The Infinity Stones have played a major role in the MCU from the beginning, so let’s explore their origins, powers and potential future. Far from being mere plot McGuffins for villains to threaten Earth – or the universe – with, the Infinity Stones have only increased in importance as the MCU evolved. In Guardians Of The Galaxy, The Collector explains the origins of these all-powerful gems, revealing they’re remnants of six singularities that were compressed into stones following the Big Bang. In Avengers: Infinity War, Doctor Strange reveals to Tony Stark each stone controls an aspect of existence itself.
An Infinity Stone on its own is a powerful weapon but when combined they grant Infinite Power. Each phase of the MCU has revealed more about the Infinity Stones, leading to Thanos quest to unite them in Avengers: Infinity War. Thanos’ goal was to wipe out half the universe to restore balance, and in the finale, he used the combined power of the stones in his Infinity Gauntlet to do just that. Avengers: Endgame deals with the aftermath of this with the surviving Avengers working together to undo Thanos’ shocking act.
Related: Avengers: Endgame Would’ve Been Different With Marvel’s 2014 Phase 3 Plan
With the MCU’s Infinity Stones still at the core of the Avengers story, here’s everything you need to know about where they’ve been, what their powers are, and how they could factor into Marvel Phase 4.
The Space Stone (The Tesseract)
Appearances: Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War
Abilities: Teleportation, creates wormholes
The Space Stone is the first major Infinity Stone to appear in the MCU and caused a lot of trouble throughout Phase 1. In Captain America, Red Skull used it to build Hydra weapons and it later sucked him into a wormhole. In The Avengers, Loki stole the Tesseract and used its powers to bring the Chitauri into New York in a failed bid to conquer Earth.
Loki stole it again during Thor: Ragnarok’s finale before handing it to Thanos in the opening of Avengers: Infinity War, where the titan crushed the Tesseract and retrieved the Space Stone. According to Samuel L. Jackson, there’s a chance the Tesseract might appear in the 1990s-set Captain Marvel too.
Related: The Tesseract Has Appeared In More Marvel Movies Than Captain America
The Reality Stone (The Aether)
Appearances: Thor: The Dark World, Avengers: Infinity War
Abilities: Changes reality, sucks out life force, opens portals
The Reality Stone debuted in Thor: The Dark World, where Malekith and his Dark Elves attempted to wield its power to destroy the universe. Asgard later hands it over to The Collector for safe keeping, but Thanos acquires the Reality Stone in Infinity War and uses it to kidnap Gamora.
The Time Stone (Eye Of Agamotto)
Appearances: Doctor Strange, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War
Abilities: Time travel, the ability to see into the past and future, creates time loops
The Time Stone plays a major role in Doctor Strange. The stone is housed in the Eye Of Agamotto, which was created by Earth’s first sorcerer and Strange is later trained to use its abilities. He used the Eye in the finale to rewind time and to trap Dormammu in a time loop, forcing the demon to abandon his plans for Earth.
Strange used the Time Stone’s power in Avengers: Infinity War to view millions of possible outcomes to the Avengers battle with Thanos – finding only one reality where they succeed. Strange later surrendered the Time Stone to Thanos to save Tony Stark’s life. The Time Stone might play a role in defeating Thanos, with many believing Doctor Stange created a special time loop before his “death”. There’s also a good chance it will end up back in his possession for Doctor Strange 2.
Related: What Is Doctor Strange’s Plan in Avengers: Endgame?
The Mind Stone (Loki’s Scepter)
Appearances: The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age Of Ultron
Abilities: Telepathy, telekinesis, energy blasts
Thanos gifted Loki the Mind Stone – housed in a scepter – to help him conquer Earth on his behalf in The Avengers. This allowed Loki to control the minds of Hawkeye and Dr. Selvig and Marvel later revealed the Stone was even manipulating Loki.
In Avengers: Age Of Ultron, the stone is revealed to have an artificial intelligence inside it that is used to create Ultron. Ultron takes the scepter to create a body for himself, only for the Avengers to steal the body back and upload Stark’s A.I. J.A.R.V.I.S into it, creating Vision. Vision later finds himself a target of Thanos in Infinity War, who ultimately kills him when he retrieves the Mind Stone from Vision’s forehead.
The Power Stone (The Orb)
Appearances: Guardians Of The Galaxy, Avengers: Infinity War
Abilities: Increased strength, invulnerability, endurance
The Power Stone once resided inside an Orb that Ronan the Accuser sought for Thanos in Guardians Of The Galaxy, and is powerful enough to destroy civilizations. Ronan steals it for himself to destroy the planet Xander but is eventually defeated by the Guardians. The Stone is given to the Nova Corps, but Thanos acquires it in Avengers: Infinity War after decimating Xander off-screen.
Related: Avengers: Endgame Can Reboot Guardians of The Galaxy (By Destroying Them)
The Soul Stone
Appearances: Avengers: Infinity War
Abilities: Can steal, manipulate and alter souls
The Soul Stone was the most mysterious of the MCU Infinity Stones prior to its eventual reveal in Avengers: Infinity War. The movie reveals Thanos once sent Gamora to find the stone but she decided not to reveal she found it on the planet Vormir. After Thanos captures her, she takes him there and they find Red Skull has become the Stonekeeper, revealing to Thanos he must sacrifice something he loves to possess it. After he kills Gamora, the stone appears to him.
Fan theories suggest the Soul Stone will be the key to defeating Thanos, with either Captain America or Tony Stark sacrificing themselves to possess it. Those killed by Thanos’ snap are supposedly trapped inside the stone’s Soul World and could be rescued from inside it.
More: Every Upcoming Marvel Movie (2019 – 2021)