So in case you haven’t seen the latest installment in the Marvel Cinematic Universe let me state the obvious…
If you are familiar at all with the MCU then you undoubtedly have heard about the Infinity Stones. Previously, these stones were featured in the comics as the “Infinity Gems” There are 6 in all, each representing a different characteristic of Existence. Possessing any single Gem grants the possessor the ability to potentially command whatever aspect of Existence the Gem represents. There are as follows:
The Mind Gem – Allows the user to greatly strengthen and enhance mental and psionic power and access the thoughts and dreams of other beings. Backed by the Power Gem, the Mind Gem can access all minds in existence simultaneously. When searching for it, the Grandmaster apparently discovered that the Mind Gem was the manifestation of the universal subconscious.
The Reality Gem – Allows the user to fulfill wishes, even if the wish is in direct contradiction with scientific laws, and do things that would normally be impossible. The gem can also be used to create any type of alternate reality one wishes and when backed by the other stones it allows one to alter reality on a universal scale. Occasionally stated to be the most powerful of the Gems, if wielded without the other Gems to keep its reality-altering powers from accidentally surging out of control.
The Power Gem – Accesses all power and energy that ever has or will exist, and can boost the other gems’ effects. Allows the user to duplicate almost any physical superhuman ability and grants near Omnipotence. It also grants the possessor the potential to manipulate all forms of energy for virtually any effect. However, nearly all who have possessed the Power Gem singularly have used it to only enhance themselves physically.
The Space Gem – Allows the user to exist in any or all locations, move any object anywhere throughout reality and warp or rearrange space. At full potential it grants Omnipresence.
The Time Gem – Allows the user total control over the past, present and future. Grants its user visions of possible futures, the ability to see into the past as well as to stop, slow down or speed up the flow of time. Allows time travel i.e. the ability to change history and the future, can age and de-age beings and also be used as a weapon by trapping enemies or entire universes in unending loops of time. Also at full potential grants Omniscience.
The Soul Gem – Allows the user to steal, control, manipulate, and alter souls, living or dead, and is the gateway to an idyllic pocket universe that is much like heaven. It also has the ability to steal the powers and abilities of others. The Soul Gem is sentient and has a hunger for souls. It is often considered to be the most dangerous and corrupting of all the gems. Mastery of the gem would allow the user to control all life in the universe.
As of right now, 5 of the 6 stones have been introduced throughout various films in the MCU.
Space Stone – Housed in the Tesseract, it first appears briefly in the Thor post-credits scene. In Captain America: The First Avenger it is used to power weaponry developed by Hydra, and in The Avengers it is shown to be capable of generating wormholes. At the end of the latter, it is returned to Asgard for safekeeping. In a November 2013 interview, producer Kevin Feige confirmed that it is the Space Stone.
Mind Stone – In The Avengers, Thanos gives Loki a scepter that allows him to control people’s minds. It falls into the hands of Hydra leader Baron Wolfgang von Strucker, who is shown in the mid-credits scene of Captain America: The Winter Soldier to have been using it to experiment on humans. The only surviving subjects of those experiments are Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, in whom superhuman abilities were unlocked. In Avengers: Age of Ultron, the scepter is revealed to contain the Mind Stone, which Ultron incorporates into his “Vision”, a synthetic android.
Reality Stone – Formed by the Dark Elf Malekith into a fluid-like weapon called the Aether, it is said to be able to destroy the Nine Realms and return the universe to its pre-Big Bang state. The Asgardians entrust the Aether to the Collector at the end of Thor: The Dark World, to separate it from the Tesseract, as they consider it unwise to have multiple Stones close together.
Power Stone – In Guardians of the Galaxy, the Power Stone is contained within an orb that Ronan the Accuser sought for Thanos. It is capable of destroying entire civilizations, and Ronan tries to use it to destroy the planet Xandar. The Guardians of the Galaxy stop him and entrust the stone to the Nova Corps for safekeeping.
Time Stone – The Time Stone was encased in the Eye of Agamotto by Earth’s first sorcerer, Agamotto. A Master of the Mystic Arts can use the Stone to alter time. Thousands of years later, in Doctor Strange, Stephen Strange learns to use the Eye and uses it to save the Earth from Dormammu. The Masters of the Mystic Arts retain possession of the Eye in their secret compound Kamar-Taj in Kathmandu, Nepal.
As for the sixth stone, we can expect to see it within the next few installments (Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnrok, Black Panther). Feige stated that it would be seen “sometime in Phase Three, for sure. There’s a gauntlet that needs to be filled.”
The stones hold great importance to the universe. Whoever holds all six gems and uses them in concert gains virtual omnipotence and omniscience. In addition to the stones, the gauntlet that can be used to house all six gems has been seen in the position of Odin, hidden in the vault at Asgard. While it is not explicitly stated in the films, it is the goal of the Mad Titan Thanos to obtain these stones for his own personal gain.
For those new to the Marvel Universe I hope this has explained any questions you may have about the underlying story line of the previous 14 films. And by the time Avengers: Infinity War is released we should have a location for the 6th and final Infinity Stone and a greater understaning of Thanos and his intentions.
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