The first 15 minutes of Avengers: Endgame threw fans for a loop by revealing that Thanos had actually destroyed all of the Infinity Stones, which caused Thor to finally go for the head and end the life of the Mad Titan. Those stones were the subject of a decade of movies, only to be cast aside off-screen in the opening act of Endgame. However, the Infinity Stones aren't actually gone for good in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, leading some theorists to believe that they could once again play a prominent part in the franchise down the road.
In a Q&A following the release of Endgame, directors Joe and Anthony Russo said that Thanos didn't permanently destroy the Infinity Stones, simply reduced them to an atomic level. They confirmed, "The stones are still present in the universe."
So even if you take time travel out of the equation, the Infinity Stones still exist in the MCU, therefore could play a part in the upcoming phases of the franchise, right? This is where Marvel will face a bit of a conundrum.
On one hand, it seems silly to bring the stones back into the fold, considering the fact that they were seemingly put to the side at the conclusion of Endgame. On the other hand, the Infinity Stones were the fabric that connected the entire MCU for more than 10 years. Would another storyline using a similar kind of powerful tech just seem like an Infinity rip-off?
Then there's the individual importance of the stones to consider. Both Doctor Strange and the Ancient One have talked about the importance of the Time Stone when it comes to keeping the balance of the multiverse and protecting our realm. The absence of the stone could lead to the events of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness, that much is true. But can there be resolution without the reunion of the stone and the Sanctum?
There are so many "What if?" scenarios facing the MCU at this point, it's quite impossible to figure out what overarching story will come next. Think back to the early days of the franchise. It wasn't until the sixth film in the franchise, The Avengers, that Thanos was even teased. It took two more years and four more movies for anyone to even say the words "Infinity Stones." All that to say, Marvel Studios could have already laid the groundwork for the next Infinity Stone-level MacGuffin, we just don't it yet.
And it's almost a guarantee that we'll see the stones again at some point, at least one of them, anyway. The Loki TV series on Disney+ will follow Tom Hiddleston's character on a journey through time, having opened an alternate timeline when he stole the Space Stone in Avengers: Endgame. It wouldn't exactly be a surprise to see him find a few other stones along the way, either.
Do you think we'll see more of the Infinity Stones in the MCU? Let us know in the comments!