Disney Misled Fans About Thanos' MCU Phase 5 Role

By Savannah Sanders Posted:
Thanos, Marvel Studios logo

Did Disney's marketing mislead MCU fans about Thanos' role in The Marvels?

Even though Jonathan Majors' Kang the Conqueror is (or was?) Phase 5's big bad, the Infinity Saga's Mad Titan made a surprising return in a trailer for Captain Marvel 2

But now that Brie Larson's Thanos-less team-up with Ms. Marvel and Monica Rambeau has come and gone, fans are questioning if Disney's tease was an outright lie. 

Disney Misled Fans About Thanos' Role in The Marvels

The week prior to The Marvels' theatrical debut, Disney and Marvel Studios released a trailer featuring callbacks to Infinity Saga characters, including Josh Brolin's Thanos. 

While the teaser featured no new footage of the villain, it did include new dialogue that was never heard in Avengers: Infinity War or Endgame and suggested a connection between the Mad Titan and Dar-Benn, The Marvels' antagonist.

Josh Brolin's Thanos in Avengers: Endgame
Marvel Studios

This moment in the trailer began with a voiceover from Carol Danvers, saying, "We destroyed Thanos, but it's not over."

This is followed by shots of Thanos who states, "My work is inevitable. There will always be more...." 

But before he completes his threat of "...to finish it," the trailer cuts to a shot of Zawe Ashton's Dar-Benn. 

Zawe Ashton's Dar-Benn in The Marvels
Marvel Studios

Further shots show the Captain Marvel 2 villainess in action, highlighting her use of the bangle (aka Quantum Band) and her hammer. 

Zawe Ashton's Dar-Benn in The Marvels
Marvel Studios

While the timing of these shots, combined with the use of Thanos' dialogue, led audiences to expect Dar-Benn to continue his mission in some fashion, The Marvels ended up being a strictly Phase 5 story with nothing to do with Brolin's baddie or his inevitable "work."

Now, in all fairness, apart from Dar-Benn being an Accuser like Ronan, a former Thanos associate, the two antagonists both wanted resources for their respective homeworlds.

Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War
Marvel Studios

The problem is that their methods and solutions are so dramatically different and Dar-Benn never referenced Thanos' work and the need to finish it. 

Why Disney Lied About Thanos' Role 

"...I never taught you to lie. That’s why you’re so bad at it." - Thanos

In the weeks leading up to The Marvels release, box office projections were shockingly lower than with previous MCU films. 

This appears to have led to a last-minute marketing push to get the fan base's attention which not only included The Marvels trailer referencing Thanos but also that sneaky X-Men tease and Tessa Thompson's Valkyrie cameo

While understandable at the time, and even appreciated by audiences craving stakes and connectivity, in retrospect, the use of Thanos in a Phase 5 project and alongside Dar-Benn not only seems desperate but deceptive. 

Yes, it's true that Disney and Marvel Studios often use misdirection in their marketing. But this wasn't a fake shot or an attempt to save a surprise for the theaters, it was a blatant bait and switch.

The fact Disney lied using characters and material that Marvel fans so revere isn't likely to be forgotten. 

And, unfortunately, it may have a negative impact on how audiences view future Marvel Studios trailers which have long been part of the MCU fan experience. 

The Marvels is playing in theaters now. 

- In This Article: The Marvels
Release Date
November 10, 2023
- About The Author: Savannah Sanders
Savannah Sanders joined The Direct as a writer in 2020. In addition to writing for The Direct's Star Wars, Marvel, and DC teams, Savannah specializes in the relationship between Disney's blockbuster franchises and the Disney Parks.