‘Infinity War’ Director Joe Russo Explains That The Film Is Driven By A ‘Horrifying’ And ‘Empathetic’ Thanos

Marvel / Disney

On April April 27th, the Marvel Cinematic Universe will change forever with Avengers: Infinity War. Dozens of characters that have fought their own battles over the last decade will come together united for one purpose: defeat Thanos. It very well could cost some of them their lives.

Beyond being a landmark event for superhero movies, early record-breaking ticket sales show that this ambitious outing has worked, at least in hyping fans. But there’s still little known about Infinity War. We know Thanos, the big bad hinted at over the years has some of the Infinity Stones, but what even is the movie the entire world is about to see?

In a wide-ranging interview with Fandango that touches upon how his time directing Arrested Development and Community prepared him for guiding such a massive cast, Russo discusses the qualities of a great villain, and how it’s Thanos’ point of view driving Infinity War‘s narrative. In fact, Thanos is described by Russo as the main character of the movie, a first for such a blockbuster. The bad guy is the main guy.

Thanos has an incredible amount of screen time in this film, in a lot of ways I would say it’s his movie. Our job when we make these films — and what we feel is important to us — is to surprise the audience. We wanted to tell a story that they weren’t expecting, and the story is told from the point of view of a villain, which I think is also really unique and risky for a commercial film that will surprise the audience. I think this is a market where the audience really enjoys innovation and disruption, and we want to do something innovative in this space.

But in his self-described “heist movie,” the following the bad guy isn’t always interesting, but as he said, the point of view has to work. Thanos has to be the hero of his story, and Russo drops an interesting nugget: “I don’t want to keep defaulting to him but I think people will find [Thanos] at turns horrifying and at turns empathetic.”

The entire, lengthy interview with Russo can be found over at Fandango, and if you have even a marginal interest in the MCU, it’s definitely worth reading.