A lot goes on in Avengers: Infinity War — our favorite superheroes suit up, fight (to the death in some cases), and some even appear from dark corners with impressive new beards (hi, Steve Rogers, how you doin'?). Facial hair aside, the rest of the plot revolves around Thanos's quest for the Infinity Stones and his desire to decimate half of the universe with a single snap of his fingers.
Well, we all know how that ends, and on April 26, we'll finally learn what the Avengers' next move is in Avengers: Endgame. But before that — and all the chaos that will no doubt ensue with the premiere of the end of the MCU's first "phase," — we need to make sure we're all on the same page. We may not know what's going down in Endgame, but there's no doubt that the Infinity Stones will play a huge part in the story. In case you're not sure what those are or need a refresher, we're here to help.
What Are the Stones?
The Infinity Stones, known as Infinity Gems in the comics, are six cosmic powerhouses, each with a specific power. Lucky for us, we've come across all six in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: the Tesseract/Space Stone, the Mind Stone, the Aether/Reality Stone, the Orb/Power Stone, the Eye of Agamotto/Time Stone and the Soul Stone, which made its debut appearance in Infinity War. Twitter user mantia helpfully put together a graphic of the known stones and their locations (though there have obviously been a few updates since Thor: Ragnarok).
If you're puzzled about the Infinity Stones, this might help! Movies they're featured in, their containment devices, and who has them now. pic.twitter.com/gLquJlbzIT
— Louie 💛 (@Mantia) November 5, 2016
Where Were The Stones Before Infinity War?
Before Thanos collects all the Infinity Stones, they're scattered across the universe. On Earth, Vision and Doctor Strange each possess a stone. The yellow Mind Stone is first seen in the Chitauri scepter in The Avengers and resides in Vision's forehead. Its powers, when harnessed, include firing energy beams, controlling people's minds, and endowing others like Scarlet Witch with powers of their own. The green Time Stone, aka the Eye of Agamotto, is worn on a necklace by Doctor Strange, and it allows its keeper to reverse and loop time itself. The remaining three reside in space:
- The blue Space Stone, aka the Tesseract: At the end of Thor: Ragnarok, Loki once again possesses the Tesseract, known as the Space Stone for its abilities to manipulate space, create portals, and basically disintegrate people by transferring their matter elsewhere (as we saw in the first Captain America movie when it powered HYDRA weapons).
- The purple Power Stone, aka the Orb: Once wielded by the Guardians of the Galaxy, it's given to the Nova Corps for protection on Nova. This stone unleashes enough power to kill a planet with one touch and can cause mere mortals to implode if they hold it with their bare hands.
- The red Reality Stone, aka the Aether: It appears in Thor: The Dark World with the power to merge all realities together (or, conceivably, tear them apart). A man known as The Collector (Benicio del Toro) is last seen storing the stone in Knowhere, though we haven't seen it since.
- The orange Soul Stone: The Soul Stone is never seen in the MCU before Infinity War. We learn that Thanos tasked Gamora with finding the stone some time before the events of Guardians of the Galaxy. Gamora finds a map to the stone's location on the planet Vormir and burns it, knowing that Thanos can never be allowed to collect all six stones. In the comics, the stone's powers include controlling and manipulating souls and granting access to another universe.
Where Are the Stones Before Avengers: Endgame?
By the end of Infinity War, Thanos manages to capture all six of the Infinity Stones and collect them in his gauntlet. He uses them to carry out his lifelong mission — even with a last-minute attempt by Thor to take his life — and follows through with that fatal snap, ending the lives of half the universe. As our heroes look on in horror, their friends turn to dust before their eyes. The film ends with Thanos alone and at peace, a smile on his face.
Why Do the Stones Matter in Endgame?
Endgame picks up soon after Thanos wipes out half of the universe and follows how the Avengers make their next move. In each of the emotional trailers released before the premiere date, it's obvious that the Avengers are determined to reverse the events of Infinity War, "whatever it takes." Well, whatever that entails, we already know that the Infinity Stones will play an important role in their plans. After all, if the stones have the power to dust everyone away, they must have the power to bring them back.
Despite our many theories on how things will actually go down, we'll just have to wait for April 26 to see how the Avengers work things out in the Endgame. But one thing we do know is, we'll definitely have to bring some tissues with us. We have a feeling the Infinity Stones won't be able to save everyone.