The Marvel Cinematic Universe has struggled to find a new universe-threatening villain after the death of Thanos, and it seems the studio is finally ready to bring the Mad Titan back.

Credit: Marvel Studios

Since the climactic finale of the Infinity Saga, Avengers: Endgame (2019), Marvel Studios has been flailing about to find a new Big Bad on the scale of Thanos. The franchise has often been accused of being unable to produce memorable villains consistently (anyone remember Malekith the Dark Elf? No?), with Josh Brolin’s tortured, genocidal wielder of the Infinity Gauntlet being the big exception.

Since Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr) took both himself and Thanos out via Infinity Stone, Marvel Studios has been attempting to promote Kang the Conqueror (Jonathan Majors) as the next huge threat to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, but it has not exactly been going well.

Credit: Marvel Studios

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For one thing, Kang’s theatrical debut, Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania, was a box office bomb and regarded as a lukewarm effort by critics. Since then, Majors has popped up in increasing numbers of Multiversal Variants in Loki, but it’s starting to look worrisome if the actor can bear the load of being existence’s greatest villain.

Then, there’s Jonathan Majors’ tarnished public image after he was arrested on accusations of assault earlier this year, the legal ramifications of which are still unfolding. While Marvel seems to be sticking by Majors, it remains to be seen whether audiences will feel the same.

With all that in mind, it makes a lot of sense that Thanos would unexpectedly pop up in the new trailer for The Marvels, the upcoming film starring Brie Larson as Carol Danvers, AKA Captain Marvel, along with Teyonah Parris, Iman Vellani, and Samuel L Jackson.

It seems that Marvel really, really wants us to think of the movie’s antagonist, Dar-Benn (Zawe Ashton), as the direct heir to Thanos, given that we see footage of the Mad Titan’s final moments in Endgame, immediately followed by several shots of the Kree warrior.

Credit: Marvel Studios

While the Marvels trailer is re-using a climactic moment, there’s an interesting wrinkle: voiceover narration from Thanos that appears to be new dialogue. We hear Josh Brolin’s unmistakable rumble saying, “There will always be more to finish my work,” cutting to Dar-Benn in several scenes.

Related: Thanos Actor Josh Brolin Plots His MCU Return

Given that we’ve never heard that line in a Marvel movie before, it strongly hints that we may see some kind of flashback of Thanos or possibly even a recording. There’s also another connection, given that Dar-Benn is a Kree zealot who carries an Accuser hammer, just like Ronan in Guardians of the Galaxy (2014), who was employed by Thanos. Could this new villain be inspired by Thanos and his Black Order?

Credit: Marvel Studios

At the very least, it is clear that Marvel Studios really wants us to keep Thanos in mind for the future, at least until it can figure out what to do about its villains.

Has Marvel had another villain as good as Thanos? Tell us your opinions in the comments below!

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