In classic Marvel Studios form, The Avengers gave us a post-credits surprise, and it was better than anything that's come before.
Aside from the involuntary shriek that I had to muffle upon viewing (I really hadn't seen it coming) there wasn't much to report, but now it turns out that not only has it been in the works for awhile, it was all Joss' idea.
Unfortunately no footage is yet up, nor are any of the screen grab images online worth posting, but there's a great look at the end-credits of the film over here. The surprise scene isn't there, but it's still a beautiful sequence.
Spoilers, obviously, when you hit the jump and see what Joss and Kevin Feige had to say about their shocker.
SlashFilm has some nice excerpts from recent interviews with both Feige and Whedon. Mostly Feige credits Joss entirely with choosing Thanos to be the evil behind the evil, and therefore with deciding the direction of future Marvel films and the Avengers sequel (the future direction being COSMIC.)
But there is a pretty flarking fantastic line here:
Of course neither would reveal what this means going forward, though Feige did hint it won’t come to true fruition until a Guardians of the Galaxy film finally gains traction.
I know Kevin Feige started talking about doing a Guardians movie a few weeks ago, but who really earnestly believed it? I mean, Avengers took years of lead-in individual blockbusters, all fully established legacy characters. Guardians, while one of the best team superhero comics ever, and also with a fairly deep history, has little recognition even among comic fans.
But with Thanos in the mix, Guardians becomes so much more possible. I mean Drax the Destroyer, whose entire purpose of being is to destroy Thanos, is a card-carrying member of the Guardians. And the team came up against him, after facing off with several other cosmic big wig Big Bads, in their final story and his defeat cost them both Star-Lord and Nova. This is, after all, the guy who can kill half the universe in a blink and swat Hulk like a red-headed step-child.
As for Joss, this is what he had to say about the inclusion of Thanos in the Marvel Film universe:
He 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!”
I know I've said this a lot already but it bears repeating: God bless you Joss.
Also I really should have seen it coming. Remember all that press about sightings of the Infinity Gauntlet in Thor, in Odin's throne/vault room place? Pret-ty brilliant marketing and foreshadowing, yet again, from the far-sighted Marvel folk.
Kevin Feige must be in 7th heaven with the gargantuan, unprecedented Avengers success, so here's hoping in his extreme giddiness he starts giving stuff away about GotG. Can you imagine how d'ast cool that movie could be? I sure can.