The following contains plot spoilers for forthcoming Marvel Studios films. Stop reading this now if you give a sh*t.

Apparently it's been known for some time that Thanos appears in this summer's Guardians of the Galaxy. I didn't know this. I feel like a lot of people didn't know this. But now I know this because loads of outlets are reporting that Josh Brolin has been cast in the role and that his first appearance -- or his voice's first appearance, anyway -- will be in James Gunn's movie. So I got spoiled. And now you've been spoiled. Like all the great comic book supervillains, I want the world to know my pain.

Created by Jim Starlin as an acknowledged ripoff of Jack Kirby's cosmic DC Comics tyrant Darkseid, Thanos is among the Marvel's Universe's most fearsome villains whose idiom lends itself to the epically interstellar. He's obsessed with Death -- that's Death with a capital D, and not the cute goth chick from The Sandman, but Marvel's own physical manifestation of oblivion. To that end, Thanos' quest is to extinguish life as a kind of romantic gesture. He most recently featured in the Marvel Comics event series Infinity, which we've helpfully recapped for you here.

In the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we know that Thanos was behind the alien invasion of Earth seen at the climax of Avengers, and it's widely assumed that certain powerful objects seen throughout the studio's canon are being collected for Thanos by Benicio del Toro's Collector character, with a view towards assembling the famous Infinity Gauntlet from the comics, with which Thanos can basically f*ck up the whole universe.

Variety and Latino Review report that Brolin's Thanos will be a kind of puppet master presence in Guardians and have some part to play in Avengers: Age of Ultron before taking the stage as the big bad in Avengers: Whatever The Third Film Will Be Called.

Brolin is one of Marvel's more impressive casting choices. The actor has a tradition of taking on distinctly dark, guttural roles in films like No Country for Old Men, True Grit, Old Boy, Gangster Squad and the DC Comics adaptation Jonah Hex, making Thanos a perfect fit for Brolin, who joins a small group of actors who've played both Marvel and DC characters (Ryan Reynolds played Deadpool and Green Lantern, and Halle Berry played Catwoman and Storm). Hopefully Thanos will be a motion-capture scenario instead of just a voice-over part, giving Brolin a way to display his prodigious talents.

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