Screengrab via Marvel Entertainment/YouTube (Fair Use)
They’ve been scattered across the universe.
For close to a decade, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has been leading up to the ultimate superhero team-up against the MCU’s big bad, Thanos. In the first trailer, we got that and more (between shots of Captain America’s new beard).
The fact that Thanos wanted to collect all six of the Infinity Stones isn’t much of a surprise to anyone who’s seen a few Marvel movies, but with the exception of Guardians of the Galaxy (and a bit of the first Avengers movie), he’s largely been a character biding his time in the shadows. We knew he was there and that he was plotting, but we didn’t see or hear much of him; most of the characters probably don’t even know who he is. But he’s out of his space chair and bringing an army with him to Earth as he gathers the Infinity Stones: six cosmic stones with immense power.
By the end of the trailer, he’s succeeded in getting his hands on some of them, and chances are we’ll see Thanos with a full Infinity Gauntlet before the end of the MCU as we know it.
But trailers obscure, hide, and potentially lie to keep big reveals from fans before they can watch movies on the big screen. We saw this most recently in Thor: Ragnarok when a shot of Thor that edited out his newly missing right eye. So even though we see Thanos with two stones, it’s possible that he has even more by the time he flexes his gauntlet.
What do we know about the stones Thanos is seeking? Plenty and not much at all, but when Thanos enters the scene, it won’t be good for our heroes.
“Before creation itself, there were six singularities,” the Collector explained in Guardians of the Galaxy. “Then the universe exploded into existence and the remnants of these systems were forged into concentrated ingots. Infinity Stones. These stones, it seems, can only be brandished by beings of extraordinary strength.”
First introduced: Captain America: The First Avenger
Last owner: Loki
Does Thanos have it? Yes
Better known by the name of the container it’s in—the Tesseract—we’ve been following the Space Stone as far back as the first Captain America movie when it was in the hands of Hydra. S.H.I.E.L.D. obtained it and kept it under lock and key for decades until Loki was able to steal it using the Scepter given to him by Thanos in Avengers.
Odin kept it locked away on Asgard for years until Loki took it back shortly before he caused Ragnarok. He used the Tesseract (and Space Stone) to transport himself, and it’s in his possession until he appears to be giving it to someone. The trailer doesn’t show just who Loki offers the Tesseract to, but Thanos gets his hands on the stone, placing it into the Infinity Gauntlet later in the trailer.
First introduced: The Avengers
Last owner: Vision
Does Thanos have it? Probably yes
At the start of the MCU’s run, the Mind Stone was the only one to have already been in Thanos’ possession, although he wasn’t aware of it at the time. Originally contained in a Scepter, Thanos gave it to Loki in exchange for bringing him the Tesseract, a task which Loki failed. The Scepter changed hands a few times before it brought Ultron to life, who then created the android Vision.
The Mind Stone brought Vision to life, and he used it to help defeat Ultron. It still rests on Vision’s head, but the trailer shows that someone is after Vision’s Mind Stone. We don’t see the stone in Thanos’ gauntlet, but it’s a safe bet that it will end up there at some point. Suddenly the fates of Loki and Vision—who have both harbored the Mind Stone—are uncertain.
First introduced: Thor: The Dark World
Last owner: The Collector
Does Thanos have it? Maybe
Although the Reality Stone factored heavily in Thor: The Dark World, it was rarely seen in stone form. It often looked like a liquid and possessed both Jane Foster and Malekith, the latter of whom tried to spread darkness throughout the universe before he was defeated by Thor. Instead of storing it on Asgard alongside the Tesseract, the stone was taken elsewhere in the universe.
The Reality Stone is last seen in the Collector’s museum on Knowhere, and we don’t see it in the trailer. But curiously, we never get a good look at the thumb on Thanos’ Infinity Gauntlet so it’s possible Thanos already has it. (Besides, it would make more sense for him to find all of the Infinity Stones in space before arriving on Earth to wreak havoc.) While the positions of the stones vary, in the original Infinity Gauntlet series from 1991, the red Infinity Gem is, curiously enough, placed near the thumb.
First introduced: Guardians of the Galaxy
Last owner: the Nova Corps
Does Thanos have it? Yes
The Power Stone featured heavily in Guardians of the Galaxy, contained within an orb that Peter Quill steals in Morag’s Temple Vault at the beginning of the movie. The Guardians’ attempt to sell the stone to the Collector goes awry when it blows up his museum, and Ronan the Destroyer obtains it. Instead of giving it to Thanos, he uses it for his own means. The Guardians destroy his hammer and survive its power before placing it back into the orb.
At the end of the movie, the orb is given to the Nova Corps for safe keeping. But, considering Thanos’ gauntlet has a purple stone in it, it looks like he managed to take it from them. It was nice knowing you, Nova Corps.
First introduced: Doctor Strange
Last owner: Doctor Strange
Does Thanos have it? No
The Time Stone is contained within the Eye of Agamotto, which has been in Kamar-Taj for an unknown period of time until Doctor Stephen Strange used it to help defeat Kaecilius and Dormammu. Even though it helped Doctor Strange save the world and restore balance, his colleagues were wary of how dangerous it could be.
Doctor Strange returned it to where he found it at the end of the movie, and with the exception of his usage of the stone in Thor: Ragnarok, we can only presume it’s hidden again. We have no indication that Thanos got his hands on it.
First introduced: “Sometime in Phase Three”
Last owner: Unknown
Does Thanos have it now? Unknown
Thor is shown a vision of the Infinity Stones in Avengers: Age of Ultron, which feature five stones near the knuckles. But the biggest stone of them all is missing—and it has yet to show up, to our knowledge, in the MCU: the Soul Stone. What little we know of it is from inferences.
Through the process of elimination, we can guess that the stone is orange from the Collector’s history lesson on the Infinity Stones in Guardians of the Galaxy. We’ve seen the five other stones show up, but not an orange stone.
“You will see the other two sometime in Phase Three, for sure,” Kevin Feige told CBR in 2015. “There’s a gauntlet that needs to be filled.”
One of those stones was Doctor Strange’s Time Stone. The other is the Soul Stone, and with Infinity War being released next year, there are a few options at our feet: We’ve already seen it in an MCU film but we just haven’t realized it yet, it will appear in Black Panther, or it will debut in Infinity War.
No matter where it first appears, Thanos is hunting it. We can only hope it stays hidden for as long as possible. But given the allure of a fully powered and fully jeweled gauntlet, that hope is fading.
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