The Marvel Cinematic Universe faced the greatest villain ever in Avengers: Infinity War, and lost when Thanos erased half of the population across the galaxy.

The Mad Titan proved himself a warrior, getting his hands dirty and shedding his armor after obtaining the power of the Infinity Stones. But the character almost had a very different look, one that Marvel Studios concept artist Jerad S. Marantz described as the “philosopher” look.

This is certainly an interesting look for Thanos, shying even further away from his classic comic book appearance. But merchandise for the next film make it clear that Thanos will be going back to basics in Avengers: Endgame, teasing that there could be a reason for the change after Thanos’ victory in Infinity War. Directors Joe and Anthony Russo reinforced that idea during a recent interview.

“These are characters and a story moving forward where Infinity War happened,” Anthony Russo said to Empire Magazine. “The entire universe experienced the same fate, and has been brought together by this experience.”

Added Joe Russo, “He’s succeeded in the thing he has set out to do,” Joe Russo said of Thanos’ current state in the MCU. “He’s done. He did it. He’s retired.”

Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige previously spoke about Thanos’ importance to the MCU.

“Thanos has been lurking in the shadows with a desire to obtain these Infinity Stones, which has played a big part in our other films,” Feige said. “We’ve introduced the Tesseract, revealed to be the Space Stone; the Mind Stone, which came out of Loki’s scepter and then went into Vision’s forehead; and the Time Stone: the Eye of Agamotto that Doctor Strange wears is an Infinity Stone itself! And of course the Guardians dealt with the Power Stone.

“So these storytelling devices that we’ve seeded into every film will continue to play a part and come together. We’ve been teasing this for six years. That’s a long time to tease something cinematically before paying it off. Thanos has to be the greatest villain in our movies.”

Fans can see the end of Thanos’ fight against Earth’s Mightiest Heroes when Avengers: Endgame premieres in theaters on April 26th.

Topics #Avengers: Infinity War #Joe Russo #Kevin Feige #Marvel #Thanos