Infinity stones in the MCU : Everything you should know about.21 min read
Infinity stones are a confusing yet interesting topic for any reader not acquainted with the comic books. Are you one of them ? Then this is just the article for you before you hop into theaters 27th April.
Though Avengers : Infinity War will not directly adapt the story line as cleared by director-duo Russo brothers , it is bound to take heavy reference from throughout the entire event. In a way this is no news. A comic book nerd shouldn’t take much of a time figuring out that there is a lot of difference between Marvel Universe and the Marvel Cinematic Universe , from the character’s power levels , to the costumes , to the infinity stones and maybe even the Mad Titan , Thanos. Because according to a recent reveal , MCU might be looking forward to give Thanos a more grounded anti-heroic arc than a villain. ( Confused between villain and anti-hero ? Click here.)
Avengers : Infinity War is a huge cinematic event but not for featuring the huge scale of Infinity War and a number of superheroes never seen before on the big screen. It is because of the culminative punctuation mark the movie will be putting to a decade of story-telling with characters already introduced to the audience. And that in itself is huge if one looks back at the path MCU has come all the way since the days of Iron Man , little steps at a time. We are not even talking about the exit of most of the first crew , I doubt how many people know about that , at this point in time.
But within this journey , apart from giving some good to memorable superheroes and forgettable to awesome villains , the universe has done one thing. Sprinkle the inevitable upcoming threat of Thanos and tease the six Infinity stones (gems in comics) every now and then. Obviously there are continuity issues with Avengers : Infinity War screenwriters recently negating the end-credit screens of Age of Ultron but come on ! Its 18 movies with different directors on head most of the times. Avengers : Infinity War will see the mad Titan Thanos go in his sinister plan to restore balance in this universe , when the World’s mightiest is not in the most finest and united state.
So who exactly is Thanos ?
Plato said that Ignorance is the root and stem of all evil. That can’t get more right than in the case of Thanos. Its a comic book character we are talking about and time has taken a toll on him with different writers handling him. But one attribute I found retaining of the character all these years ( except some obscure ones , of course ) is that Thanos has always been , deep down , a product of ignorance.In the recent Jason Aaron’s and Simone Bianchi’s Thanos Rising , it is clearly visible how the character lost himself. He was a good kid , just born with deformity , so much so that his mother attempted to kill him when she first saw him.
However it took Lady Death to ultimately turn Thanos to a sinister cosmic murderer from the innocent bright kid he was once. And Thanos did it all , just because he wanted to be loved by someone. The relationship between the Mad Titan and Death has always been a intriguing thing for the fans and thus her absence in the promotional footage raises a lot of questions. In the Infinity Gauntlet series , Thanos even states that he considers his love for Death a thing to be worshiped. He was so blinded in her love that he demonstrated Nebula ( his grand-daughter in that issue ), who he had kept in a state between life and death such that she suffers for eternity , as a piece of art to her.
But what initiates the story is that Thanos erases half of the universe with the snap of his fingers…to restore balance in order to please Death .The second trailer teases this iconic moment from the comics by making Gamora (Thanos’s adopted daughter in MCU) say that all that Thanos ever wanted was to wipe out half of the universe and that if he gets all the infinity stones , he can do that with the snap of his fingers. If one can wipe out half of all the living in the cosmos , the stones need no introduction to how powerful they are. However , there is a slight difference between the infinity gems from the comics and the infinity stones from the movies. From color to power levels to current locations of the gem.In the comics , the Mad Titan went to powerful elder beings to complete his gauntlet , but in the MCU he would need to come and defeat more familiar faces.
And that’s what make the story of Avengers : Infinity War and its untitled sequel Avengers 4 interesting . People don’t know what exactly is about to go down. We know nothing for sure. To the inevitable question of all or most of the World’s Mightiest getting killed off to them being resurrected to the entire concept of soul world which is a key concept of the heroes’s returning back…. nothing can be said for certain as for right now. But one thing can be stated very clearly , the history lesson MCU has been fetching us ever since Captain America : The First Avenger.Lets start with the basics….
What exactly are the infinity stones/gems ?
To quote the collector , “Before creation itself, there were six singularities. Then the universe exploded into existence, and the remnants of these systems were forged into concentrated ingots… Infinity Stones.” They are simply the most ancient artifacts and the most powerful elements of the entire universe. In a word , they are MacGuffins of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In the Marvel universe , there are more infinity gems named Death Gem and Ego Gem , but since they do not seem relevant in the MCU , we will talk about that at a different point in time.
Crafted by the cosmic entities Death, Entropy, Infinity and Eternity , the Infinity Stones was their likenesses portrayed on the walls of the Temple Vault on Morag (see below). In simple words , the stones are the depiction of the universe around us . It is obvious that one who can control them , can control the basic rules by which time , realities , minds , space , power and souls are governed. The six infinity stones are the secrets to unlocking the power of god in the entire universe. However only selective strong beings can wield the stones.Below is the picture of an ancient carving displaying the cosmic entities forming the infinity stones and the infinity stones on a gauntlet reminiscence of a hand of god in the MCU.
There is a way to every fictional/Sci-fi universe as to how it will co-relate magic to science. Lord of the Rings had its own way , Harry Potter had it own way… Likewise, comic book universes such as Marvel Cinematic Universe , X-Men and DC Films has their own way too. Infinity Stones may be a thing belonging to both history and legend , but it has MCU’s grounded story-telling attached with it.Lets take a moment examining what we know of each stone and their history according to the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The below section is heavily filled with spoilers so make sure that you are well acquainted with the plots of all Marvel Cinematic Universe movies up-till Black Panther.
The Space Stone
Space is an important aspect in our day to day life. Geometry , 3D , Vectors , Space-Time rules are some of the basic pillars modern physics and mathematics stand upon…and they are all based on space. Twisting these rules would be equivalent to creating your own physics and creating a space-time anomaly every once in a while. And that is what Space stone is capable of. Originally green in the comics , Thanos has created two such notable anomalies in the promotional footage itself with the stone. The first one is when he uses a worm-hole ( a space time anomaly used to transverse from one place in space-time to another in a matter of seconds) probably to face the likes of Iron Man , Doctor Strange , Spider-man , Star-Lord , Drax and Mantis wrecking havoc in his home-land Titan.
The second time the Mad Titan uses the space stone is in fact , in an epic way. He pulls a moon/planet from his orbit to hurl it at something. That is the single most epic thing I have seen from the Avengers : Infinity War trailer that feels more like Infinity War than anything else. Though the footage was shown only to a small number of audience at SDCC 2017 , you can catch a glimpse of how that shot might be from below. (For more awesome pictures/BTS click here )
So what do we know about the Space Stone ? We caught a glimpse of the stone for the first time in Captain America : The First Avenger but most of us couldn’t figure out that it was indeed an infinity stone. The stone was wrapped in an element caught Tesseract ( a 4D representation of a cube in geometry ) . Nazi officer Johann Schmidt (better known as Captain America villain , Red Skull) was a man who believed in ancient legends and opted them as elements of science ( as I was talking about earlier).
In the March of 1942 at Tonsberg , Norway , we find Red Skull and his men steal the Teserract from an old man in a fort in an attempt to summon strength for Hydra. We don’t know how the Infinity Stone landed behind a wall carving of Yggdrasill , a huge mythical tree/energy that connects the nine worlds (Asgard, Jotunheim, Muspelheim, Alfheim, Vanaheim, Nidavellir, Svartalfheim, Niffleheim and Midgard )in both Marvel and Norse cosmology.
Schmidt is found remarking the tesseract as the jewel in Odin’s treasure room but we get no clue on how it appeared on Earth. Later thanks to Captain America , the tesseract transmitted Red Skull out somewhere in the cosmos. After the sentinel of liberty sacrificed himself for the greater good , Howard Stark found out the tesseract while in the search for Captain’s body. S.H.I.E.L.D. aka Strategic Homeland Intervention, Enforcement and Logistics Division was formed when the War was won. And 70 year later , when Captain was woken up from the cryogenic frozen sleep he had gotten into , Colonel Nicholas “Nick” Joseph Fury was the director in charge of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Later we saw Thanos give Loki the mind gem in the form of a sceptre through The Other. Loki with the help of his sceptre stole the Tesseract from S.H.I.E.L.D to a portal to outer space to let Thanos’s Chitauri army come in.The Avengers helped defend Earth and push the Chitauri back but what’s noticeable is that it took the aid of the mind stone to close the portal opened by the space stone. Though it was designed in such a way by Dr. Selvig , many powerful energy beams from the likes of Thor and Iron Man could not close it down.
The tesseract was taken back to Asgard. During Thor : Ragnarok , Loki managed to take it with him before exiting Asgard , which was let to be blown up by the fire demon Surtur , for the threat of the goddess of death , Hela. When Thor and Asgard ( the people ) was faced by the Sanctuary II ship of Thanos , some/all people might have got killed and the scene of Thanos crushing Thor’s head might be taking place then. All things considered , Loki will be making a deal of escape for either him or his brother with the Teserract. Thanos takes the tesseract , crushes it and puts the space stone from within in his gauntlet , one which already consisted the Power Stone.
The Mind Stone
Originally red in the comics , the mind stone holds infinite strength in terms of controlling any minds and be able to twist them forever.After being taken back to S.H.I.E.L.D. , a Hydra Agent inside S.H.I.E.L.D. Baron Wolfgang von Strucker is found experimenting on two test subjects with the energy of the mind stone. Wanda Maximoff and Pietro Maximoff ( who were children of the infamous mutant Magneto in comics) were the test subjects. Wanda was later found being able to control the mind gem to an extent. During the events of Age of Ultron , Ultron tried to make a weapon of destruction of the Avengers and took out the mind gem from the spectre to put it in his head.
Avengers were later successful in bringing the vibranium wielded Vision in their team and Vision is a member ever since. In the events of Civil War , it was found that he did not knew much about the mind stone as well. The Stone in his head is later seen controllable by Wanda aka Scarlett Witch. While the mind gem’s powers has not found its true platform for demonstrating its power , Infinity War is less than a month away. Currently , after Captain has helped Wanda , Scott , Barton and Sam escape ; Wanda has been found to be enjoying the company of Vision. Until she and Vision is probably attacked by Proxima Midnight to be defended by Captain , Black Widow and Falcon. Captain then decides to bring Vision in to Wakanda.
The Reality Stone
Originally orange in the comic books , the original power of Reality stone is not yet seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. If it is anything like its counterpart in the MCU , one can do anything with it. From creating new world to different realities to undoing the done , everything you can imagine of.
The first we see of it is in Thor : Dark World at around 2988 BC. The dark elf Malekith is seen using this dark red, viscous liquid called Aether which was later found out to be Reality Stone. Father of Odin , King Bohr helped defeat the elfs and took away the Aether. He took it and placed it in an unknown world between two pillars. Thousands of years later , In 2013, near the beginning of the Convergence, a portal opened up to where the Aether was located. Jane Foster happened to walk through this portal and, through curiosity, made contact with it, causing it to become active and infest Foster’s body, using her as a host.
After Thor : The Dark World , Aether was left with the Collector , Taneleer Tivan. It was feared that two stones should not be located so close to one another in the universe. However , thanks to a new leaked footage , Guardians are seen peeping into the Collector’s chamber while Thanos attempts to interrogate Collector. What will happen to the reality stone , only time can tell.
Originally blue in color and wielded by the Gardener , the time gem can help control time and its flow in any way desired. In the Marvel Cinematic Universe , it is present inside an ancient relic , The Eye of Agomotto. Agomotto , the first sorcerer supreme used that relic to contain the power of the time stone. The relic was then passed on down the sorcerer supreme chain and at the end , went to Doctor Stephen Strange.
In Avengers : Infinity War second trailer , Ebony Maw ( one of the Black Order) is seen torturing Doctor Strange with his own tricks , probably for the time gem.
The scene portrayed is reminiscent of an iconic moment when Maw does put a spell on the sorcerer supreme to get the location of other gems. Not only does he helps find the stones but also turns against the Avengers , thanks to Maw’s skillful illusion.
How Agomotto found the relic or the stone is still unknown but there are always one or two reference from comic books to rely upon. In the Marvel lore , some believed that it was discovered by Agamotto among the seas and stars, where it had drifted for ages. The same can be in the Marvel Cinematic Universe but Doctor Strange Director Scott Derrickson shrugged away from the notion of using the same gem from the books remarking the Eye of Agomotto from the comics to be far more powerful to be used in a movie.
The Power Stone
Originally yellow in the comic books , the infinity stone was used by a celestial , Eson the searcher (picture above). Being an extremely ruthless, destructive and megalomaniacal being possessing a god complex , he used it to destroy and flush worlds and civilizations. Then it was forgotten for millenia in the planet Morag inside the Orb.
It was later stolen by Peter Quill aka Star-Lord leading to a galaxy-wide hunt that resulted in the Orb being given to the Nova Corps for safe-keeping. Note that when Thanos arrives at Titan to face Iron Man or tries to put down Captain America in Wakanda , has the power and the space stones only in his gauntlet. That should indicate that he is already done with Xander and its Nova Corps.
The Soul stone
The soul gem is till date not shown in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and thus , its status and whereabouts are unknown in the universe. All we know is that it has a orange hue compared to the violet one the soul gem had in the comic books.Since its location is unknown , fan speculations are rampant with the whereabouts of the soul stone. While sometimes fans fixated on Heimdall for his orange eye to be able to see every soul in the nine realms , sometimes it went to the vibranium meteorite that dropped in Wakanda about a 2.5 million years ago. When both of the theories were de-bunked , some fans even questioned the stone’s existence in relationship to Tony Stark !
Regardless of where the stone is right now , the soul stone is the most important of them all. Previously , Thanos would use to call all his gems as soul gems which were later changed to infinity gems. Moreover , soul gem is the one important plot device surrounding which a lot of controversies are taking place. In the comics , there was a soul world inside the soul gem which contained the souls of the captured victims. The pocket dimension of beings captured and drawn into the Soul Gem is a place of peace and tranquility. The captured souls reside here in complete harmony, sharing a dimensional consciousness and well-being.
Fans speculated that the leaked pictures from the untitled Avengers 4 were something to do with the soul world , which is a strong point to lean onto. After all they all look different and happy , don’t they ?
Thus , you can figure out by now that there is a lot of things that Marvel has let us know throughout the years regarding the Mad Titan and the infinity stones. Infinity War was a thing planned from long before. Let us know how you feel after reading this article and whether you have some extra speculations and ideas you would like to keep on the table. Let us know about it all in the comments section below and keep following us for more Avengers : Infinity War updates.