Josh Brolin is Playing Thanos in ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’

By May 30, 2014

Update: Variety has confirmed the story. The headline has been changed to reflect this.

Just to make this clear: this is just a rumor for right now, but it’s coming from Latino Review, and their track record on Marvel scoops is exceptional, so I think it’s worth talking about.

We know that Thanos – the purple-skinned alien with that evil grin at the end of The Avengers – is the ultimate big bad in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. But in Iron Man 3, Thor: The Dark World, and Captain America: The Winter Soldier, he’s been nowhere to be found. He’ll finally pop up again when James Gunn’s space-heavy action comedy Guardians of the Galaxy hits theaters this August, but we still don’t know who’ll be playing the villain. LR’s sources are saying they have the answer: Josh Brolin, star of No Country For Old Men.


Brolin is no stranger to comic book movies: he starred in Jonah Hex, Men in Black 3, and the upcoming Sin City: A Dame To Kill For. (He also led Spike Lee’s Oldboy, based on a manga.) But even with that pedigree, he doesn’t make immediate sense to me for the role of Thanos. Marvel has done a great job with casting so far, with every actor pretty perfectly embodying their comic book counterpart, and though Brolin can play gruff and mean with the best of ’em, I’m just not sure I see him (or hear him) as this malevolent force of evil that eventually faces off against the entire Avengers team. But hey – this is comic book movie casting, and as anyone who scoffed at the concept of Heath Ledger as The Joker will tell you, we just have to wait and see the final performance before a judgment can be made.

With the exception of Rocket Raccoon, I’m pretty sure Marvel Studios has also called on its voice cast to provide motion capture work as well as line readings. Paul Bettany as The Vision and James Spader as Ultron are two important characters in upcoming Marvel releases, and we already know Thanos is essential to the future of the MCU. But if Brolin is just now being cast for a movie that comes out in August, I’m sort of doubtful that the Guardians filmmakers will have enough time to film Brolin in a mo-cap suit for the Thanos scenes.

I see two scenarios here. A) They’ve already filmed someone else for the motion capture work for Thanos and Brolin will simply supply the character’s voice, or B) Thanos isn’t nearly as important to Guardians of the Galaxy as we thought and he’ll be more of an off-screen threat, mentioned a few times and perhaps having a couple of very small scenes, but certainly not a big player in the movie. Both scenarios are equally likely; even though we’ve been told by Marvel people that Thanos is in Guardians, I don’t think anyone has ever really specified for how long, or in what capacity.

Think Brolin is good casting for Thanos? Let us know in the comments below!

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Ben is a writer living in Los Angeles, California. His work has been featured at,,,, and many more sites across the web. Some of his favorite movies include The Rocketeer, Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, Tombstone, Lucky Number Slevin, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Ferris Bueller's Day Off, Collateral, Double Indemnity, Back to the Future and The Prestige. Follow him on Twitter: @BenPears.
  • WiseSerpent

    Haven’t been paying overmuch attention, but I am thinking the GoG crew have a brush with the Collector. If anything, I think Thanos is the shadowy figure behind the scenes and a CGI kind of guy. Brolin does the voice work. And he can hardly be the Big Bad, as he could wipe the floor with every member of the Guardians whilst brushing his teeth.