The Avengers: Infinity War will finally deliver the payoff of a decade of Infinity Stones - but what happens to them when the movie ends? Over the past ten years, Marvel has built up a complex shared universe of solo and ensemble films, and at the center of that shared universe stands the Infinity Stones: ancient relics of unfathomable power, that predate the universe itself. They've been a central part of many Marvel blockbusters - from Captain America: The First Avenger through to Doctor Strange - but in Infinity War, their true power is about to be revealed. Thanos, the Mad Titan, believes that he can combine their power to create the Infinity Gauntlet. Wielding this unimaginable power, he intends to Thanos will "rebalance the universe," literally erasing half of all life in an instant.

Everything's been building up toward Infinity War and Avengers 4, but that won't close off all these plots completely. The Infinity Stones were formed before creation itself, and they can't just be wiped out of existence. The reality is, when the dust settles after the battle with Thanos, Earth's Mightiest Heroes will have to decide just what to do about these six relics.

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What future stories could be told by Marvel Studios? As is so often the case, the clues are found in the original comics (even if the Infinity War movie will be different from the comics). The Infinity Stones have been brought into play by Marvel time and again; in fact, they're at the center of the current ongoing event, Infinity Countdown. They're sure to turn up again on the big screen too, and the comics give lots of possible arcs.

3. The Illuminati

Undoubtedly the fan-favorite option, the concept of the Illuminati is one that would translate well onto the big screen. In the comics, the Illuminati were six powerful heroes who decided they should chart the course of the planet itself. They believed themselves Earth's greatest line of defense, and coordinated to contain several key threats. One such threat was the Infinity Gauntlet itself, with each member of the Illuminati taking possession of an Infinity Stone for safekeeping.

It's true that the movies can't use the Illuminati as Marvel fans know them from the comics. Marvel's Illuminati were Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, Black Bolt, Professor X, the Sub-Mariner, and Doctor Strange. Right now, two of those characters pose a continuity problem: Mr. Fantastic has yet to be rebooted, and Professor Charles Xavier and his X-Men universe has yet to be folded into Marvel's. Namor's film rights are complicated and uncertain, as well. And Marvel Studios passed on the Inhumans property, allowing Marvel Television to create Black Bolt in a TV show. Inhumans was heavily criticized, and performed poorly; as a result, it's possible the MCU's version of Black Bolt has whispered his last destructive word.

But that doesn't mean the concept of the Illuminati couldn't be integrated into the MCU. All it would take is six surviving heroes to decide to act as guardians of the Infinity Stones - preferably not all so obvious as Doctor Strange's Eye of Agamotto. The Avengers: Infinity War Prelude teased that the first Sorcerer Supreme, Agamotto himself, had believed the Time Stone needed to be in play in order to protect the universe; should Doctor Strange lose the Time Stone, reality itself would be in danger.

Adam Warlock

One Infinity Stone is still unaccounted for; the Soul Stone, recently described as the most dangerous of all the Infinity Stones. Fans are convinced the Soul Stone has most likely been hiding in plain sight, either wielded by Heimdall or found in Wakanda. In truth, those are only fan-theories, and Marvel may have something very different in mind. Whatever the case may be, the Soul Stone could easily prove important to the future of the MCU.

In the comics, the Soul Stone is traditionally tied to a cosmic being known as Adam Warlock. The High Evolutionary implanted the Soul Stone within Warlock's forehead, binding him to it. Marvel has taken a similar approach with the Mind Stone, which is bound to the Vision. The Soul Stone is a deadly force, with a sentience of its own and a hunger to absorb the souls of others. Warlock fought against, and restrained, its evil, but the effort nearly drove him mad.

And wouldn't you know it, Adam Warlock was teased at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. The MCU has redesigned this cosmic being as a member of the Sovereign, an artificially-created race of powerful beings. Marvel has cautioned fans that they shouldn't expect to see Warlock in Infinity War or Avengers 4. The reality is that he's a Guardians character, and is more likely to appear in Vol. 3. But that doesn't mean Warlock couldn't yet become bound to the Soul Stone when the Avengers' films wrap up. It's quite possible the Guardians will be left with that particular Infinity Stone, in which case it could easily be acquired by the Sovereign, and become Adam Warlock's most dangerous weapon of all.

The Return of the Celestials

Whatever may happen in Infinity War and Avengers 4, the reality is that the whole universe will learn the power of the Infinity Stones. With these ancient relics brought out of the shadows, cosmic forces will no doubt seek them out. It's even possible that the Celestials will return.

RELATED: Marvel Reveals The Secrets of the Infinity Stones

According to Guardians of the Galaxy, these ancient beings judged entire worlds, using the Power Stone to ravage planets on a whim. The Power Stone was eventually taken from them, and over the millennia the Celestials were rendered almost extinct (it's possible the beings who took the Power Stone used it against them). Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 gave a sense of just how powerful the Celestials truly are, introducing viewers to Ego, the Living Planet - who believed himself last of the Celestials.

But are the Celestials really extinct? It's impossible to know for sure, but any surviving Celestials would no doubt be interested in acquiring the Power Stone. The MCU is headed in a cosmic dimension after Infinity War and Avengers 4, so it would be fitting to see the Celestials head to Earth, seeking to reclaim the Power Stone.

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These are three of the most exciting possibilities, and they carefully blend the original comics with the MCU. Whatever Marvel does have in store, though, the simple fact remains that the Infinity Stones can never be forgotten. Their power is too great, their potential too massive, and there's no way the heroes can destroy them. Whether they be hidden by the Illuminati, hunted by the Celestials, or bound to beings like Adam Warlock, the Infinity Stones must continue to play some part in the ongoing story of the MCU.

MORE: Who In The MCU Knows About The Infinity Stones?

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Source:gamerant.com
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