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'Infinity War' director wants Thanos to be new Darth Vader

The Force of online disagreement is strong with this one. Can the "Avengers" villain even compete with the Dark Lord of the Sith?

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Does Thanos (Josh Brolin, right) really belong in the same universe of evil as iconic Star Wars villain Darth Vader?

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Any villain who claims he or she can compete with Darth Vader better be able to back it up, or prepare to be Force-choked. Does Thanos, of the upcoming "Avengers: Infinity War," qualify? That film's co-director, Joe Russo, hopes so.

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"Darth Vader was the pre-eminent villain of my childhood, and we're hoping to make a Darth Vader for a new generation," Russo said in an upcoming Empire magazine interview cited by Comic Book Movie. "We're hoping he has that complexity to him, and that he strikes fear into the heart of the audience, but at the same time they go on a journey with him. Frankly, 'Avengers 3' is his movie." 

Thanos, played by Josh Brolin, is also one of the many villains on the cover of Empire's new issue, showing the greatest villains as voted on by readers. The photo collage includes The Joker, Freddy Krueger, Kylo Ren, Lord Voldemort, and, of course, Vader himself. 

Fans are already arguing about several of the reader choices (Loki? Gollum?), but it's the inclusion of Thanos, months before he's seen in a full movie, that seems to have stirred the most controversy.

Fans have months to argue about the decision before actually seeing Thanos strut his bad self onscreen. "Avengers: Infinity War" is scheduled for release on April 25 in Australia, April 27 in the UK and May 4 in the US.