Avengers: Infinity War has officially started production and instead of a typical press release, we got an entire video. It offered a small glimpse behind the scenes with interviews, teases of the story and small snippets of artwork for the upcoming film. We got a look at Thanos’ design and Stark staring at various Iron Man armors. An interesting image also highlights Thanos holding what seems to be an Infinity Stone. So far we know the location of five of the mysterious all-powerful stones, but up to this point, Marvel has still been quite coy on the location of the final piece, the Soul Stone. Looking at recent rumors and images, we may have a potential hint at where the final piece of the puzzle may be hiding.
The Soul Stone
To start a search for the soul stone, it is important to note what helps us visually distinguish between the various stones. In the famous scene from Guardians of the Galaxy, we finally were given a deeper insight into what exactly these stones are. The Collector gives a look into the purpose of these stones and their visual distinctions. As we can tell, the stones do not have the same colors as their comic incarnations, as originally the orange gem was the Reality Gem, which is now the red Aether. That orange color was now passed on to the now missing Soul Gem, as seen in the visual below from the Collector’s exposition.
An interesting tidbit is that while in this picture all stones are of a similar size if you compare it with the visual of Thanos holding the Infinity Gauntlet in his hand, we actually see that one stone is rather large in the middle of the gauntlets. It is quite distinct that it sticks out more in size than the other stones. With that size, it is difficult to say where this stone could be hiding, as it would probably stick out quite a lot. It opens up the question where it could be hiding and how a stone of that size would be so difficult to find. Maybe it was hiding in plain sight all this time?
Another giveaway for where we could see the Infinity stone lies in its powers. As the name states, it gives the owner control over souls. In the comics, it is a sentient stone that seeks souls and can use the “Cold Light of Truth” to peek inside the soul of someone. It also grants control over souls that have passed away, even entrapping them in trance state of their dream world. There are many different ways these abilities can be interpreted into the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as it is used for many different situations throughout the comics.
Knowing what exactly the Soul Stone looks like and what it can do, it could give a few hints where we will potentially see it appear in the MCU. It was confirmed by James Gunn that there will not be a stone appearing in the upcoming Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2. That only leaves Thor: Ragnarok, Spider-Man: Homecoming and Black Panther. We can rule out Homecoming as the trailer does not give any hints that an Infinity stone will be involved. That leaves the upcoming Thor and Black Panther film. The latter has been described as a geopolitical action-adventure film by Kevin Feige. It would be more of a political film in the vein of Captain America: The Winter Soldier. There are possibilities of the stone appearing in the film with Panther’s close ties to the Necropolis, or the land of the dead, but it seems unlikely that another stone will be on Earth/Midgard.
Thor also has a strong emphasis on the afterlife, as the main villain is confirmed to be Hela, the ruler of Hel. She has the abilities to control the dead and is the keeper of Asgardian souls after they have passed. Her being the MCU’s incarnation of Death could indicate that she is the holder of the Soul Stone. Yet, if she holds so much power, why would she try to infiltrate Asgard? this could correlate to a popular theory that Heimdall is an incarnation of the stone. His abilities to see any soul across the Nine Realms and his orange eyes do hint at it. Moreover, we see a blinded Heimdall appear in Avengers: Age of Ultron, which may hint at him losing his sight as part of the Ragnarok storyline. Yet, in the first Guardians film, we see Sif and Volstagg bring the Aether to the Collector as they believe two stones on Asgard is a rather dangerous decision. This negates any believe that Heimdall is an Infinity Stone, as Odin would be aware of that and the dangers of keeping him near the Tesseract. This view also highlights that the Soul Stone still being on Midgard might not be possible, as Odin already tried to hide the Tesseract on the planet. He probably would be aware of another Infinity Stone being on earth, so why would he hide it on the same planet?
This leads to my theory on where the Soul Stone is truly being hidden. One of its abilities is the search of souls so that it can absorb them. Something that dangerous would require some kind of vessel to keep it secure. Hela and Heimdall both share similar traits that focus on the usage of souls. There is another object that shares this very trait, Thor’s trusty hammer Mjolnir. His hammer can only be used by those deemed worthy, as in if their soul is strong enough to wield them. This ability was not always available, as it was only activated by Odin during the events of the first Thor film. It could be that he simply activated its latent ability instead of adding some form of curse. If you think about it, why did Odin never release the curse put upon the hammer after he proved himself worthy? Also, the absurd size of Thor’s hammer could also be an indication that it inherits that large Soul Stone we see on Thanos’ gauntlet. This theory might prove true if we go by recent revelations regarding the upcoming films of Ragnarok and Infinity War.
From Ragnarok to Infinity War
One of the most exciting pictures from the Infinity War highlight reel showcased Rocket Raccoon standing back to back with none other than Thor. After settling down over the fact that the Guardians are going to fight alongside the Avengers, there was a rather interesting piece of info in this picture: Thor was not wielding his usual hammer Mjolnir. This opens up the question, what exactly happens to Mjolnir before the events of Avengers: Infinity War?
The easiest place to look for answers is in the comics. Thor without his classic hammer isn’t anything new. We’ve seen Mjolnir get shattered to pieces and we’ve seen it fall into the hands of a certain Korbinite named Beta Ray Bill. But more recently, we’ve seen Mjolnir deem the Son of Odin unworthy to lift it in the Marvel crossover ‘Original Sin.’ In it, Nick Fury whispers into Thor’s ears and he suddenly becomes unworthy of wielding his hammer. So far it is still unknown what was said but it leads to Thor relying on the axe Jarnbjorn. If you compare the comic design of that very weapon with the weapon shown in the still from the recently released production trailer, it seems like it could be one in the same. The handle of the weapon is long and has a slight curve. We do not see the head of the weapon, but it is safe to assume based on the other clues that it’s Jarnbjorn.
What does this imply for the fate of Mjolnir? Well, it does seem as if Thor may have lost Mjolnir at some point in time. This has happened before in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, as he was deemed unworthy in the first film due to his arrogance. Thor went out of his way to redeem himself and be reunited with his weapon of choice, but if we go by the artwork he seemed to have settled for something else. Here is the thing, if we go by promotional artwork for Thor: Ragnarok we see him wield two swords. Thor has complete control over Mjolnir, able to summon it from a great distance. Why would he rely on other weapons if he never has to fear of losing his signature weapon?
There are two potential options on why it is missing. If we go by the comics, he has become unworthy of wielding its power and subsequently is not able to summon it. It may be that over the course of Ragnarok, the events take away his control over the hammer. It is the simplest solution, but there is something that could hint at there being more to this story. Back in January, the website Geek.com stated that a source told them that Mjolnir will be destroyed in Thor: Ragnarok and that Hela will also banish Thor. No exact reason is given. It still opens the question of why she would destroy Mjolnir, or even go through the trouble to do such a thing? Maybe it is housing the last Infinity stone?
A Threefold Stone
If we go by every single piece of evidence, it is still difficult to say where exactly the Soul Stone is being kept. The hints do focus quite a bit on Ragnarok being the focus of this Infinity Stone, especially as three key components of that film rely heavily on the usage of souls. These stones come in many different shapes and sizes – the Aether actually comes in a liquid form. The comics also give a little hint on what happens to some of these stones at one point in their history. Most notably, the Soul Stone was once shattered in a recent comic story line as the Avengers tried to use its abilities.
This element actually gives me the final theory. At some point in time, the Soul Stone was split into three parts. Two of them became sentient and grew to have bodies that lived through their souls, one being Heimdall and the other Hela. As a result of it being split, only parts of its powers were passed on to each of these individuals. Heimdall became the one to see any soul across the galaxy, while Hela had control over the souls of those that have passed away.
Still, one large chunk remained that needed to be sealed due to its immense power. Nothing is stronger than the ancient metal of Uru from the Dwarves of Nidavellir. Trapping its power within that metal, it became one of the strongest weapons in Asgardian history, Mjolnir. The casing kept the stone at bay and any from finding it. The moment when the two Asgardians brought the Infinity Stone to the Collector, Thor was back on earth and with it the Infinity Stone no longer in Asgard. Heimdall is but a small part of the stone that either Odin is unaware of, or is unable to detect. In the events of Thor: Ragnarok all three pieces finally come together and Thor loses control over his weapon, subsequently becoming the Destroyer that he feared he would one day become.