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Nerdist Special Reports

10 AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR Soul Stone Theories Explained

Avengers: Infinity War is nearly here and everyone has one burning question: Will Captain America die?

Okay, make that two burning questions: Where the heck is the Soul Stone anyway? Thanos is on the hunt for those cosmic Mancala beads known as the Infinity Stones, and we’ve seen five out of the six so far. The one exception? The Soul Stone. In the comics, it has the power to control the souls of living beings and traps the souls it consumes in a weird pocket dimension. In the recent Prelude to Infinity War tie-in comic, Wong says it “could prove to be the biggest threat of them all.” But we’ve yet to see it on the big screen.

Everyone and their mother has their own theory as to where this powerful item is in the Marvel Cinematic Universe, so today we’re going to run down every single Soul Stone theory out there. Strap on your tinfoil hats because things are about to get weird.

The T.H.A.N.O.S. Theory

Not to be confused with the D.E.N.N.I.S. System from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, this common fan theory posits the objects housing the Infinity Stones are a subtle acronym that spells out “THANOS.”

T is for Tesseract, the Space Stone
A is for Aether, the Reality Stone
N is for Necklace, the Time Stone
O is for Orb, the Power Stone
S is for Loki’s Scepter, the Mind Stone

That just leaves the letter “H” which some believe is Idris Elba’s Asgardian guardian Heimdall; the Heart-Shaped Herb in Wakanda; or Him, the original name of Adam Warlock who first possessed the Soul Stone in the comics, who we see chilling in a golden sarcophagus at the end of Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol 2. Mostly, I just can’t believe that the entire 10-year journey of the MCU would boil down to a dumb acrostic like this.

The Real “THANOS” theory. from r/marvelstudios

The Nebula Theory

This is a cousin of the T.H.A.N.O.S. theory. Posited by redditor thunderman175, this theory argues slightly different lettering. Here, H stands for “Host” since the Aether needed a living host to harness its energy — i.e. how it latched on to Jane Foster and Malekith in Thor: The Dark World. A stands for “amulet,” which is perhaps a better term for the Eye of Agamotto than a mere “necklace.” That leaves N, which our intrepid theorist claims stands for “Nebula.”

In Guardians of the Galaxy, Nebula says, “My father would have Gamora and me battle one another in training. Every time, my sister prevailed. My father would replace a piece of me with machinery, claiming he wanted me to be her equal. But she won. Again, and again, and again, never once refraining.”

Could those pieces Thanos replaced be a containment unit for the Soul Stone? Possibly. The theorist believes the Soul Stone’s power can only be harnessed when it’s within the vicinity of the other stones, and Thanos will sacrifice Nebula to access it, which would really just be a nice cherry on top of the terrible father sundae he’s been serving since day one. Considering Nebula winds up wielding the Infinity Gauntlet in the comics, it could lead to some really juicy narrative stuff, but it still feels like a stretch.

The Gamora Theory

First making the rounds on 4chan as a purported leak, this theory claims obtaining the Soul Stone requires a sacrifice made from a place of love. While it’s difficult to imagine Thanos loving anything considering his sterling parenting skills, we do see a tender shot of a young Gamora holding on to Thanos’ giant finger in the trailer. This leads some fans to believe that in order to access the Soul Stone and its power, Thanos will murder Gamora, trapping her soul inside of the pocket dimension inside of the Soul Stone. If this comes to pass, it could make for one hell of a motivator for Nebula and the rest of the Guardians to kick Thanos’ big purple butt.

The Heimdall Theory

One of the most popular theories is Heimdall, the all-seeing, all-hearing Asgardian who guarded the Bifrost bridge to Asgard, possesses the Soul Stone. Not only would this explain his ability to “see all the souls in the Nine Realms” that he mentions in Thor: The Dark World, but it would explain his orange eyes given the Soul Stone’s decidedly tangerine hue. Of all the theories, this would be perhaps the most disgusting to see play out. Remember the Red Viper on Game of Thrones? Yeah, imagine that but with a giant crossfit California Raisin instead of the Mountain.

The Hulk Theory

These days the biggest source of movie spoilers before they come out is toy sets, and the Infinity War LEGO sets were chock full of them. The “Hulkbuster Smash-Up” set features Bruce Banner, a buildable Hulkbuster armor (that he will pilot), Falcon, an Outrider, and one of Thanos’ lieutenants Proxima Midnight. It also features the freakin’ Soul Stone. Does that mean that the “H” in the T.H.A.N.O.S. theory stands for “Hulk?” Or did Bruce Banner get it as a parting gift from Heimdall in between Thor: Ragnarok and Infinity War? Either way, we know Bruce is going to be hot on its trail even if he doesn’t actually have it.

The Tony Stark Theory

While we know Tony Stark’s newest Iron Man armor is his Bleeding Edge, an advanced armor made up of nano-machines that live inside Tony Stark’s body until he mentally commands it to come out, what if it was also the Soul Stone? This is mainly the result of a leaked piece of Infinity War promo art on reddit which associated Tony with the Soul Stone. While the rest of the stones on the poster feel pretty accurate to the heroes they’re associated with, something about this just doesn’t smell right. And that’s coming from me, a guy with no sense of smell.

The Norway Theory

Whether you realized it or not, Norway has slowly been building in importance in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. In Iron Man 2, Norway is being monitored for potential superhuman activity by S.H.I.E.L.D.; it was where the Red Skull discovered the Tesseract in Captain America: The First Avenger; and in Thor Ragnarok, when Odin shuffles off this mortal coil, he does so in Norway and dies in a burst of orange light. According to Screen Rant, we see Odin die, but he is able to still manifest in Thor’s dreams and in visions. Perhaps that is because he didn’t really die. Rather, the Soul Stone absorbed his soul. Of course, when you consider this scene originally took place in a New York City alley and was changed by director Taika Waititi as a result of test screenings, this theory loses more steam than an old timey train in a jacuzzi.

The Wakanda Theory

The most nebulous of all the theories posits the Soul Stone is in the most profitable country in the Marvel Cinematic Universe: Wakanda. The Soul Stone’s presence in Wakanda could explain a number of things about Black Panther: the Djalia plane, the ancestral land where T’Challa commmunes with the souls of his ancestors, for starters; the meteor that crashed in Wakanda, thus giving Vibranium its incredible properties; or maybe even the Heart-Shaped Herb but, uh, Killmonger kind of took care of that aspect for us. More realistically, though, the Avengers are going to head to Wakanda so they can keep the Vision and the Mind Stone embedded in his forehead safe from Thanos’ soldiers.

The Lost in Time Theory

What if the reason we haven’t seen the Soul Stone yet is because it has been displaced from time? This theory puts forth the idea Doctor Strange’s Eye of Agamotto and the Time Stone within it will be the key to finding the sixth and final Infinity Stone. Based on what we’ve seen in the trailers, some fans believe it could be on Thanos’ homeworld of Titan, perhaps on a past version of Titan. After all we see Thanos fighting several Avengers on an orange-ish planet which Entertainment Weekly revealed to actually be the world of Titan.

Kevin Feige said Thanos is “from a planet called Titan that’s no longer inhabited because of things that he thought he could help prevent, and he was not allowed to do that.” He went on to note “the planet and everybody on it basically went extinct.”

Perhaps that fate was the Soul Stone consuming every last person on his homeworld, and now Thanos will need to go back in time to collect it? According to Screen Rant, the Avengers: Infinity War Prelude comic revealed the Soul Stone would be associated with the cosmic aspects of the Marvel Universe, and showed a ringed planet. Given that Titan is a moon of Saturn, this could be a logical explanation for its location and absence in the MCU thus far.

The You’ve Gotta Be Kidding Me Theory

This theory from Comic Book Resources explains Infinity War is going to be all about Thanos trying to acquire the five Infinity Stones we’ve actually seen so far. The Soul Stone could make an appearance in the post-credits scene of the movie, but it will in fact be the big motivating factor behind the still-untitled Avengers 4. The Russo Bros. have been teasing us that the title of Avengers 4 would scare us, so perhaps it will be related to a battle for the souls of dead Avengers who perish in Infinity War? This is especially salient if Avengers 4 turns out to be a time traveling caper as they chase Thanos through time, recruiting an ultimate army to try and stop him from retrieving the final Infinity Stone. That would be simultaneously really ballsy of Marvel and potentially a huge disappointment.

Which of these theories do you think will come true? What would you add to our list? Let us know in the comments below!

Images: Marvel Studios/Disney/Marvel Comics

Dan Casey is the senior editor of Nerdist and the author of books about Star Wars and the Avengers. Follow him on Twitter (@DanCasey).

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