(Spoilers ahead for “Thor: Ragnarok.”)
Now that “Thor: Ragnarok” is out, there’s only one movie left in the Marvel Cinematic Universe between us and “Avengers: Infinity War” — February’s “Black Panther.” Nearly all the pieces appear to be in place for Thanos (Josh Brolin) to make his big move and wage all-out war on Earth and the Avengers. But one missing piece is a doozy: the Soul Stone, the only Infinity Stone that the MCU hasn’t yet put in play.
There are six Infinity Stones in all, and Thanos’ plan is to use a cool golden glove called the Infinity gauntlet to channel the power of the stones to wield essentially unlimited power over time, space and the beings that inhabit them. Over the past six years the stones have been gradually rolled out and passed through a number of hands. The first of those, the blue cube known as the Tesseract, was introduced in “Captain America: The First Avenger,” was used by Loki (Tom Hiddleston) to open that big portal in the sky in the first “Avengers” movie and then was stored on Asgard, and in “Ragnarok” and it’s implied that Loki grabbed it on his way out the door before Asgard was destroyed.
But fans who had been hoping for the Soul Stone to finally be revealed in the third “Thor” movie were disappointed because it was nowhere to be found. Though it’s possible it appeared in disguise — the Mind Stone, for example, was seen in several movies in the head of Loki’s staff before its identity was revealed in “Age of Ultron” — we didn’t notice anything that might secretly have been the Soul Stone. So we’re operating under the assumption that its introduction is still to come.
While pretty much anything is possible because these movies have played fast and loose with comics lore in assembling this movieverse, there are two main possibilities as I see it — one that relies heavily on Marvel Comics lore and one which would be an original twist in the movies.
The first of those two involves the arrival of Adam Warlock on the scene. His coming was teased in one of the post-credits stingers in “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2,” in which Ayesha Elizabeth Debicki) of the Sovereign says she’s using a birthing pod to create a new kind of being that she called Adam. However, Marvel boss Kevin Feige said earlier this year that Adam Warlock wouldn’t appear in the MCU until the third “Guardians” movie (which will be after the whole Thanos thing is dealt with in the next two “Avengers” movies).
But that could be a misdirect, because the Soul Stone is tied so closely to Adam Warlock in the comics — the stone actually gives him his powers. It would make a lot of sense for Adam Warlock to show up in “Infinity War” with the Soul Stone in tow.
Probably more likely would be that the the Soul Stone will make its debut in “Black Panther.” The stone is not traditionally tied to the hyper-advanced nation of Wakanda in the comics, but it would make sense for Black Panther’s (Chadwick Boseman) home country to be harboring the stone. Wakandan technology is driven by a large cache of vibranium that flew to Earth as an asteroid that crashed there. It’s not too much of a stretch to imagine that the vibranium asteroid also carried the Soul Stone — weirder things have happened in comics, and such a thing could have been done on purpose.
It would fit with Wakandan religious beliefs — the Soul Stone could be home to the literal afterlife, since one of the stone’s properties is absorbing souls. In “Captain America: Civil War” T’Challa (Black Panther’s real name) referred to death as being “a stepping off point” to them, and the Soul Stone could explain what that means.
It also would make sense given that, in the “Infinity War” trailer that was shown at D23 and Comic-Con this summer, we saw what looked like Wakandans preparing to defend their homeland against Thanos’ forces — they could be mounting an invasion to go after the stone.
Or maybe the Soul Stone is somewhere else entirely. This is all guesswork, after all. But if I were to put my money on where the stone is, I’d put it on Wakanda. I guess we’ll find out in February.