Marvel has confirmed the status of the Infinity Stones, following the events of last year’s Avengers: Endgame.
Fans had previously speculated that the stones – which give people the dominion over mind, power, reality, soul, space, and time, and had been seemingly destroyed near the start of the film – could make a return on a technicality.
Directors Anthony and Joe Russo had attended a Q&A at the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum in the US, where they were asked about the Infinity Stones.
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According to a transcription on Reddit, they answered that Thanos merely reduced the stones to an atomic level – leaving them present in the universe.
Fans of the Marvel Cinematic Universe theorised that this distinction could have ramifications for Endgame‘s ending – leaving open the possibility that the stones could somehow be re-assembled.
A recently released deleted scene also suggested that Josh Brolin’s villainous Thanos could return on a similar technicality: at Endgame‘s climax, he was never killed, but simply “willed out of existence”.
However, a recent Instagram post by Marvel’s official account provides new details about the stones, including the fact that they are all categorically “destroyed”.
While this does seem to close off the chance of the powerful galactic objects being re-assembled by any of the franchise’s heroes or villains, the Infinity Stones could yet make another appearance in the MCU.
Endgame saw its heroes explore alternate timelines, lifting Infinity Stones from different locations and points in time. Once Thanos was defeated, they returned the stones – intact – to where they found them.
The forthcoming MCU film The Eternals, set to be released in February 2021, will delve deeper into the supernatural mythology behind the Infinity Stones.