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This Is When Thanos Will Reportedly Make His Triumphant Return

Is Thanos about to pull a Michael Myers and come back for another film after his death?

According to a new report from We Got This Covered, the Mad Titan made famous in the Marvel Cinematic Universe by Josh Brolin could be making a triumphant return down the line. 

The outlet cites an anonymous source that claims Thanos will rear his massive purple head once again in "the upcoming Annihilation storyline" of the MCU (which hasn't been confirmed, mind you). There's also reportedly a possibility that the intergalactic despot who died twice in Avengers: Endgame — once via beheading at the hands of Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and later when Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) used the Avengers' Infinity Gauntlet to snap past Thanos out of existence — will make a cameo in The Eternals, popping up in flashback sequences that show him in his younger years. This could kick off Thanos' big return to the MCU, with his small appearance in the Chloé Zhao-directed feature, due out on November 6, 2020, leading into a more prominent presence in films that will tell the Annihilation story and introduce to the MCU the villain named Annihilus. 

We Got This Covered goes on to claim that Marvel is indeed planning to bring Thanos back into the fray. The outlet expressed confidence in its source and the information they have provided, as the person or people claiming that Thanos' return is on the horizon is the same source that indicated Taskmaster would be the villain in the forthcoming Black Widow movie and that director Matt Reeves had selected Robert Pattinson to play Bruce Wayne in 2021's The Batman

Based on the source's track record, one could easily be convinced that Thanos is coming back to the MCU. Knowing that rumors about Annihilus potentially joining the Marvel movie world have swirled for ages now might also push one to believe that Marvel will actually tell the Annihilation comics storyline in the future and that Thanos will be a part of it. 

Written by Keith Giffen with editor Andy Schmidt, Annihilation focuses on many of the space-related characters in the Marvel Universe as they face off with Annihilus, the Arthrosian alien whose unquenched thirst for conquest causes him to unleash the Annihilation Wave onto our galaxy. The storyline began in March 2006 with the one-shot issue Annihilation: Prologue, and was followed up by four separate mini-series: Silver Surfer, Super-Skrull, Nova, and Ronan the Accuser. In August 2006, Marvel Comics published Annihilation as a full six-issue mini-series, then rolled out a pair of Annihilation: Heralds of Galactus issues and an updated Nova volume. 

Annihilus is responsible for the attacks in the storyline — and Thanos, with the guidance of villains Skreet and Mistress Death, initially forms an alliance with him. Eventually, though, Thanos decides to betray Annihilus when he realizes he's planning to wipe out all life in the universe. (Talk about ironic, huh?)  

Obviously, a lot went on in Annihilation and Thanos played an important part in the action. It makes sense that if Marvel truly is planning to introduce Annihilus and adapt the Annihilation storyline for the silver screen, then Thanos would return for those films. 

However, this all seems quite unlikely. Sure, Thanos could return to the MCU. Yes, Marvel can bring him back in Eternals flashbacks and a storyline set before the events of Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers: Endgame. And thanks to Disney's purchase of Fox and Marvel Studios' acquisition of several Fox-owned characters including Silver Surfer, it's entirely possible for Marvel to adapt Annihilation and devote several movies to the storyline. 

The opportunity for this to happen is certainly there, but the foundation for this idea is flimsy at best. It's not a done deal that Thanos will actually cameo in The Eternals, as We Got This Covered's source simply said it's a "possibility." Even if he does appear in the film, which is plausible considering he is an Eternal, there's no guarantee that he'll show up in any other Marvel movie thereafter. Additionally, we know what Marvel has planned for its Phase 4 films, and it seems that no movie in that phase apart from The Eternals will allow for Thanos to return in any kind of noteworthy capacity, if at all. Black Widow, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten RingsDoctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, and Thor: Love and Thunder are going to focus on their titular characters (as they should) and not on the dude who wouldn't leave the Avengers alone for years on end. If he's going to appear in any already-announced Marvel movie, it would be The Eternals, but that hasn't been confirmed. 

But what about what comes after Phase 4? Could Thanos take his potential Phase 4 cameo and turn it into a full-fledged return in Phase 5? While Marvel didn't announce its Phase 5 plans at San Diego Comic-Con 2019, studio president Kevin Feige did note that Black Panther 2, Captain Marvel 2, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3, a Fantastic Four movie, and an X-Men film are coming in the future. The Blade reboot starring Mahershala Ali is also in the pipeline at Marvel, and will probably be released in Phase 5. Feige didn't explicitly confirm that these projects will make up Marvel's fifth phase, but if they do, they'll likely comprise the entire Phase 5 slate, since adding any more would be overkill. If that ends up being true, there might not be room for movies solely focused on the Annihilation storyline to debut during Phase 5. That phase will probably launch movies in 2022 and 2023 to follow up the Phase 4 films releasing in 2020 and 2021, meaning Phase 6 will likely play out in 2024 and 2025. By that point, several years after his potential cameo in The Eternals, would anyone really care about seeing Thanos making a legitimate return to the MCU? Something tells us the answer could be a big, fat "no." 

Overall, Thanos returning to the MCU for movies centered on the Annihilation comic run could happen and Marvel can definitely make it come true if it so pleases. But as of this writing, there's simply not enough concrete information to say whether it will actually come to pass. Thanos may be inevitable, but his return to the MCU might not be.