Where Are the Infinity Stones? Keeping Up with the MCU’s Six Most Powerful Artifacts
The Infinity Stones are the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s big McGuffin. They’ve been present ever since the Tesseract was introduced into the series, but they were officially introduced in Guardians of the Galaxy when The Collector explained that before the universe first began, there were six singularities. These six singularities were then condensed into concentrated ingots. Whoever controls all six stones and wields them using the Infinity Gauntlet has the power to reshape reality.
So where are the stones and what exactly do they do? With Avengers: Infinity War on the horizon, we’re running down what we know about the Infinity Stones in the MCU thus far. [Spoilers for all Marvel movies through Black Panther]
Originally introduced as The Tesseract in Captain America: The First Avenger (although technically it first appears in the post-credits scene of Thor), the Space Stone has the power to all interdimensional space travel. While Red Skull used the power of the Tesseract to create super-powered weapons for Hydra, Loki used the Tesseract to open a portal, which allowed the Chitauri to attack New York City in The Avengers. At the end of the movie, the Avengers retrieve the Tesseract, give it to Thor, and he puts it in Odin’s treasure room for safekeeping.
Thor: Ragnarok added a new wrinkle when Loki heads down to the treasure room to put Surtur’s helmet into the eternal flame and spots the Tesseract. We never see Loki take the Tesseract, but presumably Loki gonna Loki and he pocketed it. Additionally, if he didn’t take the Tesseract, it would just be floating around in space since Asgard was destroyed. If I had to guess, Loki has the Tesseract and he’s going to have a confrontation with Thanos since we saw Thanos’ ship in the post-credits scene. In the Infinity War trailer, we can see he has the Tesseract, but we don’t have confirmation on how he obtained it.
Dubbed “Aether” in Thor: The Dark World, the Reality Stone, according to Odin, “changes matter into dark matter” and the villain, Malekith, wants to use it to return the universe to darkness where he and his dark elves reigned. When the Aether, which usually appears in liquid form, is contained in a stone at the end of the film, Sif and Volstagg bring into The Collector for safekeeping. They explain that they’re giving him the stone because it would be unwise to keep more than one stone in Odin’s treasure room. After they leave, the Collector ominously says, “One down, five to go.”
Hidden in an orb that Guardians of the Galaxy‘s Peter Quill discovers on the planet Morag, the Power Stone gives the person who wields it the power to destroy an entire planet as its power is proportional to the organic matter it touches. The Power Stone cannot be held for more than a few moments unless that power shared is between people, and even then it’s only for a limited time. The stone requires a weapon of some kind like Ronan’s hammer or the Infinity Gauntlet in order to be used without destroying the bearer. The Guardians of the Galaxy are able to recover the stone from Ronan, encase it in a new orb, and give that orb to the Nova Corps on Xandar for safe keeping.
However, in the first Infinity War trailer, we see the stone in Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet, although we don’t know how it got there.
This stone originally appeared inside the blue orb from the scepter that was given to Loki by Thanos. Whenever Loki touched the scepter to someone, it allowed Loki to control that person’s mind and do his bidding with the only way to break the spell being a serious concussion. When the scepter is recovered at the beginning of Avengers: Age of Ultron, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner use its power to give life to Ultron, which (spoiler alert) backfires since Ultron is deeply evil and twisted. He then breaks the stone free from the scepter and implants in the android Vision. The stone, the vibrainium used to make the android, a special chamber and a lot of electricity from Thor’s hammer, gives life to Vision, who still has the stone implanted in his forehead. It currently gives Vision the power of flight, super strength, the ability to phase through solid material, and the ability to shoot energy beams from the stone.
The Time Stone rests inside the Eye of Agamotto pendant revealed in Doctor Strange. The Time Stone allows the bearer to manipulate time, allowing them to either rewind or fast-forward through events or create a time loop. Strange does both during the film, first using the stone to rewind events when they arrive in Hong Kong and then trapping himself and Dormammu inside of a time loop so that Dormammu can’t destroy the Earth. At the end of the movie, Strange returns the Eye of Agamotto to Kamar-Taj, but it’s more than likely he’ll be using it again in the future.
If the MCU goes by the original stones (called Infinity Gems) in the comics (and so far they have), then the last remaining stone is the Soul Stone. In the comics, it allows the bearer to manipulate the souls of the living, opens up a gateway to an idyllic pocket universe, can steal the powers and abilities of others, and at its full potential gives the user power over all life in the universe.
Black Panther provides some fairly major clues that that the Soul Stone is in Wakanda. In the prologue, we’re told that a meteor hit Africa, and we can see that the meteor is glowing from the inside. We’re also told that the meteor, which was made of Vibranium, affected the plant and animal life, something we later see with the “heart-shaped herb” that can give a person superhuman strength and agility. Additionally, when people drink it, they’re given visions of the “ancestral plane”, which looks a lot like “a gateway to an idyllic pocket universe.” We’ve also seen in the Infinity War trailer that there’s a huge battle set to take place on the outskirts of Wakanda. It stands to reason that the Soul Stone was inside the meteor, and it’s currently buried beneath Wakanda. For his part, director Ryan Coogler says he didn’t include an Infinity Stone because he wanted to keep the focus on the Vibranium, but it appears there are enough clues that the two are connected–the Vibranium was infused with the power of the Soul Stone.
We’ll find out when Avengers: Infinity War opens on May 4th.