Everything You Need to Know About Marvel's Infinity Stones Ahead of 'Avengers: Infinity War'
By John Boone
Quick Marvel pop quiz! Off the top of your head, can you place each of the Infinity Stones within the Cinematic Universe right now? Perhaps we should back this up and start with the basics: Can you even explain what the Infinity Stones are?
Here's how the Collector (played by Benicio del Toro, in all his white-eyebrowed glory) summarized them in Guardians of the Galaxy: "Before creation itself, there were six singularities. Then the universe exploded into existence and the remnants of these systems were forged into concentrated ingots."
So, that's...vague, but all you need to know is there are six in total and they have been popping up as MacGuffins in the MCU since before the Avengers first assembled. When Thanos (Josh Brolin) threw on that gold glove in the mid-credits sequence of Age of Ultron and growled, "Fine, I'll do it myself," he was setting off a string of events that will culminate in Avengers: Infinity Wars. Until then, peruse this thorough field guide to the Infinity Stones.
The Space Stone
The Space Stone might be the most passed-around Infinity Stone in the entire MCU. Better known as the Tesseract, this stone first appeared in Captain America: The First Avenger, when Hugo Weaving's nefarious Red Skull used it to create weapons for the Nazis. S.H.I.E.L.D. mistakenly used it to open a portal in space that allowed Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to come to Earth, before Thor returned the stone to Asgard at the end of The Avengers. That's where it remained until Thor: Ragnarok, when Loki locked it in Odin's treasure room. Loki is then seen in the Infinity War trailer offering the Tesseract to...someone, so it's safe to assume he stole it and is currently in possession of the Space Stone.
The Mind Stone
The Mind Stone also factored into the aforementioned Tesseract-allowing-Loki-to-try-to-take-over-Earth incident, as Loki's scepter contained this stone within it. It was a gift from Thanos that Loki used to mind-control Hawkeye in Avengers. Ahead of Age of Ultron, HYDRA came into possession of the scepter and used it to give Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver their powers, before Ultron ultimately used it to create Vision (Paul Bettany). That's where it currently resides, embedded in Vision's forehead and granting him a whole bunch of powers. Last we saw of Vision in Captain America: Civil War, he harnessed the Mind Stone to fire a laser beam that inadvertently shot War Machine out of the sky.
The Reality Stone
Remember that evil-looking red syrup that Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) stumbled upon in a random warehouse in Thor: The Dark World? And then she decided to just touch it? And it possessed her? Infinity Stone! The Aether is a weaponized version of the Reality Stone, used to...uh, cover every realm in darkness? That's what the Dark Elves wanted to use it for, at least. Anyway, in the end, the Asgardians shipped the Aether off to the Collector to house in his museum, which was subsequently destroyed by the Power Stone. Basically, wherever the Collector is, the Reality Stone likely is too.
The Power Stone
Whereas everything about the Reality Stone is fairly nebulous, the Power Stone is all there in the title: It "gives the owner access to all power and energy that ever has or will exist," as exhibited in the Collector's Intro to Infinity Stones 101 lecture, when it is used to annihilate entire planets. In Guardians, Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) inadvertently came into possession of the Power Stone within the Orb. After using it to destroy Ronan the Accuser, the legendary outlaw called Star-Lord bequeathed it to Irani Rael (Glenn Close), who locked it away on Xandar under the protection of the Nova Corps.
The Time Stone
Throughout Doctor Strange, the future Sorcerer Supreme (Benedict Cumberbatch) uses the Eye of Agamotto to manipulate the space-time continuum, speeding time up and slowing it down, turning time back and creating loops. Fans had been speculating that the green glow might belong to none other than the aptly named Time Stone, which Wong confirmed in the final moments of the film, offhandedly warning Strange that he wouldn't want to walk around wearing an Infinity Stone. Strange heeded the advice at the time and safeguarded the Eye and the Time Stone within Kamar-Taj, but when he popped up again in Thor: Ragnarok, the Time Stone was once again around his neck.
The Soul Stone
That leaves one Infinity Stone whose location is TBD. In the comic books, the Soul Stone can be used to manipulate both the living and the dead and is capable of stealing and storing souls. It's primarily been wielded by Adam Warlock, a character teased in one end credits scene of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, but who has yet to be formally introduced into the MCU.
The final installment before Infinity War, Black Panther, is out now and contains no mention of the Soul Stone -- which doesn't necessarily mean the stone isn't in Wakanda. The Soul Stone was the final stone Thanos collected in the comics, and we know there is at least one major Infinity War set piece set in Wakanda. Might Cap, Black Widow and The Hulk pay a visit to Wakanda to help Black Panther protect the Soul Stone? (It makes a lot of sense that it would be housed in Necropolis, the Wakandan City of the Dead.) We will find out when Avengers: Infinity War arrives on May 4. Finders keepers! Losers get their souls snatched!