I'd like to start by saying this article contains SPOILERS for several Marvel Studios movies featuring the Avengers. So if you haven’t seen any of these movies, and do not want to read any spoilers, go watch the movies, avert your eyes now, and come on back.
Marvel Studios has built an empire, and it is known as the Marvel Cinematic Universe, or the MCU for short. It all began in 2008 when Robert Downey Jr. first transformed into the “genius billionaire playboy philanthropist” Tony Stark and donned the Iron Man suit. The first phase of films clearly built towards the first Avengers film in 2012.
It was at the end of "The Avengers" that Marvel dropped a huge bombshell that would shape the universe for the next seven years, which will include fifteen films. That bombshell was the brief cameo from the super bad Thanos, also known as the Mad Titan, during the mid-credit scene. Many fans left the theaters wondering, “Who was the big purple dude at the end, and what bad things is he up to?"
Well let me give you a brief overview for those who do not know, since Thanos is very important to this whole Infinity Stone business. In a nutshell, he is super strong and he is on a mission. That mission is essentially to destroy the universe, all to impress Death. And yes, Death is essentially a mystical epitome for death itself, in the form of a woman. In other words, Thanos is trying to impress a lady, and he thinks destroying the universe will do the trick.
So how does Thanos plan to do this, you may ask? Well, his plan requires a few key components. First, he needs the Infinity Gauntlet, which is essentially a glove with six openings. At this time in the MCU, it is not known if there are one or two of these gauntlets. What we do know however is that Thanos himself is in possession of an Infinity Gauntlet, thanks to the mid-credit scene from "Age of Ultron". Now the reason I speculate there may be two Infinity Gauntlets is that a gauntlet was previously seen in Asgard (Thor’s home) in Odin’s vault. Now given Thanos has worked with Loki, it is possible he made a trade of sorts to acquire it. I find it unlikely he could have stolen it, since that would have been worthy of having its own scene. My gut tells me there are two, which will allow for the Avengers to utilize some of the stones against Thanos come "Avengers: Infinity War Part II."
Now back to those six openings on the gauntlet along with the stones. There are six Infinity Stones, with each one going into one of the openings on the Infinity Gauntlet. Each stone in itself is extremely powerful without anything else aiding it. So when all six stones are within the gauntlet, whoever is wielding it becomes the most powerful person in the universe. The six stones are the Space Stone, the Mind Stone, the Reality Stone, the Power Stone, the Soul Stone and the Time Stone. Of the six stones, four of them have been revealed within the MCU thus far, leaving only the Soul and Time Stones left. Let’s take a peek at each of the stones and try and figure out where they may show up.
The Space Stone was the first stone to show up in the MCU, and it is housed inside the Tesseract, which was a very integral part of "The Avengers" and "Captain America: The First Avenger." The Space Stone allows its user to essentially transport themselves anywhere they wish. And when used incorrectly, it can transport you somewhere you did not wish to go. It is possible this is what happened to the Red Skull in "Captain America: The First Avenger." Some speculate he died, but I am of the belief he was just transported to another part of the universe and will reappear in the MCU during the Infinity War. As of right now, the Space Stone is being kept in Asgard for safekeeping.
The Mind Stone was first utilized within Loki’s scepter, which essentially served as a way of hiding the gem within. This stone will give the person in control of it more intelligence and even allows for mind control. The mind control element of the stone was utilized by Loki on Hawkeye in "The Avengers" as well as by Ultron on Dr. Cho in "Avengers: Age of Ultron." During "Avengers: Age of Ultron" the scepter was opened up to reveal the Mind Stone itself, which was placed in the forehead of Vision, where it currently sits. I am also a believer in the theory that this stone may house a villain, similar to how the Space Stone transported Red Skull. At the end of "Avengers: Age of Ultron", Vision is seen talking to Ultron in the forest. While they try to lead the audience to believe Vision finishes off Ultron, all we get is a shot of the forest with a flash of light. I believe Vision used the Mind Stone to trap Ultron to gain more intelligence, as opposed to simply killing him off.
The Reality Stone is probably the most obscure of all of the Infinity Stones. In the MCU, it is currently in liquid form and is known as the Aether. In "Thor : The Dark World", the Aether essentially infects the body of Jane Foster. It is said that is can give its wielder increased strength, as well as the ability to alter reality (as the name implies). Now that could mean a lot of different things, so its specific powers are not exactly known. What is known is that in "Thor: The Dark World," Malekith was planning to bring darkness to all of the realms. So clearly if it gets in the wrong hands, some bad stuff is going to go down. Since Thor did not want to keep it so close to the Space Stone, it was brought to the Collector to put in his museum. In "Guardians of the Galaxy" one of the Collector’s museums was blown up, so it cannot be said for sure that the Collector is still in possession of the Reality Stone.
The Power Stone is so dangerous, it can essentially wipe an entire planet off the map. It has been shown to kill several people in "Guardians of the Galaxy," including Ronan. It is housed inside the Orb that was central to "Guardians of the Galaxy." While highly unlikely, I will not rule out the possibility that Ronan is trapped inside this stone. While he was seemingly obliterated by the stone at the end of "Guardians," based off my other theories I think this is possible. Thanos unlocking an army of villains from within the stones would be so awesome. The Power Stone is currently being kept on Xandar for its protection.
That leaves two more stones floating around in the MCU. Those two stones are the Soul Stone and the Time Stone. Since they have not shown up in the MCU yet, I can’t say for sure what their exact powers will be, but I think it’s safe to make a few guesses. I would imagine the Time Stone will allow for some form of time travel. The Soul Stone could possibly allow for its owner to access other peoples’ souls or viewing them. So where will these two stones show up?
The coming Marvel movie slate looks like this: "Captain America: Civil War," Doctor Strange," Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2," "Spider-Man," "Thor: Ragnarok," "Black Panther," "Avengers: Infinity War Part I," "Ant Man and the Wasp" and "Avengers: Infinity War Part II."
Right off the bat I think it is safe to eliminate several of these films for their own reasons. First "Captain America: Civil War" is going to have so much going on, and is a more grounded, political story, that there simply will not be enough room to introduce a new stone. "Spider-Man" will be Spidey’s first solo effort in the MCU, and there will be plenty of story to tell without incorporating a new stone. "Ant Man and the Wasp" sits between the Infinity War movies, so unless they want to introduce the final stone after the war already begins, it seems highly unlikely to show up here.
Now let’s take a look at the films that make a little bit of sense, but still are probably a long shot. "Black Panther" will likely lead to plenty of screen time in Wakanda, the home of Vibranium (the stuff Cap’s shield is made of), so introducing a stone there isn’t out of the realm of possibilities. However, these stones have a cosmic element to them, so I see it as a long shot that "Black Panther" is used in this fashion. Both parts of the Infinity War film will obviously center on Thanos and the Stones. So while they could save the last stone for part one, I would imagine Marvel will want all six stones established before these films hit theaters.
That leaves three more films for two more Stones. "Doctor Strange," "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" and "Thor: Ragnarok" all seem capable of introducing a stone. I will count "Thor: Ragnarok" as the one lock, since Thor’s story in "Avengers: Age of Ultron" centered on him learning about the Stones. Since the first "Guardian" film featured the Power Stone, and the fact that "Doctor Strange" is set to introduce the magical side of the universe, I will venture to guess "Doctor Strange" is set to introduce the other stone.
"Doctor Strange" hits theaters Nov. 4, 2016, and it is my pick to introduce the Time Stone into the MCU. This film is a sure bet to include magic, multiple universes, and simply some strange things going on (pun fully intended). So why not throw in some time travel, right? There is an artifact in the "Doctor Strange" comics that could easily serve as the house for a new stone, and it is called the Eye of Agamotto. While the Eye of Agamotto doesn’t have anything to do with time travel in the comics as far as I know, I think it could serve as a great way to bring in the Time Stone. Things are going to be weird in this Marvel film, so time travel is definitely a possibility. It also will allow for a stone to be in the possession of an Earth living hero, which could prompt Thanos venturing here.
In the "Thor" films, souls are kind of the specialty of one of the core characters. His name is Heimdall, and he protects Asgard and can see every soul in the nine realms. He also seems to have an orange glow in his eyes from time to time, as well as a fancy suit of armor, which could definitely house the Soul Stone. In "Avengers: Age of Ultron" Thor has a vision, in which he encounters Heimdall without his armor, as well as eyes that appear blind. Coincidence? I think not. Removing the armor from Heimdall would remove him from the stone, which would remove all of his powers. This could very well mean Thanos will come to Asgard and have to kill Heimdall. That is exactly what I predict to happen at the end of "Thor: Ragnarok."
Finally, a quick prediction I have for the "Infinity War" movies. I expect the first part to be about Thanos collecting the stones, and he will enter the film with the Soul Stone in his possession. So the film will open in Asgard with Thanos collecting the Space Stone. Part one will conclude with Thanos ripping the Mind Stone from the head of Vision, “killing” him. Talk about a cliffhanger. Part two will see Thanos and his army of villains wreaking havoc. While everyone will have an integral part in defeating them, I believe Scarlet Witch will have an extremely key role, given Thanos will have killed Vision, who saved her life in "Age of Ultron," as well as releasing Ultron, who is responsible for her brother's death, back into the world.
So what do you think? Where will the final two stones show up? Which movies and which characters will help introduce them to the MCU?