Avengers: Age of Ultron will finally hit the US later this week, but despite giant scope, it’s still just a small piece of the puzzle in Marvel’s long-game: Thanos.
Everyone’s favorite purple space mastermind has an agenda that’s been slowly revealed over the course of over a dozen movies, shorts, TV shows, and comics, and in about three years, we’ll finally see it culminate with Avengers: Infinity War. A key facet of this grand plan are the Infinity Stones, and with the end of Phase Two in sight, now seems like a good time to review where they all are.
What Are The Infinity Stones?
The Infinity Stones are objects of immense power, created from six singularities eons before our universe even existed. According to carvings in the temple on Morag, they were forged by beings referred to now as Cosmic Entities, representing four “elements” of existence: Eternity, Entropy, Infinity, and Death.
While they originally took the appearance of actual stones, over time, alien civilizations altered and enhanced these artifacts to fit their needs, giving them entirely new forms. Each Stone holds a different set of powers, and all of ones we’ve seen so far are extremely dangerous to mortal beings.
So far, at least four of these Stones have been revealed. They are:
The Tesseract was the first Stone introduced into the MCU. It was unearthed by the Red Skull in the 1940s from a church in Norway. Previously, it had existed as part of Norse legends in the area, due to the fact that it was originally in the possession of Odin of Asgard, before being placed on Earth for unknown reasons.
Red Skull would use the Tesseract as the basis for HYDRA’s advanced weaponry, before he was seemingly killed by it when he accidentally grabbed it with his bare hands. It would later be recovered by Howard Stark, who put it under the protection of SHIELD.
The Tesseract would remain relatively obscure in the SHIELD vaults for over 60 years, until Nick Fury was ordered by the World Security Council to tap into it as a potential energy source. While Fury initially chose to focus on his Avengers Initiative instead, following the events of Thor, he realized that humanity would need to be armed and ready in the event of another alien attack. Fury had the Tesseract moved to a facility in the Mojave Desert, where it would be used to develop SHIELD weapons.
Following the Battle of New York in The Avengers, the Tesseract was returned to Asgard by Thor, where it was used to repair the Bifrost Bridge. It now (presumably) rests in the Asgardian vaults.
Before we even knew that the Infinity Stones were going to be a thing, Marvel covertly popped a second one in there with the Loki-Pokey Stick™ in The Avengers.
The Scepter was originally created by none other than Thanos, with an Infinity Stone socketed into it to give the weapon its power. The Scepter was then passed on to Loki to aid in his invasion of Earth, where he used it to mind control people, as well as project his consciousness to communicate with Thanos’s representative.
Following Loki’s defeat in the Battle of New York, the Scepter was recovered by SHIELD, only to be stolen by a HYDRA sleeper agent. It fell into the hands of HYDRA’s Wolfgang von Strucker, whose experiments with it eventually led to Pietro and Wanda Maximoff gaining superhuman abilities.
Out of all of the ones we’ve seen so far, the Aether’s appearance is the furthest from an actual “stone.” It has taken the form of a thick, red, gravity-defying liquid that’s usually kept in some kind of protective container. It is an incredibly destructive substance that turns matter into dark matter, and sometimes, even seems to have a mind of its own.
In Thor: The Dark World, Malekith’s Dark Elves twice attempted to use the Aether to destroy the Nine Realms (Earth among them), although both times they were foiled by Asgardians. Following Malekith’s second defeat, the Aether was taken back to Asgard, and subsequently left in the care of the Collector. It’s unknown at this time if the Collector kept it in his facility in Knowhere, or if it was later moved.
This purple gemstone-like Stone was housed in a temple on the dead planet Morag. Thanos learned of its existence, and sent Ronan the Accuser to recover it. At the same time though, Peter Quill and the Ravagers also discovered its location, and Quill managed to beat Ronan’s forces to it.
The Orb is arguably the most intrinsically dangerous of the Stones we’ve seen so far, capable of annihilating entire planets with the right conduit. Simply touching the Orb is also fatal to most beings. After the events of Guardians of the Galaxy, it was sealed away in a vault on Xandar, under the watch of the Nova Corp.
And One More?
We’re entering rumor territory for now (at least until May 1), but many believe that the gem embedded in the Vision’s forehead is one more Infinity Stone. If so, how Vision’s creator managed to get their hands on a new Stone is a mystery that we’ll hopefully get some clues for in Avengers: Age of Ultron later this week.
Assuming that the Vision’s face-gem is an Infinity Stone, that leaves only one left. With six movies between Age of Ultron and Infinity War, that leaves plenty of time for the final Stone to be revealed. My guess would be in Doctor Strange, Thor: Ragnarok, or Guardians of the Galaxy 2, but you really never know with Marvel.
What do you think? Where will the final Infinity Stone pop up? Earth? Asgard? The far reaches of space?