Long before Marvel’s epic Infinity War, the Mind Stone was the very first Infinity Stone Thanos ever found. The movie confirmed that he gave it to Loki in the form of his Scepter, but how Thanos got it in the first place was never explained… Until now.
The Captain Marvel movie doesn’t care about explaining Ronan the Accuser’s path to Thanos and his Infinity Stones, despite featuring his character at a key moment in Earth’s history. But now that Thanos and his master plan has been explained, laying out Ronan’s own timeline in the MCU helps solve the riddle of his betrayal of the Kree, his alliance with Thanos, and the strange “intelligence” guiding the entire empire.
Ronan was lied to just as much as Carol Danvers, serving an empire built around a lie… and the Mind Stone Thanos used to begin his war.
- This Page: Why Did Ronan Betray His People?
- Page 2: Ronan Stole The Mind Stone From The Kree
The first time fans realized Ronan the Accuser would be in Captain Marvel, playing a direct role in Captain Marvel and Starforce serving the will of the Kree Empire, their imaginations ran wild. It seemed at the time that Captain Marvel would actually function as a prequel to Guardians of the Galaxy, and set up Ronan’s eventual betrayal of his people. Unfortunately the return of Ronan–like the role played by his future lieutenant Korath–amounted to little more than a Guardians cameo. But we know that wasn’t always the case.
In the finished film, Ronan appears as one of multiple “Accusers,” a branch of the military apparently responsible for bombing enemy planets. For all intents and purposes, Ronan appears to be a loyal servant of his Kree authorities, the uppermost being the Supreme Intelligence itself. But judging by the photos of Yon-Rogg and Ronan planning their mission, the original plan was to make him a larger part of the Kree’s actions. Presumably, to offer some kind of explanation (or at the very least a hint) of why he finally betrays the Kree completely.
The movie offers a slight explanation by implying a Kree peace treaty with the Nova Empire, based on Xandar, is the only factor. But in hindsight–at least for fans who enjoy spinning theories that might work better than Marvel’s actual writing–that doesn’t feel like the whole story. By the time Guardians begins, Ronan has abandoned his people, been ruled an outcast and pariah, and now seeks vengeance… by serving Thanos. Fans expected Captain Marvel to shed some light, but the introduction of Ronan as a calm, loyal Kree Accuser works almost completely against it. Unless fans focus on one moment in particular. Whatever his conversations with Yon-Rogg or Starforce, the final showdown with Captain Marvel in Earth’s orbit confirms that even he hasn’t been given the whole story. Like Carol Danvers, he was only ever given the information needed to serve the will of the Kree Supreme Intelligence.
The audience knows just how deeply the deception from Yon-Rogg and the Supreme Intelligence runs… but what if Ronan didn’t? What if one lie being exposed led Ronan to question everything, starting at the top? We strongly suspect that if he learned the truth about the “Supreme Intelligence,” his path to Thanos, collector of Infinity Stones, makes perfect sense.
Page 2: Ronan Stole The Mind Stone From The Kree ‘Intelligence’
One detail that helps shed some light on our theory is given in the only scene directly involving the larger Kree of the MCU, or at least, the Kree as they exist in the year 2014. Back in 1995 during the events of Captain Marvel, the Kree appear mostly accurate to their comic book counterparts. And that includes their devotion and subservience to the Supreme Intelligence, a synthesized mind incorporating the wisdom and history of the Kree people. In the film, the Supreme Intelligence is brutal in its domination: taking on the form its subjects most admire to manipulate their loyalty further, or violently harming and controlling their mind if the subject rebels.
Fortunately, movie fans don’t need to worry about the Supreme Intelligence any more. Because by the time Ronan is branded an outsider and “fanatic” by the Kree in Guardians of the Galaxy, the Supreme Intelligence no longer commands the empire. As the movie reveals…
“Scattered riots broke out across the Kree Empire today, protesting the recent peace treaty signed by the Kree Emperor and Xandar’s Nova Prime.”
No explanation is ever given for why the Kree are now ruled by an emperor, instead of the Supreme intelligence. But putting the pieces together, Ronan’s own path helps offer an explanation. Ronan witnesses Carol’s power, and realizes the Supreme Intelligence is keeping secrets. Ronan presumably investigates. The Supreme Intelligence vanishes. Ronan leaves the Empire. He is branded a “fanatic” and traitor. Ronan begins to serve Thanos. Thanos acquires the Mind Stone. By now, readers should know what conclusion to arrive at.
Of all the many theories explaining Marvel’s movie connections, this one may actually solve the most lingering questions while making the fewest waves. Assuming everything known about the Mind Stone and the “intelligence” alive inside of it, and how Captain Marvel does or doesn’t fit with the future landscape of the MCU, the answer seems simple: the Kree Supreme Intelligence was the Mind Stone at work. From its intentions, its hunger for power, and the way it interacts with and manipulates its subjects, the math all adds up. If Captain Marvel fans assume that the device inhibiting Carol’s full power is a sign of the Supreme Intelligence’s power, then it even fits the comic book description of allowing its user to enhance their mental and psychic abilities perfectly.
Not to mention how it finally explains what plot thread connected Ronan the Accuser to Thanos the Infinity Stone collector. Also, how Ronan wound up appointed as the lieutenant of Thanos, with a ship, an army, and an opportunity for his own chance at revenge. The Mind Stone isn’t something Ronan would ever wish to use, given its role in bringing the mighty Kree to their knees in subservience. But if he could trade it for a much more… powerful Infinity Stone, delivered to him by Thanos? That sounds more than believable.
Some fans might point to the novel Thanos: Titan Consumed as contradicting this explanation of how Thanos got the Mind Stone in the first place. However, Marvel’s decision to retroactively clarify that the Thanos origin novel is non-canon may actually make our explanation more likely. Despite all involved understanding it to be the canonical origin of Thanos, many assumed at the time that movie development had brought contradictions, or possible contradictions into play. Since the novel has Thanos learn of the Infinity Stones from a character dubbed ‘Lorespeaker,’ then simply take the Mind Stone from him… well, an explanation that ties into the existing MCU would likely be preferable.
If Captain Marvel could find a way to make Carol Danvers the beginning of the Avengers, and then also reveal that her story was relevant to Thanos and his Infinity War, why pass up the opportunity? After all, Captain Marvel anchors Carol’s origins and powers in the Space Stone, so the Kree Empire worshiping the Mind Stone would actually change little about the story.
We’ll assume this as head-canon until Marvel explicitly denies, if for no other reason than the character work it adds for Ronan the Accuser. As it stands, his flip from Kree commander to fanatical villain is entirely unexplained (he was serving Thanos long before the Kree/Xandar peace treaty was signed). Not only would this theory answer half a dozen MCU questions, but it would make his iconic face paint one of the best connective details in the entire MCU: black oozing from his eyes and mouth as a reminder to the Kree of the lies he saw and spewed while serving an Infinity Stone, instead of his people.
MORE: Why Captain Marvel Didn’t Help The Avengers Sooner