The Marvel Cinematic Universe has launched 21 interconnected movies over the last 11 years and there are still plenty of loose threads hanging freely. Avengers Endgame will be the film that brings it all to an end tying most of those loose threads. So far Marvel had been building up to Thanos’ big arrival in Infinity War so he could collect the 6 Infinity Stones that are present in the Universe and bring balance to it.
As we saw almost a year ago, Thanos wiped out half the population of the entire Universe using those Infinity Stones. So it is a given that the Stones are capable of destroying anything and everything. Avengers: Endgame is stated to be about the Avengers making their last stand against Thanos, but even after they effectively defeat him, the real threat still stands, i.e. the Infinity Stones.
Avengers Endgame is supposed to feature a “Greater Threat” and I’m here to say that the greater threat is none other than the Infinity Stones themselves. Since the movie is going to be super stuffed and Marvel took years to build up a villain like Thanos, they cannot just throw all that away and introduce a new villain altogether. This threat has to be someone/something that we are totally aware of.
Taking into consideration CBR’s theory of how the Stones are the real threat, let’s just dive into it head on. If you have been a die-hard MCU fan and have followed each and every movie keenly knowing all the little details, you’d know that the Infinity Stones are actually alive and they have their own conscience. Marvel has successfully introduced all 6 of those stones. We have spent a lot of time with the likes of the Mind Stone and the Space Stone, but the likes of Soul Stone and even the time Stone are fairly new to the MCU.
In all this time, we have seen that the Mind Stone is the one that has corrupted many people in different ways. Loki, for instance, was recently confirmed to be affected by the Mind Stone when he had the Scepter in his possession. His actions with the Scepter were rather extreme compared to anything we have seen before or after he had the Mind Stone with him. We later saw him mind control the likes of Hawkeye and Erik Selvig with it, and it sort of amplified the people who they are from the inside.
The stone even affected the behavior just for a little while, making them all go crazy while they were afraid and on their edge dealing with Loki. But we cannot say that the Mind Stone is evil. It is a great threat but it isn’t evil. It mostly amplifies the nature of a person. Loki grew up in Thor’s Shadow and always had a grudge for the way his father treated him, and that is why his actions were so villainous with the mind stone at his disposal. We saw him turn into the hero, the Odinson that Thor always believed him to be.
Vision, on the other hand, wasn’t turned into a manic robot even though he had the possession of it for long while. His intentions were pure and that is why the Mjolnir also accepted him, while the Stone enhanced him for good. The Stone Corrupted Ultron and he went on this path of human extinction turning into Skynet. There are reasons why Vision and Ultron got affected differently, but let’s not get into that right now.
Let’s get into the matter of the big guy. Thanos was the one who got hold of the Mind Stone for so many years. So just imagine the magnitude of the effect the Stone would have had on Thanos than it did upon anyone else. Loki only had it for a while, and the stone just touched Hawkeye and Erik Selvig, so its effect upon them wore off with time, but if you consider Thanos, the Stone was with him for who knows how long. Its effect upon him was permanent.
Thanos must have acquired the Stone after he saw his planet turn to rubble. And that is why the Mind Stone must have blinded him, making him see Genocide as the only way to prevent the Universe from itself. He was so hell-bent upon balancing the Universe that he didn’t see any other option. He could have used the Reality Stone to alter things for everyone, but he went in the other direction. So the Decimation that we saw was clearly a result of the Mind Stone’s effect upon Thanos.
It is because we have spent so much time with the Mind Stone that we’ve seen its effects on a larger scale. But it isn’t the only great threat. All of the other stones are as well. The Soul Stone, in particular, has been seen the least in the MCU. We are yet to see its consequences, but the recent Avengers Endgame prelude comic confirmed that this stone also has its own conscience. As Red Skull told us, it holds a special place amongst the other 6. It is a total Diva as it chooses who will be the one that can use it.
Thanos needed to sacrifice the only thing he loved the most in order to acquire the stone, and the stone accepting his sacrifice clearly meant that it is an entity on its own. We are yet to see how it affects the being who acquires it. Talking about the Stones’ ability to choose its user, we can say that the Tesseract also chose the one who can utilize it. When Red Skull held the stone back in The First Avenger, it didn’t allow him to be the owner, and instead transferred him to Vormir. It didn’t do the same when Thanos held it. Sure Thanos is stronger than the Red Skull, but the Infinity Stone is stronger than both of them. So it clearly allowed Thanos to use it.
The threat involved with the Reality Stone is that the entire fabric of reality could be altered right from the beginning of reality itself. We are also yet to see the consequences of how Doctor Strange has used the Time Stone till now, as the bill is supposed to come due. So, how exactly does this threat get neutralized?
Well, the answer to this question is that it might not. Scarlet Witch was able to destroy the stone because her powers have come from it, but the same cannot be said for the other stones. There may not be any way to destroy them, so the answer has to be to separate them. Adam Warlock formed the Infinity Watch in the comics and in that, 6 individuals were given the stones to keep them separated from each other at all times.
In the MCU, Doctor Strange with all his knowledge about the Infinity Stones might be the one to form the Infinity Watch in the MCU, and the likes of Thor, Captain Marvel, Vision, Black Panther and Probably the Guardians might be given one stone each to protect it at all times.
But one could argue that Avengers Endgame is mostly going to be about the original 6 Avengers, and it isn’t hard to do the math that the number of Stones is also 6. So, each of these Stones could be given to one of the OGs and all of them part their separate ways. But, some of these (or probably just Captain America) have to die in the movie, so these 6 cannot be given the stones. Still, there’s a reason to believe that since these 6 are really important, and so are the Infinity Stones, each of them might get one stone at some point of time. It will probably happen in the climax and all 6 of them will harness the powers of the Stones to defeat Thanos.
This is merely a theory, but talking about Thanos and circling back to the Infinity Stones being the greater threat, you shouldn’t forget that all 6 of them are currently with the Thanos. The Avengers are probably going to make their moves on the Infinity Stones in order to reverse the snap, but what they may face now won’t be the villain making calculated moves in order to make the snap successful. They would face a worn out, emotionally hurt, and demented Thanos who has been affected greatly by all 6 of the Stones. He won’t go easy upon the Avengers!
Even after the Avengers defeat Thanos (will they?), there’s still the threat of the Stones falling into the wrong hands. Just imagine if they ended up with someone even worse than Thanos. The Mind Stone could still affect anyone. The likes of Galactus, Annihilus, Kang may not settle with killing off just half of the Universe. They’d go for the full monty.
So let’s see how the Russos have handled everything. Things are going to get really intense, and we just cannot wait to watch it. Directed by Joe & Anthony Russo, Avengers: Endgame will open on April 26, and it’ll presumably star Robert Downey Jr., Chris Hemsworth, Mark Ruffalo, Chris Evans, Scarlett Johansson, Benedict Cumberbatch, Jeremy Renner Don Cheadle, Tom Holland, Chadwick Boseman, Paul Bettany, Tom Hiddleston, Idris Elba, Danai Gurira, Peter Dinklage, Benedict Wong, Elizabeth Olsen, Anthony Mackie, Sebastian Stan, Gwyneth Paltrow, Benicio del Toro, Josh Brolin, Pom Klementieff, Karen Gillan, Dave Bautista, Zoe Saldana, Vin Diesel, Bradley Cooper, Chris Pratt, Paul Rudd, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Tessa Thompson, Evangeline Lilly, Aaron Taylor Johnson, Cate Blanchett, Michelle Pfeiffer, Michael Douglas, Tilda Swinton, Jeff Goldblum, Katherine Langford, Stellan Skarsgard and Brie Larson.
Here’s the official synopsis:
“After the devastating events of Avengers: Infinity War (2018), the universe is in ruins due to the efforts of the Mad Titan, Thanos. With the help of remaining allies, the Avengers must assemble once more in order to undo Thanos’ actions and restore order to the universe once and for all, no matter what consequences may be in store.”