If you are a hardcore MCU fan, then you very well know the importance of infinity stones, especially after all the chaos that took place in the Avengers: Infinity War for the possession of the stones. Each of the 6 Infinity stones have their own characteristics and powers associated with it. However, they all have a common history as all of them were created at once. It is believed that before the creation, there were six singularities that later turned out to become the infinity stones when all the remnants of each singularity concentrated into a small but extremely powerful entity. These cosmic entities are now the Infinity Stones that everyone is after right from the start. They are one of the most crucial elements of the MCU timeline and almost all the major junctures revolve around these stones. Let us look at each one of them in detail.
Space stone was first introduced in Captain America: The First Avenger, when Johan Schmidt (Red Skull) manages to find the stone hidden on Earth for centuries. Schmidt, grown up listening to the mythical stories, tries to harness the power of the stone and is successful in fuelling high-grade weapons during the World War II. When Captain America confronts Red Skull, he manages to stop the machine that held the Tesseract. Angered by this, Red Skull holds the Tesseract in his own hands, which led to his hands burning. As a further punishment for abusing the infinity stone, the stone creates a portal to a far off planet, Vormir, and sucks in Red Skull towards it. The Tesseract goes in with Cap under the sea until later found a few years later by Howard Stark.
Stark studies the Tesseract and its powers for the years to come. During the Kree-Skrull war, Mar-Vell, a Kree scientist, understands that her people were only bringing misery to the Skrull army and hence wanted to help them. She comes to earth in search of the Tesseract to garner some power from it to help her build a Light Speed Engine. She impersonates a human named Dr Wendy Lawson and joins the US Air Force. Working for the P.E.G.A.S.U.S, she manages to get hold of the tesseract and run tests on the normal jet planes. The junior pilots Carol Danvers and Maria Rambeau used to test run the fighter jets but are faced with a Starforce attack. Mar-Vell dies in the attack but when Carol Danvers tries to shoot the engine off not to let the Kree take the Tesseract, an explosion takes place in which Danvers absorbs the energy to gain superhuman abilities. However, Yonn Rogg, the Starforce leader takes Danvers to his planet and erases her memory before adding her to the Starforce. In the later events, Carol finds out the truth and understands her past events. She finally learns her true powers and becomes Captain Marvel. She helps the Skrull people get away by defeating the Kree army. She manages to find the Space stone on the Mar-vell’s laboratory. The Flerken Goose gobbles the Tesseract before coming back to earth with Nick Fury. When Goose spits out the Tesseract, this is when the S.H.I.E.L.D gets hold of it.
We then see Thanos sending Loki to Earth to get hold of the Space Stone. Loki manages to use it to open a space portal to let in the Chatauri army and wreak havoc on Earth. However, the Avengers manages to stop the portal and capture Loki. Thor and Loki use the Tesseract to go back to Asgard. Thor gives the tesseract to Heimdall to use the stone’s power to build the Bifrost. The stone inside the Tesseract is kept there for the coming years before Loki finally taking it from the Odin’s vault. However, this time he uses it to transport Thor, himself and fellow asgardians to the Statesmanship before Asgard was vanquished. Loki is then forced to give the Tesseract to Thanos who then crushes the cube to reveal the Space Stone within it. Thanos uses the Space stone to travel throughout the universe the way he likes. The current location of the space stone is in the infinity Gauntlet.
2. Mind Stone
The Mind Stone has innumerable strengths associated with it, It can enable teleportation, manipulate minds, fire energy projectile blasts, perform astral projections and allow mental communication. Thanos first had this stone with him. He had kept it inside a Scepter, which he later gives to Loki to use it to invade Earth and get hold of the Space Stone. Loki manages to manipulate minds of the astrophysicist Erik Selvig and Hawkeye to get hold of the Tesseract. After the Battle of New York, the Avengers hand over the Scepter to the S.H.I.E.L.D. However, H.Y.D.R.A manages to steal it from there. H.Y.D.R.A takes it to their base in Sokovia to test it on a number of Chitauri Guns left behind after the Battle of New York. To their disappointment, they are not able to create any high-powered weapons from it. H.Y.D.R.A’s leader Wolfgang Von Strucker asks to bring in human volunteers to try the reactions of the mind stone within them. While most of the volunteers die, the twins Wanda Maximoff and Pietro Maximoff manages to harness extraordinary powers from the stone. Both of them give a tough time to the Avengers but finally fall to their might. When the Avengers get hold of the Scepter, Tony Stark and Bruce Banner asks Thor to give the stone to them for a while to study its properties. Tony manages to convince Bruce to use the stone to complete their Ultron program. However, they did not expect the AI created by them to turn against them. Ultron tries to use the Mind stone and the cradle to create a perfect body for him but is not able to complete the process.
After the Battle of Seoul, the avengers manages to get back the cradle and the stone. Stark, Banner and Thor help create the AI, Vision. Thor tells everyone about the vision he had about how the world is coming to an end and the only way to stop it is the Mind Stone. The Mind Stone is the most powerful of all the stones and hence needs to be protected at all costs. Vision helps the Avengers beat Ultron and then sticks around with the Avengers to help them protect Earth in future. However, when the Avenger split, Vision takes the side of Iron, as he understand the importance of the Sokovian Accords. Post all the fight, Vision and Wanda leaves the S.H.I.E.L.D facility and live on their own. Thanos send his men to attack Vision and get the Mind Stone, which he once possessed. Captain America, Black Widow and Falcon saves the day and help Vision and Wanda get to safe close quarters. They take him to Wakanda to take out the stone from his head without hurting him. Shuri manages to devise a plan for this but does not get enough time to complete the process, as her laboratory comes under attack from the army of Thanos. Vision gets up and help the Avengers in the fight before Thanos getting hold of him. Visions asks Wanda to destroy the stone, perfectly knowing that he would die with it. Wanda obliges and kills Vision before Thanos could get hold of the stone. However, Thanos uses the time stone to undo the events of Vision’s death and the destruction of stone. He then picks up Vision and plucks the stone out of him forcibly to complete his infinity gauntlet. After the snap, the stone is still with Thanos.
3. Reality Stone
Reality Stone is the only stone that is not actually in the form of a stone but in a dark liquefied form. The real name of the stone is Aether and has the power to alter reality. Thousands of years ago, before there was light, the Darkness created the Dark Elves. The light came and the universe went ahead with the way it should. The evilest of all the Elves, Malekith created Aether from the darkness and wanted to use the weapon to spread darkness to all the worlds. He used the time that comes every five thousand years when all nine realms are in alignment to create darkness across the universe. However, the mighty Asgardians manage to defeat Malekith and his army and get hold of the Aether. The Asgardians keep it safe at as secret location. Five thousand years later, Jane Foster researching the convergence stumbles upon a portal. She tries to touch it but is sucked into a different world. She finds the Aether kept there. The aether that has seen no action in thousands of years, latches on to the only living thing there, Foster. Foster manages to come back to Earth but has no idea why she is acting a bit weird. Thor comes to Earth looking for her, worried, since Heimdall was not able to locate her. Foster gives out an explosion of energy when a police officer toucher her, sending everyone flying. Thor understands the gravity of the situation and takes her to Asgard for diagnosis.
Meanwhile, with Aether back in action, the Malekthi and the Dark Elves come back to life from their long hibernation. They attack Asgard, wreak havoc and destroy the planet. Thor’s mother, Frigga, too loses her life in this fight. Thor and Loki along with Foster manages to escape Asgard during the battle. Aether is too powerful for Foster’s body and slowly starts killing her from within. Knowing this, Thor and Loki manages to find Malekith and offers him Aether. Malekith manages to pull the Aether from Foster’s body and in turn drawing it in himself. Malekith reaches Earth in order to spread darkness but Thor defeats him once and forever. Thor and his friends get hold of the Aether, which they give to The Collector for safekeeping. However, Thanos manages to get it from the Collector when he comes looking for it. Furthermore, he uses the stone to alter the reality in order to dupe the Guardians of the Galaxy to take away Gamora with him. After all the subsequent events, Thanos still has the reality stone with him.
4. Power Stone
Power Stone, created during the formation of Universe, has a lot of power within it. It has the power to wipe out civilizations from planets, annihilating planets and also gives unprecedented strength and power to the holder. However, it is quite impossible to hold the stone in oneself. Many people tried to harness the power of the Power Stone but none could manage to do that. The stone was kept inside an Orb in a planet called Morag to keep it safe and away from everyone. As time went by, people of the universe gradually forgot about the stone. However, Thanos, Ronan the Accuser, Gamora, Nebula and Starlord were some of the many people, in search of the stone. Starlord manages to find the Orb at Morag but soon a battle for the orb ensues in the universe with everyone fighting for it. Ronan the Accuser, sent by Thanos to find the Orb, understand that there is an infinity stone inside the Orb. He betrays Thanos and uses the power stone himself. He places it in his hammer and becomes a lot more powerful.
All the other people looking for the orb form a team to defeat Ronan. The so-formed team got the name of the Guardians of Galaxy. They managed to defeat Ronan in extraordinary manner. During the Battle of Xandar, Starlord holds the orb in his hand but the incredible power of the stone starts shredding him apart from the inside. Gamora, Drax and Rocket hold the orb along with Starlord to share the force of the power stone. They manage to subside the power of the stone and put it back in the orb. They then give the stone to the Nova Corps, who kept the stone in an ultra-high security safe. However, when Thanos himself leaves to find the infinity stones, his first target is the planet of Xandar. He decimates the planet, gets hold of the Power Stone to put it in his infinity gauntlet. It is the first infinity stone Thanos possesses, which he later uses to torture Thor. Thanos currently holds the power stone.
5. Time Stone
Time Stone is a stone that has the ability to manipulate time across universe, even in dimensions like Dark Dimension where time has no role. The master sorcerer Agamotto creates a device to hold the time stone and harness its power in the best manner. The Masters of Mystic protect the device, the Eye of Agamotto, protect the relic at all costs. The masters study the Book of Cagliostoro to understand the working of the stone and its true potential. When Doctor Strange comes to the sanctum, he undergoes a thorough training that takes him to multiple dimensions of the universe to help him understand how time works in different realms. It is interesting to note that he also manages to get to quantum realm and come out of it, as this could be important in the Endgame. Anyway, the intrigued Strange wears the Eye of Agamotto himself and unwinds time to bring back the lost pages of the Book of Cagliostoro. However, while doing this, Strange started creating alternative timelines and was warned by Wong and Mordo to stop it, not to destroy the natural order. However, it was too late as everything started changing. Kaecilius starts a war on the Sanctum, during which Wong dies. Strange does manage to unwind time and bring Wong back to life. Kaecilius later manages to stop Strange and time too, allowing the Dark Dimension to enter the world. Strange is sucked into Dark Dimension where he confronts Doramammu. He asks him to go back and restore the timeline but Doramammu kills Strange. However, both of them are stuck in a continuous timeloop with the events repeating itself every time Strange dies. An irritated Doramammu accepts Strange’s offer and leaves the realm. Doctor Strange returns to earth and keeps the Eye of Agamotto to its original place in Kamar-Taj, as he understands that he is not yet ready to wield the power of the stone.
When the Black Order arrive on Earth to take the Time Stone, Doctor Strange uses the stone to attack Ebony Maw but fails to do so. When Maw tries to take out the Time Stone from the Eye, he cannot. He takes Doctor Strange to his ship to remove it with the help of other powers. However, Tony Stark and Spiderman too manage to get on the ship. They kill Ebony Maw to free Doctor Strange. Later, during the battle of Titan, Doctor Strange goes ahead in time and identifies 14 million different outcomes of the event but only finds one where they manage to defeat Thanos. Doctor Strange, who swore to protect the time stone at all costs, gives it away to Thanos to save Iron Man’s life. Thanos later uses the time stone to get the mind stone from Vision’s head. The current holder of the Time stone is Thanos.
6. Soul Stone
Soul Stone is the one stone that we know the least about, as it was never shown in any of the movies until its first appearance in the Infinity War. The information known throughout the universe is so less that it is often believed that the Soul Stone is the most powerful of all the stones. No one knew anything about the stone other than its name. Thanos had asked his adopted daughters Nebula and Gamora to look for the Soul Stone years ago. They do manage to find the existence of Soul Stone on a planet named Vormir. However, they lie to Thanos about finding it and even manage to burn the map so that no one can find it ever. Several years later, Thanos manages to get hold of Nebula and tortures her to get the answer but to no avail. He then uses the reality stone to dupe the Guardians of the Galaxy and take away Gamora with him. Gamora obliges to take him to Vormir when she sees Thanos torturing her stepsister Nebula.
When Gamora and Thanos visit Vormir, they are met with the stonekeeper, Red Skull. Red Skull, sent here in 1945 when he abused the Space Stone, has been living here since then as a rotting immortal wraith to protect the stone from any trespassers. He tells Thanos that he will have to sacrifice someone he truly loves in order to get the Soul stone. Gamora smirks at Thanos, telling him that he will never get the stone, as he never loved anyone in his life. However, with a heavy heart, Thanos looks at Gamora and pushes her off the cliff to kill her. He did love his daughter a lot but sacrificed her in order to get the soul stone. During the battle of Titan, Doctor Strnage replicates himself to attack Thanos from all sides. This is when Thanos uses the Soul Stone to identify the real Strange and kill his images. He manages to stop Doctor Strange later and then gets the time stone from him at the end of the battle. The current location of the soul stone is the infinity gauntlet of Thanos.
After the dreaded snap that Thanos did, we see a destroyed infinity gauntlet and hence it is tough to guess what would have happened to all the infinity stones. The Avengers: Endgame too will revolve around the infinity stones and it would interesting to see how each stone this time helps the Avengers defeat Thanos.