At the heart of the first three phases of the Marvel Cinematic Universe have been the six gems known as Infinity Stones.
Each stone holds a particular power and through the last decade of Marvel movies, various characters have attempted to wield them to enact terrible destruction upon the universe.
As Benicio Del Toro’s character The Collector says:
“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.”
In Avengers: Infinity War big bad Thanos successfully acquired all six stones in order to assemble his Infinity Gauntlet, providing him with the ability to control all reality and finally enact his plan to wipe out half the galaxy. Yep, spoiler alert – he pulled it off.
Before all that, though, the stones appeared multiple times in varying ways throughout the many movies in the MCU, and it’s easy to lose track of which stone does what and where they came from. So, we thought we’d catch you up with everything you need to know about the Infinity Stones ahead of the Avengers’ final attempt to wrest them back from Thanos in Avengers: Endgame.
First seen: Avengers Assemble, though not revealed as an Infinity Stone until Avengers: Age of Ultron.
Now: In Thanos’s Infinity Gauntlet
In the MCU: Way back in the original Avengers, Loki came to Earth to try to rule the planet. One of his weapons of choice was a sceptre given to him by Thanos which he used to control the minds of Hawkeye and Erik Selvig. It was later revealed in Avengers: Age of Ultron that the sceptre contained the Mind Stone, which was then used to bring android the Vision to life.
In Avengers: Infinity War the team attempted to remove the stone to save Vision’s life, but after they failed Scarlet Witch destroyed it (and Vision) in a heroic moment of sacrifice. Thanos, sadly, wasn’t having it and just rewound time to bring Vision back, then tore the stone (the final one he needed) from the android’s head. With all six stones, he was free to enact his final plan…
What does it do? So far we’ve seen the Mind Stone used to control minds, create energy blasts and power the Vision. It has also been noted that Scarlet Witch derived her abilities from the Mind Stone back in Age of Ultron, possibly leading to her connection with Vision.
The Tesseract was then used to open the portal to deep space to let in Loki’s invading forces in 2012’s Avengers Assemble before being taken to the vaults of Asgard. In Thor: Ragnarok, Loki spotted the Tesseract in the vaults and took it for himself, eventually handing it over to Thanos in the opening scenes of Avengers: Infinity War.
What does it do? The Space Stone has the power to create interstellar bridges from one end of space to the other. It is, in effect, a portal to other parts of the universe making it an incredibly useful asset to the invading Thanos. The Space Stone was used by Odin and Heimdall to build the Bifrost on Asgard, the rainbow coloured bridge that allows Asgardians access to the nine realms. It is also a powerful source of energy, used to run Hydra’s weapons in Captain America: The First Avenger and Kree technology in Captain Marvel. Captain Marvel also derives her energy powers from the Stone.
The Reality Stone
Name: The Reality Stone
AKA: The Aether
First seen: Thor: The Dark World
Now: In Thanos’s Infinity Gauntlet
In the MCU: The Aether was the object of desire for Malekith, the leader of the Dark Elves in the Thor sequel. During the film, Natalie Portman’s character was bonded with the Aether making her a target for the evil elf. By the end of the film it had been taken by the Lady Sif to the Collector on Knowhere in order to keep distance between the Aether and the Space Stone, which was in Odin’s treasure room on Asgard.
Unfortunately, this made the Reality Stone a fairly easy target for Thanos, who captured it offscreen in Infinity War before using it to trick and defeat the Guardians of the Galaxy.
What does it do? As the Aether the Stone turned matter into dark matter by binding with a host and absorbing their life force, while in Thanos’ gauntlet it grants the bearer temporary power over reality, allowing Thanos to create impossibly convincing illusions and transform the matter of his foes.
The Power Stone
Name: The Power Stone
AKA: The Orb
First seen: Guardians of the Galaxy
Now: Thanos’s Infinity Gauntlet
In the MCU: The Orb forms the central focus of the first Guardians of the Galaxy film with pretty much every character seeking it out. It is then revealed that the Orb is home to the Power Stone, a purple ingot of planet-destroying power, and after a struggle for possession it’s left in the custody of the Nova Corps on Xandar.
Unfortunately, shortly before the beginning of Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos invades and largely destroys Xandar, gaining the Power Stone in the process and beginning his (fairly swift) collection of all six stones.
What does it do? Among its other uses the Power Stone acts as a mini Death Star, allowing its wielder to destroy planets just by touching the stone to the earth. Ronan, the fanatical Kree villain of the first Guardians film, gained enhanced strength from the stone and intended to use it to destroy all living matter on Xandar, the home of the Nova Corp. In Infinity War the Power Stone was the most regularly used of all the Infinity Stones, allowing Thanos to outclass the Hulk for strength and easily swat away the other Avengers in battle.
The Time Stone
Name: The Time Stone
AKA: The Eye of Agamotto
First seen: Doctor Strange
Now: In Thanos’s Infinity Gauntlet
In the MCU: Doctor Strange introduced the idea of ancient relics of great power chosing a sorcerer to wield them, and the famed Eye of Agamotto apparently chose Strange himself as its master. In the film we saw the stone, housed inside a pendant, being protected by the sorcerers in the New York Sanctum, and Strange was able to use its time-bending abilities to imprison the evil Dormammu.
Infinity War, meanwhile, showed us the Stone in action once again. Strange attempts to use it against Thanos’s henchman Ebony Maw but to little success, while Thanos himself (after receiving the Stone from Strange as a trade for Tony Stark’s life) uses its power to reverse the destruction of the Vision and his accompanying Mind Stone (see above).
What does it do? The Time Stone, when properly used, can reverse or accelerate time. In Doctor Strange it is used as a means of reversing the destruction of the Dark Dimension and Dormammu, while in Infinity War it brings Vision (briefly) back to life. It is suggested that Strange is also able to use it to see multiple possible future timelines.
The pendant itself, created by the first Sorcerer Supreme, was a means of housing and controlling the power of the stone for use by its owner, much like Thanos’s Infinity Gauntlet.
The Soul Stone
Name: The Soul Stone
First seen: Avengers: Infinity War
Now: Thanos’s Gauntlet
In the MCU: The location or identity of the Soul Stone remained a mystery within the MCU for many years (with many theories as to where and what it might be), but in Avengers: Infinity War it was revealed that the Soul Stone was being held on a mysterious planet called Vormir the entire time.
After blackmailing Gamora into taking him there, Thanos passed the Stone’s “test” (administered by the Red Skull) by sacrificing his adoptive daughter, later waking up far away with the elusive Stone in his hand.
What does it do? Very little is known about the Soul Stone, though the Red Skull describes it as having “a certain wisdom” and sentience compared to the other five, and many consider it the most dangerous of the set. Notably, Thanos uses it (along with the Power Stone) to counter some of Doctor Strange’s magic during a battle on Titan, suggesting it has some mystical qualities.
With Thanos uniting all six stones in Avengers: Infinity War, it remains to be seen how the surviving heroes will be able to stand against their power in Endgame. If the full might of Avengers past and present couldn’t take him down, what chance to the remnants of the team have?
At least we now know when we’ll find out…
Avengers: Endgame is released in UK cinemas on Thursday 25th April