The MCU Infinity Stones have played a major role from the very beginning of the franchise, and this is a guide to their origins, powers, and potential future. Far from being mere plot McGuffins for villains to wield, the Infinity Stones have only increased in importance as the film franchise 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 that each stone controls an aspect of existence itself, which can be observed in how the Infinity Stones' colors match their corresponding singularity's other manifestations in the multiverse.

An Infinity Stone on its own is a powerful weapon, but when they're all combined, the user gains near-infinite power. Each phase of the MCU has revealed more about the Infinity Stones, leading to Thanos' quest to wipe out half of all life in the universe in Avengers: Infinity War and the Avengers' mission to undo the snap in Avengers: Endgame. The Infinity Gauntlets allow both universe-wide changes to happen, putting each of the Stone's abilities to work with each other to achieve it. However, they're difficult to manufacture and are unable to prevent the life-threatening physical toll that using all six Infinity Stones entails.

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With the MCU's Infinity Stones still an important element in the Marvel Cinematic Universe after the end of the Infinity Saga (except in Loki, where they're paperweights), here's everything audiences need to know about these stones. This includes all MCU Infinity Stones appearances, what their powers are, and how they could factor into the future of the MCU's Phase 4. Here are all of the MCU Infinity Stones explained.

The Space Stone (The Tesseract)

Appearances: Thor, Captain America: The First Avenger, The Avengers, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: EndgameLokiWhat If...?.

Abilities: Teleportation, creates wormholes, grants superpowers.

The Space Stone, the first Infinity Stone to appear in the MCU in the form of the Tesseract, caused a lot of trouble throughout the Infinity Saga. In Captain America: The First Avenger, Red Skull retrieves it from Tønsberg, Norway, and uses it to build futuristic weapons for Hydra. After the Tesseract teleports Red Skull to Vormir, SHIELD retrieves the weapon and studies it to create their own weapons through Howard Stark's Project PEGASUS. Apart from kicking off the MCU Infinity Stones timeline, the Space Stone provides a glimpse into the true power of these mysterious objects. For a brief period, the Space Stone shifts hands from Mar-Vell to Nick Fury and Carol Danvers — the latter of whom absorbs its energy and becomes Captain Marvel — to Goose and finally to Nick Fury and SHIELD once again.

In The Avengers, Loki is sent by Thanos to steal the Tesseract. Loki uses its powers to bring the Chitauri to New York in a failed bid to conquer Earth, and as Avengers: Endgame revealed, it almost ends up in SHIELD's hands shortly after the Battle of New York. However, the Avengers manage to keep it long enough for Thor to take it to Asgard, where it's stored in Odin's Vault. Years later, Loki steals it again during Thor: Ragnarok's finale before handing it to Thanos in the opening of Avengers: Infinity War, where the titan crushes the Tesseract and retrieves the Space Stone, making it the second Infinity Stone in Thanos' Infinity Gauntlet.

The Avengers' Time Heist in Avengers: Endgame opens a branch in the Sacred Timeline when the Tony Stark from 2023 loses possession of the Tesseract, which falls by Loki's feet. Loki grabs it and attempts to escape using it but is promptly captured by the Time Variance Authority. At the TVA, the Infinity Stones become useless but help 2012 Loki realize that his "glorious purpose" was always just an excuse to project his pain onto others. With their first chance to retrieve it now gone, Tony Stark and Steve Rogers time-travel to 1970 and extract the Tesseract from a SHIELD base, meeting Peggy Carter and Howard Stark along the way. Finally, the Tesseract appears in What If...? episode 1, where Red Skull uses it to summon Shuma-Gorath through an interdimensional portal. Captain Carter pushes the creature back into the portal, and she ends up in the present day.

Related: The MCU Just Set Up A Worse Disaster Than Thanos' Infinity War Snap

Although the Space Stone is connected to space, its infinite amount of energy can be exploited to create and power weapons, machinery, cities, and even humans. It also possesses other subtle features that haven't been fully explained in the MCU. This includes its ability to communicate with other Infinity Stones, make Captain Marvel a powerful Marvel character, and open portals to other realities.

The Reality Stone (The Aether)

Appearances: Thor: The Dark World, Avengers: Infinity WarAvengers: EndgameLoki.

Abilities: Changes reality, sucks out life force, opens portals.

The Reality Stone debuted in Thor: The Dark World, where the Aether injects itself into Jane Foster's body when she's exploring physical anomalies that seem to be happening in various places at random. Malekith and his Dark Elves attempt to wield the Reality Stone's power during The Convergence — an event where all the Nine Realms align once every five thousand years, allowing Malekith to use the Reality Stone in the form of the Aether to bring the whole universe into a state of complete darkness. After Thor defeats Malekith, Asgard hands the Reality Stone over to The Collector for safekeeping, but Thanos acquires the Reality Stone in Avengers: Infinity War and uses it to kidnap Gamora. Endgame sees the MCU Infinity Stones destroyed by Thanos - until they are plucked out of the past by the Avengers. In Avengers: Endgame, the Reality Stone is retrieved from Jane Foster's body by Rocket Raccoon when he and Thor time-travel to Asgard. In Loki, the Reality Stone appears in a drawer at the TVA alongside other Infinity Stones from different branches of the Sacred Timeline.

Thanos' handling of the Reality Stone in Infinity War makes Malekith's plan to use the Aether during the Convergence look overly contrived, as the Mad Titan reveals just how powerful it can be when used by itself. The Reality Stone can create the illusion of life, render any weapon useless, modify any state of matter, and alter the appearance of any place, object, and organism. There is even a case to be made about the possibility that this MCU Infinity Stone gives Jane Foster her powers in Thor: Love and Thunder. Although the Reality Stone was only used briefly throughout the Infinity Saga, the Reality Stone could be considered one of the most powerful Infinity Stones in the right hands.

The Time Stone (Eye Of Agamotto)

Appearances: Doctor Strange, Thor: Ragnarok, Avengers: Infinity WarAvengers: EndgameLoki, What If...?

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 Supreme. Even though the Eye of Agamotto was reserved for the Sorcerer Supremes, Stephen Strange studies the Stone and its powers while training. Strange's ambition is chastised, but it helps him rewind time and trap Dormammu in a time loop after Kaecilius threatens to bring the Dark Dimension to Earth, forcing the creature to abandon his plans of conquest. As the Time Stone is a crucial part of Stephen Strange's arsenal, scenes displaying the Time Stone's powers are among the most memorable MCU Infinity Stones appearances.

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Strange uses the Time Stone’s power in Avengers: Infinity War to preview millions of possible outcomes to the Avengers' battle with Thanos – finding only one reality where they succeed. Although Strange has to surrender it to Thanos to save Tony Stark’s life, it eventually becomes one of the most crucial steps in the defeat of the Mad Titan. Thanos uses the Time Stone to undo Vision's death at the hands of Scarlet Witch in order to retrieve the Mind Stone, thus completing the Infinity Gauntlet. Of course, Doctor Strange's prediction of the one timeline where the Avengers succeed comes true, and Earth's Mightiest Heroes are able to gather all six Infinity Stones during their Time Heist. The Time Stone, specifically, is retrieved by Smart Hulk after convincing the Ancient One of giving it to him during the Battle of New York. Along with the other MCU Infinity Stones, the Time Stone is returned by Captain America through the Quantum Realm, and then it reappears in a TVA drawer in Loki.

The Time Stone's powers are pretty straightforward, but as Wong, Mordo, The Ancient One, and Doctor Strange all know, using it carelessly could result in terrible scenarios where reality breaks. While the Time Stone didn't appear in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the Doctor Strange 2 post-credits scene with Clea (Charlize Theron) implies that the Time Stone will be needed once more. As Strange develops a third eye and many new powers from his use of the Darkhold, he would be unstoppable if he also has the Eye of Agamotto back in his arsenal.

The Mind Stone (Loki’s Chitauri Scepter)

Appearances: The Avengers, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Avengers: Age Of Ultron, Captain America: Civil WarAvengers: Infinity WarAvengers: EndgameWandaVisionWhat If...?.

Abilities: Telepathy, telekinesis, energy blasts, mind control, creates consciousness, grants and awakens dormant superpowers.

Thanos gifts Loki the Mind Stone - housed in a scepter - to help him conquer Earth on his behalf in The Avengers. This allows Loki to control the minds of Hawkeye and Dr. Selvig. In Avengers: Age Of Ultron, the Stone is revealed to have some kind of intelligence inside it that is used to create Ultron and give the Maximoff Twins their Scarlet Witch and Quicksilver superpowers. 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 Avengers: Infinity War, where Thanos ultimately kills him when he retrieves the Mind Stone from Vision’s forehead.

In Avengers: Endgame, the Mind Stone embedded in Loki's scepter is retrieved by Steve Rogers after he fights with his past self, who believes the Steve from 2023 is Loki in disguise. Brock Rumlow and his fellow Hydra agents, who pose as SHIELD at that time, almost manage to get their hands on the scepter, but Steve's knowledge of the future allows him to convince them that he's working with them. The Mind Stone also appears in Vision's forehead in Captain America: Civil War and WandaVision.

Related: All 6 Loki Episodes Are Infinity Stones: Ending Theory Explained

The Mind Stone could still play a major role in the MCU down the line, as WandaVision reveals that Wanda Maximoff's powers existed since she was a child. This information suggests that some people are born with special abilities and that the Mind Stone just amplified what Wanda and Pietro Maximoff already had inside them. Hence, the Mind Stone could be the key to the arrival of mutants in the MCU. Further supporting this possibility is how Earth-838 Wanda's powers were unlocked after contact with Scarlet Witch's powers in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, similar to how Monica Rambeau's energy-based powers were unlocked in WandaVision. Notably, while 5 MCU Infinity Stones' colors are accounted for in Loki's TVA junk drawer, the Mind Stone's yellow hue is nowhere in that scene, suggesting that it remains where Captain America last left it.

The Power Stone (The Orb)

Appearances: Guardians Of The Galaxy, Avengers: Infinity WarAvengers: EndgameLoki, What If...?

Abilities: Enhances strength, invulnerability, and endurance. Powers weapons and destroys anything in its path.

Chronologically, the first character to be shown using the Power Stone is Eson the Searcher, who used it to destroy entire civilizations. Thousands of years later, it was found encased inside an Orb on the planet Morag, where Peter Quill retrieves it to make a quick buck. Ronan the Accuser seeks it for Thanos but steals it for himself to destroy the planet Xandar and is eventually defeated by the Guardians. The Stone is given to the Nova Corps, but Thanos acquires it after decimating Xandar off-screen before the events of Avengers: Infinity War. In Avengers: Endgame, War Machine and Nebula retrieve it after time-traveling to 2014, right before the Guardians of the Galaxy were formed.

Like the Reality Stone, the Power Stone has been severely underused in the MCU. With the right tools and in the right hands, it could be used to confront characters as powerful as Thanos and Ego the Living Planet. It did make an appearance in What If...? episode 2, "What If... T'Challa Became a Star-Lord," where T'Challa (as Star-Lord) retrieved the Orb, just as Peter Quill did in Guardians of the Galaxy, however, it doesn't seem to be playing a major role in Phase 4 — at least for now.

The Soul Stone

Appearances: Avengers: Infinity War, Avengers: Endgame, Loki.

Abilities: Steals, manipulates, and alters souls, grants access to the Soul World, communicates with other Infinity Stones and with people's deepest desires.

The significance of this MCU Infinity Stone can be observed in the fact that, apart from Doctor Strange, no other MCU Phase 4 character can replace the abilities of the Soul Stone. The Soul Stone was the most mysterious of the MCU Infinity Stones prior to its eventual reveal in Avengers: Infinity War, as there was no setup or hint of its origins. Infinity War reveals that Thanos once sent Gamora to find the stone but she decided not to reveal that she found it on the planet Vormir. After Thanos captures her, she takes him there and they find out that Red Skull has become the Stonekeeper after being teleported by the Tesseract to Vormir. Red Skull then reveals to Thanos that he must sacrifice what he loves the most to possess it.

Related: Marvel Teases Infinity War Soul Stone Tease Payoff In Eternals 2

After Thanos kills Gamora, the stone appears to him. In Avengers: Endgame, Hawkeye and Black Widow go through the same process, with Natasha Romanoff sacrificing herself to gain the Soul Stone. While Soul Stones also end up in TVA's drawer, Marvel's What If...? finale in which the Guardians of the Multiverse focus on taking the Soul Stone from Ultron first – as instructed by Doctor Strange – reveals the Soul Stone's true importance. With just the orange stone missing from his MCU Infinity Stones arsenal, Ultron gets weak enough for Strange to enact his plan.

MCU Infinity Stones Ranked By Power

The MCU Infinity Stones, ranked based on their respective abilities, are all equally and infinitely powerful – provided they are in the hands of the right bearer. As the MCU has repeatedly shown audiences, the limit of the MCU Infinity Stones' powers is not dictated by any single stone but by the bearer of its power. Empowered by the Time Stone and his command of the mystical arts, Stephen Strange singlehandedly defeats Dormammu and then uses his knowledge of time to orchestrate Thanos' eventual defeat. Empowered by sheer will and the Mind Stone in What If...?, Vision quickly dispatches Thanos, even though Thanos already possessed all 5 other MCU Infinity Stones in that timeline.

At first glance, these scenarios seem to imply that the Time Stone or the Mind Stone may be more powerful compared to the others. However, the reality is that all Infinity Stones are equally capable of unleashing infinite power and possibilities. As long as the bearer of the stone is attuned to that stone's corresponding aspect of reality and able to comprehend and manage the limitless potential in their hands, any single one of the MCU Infinity Stones can be used to do almost anything.

MCU Infinity Stones Appearances In Future Marvel Movies/Series

The MCU Infinity Stones are quickly being replaced by other artifacts of great power, which include items such as the Darkhold, Shang-Chi's Ten Rings, and Eternals' Ebony Blade, but this doesn't mean the stones can't reappear again in MCU Phase 4 or even Phase 5. Jane Foster's yet-unexplained Thor-like powers in Thor: Love and Thunder could be the perfect way for the Reality Stone to make its MCU return. With the Mind Stone notably missing from the TVA office's junk drawer, Loki season 2 could follow up on its whereabouts.

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White Vision could also "reunite" with the Mind Stone in Agatha: House of Harkness. In Captain Marvel 2, either Captain Marvel or Monica Rambeau could wield the Power Stone and unleash its true potential. Following the events of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, the Time Stone could return to Stephen Strange, whose newfound command over the spirits of the dead could lead him to the Soul Stone on Vormir. Meanwhile, the Space Stone could be drawn to America Chavez's powers, while Earth-838 Wanda's recently unlocked abilities could lead her to the Reality Stone, potentially starting her on her own path to fulfilling the MCU's Scarlet Witch prophecy.

The MCU Infinity Stones are some of Marvel comics' most important artifacts, and it's unlikely that their time in the MCU is over, especially since most of the stones were underused in the earlier phases of the MCU. In Phase 4 of the MCU, with Ant-Man and the Wasp: Quantumania exploring the time and space-bending possibilities of the Quantum Realm and Loki season 2 potentially revealing more variants of characters and artifacts from other universes, there are an infinite number of ways to orchestrate the next appearance of the MCU Infinity Stones. As Doctor Strange's third eye sets its sights on the infinite possibilities of the future in search of threats to the multiverse, the MCU Infinity Stones will continue to be used as conduits to the six singularities of existence, promising infinite power, boundless knowledge, absolute control, and certain death.

More: Every Time The Infinity Stones Were Used Wrong In The MCU

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