Ever since the end credits scene in 2012's The Avengers, it's been clear that Thanos would eventually wield the Infinity Gauntlet in the MCU. But Marvel Comics offers us some intriguing possibilities when it comes to which heroes could take control of the Infinity Stones in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4.Though the Infinity Stones (known in the comics as the Soul Gems or Infinity Gems) date back to 1972's Marvel Premier #1, the Gauntlet didn't arrive until much later. In the lead-up to The Infinity Gauntlet, 1990's Silver Surfer #44 introduced the object that could combine all 6 of the powerful items. This also kicked off Thanos' quest for the Gauntlet as part of his scheme to wipe out half of all life in the universe and impress Death herself.RELATED: There's A Reason So Many Infinity Stones Have Been Drawn To EarthWe know Avengers 3 will homage the comics by replacing a key Silver Surfer scene with Bruce Banner, but it's safe to assume that many Infinity Stones-related events from the comics will all be melded together. Indeed, despite the film's name coming from the sequel to The Infinity Gauntlet, all signs point to Jonathan Hickman's Infinity playing a big role in the MCU. As such, we can look at the entire history of the comics to determine which Avengers might take the power of the Gauntlet for themselves in order to stop Thanos.There have been a lot of wielders of the Infinity Gauntlet across alternate timelines, one-off books, and animated shows, with everyone from Doctor Doom to Reed Richards to Darkseid controlling the Stones. That latter event came courtesy of a JLA/Avengers crossover book, and if you think it's weird then you haven't read Marvel Holiday Spectacular 2009 where Santa Claus wielded the Gauntlet. Of course, barring an MCU/DCEU crossover or Marvel's answer to the Star Wars Holiday Special, those more eccentric takes aren't likely to occur. And we know the Fox deal won't affect Phase 3 of the films, which further rules out some characters.So when it comes to characters we know will be in Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 who have wielded the Gauntlet in the comics, there are only six options.
When it comes to which Avengers could wield the Infinity Gauntlet in this summer's movie or its follow-up, Iron Man makes the most sense. He's got the strength, smarts, and tech to stand against Thanos and maybe even grapple with the awesome might of the Gauntlet. Tony Stark also kicked off the MCU and is its biggest name, meaning Iron Man getting the Gauntlet would have some nice symmetry to it. But more than just making sense in the MCU, Tony harnessing the power of the Infinity Stones would mirror the comics.
Before Brian Michael Bendis left Marvel for DC, he crafted a number of comics with a big impact on the MCU. During his 2011 run on Avengers, low-rate villain The Hood began collecting the Infinity Gems. Iron Man was able to wrest the Gems and Gauntlet away from The Hood and send him back to prison. He then does the most Tony Stark thing imaginable: feigns the destruction of the Gauntlet while really teleporting it elsewhere. Following the showdown, the Gauntlet and the Gems fall under the control of the Illuminati, a secret group of Marvel's biggest minds that fans have long been hoping to see in the MCU.
Subtract The Hood and it's not hard to imagine Avengers: Infinity War ending with just such a move from Iron Man. The fight will look to be over, but an end credits scene then reveals Tony has hidden the Gauntlet away for a rainy day under the watchful eye of Black Panther, Doctor Strange, Bruce Banner, and a few key others. This could lead to a loose Illuminati adaptation for Avengers 4 which would once again cause a split between Tony and Steve. Either that, or the plot point could be how Avengers 4 ends and thus leads into Phase 4. There's a lot of options, but one of the likeliest comic adaptations is some version of Iron Man getting the Gauntlet.
A little less likely but still a poetic and comics-inspired move would be if Steve Rogers gained the Gauntlet. The Stones have a way of influencing those who wield them, and if anyone has the moral strength to resist it's Captain America. It may be more questionable that he could take the Gauntlet from Thanos, but Steve has held the Gems in the comics.
During Hickman's lead-up to Secret Wars, 2013's New Avengers #3 saw the Illuminati discover the collapse of the Multiverse. With another Earth about to collide with their own, the group decided to use the Infinity Gauntlet that they'd ferreted away. This time, however, it was reluctant new addition Captain America who took the glove. He was able to avert the catastrophe, but the Gauntlet and Gems were destroyed in the process. If Avengers 3 sees Tony take the Gauntlet and form the Illuminati, the plot of Avengers 4 could see Steve use the Stones. After all, there's a chance Avengers 4 will adapt Secret Wars, which could set the stage for Phase 4 of the MCU.
Though T'Challa may be new to the MCU, it's clear he's already got the sort of weight and name recognition as some of the more seasoned Avengers. With his moral might, high-tech suit, and skills in battle, it's easy to imagine T'Challa both securing the Gauntlet and successfully using it. He's also been a member of the Illuminati and played a key role in the events leading up to Secret Wars in the comics. Not to mention, the Soul Stone may be in Wakanda, setting up an easy plot point that could lead to the king wielding the Gauntlet.
On the page, T'Challa actually did take control of the Gems during Hickman's Secret Wars. Though technically a separate reality, in 2015's Secret Wars #6, Black Panther dons the Gauntlet to fight Doctor Doom, travel back in time, and help reset the whole alternate universe. If any aspect of Secret Wars comes into play, we could see a version of this. We may also see T'Challa make a hard call the way Tony might. We've known the T'Challa in the MCU is a highly principled individual, but the stories leading to Secret Wars saw him compromise more and more for what he saw as the greater good. Avengers 3 and 4 could tease out this darker version of Black Panther when he's forced to use the Infinity Gauntlet to save the Earth at any cost.
Though she isn't technically an Avenger, Nebula will be joining Earth's Mightiest Heroes when they confront her "father" Thanos and stop him from acquiring the Infinity Stones. She's also one of the most obvious choices for a wielder of the Infinity Gauntlet as she's one of the first characters to ever control it in the comics.
On screen we've seen Nebula soften a bit and work towards becoming a hero, but she's a full-on villain in the comics. Still, she wasn't spared from Thanos' wrath in The Infinity Gauntlet when he went about his mission of destruction. Draining Nebula of almost all life, she sat and watched as Thanos wielded the Gauntlet, extinguished half the universe, and killed everyone from the Avengers to the cosmic entity Eternity. But with Thanos in a weakened state after all of that, Nebula was able to take the Gauntlet and reverse everything that had happened. Of course, she was still a supervillain with one of the most powerful items in the universe, so she had to be stopped.
We don't know what's in store for the character in the MCU, but Nebula will be confronting Thanos for all the harm and abuse he's inflicted upon her. Nebula certainly isn't the most powerful person, but she may be one of the few individuals who can get close enough to Thanos to steal the Gauntlet. Perhaps she'll feign being back on his side or maybe she'll even be turned into a walking corpse like in the comics, thus not seen as a threat by Thanos until it's too late. Nebula wielding the Gauntlet could also bring back her evil tendencies, forcing the Guardians and Avengers to decide whether she needs to be taken out. The MCU certainly needs some stakes in the upcoming battle, and putting Nebula in a position where she's an antagonist could provide the perfect conflict.
Though each of the characters mentioned so far has wielded the Infinity Gauntlet during key comics moments, Spider-Man's time with the power of the Gems was a little different. 2010's Avengers and the Infinity Gauntlet was a retelling of the original story aimed at kids. In it, Spider-Man becomes the last Avenger standing and uses the Gauntlet to save the day. Naturally, no one remembers this once everything is back to normal since Peter Parker has the worst luck. But we could see a nod to this in the movie.
It's clear that Spider-Man ends up in the mysterious location where Thanos and Iron Man fight in Avengers: Infinity War. Between his new Iron Spider suit and his smarts, there's certainly a scenario where Spidey could somehow claim the Gauntlet - even if it's for just a moment before Iron Man grabs it. Given the plot in the comics is played for comedy, and that this is Spider-Man, we could see a nod to Peter getting the Gauntlet. But whether he would actually wield it and put it to use seems a bit more unlikely.
Like Spider-Man, the Hulk's time with the Gauntlet doesn't take place in the main Marvel continuity. Instead, it occurred in Ultimate Comics. But unlike with Spidey's story, the Ultimate Universe has been a huge influence on the MCU so far; from the Samuel L. Jackson Fury to Iron Man's updated origin to more grounded costumes, we can see echoes of Ultimate Comics all over the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As such, the idea of the Hulk taking the Infinity Gauntlet could make a lot of sense.
Though the Ultimate Universe features 8 Infinity Stones (and two Gauntlets), the story of Hulk getting control of the powerful artifacts in 2011's Ultimates #25 could teases something similar in Avengers 3. Hulk is unquestionably strong enough to go up against Thanos, and Bruce could even be part of the Illuminati. Plus, it seems clear that Thanos and Hulk will do battle early in the movie - before Bruce is knocked all the way to Earth. From what we learned in Thor: Ragnarok, each time Bruce Hulks out could lead to him being stuck as the "Other Guy". Knowing that, we could see some final gamble where either Bruce takes the Gauntlet or turns into Hulk to steal it from Thanos. With both he and the audience aware of the risk, it would make for a dramatic moment, and the idea of a brute like the Hulk with the Gauntlet would lead to all sorts of trouble.
On top of all of these likely scenarios, there's also another key character from the comics who has had the Infinity Gauntlet: Adam Warlock. Given he's not in the MCU proper yet - he was teased in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2's post-credits scenes - it's entirely possible he won't take over the Gauntlet like he does in the comics; James Gunn has said Warlock isn't confirmed for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 yet, due after all the Thanos fighting has gone down. Fans may want the character to swoop in for Avengers 4 - a movie he's not been explicitly denied to be present in - but we may have to wait longer for his debut.
Given that, it's easy to assume that if any Avengers takes the Gauntlet in reference to the comics, it will be one of those mentioned above. Of course, we could always see a completely different turn of events in the MCU, and with Avengers: Infinity War and Avengers 4 close at hand we won't have to wait long to know for sure.