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– by Joseph Jammer Medina

EXCLUSIVE: I think most folks would agree that Marvel Studios has done an excellent job of upping their villain game in recent years. During its first phase, it was understandable that they wouldn’t be incredibly strong, as the focus needed to be, first and foremost, on the heroes, but as we went into Phase 2, it became shockingly apparent that every minute of screen time not devoted to the heroes was a bit of a chore.

The writers of these films have been taking extra steps to reverse that. Phase 3 has had their strongest slate of villains to date, ranging from Zemo to Killmonger — villains whose perspective you can see from. But for the past several years, we’ve been waiting on one villain: Thanos. Several movies have teased this big bad, so will he be strong enough to continue this recent trend?

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It certainly sounds like it. LRM had a chance to sit down with Avengers: Infinity War screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely, and when asked what hero they really loved writing for, Thanos was the first name to come to mind:

McFeely: Thanos himself, because he’s so strong, confident, philosophical. He’s not generically evil, so he has good reasons for doing what he’s doing, and you borderline agree with him. And he’s always very compelling guy, to sort of dig into his justification.

This is in keeping with the likes fo Killmonger, who graced the silver screen in Black Panther earlier this year. But his sympathetic nature isn’t all. What’s also interesting is how the presence of Thanos in a movie like this shaped the overall structure of the flick.

Markus: He’s the engine of the story, so he gets a lot of screen time. This only works because there’s a guy you keep coming back to. He keeps showing up, and people come to stop him. It’s different than almost every MCU movie. Because usually there’s a villain that sort of mirrors your main here. You’ve got 23 main heroes, so its’ a different structure.

On several occasions, Thanos has been doubted as the lead of the movie by the producer and directors of the film, and it’s great to see that story being consistent with the writers. Will this be enough to ascend Thanos to the heights of Loki and Killmonger? If there is one villain who can do it, it’s Thanos.

Do you think Thanos can usurp Loki from most fans’ villain hall of fame? Let us know your thoughts down below!

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Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.