The Space Stone - introduced to viewers as the Tesseract - will ultimately appear in at least ten Marvel movies - that's more than central hero Captain America (and the same as Iron Man). The Tesseract was originally inspired by the Cosmic Cube, a powerful artifact in the comics that can be used to restructure reality itself and generate almost unlimited energy. That's why it was viewed as an energy source in its first appearances in the MCU, rather than as an Infinity Stone.
In the aftermath of Joss Whedon's The Avengers, Marvel decided to pivot and make the Infinity Stones the central story of Phases 1 through 3. As a result, the Tesseract was retconned to contain the Space Stone - a cosmic artifact that predated the universe itself, and that could be used to grant almost unlimited power to manipulate space itself. In Avengers: Infinity War, Thanos even found creative ways to use it to torture his adopted "daughter" Nebula.
During the recent Captain Marvel set visits, Samuel L. Jackson confirmed that the Tesseract will appear in the 1990s prequel as well. "Seems like the Tesseract has been the constant in all these movies," he observed, and he had a point; thanks to its evolving purpose and cosmic connections, the Tesseract has appeared - in one form or another - in no less than eight Marvel movies to date. With Captain Marvel and Avengers: Endgame, that total increases to 10. Here are all the MCU appearances to date.
The Tesseract In Marvel's Phase 1 Movies
Total Appearances: 4
The Tesseract is the most important MacGuffin in the Phase 1 films, appearing no less than four times:
- Iron Man 2: Tony Stark goes through his father's notes, and flips past a sketch of the Tesseract. This Easter egg was added at Kevin Feige's request, pointing to Howard Stark's role in Captain America: The First Avenger.
- Captain America: The First Avenger: The Tesseract is acquired by the Red Skull, and used as a power source for Hydra weapons. The Red Skull is apparently killed when he picks up the Tesseract at the end of the film; the Tesseract itself is lost in the Atlantic Ocean, and retrieved by Howard Stark years later.
- Thor: A book on Norse mythology shows Odin holding the Tesseract. In the post-credits scene, Erik Selvig is recruited to Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S. to work on the Tesseract project.
- The Avengers: Loki travels to Earth and retrieves the Tesseract, using it to open a portal for the invading Chitauri hordes. In the aftermath of the Battle of New York, Thor uses the Tesseract to return to Asgard with Loki as his prisoner. According to the Thor: The Dark World Prelude comic, the Tesseract is then used by Odin to repair the Bifrost.
The Tesseract in Marvel's Phase 2 Movies
Total Appearances: 2
The Tesseract only appeared twice in Phase 2 - but these were crucial scenes.
- Guardians of the Galaxy: The Collector presents the history of the Infinity Stones, and confirms that the Tesseract is one of them.
- Avengers: Age of Ultron: Thor's vision includes a glimpse of the Tesseract breaking open to reveal the Space Stone contained inside.
The Tesseract in Marvel's Phase 3 Movies
Total Appearances: 4
The Infinity Stones story wraps up in Phase 3, and the Tesseract is a vitally important part of that.
- Thor: Ragnarok: The Tesseract is brought back into play, with Hela admiring it as she explores Odin's treasure vault. Loki retrieves it before the destruction of Asgard.
- Avengers: Infinity War: Thanos forces Loki to hand over the Tesseract. He breaks it open to reveal the Space Stone, which he slots in place on the Infinity Gauntlet.
- Captain Marvel: Samuel L. Jackson has confirmed that the Tesseract will appear in this film, which makes sense; Captain Marvel is set in 1995, and will feature Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S., the lab facility dedicated to researching unusual items like the Tesseract.
- Avengers: Endgame: It's safe to assume that all the Infinity Stones will appear in Avengers: Endgame, including the Space Stone.