Spare your significant others the 20-Questions while watching the movie, here’s your Infinity War Primer: Thanos and the Infinity Stones.
The countdown to Infinity War has boiled down from years, to months, to merely weeks away. It shows THIS MONTH and it will inevitably be one of the most historic moments in comic-book movie history.
But such a movie with this amount of buildup, lore, and canon history may be intimidating for many. As the Marvel Cinematic Universe expands and progresses, its rich history just gets bigger and bigger. So big that the comic book movie franchises have spawned their own tie-in comics, one-shots, and TV shows across networks, plus spinoffs.
This may serve as the newbie fan’s prerequisite reading material, or the seasoned fan’s refresher course. A lot has happened since the first Iron Man film–the first man up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU)–in 2008.
When the first Iron Man came out, Barack Obama hadn’t even won the US Presidential Election yet. The whole 2012-year-of-the-apocalypse thing wasn’t even a popular topic at the time. We can go on, but you get the point.
You may be thinking, “Will I understand what the hell is happening?” And without a doubt you will. Marvel movies are known for being light in the “huh?” department. That even when you don’t recognize the characters or remember their stories from past films, you’re sure to have a general understanding of the main plot. But in order to get the full experience, much as we hate to call it such, there’s homework to be done.
And today’s assigned reading: Clavel’s Infinity War Primer. Let’s do this.
Who the hell is Thanos anyway?
Thanos first appeared as that purple dude in 2012’s The Avengers during the mid-credits scene and has since then appeared a few other times, albeit quick scenes, throughout the movies.
As his name goes, “Thanos, the Mad Titan,” Thanos is, well, a Titanian. He was the last son of A’Lars, the progenitor of the second colony of Eternals (Homo Immortalis) on Titan. Titan, being one of the satellites of Saturn, and Eternals being an offshoot of humanity created by Nezarr the Calculator. Nezarr the Calculator is a Celestial and Celestials are the first beings of not just the universe, but the First Firmament itself.
First Firmament as in the first universe, the first cosmos. They showed us some of this in Guardians of the Galaxy 2 in a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it scene.
Thanos’ mother and father, A’Lars and Sui-San, were Eternals. His given name was Dione but upon birth was changed to Thanos after Sui-San saw that he was carrying the Deviant Syndrome. Basically, Thanos was a mutant in his world. He was an outcast because of the Deviant Syndrome he carried. Sui-San then not only changed his name to Thanos but also tried to kill him. It’s worth noting (just in case) that The Eternals are a genetic offshoot of humanity; they left Earth a long time ago.
“It sounds ludicrous, I know, but… Sometimes, I believe I can remember the day I was born. I remember you holding me for the first time and the look of… horror that came over your face. And then you picked up a scalpel and tried to murder me. I’m sorry, mother. I’m sorry they wouldn’t let you.”
―Thanos to Sui-San, Thanos Rising Vol 1. #003
I can go on about the life of Thanos–from birth, teenhood, young adulthood, everything. His whole life is actually its own arc, an interesting one at that. But let’s save that for a different article. Maybe for after watching Infinity War?
Why is he collecting the Infinity Stones like they were OG sneaker grails?
It might be too predictable to completely follow the comic canon, so we can expect that his story might be slightly different, if not completely. But for the primer’s sake, Thanos is actually doing this for love.
He’s driven to prove his love for… Death. An actual character in the MCU, not the metaphysical or metamorphic idea of death.
As for the whole story of that, we’ll just have to wait and see. Death’s origins are unknown aside from the fact that she came from a race classified under “Abstract Entities” for which there is zero knowledge about. Convenient, don’t you think? All you could ever do was harana the hell out of your girl or buy her that Fenty Beauty make-up stuff. But Thanos is out here collecting Infinity Stones for his girl. Thanos is hella #EXTRA.
So besides a possible, hella-Extra engagement ring, what exactly are the Infinity Stones?
They’re kinda like Dragon Balls (as in the anime, not the fictitious reptilian reproductive organ); everyone wants them–mostly the evil villains.
They’re six powerful “stones” created by the Cosmic Entities. The Cosmic Entities are mysterious beings beyond the comprehension of humans (Again, convenient don’t you think?). But we at least know who some of the Cosmic Entities are. Ready?
They’re Entropy, Infinity, Eternity, and…you guessed it….Death. The Infinity Stones’ capabilities have been enhanced and altered countless times by an endless amount of alien civilizations over millennia.
Are you starting to form your own theories? Great. That’s the beauty of it! We can expect the coming film to explore the Infinity Stones’ history more, so if all this is a lot to take in, just sit back and accept it at face value. The real juice is coming soon.
Here’s an excerpt of a conversation between Iron Man and Gamora, Thanos’ daughter.
“The entire time I knew him, he only ever had one goal: To wipe out half the universe. If he gets all the Infinity Stones, he can do it with the snap of his fingers. Just like that.”
“Tell me his name again.”
―Gamora and Tony Stark, Infinity War trailer
Aight, cool. So where are they?
Like previously mentioned, there are six of them. Namely the Space Stone, the Mind Stone, the Reality Stone, the Power Stone, the Time Stone, and the Soul Stone. They’ve been scattered all over the movies so here’s a quick update on their whereabouts.
The Space Stone
The more popular of the stones, The Space Stone was first seen in the form of the Tesseract. That glowing blue cube that made awesome Marvel merchandise.
Although to be technical, the Tesseract was merely a container for the actual stone that’s hidden inside. We last saw this in Thor: Ragnarok, after Loki was seemingly tempted to obtain it once again while he was in Odin’s Vault. And since it’s Loki, we can assume he currently has it.
The Mind Stone
This one was tricky at first to spot. But it was right under our noses. It was inside Loki’s scepter. Later revealed to actually be yellow. It’s how Loki controlled Hawkeye and Dr. Selvig. It’s currently located right smack in the middle of Vision’s glorious forehead.
The Reality Stone
We first encountered the Reality Stone as the Aether in Thor: The Dark World. It was what everyone fought about. Malekith wanted it, and of course, Thor stopped him with his mighty hammer, chiseled arms, and glorious golden locks. We saw the Aether given to The Collector at the end of the film.
The Power Stone
The Power Stone was the Orb that the Guardians of the Galaxy did not allow Ronan the Accuser to have. They failed. But they made up for it by retrieving it. We saw the Orb surrendered to the Nova Corps at the end of GOTG.
We also met Groot for the first time, and saw him die, and resurrected as a baby. But director James Gunn has since then confirmed that Baby Groot is not a resurrection of Groot. Groot deserves an origin movie, suddenly. AND WE’RE ALL FOR IT.
The Time Stone
This was arguably the easiest to spot and the most recently seen. It was encased as the Eye of Agamotto in the Doctor Strange movie. It was easy to spot since by then it was well obvious that there is such a thing as Infinity Stones and that Thanos was after them. And it controlled time, as Dr. Strange used it. It was a dead-giveaway.
It’s currently guarded by Sorcerer Supreme, Stephen Strange.
The Soul Stone
Wong mentioned that the Soul Stone may be the most powerful of all the Infinity Stones. And just as the Time Stone was an obvious giveaway, the Soul Stone is nowhere to be found in any of the movies.
Although there are (strong) theories that the Soul Stone is somehow connected to the plant/fruit that the Black Panther and Killmonger drank which not only gave them the powers of the Black Panther, but also the ability to interact with the dead, seemingly in the afterlife.
And with all that said,
Given everything written here, if you don’t have time to watch all the previous Marvel movies, here are the absolutely essential ones for the Marvel Newbie (and in this recommended order):
- The Avengers
- Avengers: Age of Ultron
- Captain America: Civil War
- Guardians of the Galaxy
- Black Panther
But say you only want the movies that would help you understand Infinity Stones. We gotchu covered.
- The Avengers – Tesseract/Space Stone
- Thor: The Dark World – Aether/Reality Stone
- Guardians of the Galaxy – The Orb/Power Stone
- Avengers: Age of Ultron – Loki’s Scepter/Mind Stone
- Doctor Strange – Eye of Agamotto/Time Stone
There you have it!
We can expect to learn more about Thanos in the actual movie, of course. But when it comes to comic book movies, it’s best experienced with at least a working knowledge of the lore and canon. While these movies are made for the general audience and the assumption that people who have no knowledge in comics will be watching, we guarantee you it’ll be better if you read up on some stuff before heading in. You don’t want to be one of those annoying people in the cinema who keeps OUTSIDE-VOICE WHISPERING the darndest questions.
WHO’S THAT? WHY IS HE GREEN? WHY ARE THEY GOING THERE? WHAT’S THAT STONE? WHY IS IT GLOWING? WHY DO THEY ALL HAVE KILLER ABS? WHY IS HE PURPLE AND ANGRY?
C’mon. You’re better than that.
But if you’re reading this, it’s safe to say you’re good to go. We hope you love the movie as much as we probably will.
Race you to the cinema on April 25th!
All images from Disney.
1. “Sui-San (Earth-616).” Marvel Database, marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Sui-San_(Earth-616).
2. “Thanos Rising Vol 1 3.” Marvel Database, marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Thanos_Rising_Vol_1_3.
3. “Thanos (Earth-616).” Marvel Database, marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Thanos_(Earth-616).
4. “Infinity Stones.” Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki, marvelcinematicuniverse.wikia.com/wiki/Infinity_Stones.
5. “Cosmic Entities.” Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki, marvelcinematicuniverse.wikia.com/wiki/Cosmic_Entities.
6. “Abstract Entities.” Marvel Database, marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Abstract_Entities.
7. “Nezarr (Earth-616).” Marvel Database, marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Nezarr_(Earth-616).
8. “Eternals (Homo Immortalis).” Marvel Database, marvel.wikia.com/wiki/Eternals_(Homo_immortalis).
9. “Death.” Marvel Cinematic Universe Wiki, marvelcinematicuniverse.wikia.com/wiki/Death.