Avengers: Explaining the 6 Infinity Stones

Earth’s Mightiest Heroes are about to take on their biggest challenge yet in Avengers: Infinity War. The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been building to this clash with Thanos for the last 10 years.

So what brings the Mad Titan to earth? Two words. Infinity Stones – or Infinity Gems for those comic purists. You’ve seen many of the stones pop up already in the MCU, but it’s easy to get them mixed up. So, to prepare yourself for one of the biggest events in celluloid history, here’s a breakdown of each stone.

It should go without saying, but there are SPOILERS ahead for multiple Marvel Cinematic Universe movies.

What are the Infinity Stones?

The backstory of all six stones was touched upon by The Collector in Guardians of Galaxy. But don’t feel bad if you don’t remember – Benicio Del Toro’s Andy Warhol-like appearance could be quite the distraction.


[Acting Intensifies]

Here’s the gist – six singularities existed long before the creation of the universe. When the Big Bang hit it transformed them into six separate Infinity Stones. The stones are kept apart because, when united, they can destroy everything – from people to a whole solar system.

Not only should they be kept apart, you shouldn’t touch them either – unless you want to be vaporized. That’s where the Infinity Gauntlet comes in. It’s the fancy gold glove Thanos is rocking.


[Evil Tyrant or Fashion Icon?]

So what can each stone do? And what’s the status of each going into the Infinity War?

The Space Stone (Blue)


Also Known As: The Tesseract

Power: The ability to manipulate space. The holder of this stone can make portals

The Space Stone was the first gem to debut in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It popped up in an after credits scene during Thor, but as the Tesseract. (Side Note: A running theme with many of the stones is having multiple names to describe them – because the six stones weren’t already confusing enough.) It makes a proper debut in Captain America: The First Avenger where Red Skull and HYDRA are using it to create weapons during World War II – because that’s what you do when you’re an evil super-villain – before Cap puts a stop to that.

No one seems to have a bond with the Tesseract more than the God of Mischief, Loki. The Avengers kicks off with him stealing it to help release an alien army on New York – you know mischief!

Where is it now? The Space Stone was being held by Thor on Asgard. It’s implied in Thor: Ragnarok that Loki steals it from the Asgardian treasure room during the fight with Hela. With Asgard destroyed and Thanos’s ship popping up next to Thor’s cruiser after the credits, it’s a safe bet Loki is in possession of the stone – and things are about to get ugly.

The Mind Stone (Yellow)

Power: Complete power over anyone’s consciousness

The Mind Stone doesn’t make an appearance until Marvel’s The Avengers, but you can see the stone’s power at the end of Thor. Dr. Erik Selvig is granted access to the Tesseract to investigate the strange cube. Only problem – he’s under the control of Loki.

In the Avengers Loki brandishes the stone in a shiny scepter he uses to create mischief. (Side Note: the Mind Stone is yellow – yet in the scepter it appears blue. So the first two stones introduced in the MCU appear to be the same color – because things aren’t already confusing enough.)

Where is it now? By Avengers: Age of Ultron, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner are in possession of the scepter and use it to create the titular android. When that goes about as well as you’d expect, Stark takes another stab at creating artificial intelligence with the stone, using it to form the Vision.


The stone gives Vision a plethora of superhero prerequisites: super strength, flying, a cape (oddly enough), but he doesn’t seem to have any actual mind-controlling powers. But he looks cool at least!

The Reality Stone (Red)

Also Known As: Aether

Power: To defy the natural laws of the universe – basically manipulate matter.


There hasn’t been much time dedicated to the Reality Stone in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. It was a central plot point of Thor: Dark World, but that is widely considered to be the weakest chapter of the MCU. It’s also confusing – I know shocking. I’ll spare you the details. The main takeaway is the villain, Malekith, is after a red liquid substance known as Aether. The substance has the power to transform anything it touches. By the end of Dark World, the liquid is contained and given to The Collector for safekeeping. Because when I think of trustworthy individuals – The Collector is right at the top of that list.

Where is it now? Thor is hit with a troubling vision during Age of Ultron that includes the Aether. He learns that the liquid can manifest itself into the form of a stone. The Collector was the last to be seen with it, but it’s safe to assume he will be getting a visit from Thanos.

The Power Stone (Purple)


Also Known As: The Orb

Power: Gives the holder tremendous, well, power.

The Power Stone debuts in Guardians of the Galaxy. Hidden in what is referred to as “the Orb”; the stone serves as the MacGuffin to bring our merry band of misfits together, and as an introduction to the Infinity Stones as a whole. The scope of the gems was merely hinted at before this point in the MCU.

The Power Stone ends up in the hands of Ronan the Accuser who wants to use it DESTROY A WHOLE PLANET. His plans are foiled by the Guardians and the stone is placed back in The Orb.

Where is it now? Star-Lord hands it over to the Nova Corps (essentially, a galactic police force) to protect it.

The Time Stone (Green)


Also Known As: Eye of Agomoto

Power: Control over time itself. For instance, it allows the user the ability to rewind and fast-forward time.

In Doctor Strange, we’re introduced to the acclaimed but egotistical Dr. Stephen Strange (think Tony Stark, but as a neurosurgeon). He ends up in a horrific car accident, suffering severe damage to his hands. Exhausting all ways to repair himself, Strange ends up at the secret compound of Kamar-Taj in Nepal. It’s there where he is taken in by The Ancient One, who begins to train him in the art of sorcery. Still with me? Strange begins digging into ancient texts from the Kamar-Taj and learns of the Eye of Agomoto pendent. He begins training with the mysterious piece of jewelry. The Time Stone, housed in the pendent, holds tremendous power, but defies nature in the process. He eventually uses the stone to defeat Dormammu.

Where is it now? The Eye is returned to Kamar-Taj before the Sorcerer Supreme departs for New York.

The Soul Stone (Orange)

Powers: ???

The only stone that has not been introduced in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. While in the comics the stone grants the user the ability to manipulate souls (dead or alive), the MCU has yet to define the gem’s power for the big screen.

Speculation: We won’t know the truth about the Soul Stone until Infinity War – but that hasn’t stopped people from speculating where it might be. One theory predicts Thanos may already be in possession of the gem.

The other popular theory states the stone is lodged in the asteroid that hit Wakanda, granting the African nation Vibranium. This could explain why Thanos and his army are attacking Wakanda in all the trailers so far.


[My emotions!]

We’ll know for sure when Avengers: Infinity War invades theaters nationwide on April 27th, 2018.

More Avengers

Avengers: A look at the Marvel Cinematic Universe by the numbers

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