**Spoilers for Thanos #13 and Thanos #15 Below**
Fox’s Deadpool became an historic movie when it opened to a $284.5 million global opening weekend. It shattered records and proved movie-going audiences are interested in R-rated comic book content. For the most part, other studios had kept their comic book characters rated PG-13. It would eventually go on to make $783 million worldwide and holds the top spot for the highest grossing domestic X-Men related film.
Deadpool has paved the way for more R-rated comic book movies. Fox followed up their success with an epic performance by Hugh Jackman in Logan, another R-rated comic book movie.
But now it’s time for Marvel Studios to launch their own R-Rated films and they should start with the upcoming villain in Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos. And they are going to have plenty of source material to work from. Not only has Jim Starlin done yeoman’s work on turning Thanos into Marvel’s Big Bad, but the recent comic book run by Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw is absolutely fantastic.
The series picks up where Jeff Lemire’s run left off. Thanos is back in all of his glory and he’s even cast aside his lady love, Death. To add onto that, he’s even exiled his son to the God Quarry. In Thanos #13, he’s even begun conquering planets again beginning with Chitauri Prime. However, he’s interrupted from slaughtering the entire planet by the whacky and crazed Cosmic Ghost Rider. Cosmic Ghost Rider easily subdues the seemingly all-powerful Thanos and transports him into the distant future, where he comes face to face with a much older version of Thanos.
While this part might be a little much to bring to a Thanos stand-alone R-rated movie, it’s what happens in Thanos #15 that warrants Marvel Studios’ adapting a Thanos stand-alone film. Writer Donny Cates and artist Geoff Shaw reveal Thanos is immune to the newly identified Ghost Rider’s Penance Stare.
In fact, Ghost Rider’s Penance Stare is why Thanos keeps him around. It allows him to revel in his fondest memories. And they aren’t fond memories you and I might have. These are the memories of Thanos, the Mad Titan. They are described as “his hidden things. His darkest deeds. Things so…heinous that if you were to witness them, you would (and perhaps should) stop reading.” The description of these memories continues, they are “a cold reminder of the uncounted lives he has destroyed and left unburied in the pursuit of his one true love. An endless black symphony composed by hands and teeth through time. A love letter written in blood and then spilled, unread and unwanted, across the stars.”
Thanos even describes the experience of the Penance Stare as “exhilarating.” But not only are Thanos’ deeds described quite poetically, the Cosmic Ghost Rider reveals he’s done unspeakable things to Earth’s mightiest heroes. Things that demand an R-rating.
Marvel Studios needs to give us a film of Thanos writing his love letter in blood. We need to hear the endless black symphony he composes. Let’s see Thanos marching throughout the galaxy destroying everything in his wake. We need to see Thanos offer up his enemies, his allies, and even his children in his pursuit to win the love of Death.
If Avengers: Infinity War co-director Joe Russo wants Thanos to become the Darth Vader of this generation, he’s going to need more than just one appearance in Avengers: Infinity War. His character deserves his own trilogy.
Donny Cates and Geoff Shaw are creating the latest epic Marvel Studios should adapt into at least a feature film, but Thanos’ story deserves a stand-alone trilogy set within the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Kevin Feige, if you read this, make it happen!
Thanos will make his thunderous presence known in Marvel Studios’ upcoming Avengers: Infinity War on May 4, 2018. He will be portrayed by Josh Brolin. Let’s hope it’s not the last we see of the Mad Titan on the big screen.