This article was written before the release of Marvel's Avengers: Infinity War.
Unless you’ve been living under a rock for the past few months, you’d know that Marvel’s Infinity War is HERE. If you’re anything like me and love Marvel with a passion, you’re absolutely dying inside. But not everyone knows about the background that went into the film, nor the story behind it, so I’m here to fill in some gaps for you lovely readers.
Let’s get a breakdown of what’s happened with the Infinity Stones so far in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, also known as the MCU. Recently we had films like Civil War, Ant Man, and of course the box-office busting Black Panther film. But Marvel has been setting up for the grand showdown since 2011, with the release of the first Thor movie. In it, we are introduced to both the tesseract and Loki’s mind-controlling staff. At the time, the tesseract was only a useful plot device that allowed Loki to try and enact his devious plans. What we did not know yet was that it is one of the infinity stones (also called infinity gems in the comics), the powerful jewels contained in Thanos’ infinity gauntlet.
The tesseract is actually the space stone, which gives the user the ability to open wormholes. After the Avengers defeated Loki, Thor took both Loki and the Tesseract back to Asgard, leaving Loki’s staff on Earth. In Thor: Ragnarok, it looks like Loki stole the tesseract back from Odin’s vault before Asgard was destroyed, but it remains to be seen if this was a good or bad thing. The second infinity stone actually made its appearance in the very same movie, in the form of Loki’s staff. I, like a lot of fans out there, thought that the staff was a product of the tesseract, but in fact the two are distinct stones, despite seeming to be the same color.
Loki’s staff actually contained the Mind stone, which obviously gives the user the ability to brainwash and control the minds of others. It becomes important in later movies, most notably in Avengers: Age of Ultron when Ultron takes it and uses it to create a body for himself, which backfires and becomes the sentient android The Vision.
Considering the Mind stone is now embedded in Vision’s forehead, powering him, the Mind stone has now taken on a new kind of power probably similar to telekinesis/telepathy. Other than Vision, it seems that the Mind stone inside Loki’s staff was also used in the experimentations on Wanda and Pietro Maximoff, turning the twins into Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver before the staff was recovered again by Tony Stark.
We encounter the third infinity stone, the Reality stone, in Thor: The Dark World as the Aether Orb. In the movie it seemed to make the person holding it stronger, but in the comics it’s usually been used as a sort of wish-fulfiller, genie kind of power. At the end of the movie it was given to the Collector for safe keeping, but then the Collector’s warehouse/storage/workshop was destroyed in Guardians of the Galaxy. I’m not sure if the Aether Orb was entrusted to the collector before or after the guardians wrecked his house, but either way we have no way of knowing where exactly the Reality stone is now.
The fourth gem, the Power stone, is the main plot device in the first Guardians movie, and the first time one of the stones is outright referred to as an infinity stone. The Power stone, true to its name, gives the wielder unimaginable power, and apparently the ability to destroy entire planets, if Ronan’s plans for it were any inclination. It’s also the stone that destroyed the Collector’s workshop, but was later given to the Nova Core for safekeeping. We see it on Thanos’s gauntlet in the infinity war trailers, though, so most likely the Nova Core no longer exists.
The fifth gem is in Dr. Strange, the Eye of Agamoto that he uses to save the worlds. It is actually the time stone, and honestly it's a feat he is even able to wield such powerful energy, since even Starlord, who is half-god, could only do it for a short period of time.
The Soul stone is still missing, unfortunately. There was some speculation that it would appear in Black Panther, but after it didn't, fans were a little disappointed. Nevertheless, we’re excited to see what Marvel as crafted for us in the future, and whether the Infinity Stones will continue to be important in the Marvel Franchise or be totally forgotten, much like Betty Ross (Bruce Banner's girlfriend).