- The Infinity Stones haven’t been a focus in the MCU’s Multiverse Saga despite their importance in the Infinity Saga.
- Thanos destroyed the Infinity Stones, reducing them to atoms with another snap of his fingers.
- The Infinity Stones exist in alternate realities in the MCU, such as in the TVA and Marvel Studios’ What If…?, and there are other Stones from the comics that haven’t been seen in live-action yet.
Despite being crucial to several stories in the Infinity Saga, the Infinity Stones have been curiously missing from the main continuity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe since the events of 2019’s Avengers: Endgame. Although they weren’t actually named until Thor: The Dark World’s post-credits scene, the MCU’s Infinity Stones had already been at the core of the MCU throughout Phase 1. They were featured as some of the most coveted objects in the Infinity Saga, culminating in Thanos tracking them down and using them to wipe out half the population of the universe in Avengers: Infinity War. Despite their importance, however, they haven’t been the focus of the MCU’s Multiverse Saga.
In the MCU timeline, there are six Infinity Stones in total, each representing a specific aspect of the universe. Thor’s post-credits scene introduced the Tesseract, a.k.a. the Space Stone. The Avengers secretly debuted the Mind Stone, hidden within the gem of Loki’s scepter. Thor: The Dark World saw Malekith seek the Aether, a.k.a. the Reality Stone, while Guardians of the Galaxy introduced the purple Power Stone. Doctor Strange saw the titular Master of the Mystic Arts wield the Time Stone, saving the Soul Stone till last, debuting in Infinity War. Much of the Infinity Saga was taken up with stories of the Infinity Stones, but they have seldom been mentioned since, and are similarly unlikely to appear in upcoming MCU releases.
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Thanos Destroyed The Infinity Stones
Avengers: Infinity War finally brought all six Infinity Stones together, as the film detailed Thanos’ quest to obtain them all. Intending to bring balance to the universe, the Mad Titan used the combined power of the Infinity Stones to wipe out half the population of the universe with the snap of his fingers. This led to widespread devastation, as trillions of lives were lost randomly, and in an instant, thrusting the cosmos into five years of turmoil. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes hoped to avoid this turmoil, however, as they set out to find Thanos three weeks after his snap, hoping to claim the Infinity Stones for themselves and reverse the catastrophe.
Unfortunately, upon finding Thanos hiding in “The Garden”, a world on which he hoped to retire, the Avengers learn that the Mad Titan had destroyed the Infinity Stones. Thanos’ now-infamous line, “I used the stones to destroy the stones,” proves that, with yet another snap of his fingers, he reduced the Infinity Stones to atoms similarly to how he had to half the universe. This thwarted the Avengers’ plan to reverse Thanos’ snap, though they would embark on the Time Heist five years later to collect their own selection of Infinity Stones from various time periods in the MCU’s history, finally bringing everyone back to life in Avengers: Endgame.
The introduced of the MCU multiverse means that there are theoretically limitless Infinity Stones the franchise could use even if the main timeline iterations are out of reach – though it’s unlikely the MCU would draw on this so soon after the Infinity Saga itself.
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Why Destroying The Infinity Stones Didn’t Destroy The Universe
During Avengers: Endgame’s Time Heist, Iron Man, Captain America, Ant-Man, and Smart Hulk traveled to New York in 2012, and while the others attempted to collect the Space and Mind Stones, Bruce Banner met with the Ancient One to secure the Time Stone. The Ancient One was reluctant to hand it over, as one of the Masters of the Mystic Arts’ goals is to protect the stone. The pair share an enlightening conversation, during which the Ancient One suggests that the removal of the Infinity Stones from the universe could lead to devastation, but this hasn’t been seen to happen in the MCU after the Infinity Stones’ destruction in Endgame.
Thanos perhaps already explained why the MCU hasn’t been “overrun” or exposed to the “forces of darkness,” as the Ancient One suggested. When destroying the Infinity Stones, he didn’t actually eliminate them completely, but “reduced [them] to atoms,” suggesting that the stones’ energies and particles still exist in the MCU. Prior to Avengers: Infinity War, the Reality Stone had been depicted as a liquid, so it’s possible the Infinity Stones could still fulfill their purpose when not in their ingot forms. It’s also possible that Thanos simply willed them out of existence, much like he did with the universe’s population, perhaps not actually destroying them fully as he claimed.
Infinity Stones Exist Across The Multiverse
While the Infinity Stones haven’t been the main focus of the MCU’s Multiverse Saga, they have been seen several times in a variety of alternate realities, suggesting they still carry a great deal of importance in other universes. Several exist in realities explored during the Avengers’ Time Heist in Endgame, which Steve Rogers returned after the final battle against Thanos. The Mind and Time Stones would have been returned to 2012’s New York, the Space Stone was taken back to Camp Lehigh in 1970, the Power and Soul Stones would have been returned to 2014’s Morag and Vormir, respectively, and the Reality Stone was taken back to Asgard in 2013.
The Space Stone from a branched reality from 2012 was used by Loki to escape from the Avengers’ and SHIELD’s clutches, leading him on his journey through the Time Variance Authority in the MCU’s Phase 4. In the TVA, Loki sees a number of Infinity Stones, though their power doesn’t work in the TVA, and some of the staff even use them as paperweights. Four of Earth-838’s Infinity Stones were seen during Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, having already been collected by Thanos, but this didn’t stop the Illuminati from defeating him using the Book of Vishanti, killing the supervillain on Titan before he could complete his mission.
Marvel Studios’ What If…? puts the Infinity Stones at the heart of a variety of stories, rehashing past MCU events from when the Infinity Stones were still of importance. Strange Supreme uses the Time Stone to try and save Christine Palmer and break an Absolute Point, while a zombified Thanos was later seen wielding an almost-completed Infinity Gauntlet. What If…?’s most pivotal storyline saw Ultron, successfully transferred into Vision’s body, claim the Infinity Stones and wreak havoc across the multiverse, forcing the Watcher to bring the Guardians of the Multiverse. These stones were locked in a pocket dimension along with Arnim Zola in Ultron’s body and a version of Killmonger, and reappeared in What If…? season 2 to defeat Strange Supreme when used in combination with one well-timed punch from Captain Carter.
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Will Marvel Introduce The Missing Infinity Stones From The Comics
While the six primary Infinity Stones are the same in both the MCU and in Marvel Comics, the latter also features a number of other Infinity Stones that haven’t yet been seen in live-action. In Marvel Comics, the stones are named the Infinity Gems, originally the Soul Gems, and while Mind, Power, Reality, Space, Time, and Soul are the same, Marvel Comics also introduced the Ego Gem in 1995. The Ego Gem was created with the others, but was thrust into an alternate reality known as the Ultraverse. While Loki sought to collect it, the Eternal Sersi bonded with the Ego Gem before it was destroyed by the Black Knight.
This would make a strong plot for an episode of What If…?, but since Loki sought to claim the Infinity Stones and the Ego Gem in Marvel Comics, it’s possible this could be adapted into a narrative for the MCU future in the wake of Loki season 2’s major ending. The Ego Gem isn’t the only missing stone, however, as 2015’s The Infinity Gauntlet, part of the Secret Wars event, debuted the Death Stone, created by Earth-94241’s Nova Anwen Bakian to destroy Thanos. Deadpool also wields the Continuity Stone, which gifts characters the ability to speak to the comics’ writers, which would be a hilarious storyline to debut during Ryan Reynolds’ upcoming MCU adventure, Deadpool 3.