In the MCU (Marvel Cinematic Universe), The Infinity Stones (aka Infinity Gems or Soul Gems) are items of absolute power created by Cosmic Entities before the universe exploded into existence. But what are they, and where are they now?
To help answer this question, we've put together this primer to help you sort through the dozen-plus films that have hit so far, and even go on to speculate in which film we'll be seeing the mysterious Soul Stone, which has yet to make its official MCU appearance.
INFININITY STONE RUNDOWN
written by Drew Carlton
Yes, as stated above, we already know they're cosmic items created by certain entities, but the stones are much more than that. They are the ultimate plot device, and have basically powered all of the MCU movies in some way or another. Each stone utilizes a containment device, as even touching a stone could destroy a mortal, and the are spread throughout the universe. We know that these stones will be central to Infinity War, but where are they now, and what is their status?
Primary Containment Device: The Orb
Current Location: Xandar, protected by Nova Prime
This is a stone of absolute destruction. The gem itself is capable of destroying immortals, and as with many of the stones, only an immortal or someone with extraordinary powers can wield it. It was featured in Guardians of the Galaxy and at the end Star-Lord was able to destroy Ronin with it due to the fact that his father is likely Ego, The Living Planet. The Nova Corps detected an anomaly within his bio-scan, and we will discover Star-Lord's background in GOTG2, according to the director James Gunn. Peter Quill (Star-Lord) turned into possibly the biggest hero of the MCU when he gave the stone over to the Nova Corps to be protected for the rest of time, well -- at least until Thanos nabs it.
Primary Containment Device: The Tesseract
Current Location: Asgard, protected by Heimdall
One must think of this stone as a gateway through space and time itself. After the Bifrost Bridge was destroyed, there was no easy way for Thor to travel the planes of existence without Heimdall's help. Using the recaptured Tesseract from the first Avengers movie, Heimdall was able to repair the bridge. Heimdall is now the keeper, and we must assume this stone will be furthered explored in Thor: Ragnarok. Perhaps this is where Thanos will actually reappear, as I doubt we will see him in Spider-Man: Homecoming, and James Gunn (the director of GOTG and GOTG2) has said that Thanos will not be a part of Guardians of the Galaxy 2. I still think that Thanos may be in a post-credits scene, but we shall see.
Primary Containment Device: Aether
Current Location: Knowhere, "protected" by The Collector
The Reality Stone is possibly the most powerful of all the gems, as it has the ability to alter reality itself. If a divine being were able to get a hold of this, they could simply use it to turn all of the Avengers evil, and Earth conquest would be simple. Or would it? Reality, much like time, tends to correct itself. Could this be what Thanos eventually does, and in an equal and opposite reaction Captain Marvel is born? I am sure that Thanos, being cocky, would only target people like Thor and Hulk, but we shall have to wait over a year to find out. The Aether makes the stone a viscous liquid, and some think that the stone itself is of that nature. I highly doubt this, and I am sure the stone will be made solid on a certain gauntlet we will soon see.
Primary Containment Device: Eye of Agamotto
Current Location: Earth, protected by Dr. Strange & Wong
We got to see the power of the Time Stone in Dr. Strange, as he used the power of the stone to defeat Dormammu. This stone also holds quite a bit of potential, as it can reset time itself, and essentially could be used to reset the entire MCU timeline if it was ever necessary for a reboot. The stone is currently held at a Sanctum Sanctorum, and judging by the post credit scene in Dr. Strange; it will be a part of Thor: Ragnarok.
Primary Containment Device: Sceptor
Current Location: Earth, protected by Vision
This stone was the centerpiece of both Avenger's movies, and has the power of mind-control and the ability to evolve artificial minds. The stone wasa ble to bring both Utron and Vision to life, and in the books has even given beings a state of higher learning. Vision integrated this into his forehead, destroyed Ultron with it (we think), and the stone even gave Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch their powers. There is no telling if Vision will live an assault of Thanos attempting to remove the gem, but one can be assured that this scene will happen.
Primary Containment Device: Unknown
Color: Orange (assumed)
Current Location: Unknown
At this point, I'll hand things over to our very own Jeremy Scully. You see, most of us are DC Comics guys at this website. However, Scully has a knowledge of comics that even I fear. His Marvel knowledge makes me wish I started comics 10 years earlier, and he is actually an "everything guy" when it comes to the books. So here is Jeremy's take on the future possibilities of the Soul Stone, with a few past references thrown in.
THE MYSTERIOUS SOUL STONE
written by Jeremy Scully
To date, the only reference and knowledge of the mysterious Soul Stone is when The Collector is explaining the origins of the Infinity Stones -- via hologram on Knowhere in Guardians of the Galaxy. When the stones were separated and split off across the cosmos, nothing was mentioned of whatever became of the Soul Stone. Purely based on speculation, and the content of the upcoming Marvel movies, there’s only a few potential places the Soul Stone might appear, each with their own varying degree of possibility:
Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Likelihood = Low
James Gunn has already stated this is a story about sisterhood, and I’m expecting a lot of various “family ties” considering we know Pete’s father will also be involved. On top of the first story centering around a stone as well, I believe it’s safe to say Gunn will avoid treading that water again. So is it possible? Sure. Is it likely? No.
Spider-Man: Homecoming: Likelihood = Low
It just doesn’t fit into the story that Spider-Man is setting up here. There's always that “maybe” factor, but I really think this will be a strictly Spider-Man/Peter Parker story and won't get too crazy with anything cosmic.
Thor: Ragnarok: Likelihood = Medium
We’ve seen the Aether in Thor: Dark World, and we know how much the Tesseract was involved in Thor/Loki’s story, so there is a chance somehow the Soul Stone will be involved in this epic space-adventure. So, that bumps it up in possibility status, but overall I still don’t think this is where the stone will appear. I believe most of this story will be Thor, Hulk, and preventing Ragnarok from happening. Could it be that Enchantress or Loki has gained a new stone? Or somehow, the Stone is the source of some of this conflict? Of course it could, but I don’t foresee that really being the case.
Black Panther: Likelihood = Low
It seems based on casting, and all rumors about script ideas, this will be entirely Wakanda-centric, and more than likely the only “element” front and center will be Vibranium. That being said, there is a really good chance somehow this movie may or may not kick off Avengers: Infinity War.
Why do I say that? Because of a little comic book event called “Infinity” in which Thanos creates a crew called “The Black Order," a collection of powerful Aliens with unique abilities that serve as agents of Thanos. In the comics, various Heroes of Earth known as “The Illuminati” are in control of the Stones, and thus each member of The Black Order is sent after each stone separately.
One potential way to handle this in the Black Panther movie is that perhaps the Soul Stone is an aspect of Wakanda’s history, and maybe even the reason for the material known as Vibranium. The movie could easily end or "post-credit end" with the arrival of The Black Order or maybe Thanos himself, arriving to retrieve the Stone. This would then lead into…
Avengers: Infinity War: Likelihood = High
If the stone hasn’t appeared by the time this movie comes out, this definitely will be the movie it shows up in. While very little is known so far, other than the gigantic cast of characters returning from all the various franchises, the story is obviously going to center around Thanos and the Infinity Gauntlet (a mighty glove capable of containing all the stones without destroying the user). If Thanos already starts the movie having all the stones to himself, then he’s essentially godlike and it becomes a very short movie.
I would venture to guess that the idea behind the movie (and the way to have so many characters) is that various groups of heroes will be dispatched to prevent Thanos from getting each stone. Perhaps early on, he already has decimated the Novas and has contained the Orb. The film could still work anyway. The Black Order can still be used here as “villains” for the heroes to fight, while Thanos collects the stones. Regardless, the Soul Stone will most likely be the “deciding” factor in preventing Thanos from wielding the gauntlet at full power.
There are two more movies after this ("Ant-Man and Wasp" and "Captain Marvel") before we see the Avengers 4 (originally titled Infinity War Part II, but that name has been dropped to just Avengers 4). So, I’m thinking the "Stones Saga" gets wrapped up in this movie, or ends in a very ambiguous way for this fourth installment. Still, maaaaaybe we don’t get all the stones here and…
Ant-Man & Wasp: Likelihood = Medium
There’s a quick easter-egg (potentially) of a silhouetted figure, when Scott (Ant-Man) enters the Quantum Realm. Many have speculated, based on the appearance, that this figure is actually none other than the cosmic entity known as Eternity. Could this really be the great mysterious being? Maybe. No one from the Ant-Man production side has given any definite answers other than it is indeed meant to be seen, and it is indeed a character. It could just be Janet Van Dyne lost in the Quantum World, or some other character that we may or may not have yet seen. I say, that if it is Eternity and perhaps hidden deep in the Microverse is the Soul Stone.
Captain Marvel: Likelihood = Medium
I’m a bit curious to see how they bring about the origin of Carol Danvers as Captain Marvel on the big screen. The Kree are a race that, in the comics, Danvers got her power from and we’ve not seen a previous Captain Marvel in the MCU, but that’s not to say we won’t by the time Avengers: Infinity War happens or flashbacks if occur. Also, I’ve read interviews with the screenwriters and a concern they, and the studio, have is comparisons to DC Comics Green Lantern (the idea of a random Alien passing on the lineage). So there will definitely be some creative liberties that I think will be getting used here. There could be some connection to the Soul Stone, possibly, as this is the next cosmic movie within the MCU since Avengers.
Avengers 4: Likelihood = High
Well this has to be where the stone surfaces if it hasn’t already. "Part II" was dropped from the title, but it can easily be replaced with a title like “Infinity Gauntlet” or some other version of the title. Ideally, this time around, we would see Adam Warlock in possession of the Soul Stone. I highly doubt if we will have seen or heard of the Soul Stone by this point, but never say never when it comes to Marvel!
The Inhumans: Likelihood = Low
Originally announced as a full on movie, The Inhumans went into a bit a “no man’s land” for a while. There seemed to be some confusion on if the movie would ever even get made, because production and release dates were shifted around. The Inhumans, as a race, had been introduced on Agents of SHIELD, but little to nothing was mentioned of the Royal Family (Blackbolt, Medusa, etc). Vin Diesel had been previously announced as the role of Black Bolt for the movie, but no other characters or news had come about regarding the project. Recently, it was announced that the movie had shifted to being an 8 episode live action TV show from a full typical series, with the episodes being shot with IMAX theaters in mind. Aside from it being aired on IMAX and ABC Network, almost nothing has been mentioned regarding the plot, only that it will take place in a different “era” from everything else, and it does NOT tie into SHIELD or any other Marvel Movie. Maybe plot wise; this show doesn’t tie into anything, but perhaps the use of the Soul Stone is a connecting feature? The early history of The Inhumans and the Kree could revolve around the Soul Stone in some way, along with the history of the Terrigen Mists (the thing that creates Inhumans).
BONUS: Show-runner Scott Buck (Dexter, Iron Fist) has been tapped for the job of leading this production.
Well, there you have it. Drew recapped, and Scully gave some very insightful projections for the future. Just where do you think the Soul Stone will be found?