But when you’re dealing with characters like Nebula, a child of Thanos, it’s impossible not to make her integral to the story or have an emotional connection to it. The same goes with Gamora or the Guardians who live in the cosmic universe where Thanos resides. Or Tony (Stark) who since Iron Man has been on a journey to stop this potential threat that he feels has been brewing and that’s coming for him and coming for Earth.”

About Thanos

Marvel Studios’ AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR..Thanos (Josh Brolin). Photo: Film Frame. ©Marvel Studios 2018

After appearing in post-credits scenes and on the periphery of so many previous MCU films, Thanos is finally front and center. Here’s what the directors said about making Marvel’s biggest bad the centerpiece of their film.

“Thanos’s primary motivation on a plot level is to go after the Infinity Stones,” Anthony Russo told The Telgraph. “That’s really the connective tissue that pulls our entire MCU together as the stones are spread out throughout the franchises.”

“Thanos is this virtually indestructible character who’s stronger than the Hulk, and has invincible skin,” Joe Russo said. “He’s from a planet called Titan. Many years prior to the film his planet was experiencing a cataclysmic shift. They were running out of resources, and they were overpopulated. Thanos made a recommendation that they exterminate half the population randomly in order to save the rest of the population. Of course, the Titans rejected his notion, branded him a mad man, exiled him, and the planet ended up dying. So he has taken it upon himself to go planet-by-planet throughout the universe and wipe out half of the population of each planet as a way to correct the planet and bring it back into balance. Once he hears about the stones, he realizes that if he can get hold of all of the Infinity Stones he can control the entire universe. With the snap of his fingers he could correct the universe permanently by removing 50 per cent of life from it. So, these are incredible stakes for our characters. If the Avengers were built for anything, it’s for stopping Thanos from completing his goal.”

Telling the Story From the Perspective of the Villain

In possibly the boldest choice of all, the Russo Brothers decided they were going to tell this story from Thanos’s perspective, which makes a lot of sense after you hear them describe why:

“Every villain is a hero in his own story and believes that what they’re doing is right,” Joe Russo said. “They’re just in conflict with the rest of the world. Thanos happens to believe that what he is doing is right, and he behaves nobly towards that goal. But he will not stop until he achieves the goal because he believes that there is weakness that stands between him and the completion of the goal. We thought it was fascinating to tell a story from the point of view of a villain. So when you watch the film, you’ll see that the film is told from Thanos’ perspective. That offers a unique insight into our heroes, but it also offers a unique insight into villains and how they think.”

“It was a very organic choice in this film because we’re dealing with several different groups of characters, some of which have no knowledge of the existence of the other,” Anthony Russo said. “Thanos is the one thing that unifies them all in this movie. So, orientating our story and telling it from his point of view had a lot of practicality to it as well.”

Featured image: Marvel Studios’ AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR. Thanos (Josh Brolin). Photo: Film Frame. ©Marvel Studios 2018


Bryan Abrams

Bryan Abrams is the Editor-in-chief of The Credits. He's run the site since its launch in 2012. He lives in New York.