When we first saw the villainous Thanos at the tail end of 'The Avengers,' fans knew what was coming. After all, you don't tease one of the biggest villains in the entirety of the Marvel universe without admitting that you're planning to translate the iconic "Infinity Gauntlet" storyline to the big screen. That probably won't happen until 'The Avengers 3,' but fret not, true believers: Thanos won't be hanging around offscreen for too much longer. He'll play a role in the upcoming 'Guardians of the Galaxy,' and a new report gives us an idea of what he'll be doing in the film.

According to Vulture, the purple-skinned "Mad Titan," who we recently learned will be played by the incredible Josh Brolin, will be to 'Guardians of the Galaxy' what Emperor Palpatine was to 'The Empire Strikes Back.' He'll sit back and pull the strings, appearing primarily in hologram communications and briefly in the flesh. The bulk of the villainy will belong to his righthand henchman, Ronan the Accuser (Lee Pace) and Nebula (Karen Gillan), but their boss will be a frequent topic of conversation, especially when you consider his close relationship with Zoe Saldana's Gamora.

So don't expect too much Thanos. Marvel is looking to tease the big guy as much as possible before bringing him front and center, presumably in the third 'Avengers' movie, where it will hopefully take the combined might of Earth's mightiest heroes and the Guardians of the Galaxy to take him down. We expect that the next few movies will continue to build Thanos' mystique and set up his grand plan to assemble the Infinity gems and when he does arrive as the chief villain, it will be the grand climax to the plot of a half dozen films. That's just plain crazy ... and if they pull it off, it'll be dramatic as all get-out.

'Guardians of the Galaxy' arrives in theaters on August 1.