The Marvel Cinematic Universe has been building towards Avengers: Infinity War ever since revealing Thanos in a post-credits scene of The Avengers. Many of the MCU movies since then have in some way (large or small) revolved around a set of all-important artifacts: The Infinity Stones.
Infinity Stones have been the major MacGuffins for films like Avengers 2, Doctor Strange, or Guardians of the Galaxy, but their powers, and their relation to the larger threat of Thanos and The Infinity Gauntlet, might be hard for most viewers to keep track of.
With the release of Thor: Ragnarok in theaters, we're breaking down wher The MCU Infinity Stones are, and what each of them do.
The Space Stone first appeared as The Tesseract in Captain America: The First Avenger, and it later became Loki's power source to teleport the Chitauri army into NYC during The Avengers. Its power is to open portals across space, teleporting a user or entire armies.
Where it is Now: Thor took Loki and the Tesseract back to Asgard at the end of Avengers. Loki then stole The Tesseract from Odin's vault while helping to defeat Hela. In Thor: Ragnarok's post-credit scene, Thanos ambushes Thor and Loki in space, and will presumably claim the Space Stone for Avenger: Infinity War.
The Reality Stone appeared as a blood-colored liquid called "The Aether" in Thor: The Dark World. It's exact power is unclear, but Thor 2 vaguely conveyed how it can transform reality itself.
The Reality Stone was hidden in a pocket dimension that Jane Foster stumbled into, and was pulled from her body by Malekith, king of The Dark Elves. Thor ultimately secured the Reality Stone and brought it Asgard for safe keeping.
Where it is Now: The Asgardians didn't want to keep two Infinity Stones in Odin's Vault, so they gave The Aether to The Collector (Benicio Del Toro) to hide in his collection. The Collector's Museum was destroyed in Guardians of the Galaxy, but Reality Stone is presumably still in The Collector's possession.
The Power Stone lives up to its name by offering the user an infinite amount of explosive energy. Guardians of the Galaxy introduced it as "The Orb" that Peter Quill was stealing for Yondu, until its true origin was revealed by The Collector. The Guardians ultimately stopped Ronan from using the Power Stone to blow up Xandar, home of the Nova Corps.
Where it is Now: The Power Stone was last seen years ago on Xandar, safe in the vault of the Nova Corps.
Avengers: Age of Ultron revealed that the Loki's Scepter from Avengers is actually The Mind Stone. In addition to giving the user heightened intellect, energy projection and the ability of mind control over others, the stone has been revealed to be an alien A.I., capable of unlocking superpowers in humans, or the type of artificial sentience that created Ultron.
Where it is Now: The Vision now wears The Mind Stone on his forehead, serving as its wielder and protector.
The Time Stone can control time itself. The stone was discovered on Earth and used by the ancient sorcerer Agamotto, who disguised it has his mystical amulet, "The Eye of Agamotto." It has been protected by the Masters of the Mystic Arts over the centuries, as one of their most powerful talismans. It was inherited by Doctor Strange, who used it to protect Earth from the threat of Dormammu.
Where it is Now: The Masters of the Mystic Arts still watch over the Time Stone, which is housed in one of their sanctums.
The Soul Stone is said to have control over the forces of life and death, as well as other spiritual forces. It has been known to give a user the power to affect the souls of others, or provide insight into a person's soul, through a process known as the "Cold Light of Truth." The Stone has traditionally also contained an entire 'Soul World' inside of it, and is thought to have a sentient desire to collect souls and keep them.
Where it is Now: The MCU version of the Soul Stone hasn't been revealed yet, and its whereabouts are currently unknown. There was a fair amount of speculation that Thor: Ragnarok would reveal the Soul Stone as part of its story, but that has turned out to be empty rumor. Fan speculation now turns to a theory that Black Panther will reveal The Soul Stone as being the ture heart of the Vibranium meteorite that crahsed into Wakanda, and gave it its advanced technology and connection to the spirits that give Black Panther his power. We shall see if that theory turns out to be true.
Thor: Ragnarok is in theaters. Other upcoming MCU movies include Black Panther on February 16, 2018, 2017, Avengers: Infinity War on May 4, 2018, Ant-Man and the Wasp on July 6, 2018, Captain Marvel on March 8, 2019, the fourth Avengers movie on May 3, 2019, the sequel to Spider-Man: Homecoming on July 5, 2019, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 in 2020.