If you’re not a comic book nerd but you watch all of “Thor: The Dark World” (credits included), chances are you’ll leave the theater with one question in mind: Who the hell is The Collector?

We can’t reveal at what point in the film this mysterious character makes his onscreen debut, but we can say that he is played by Benecio Del Toro. So why cast a big star for this role?

In the Marvel Comics, The Collector (also known as Taneleer Tivan) is one of the Elders of the Universe. He’s a powerful alien with the gift of prophecy who took the shape of an old man. As for that name, he literally collects things from around the universe that he sees as one of a kind. The hobby grew out of his need to maintain his own sanity when wife Matani passed away. Eventually, it turned into an obsession and he started collecting anything he considered rare or valuable, often just for the sake of having it. As a result, he has quite the collection of rare or unique items at his disposal. After he’s collected everything he can from a planet, he blows the place up.

You may have recently seen him in an episode of “Hulk” and the “Agents of SMASH.” In Marvel’s cinematic universe, The Collector is set to appear in both the “Avengers 3” and and next year’s “Guardians of the Galaxy.” It is rumored that The Collector, along with the evil elder Thanos, will be the featured story line as Marvel further develops this brand of superheroes/villains, so his debut is quite notable.

[Photo credit: Jay Maidment/AP]