(Warning: SPOILERS lurk below for the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe including the newly released Doctor Strange. Proceed with caution)
Every once in awhile a really convincing fan theory comes along that makes me go, "Of course! It's so obvious; how didn't I think of that before?" This is one of those cases. What you're about to read is a culmination of a conversation over on Reddit, plus my own geeky additions to fill in any holes. By now, I'm sure you're familiar with the concept of Infinity Stones within the #MarvelCinematicUniverse. They've been featured or the McGuffin in quite a few of the movies, a key plot line that has repercussions across the whole universe.
Basically, it's all been building to Thanos...but not in the way you'd think. And it turns out, it's the Gauntlet that's actually even more important to Thanos than the Stones themselves.
Here's The Theory: Each Infinity Stone Has A Specific Wielder
Take a moment to think about the Infinity Stones. How many characters have been shown to be able to use a Stone? Exactly one person per each. Each Infinity Stone is oddly picky and, according to this theory, only one person in the whole universe is capable of controlling it. Everyone other than the predetermined wielder of the Stone faces a quick and harsh demise. In order to use an Infinity Stone, the Stone has to allow you to, similar to the whole "the relic chooses the sorcerer" thing in #DoctorStrange. You have to be predisposed to using it, otherwise, well, you'll die. Let's break it down Stone by Stone.
1. Loki - Tesseract/Space Stone
"Wait a minute," I can hear you mumbling in confusion to your screen, "others have used the Tesseract before." Technically, you'd be right. Other people have harnessed its power create inconceivable weapons, but how many of those people touched the Tesseract and survived?
Just one: #Loki. Loki is the only person to survive direct contact with the Tesseract (which holds the Space Stone inside of it). When #RedSkull attempted to use it with his own hands, he was quickly sucked up into the great abyss of space, never to be heard from again (in theory, at least). Loki is the one true wielder of the Space Stone, and therefore might have to join forces with the #Avengers if he wants the universe to stay alive.
2. Jane Foster - Aether/Reality Stone
For a secondary character that is primarily used as Thor's love interest, #JaneFoster was given an incredible responsibility. She is the one true heir to the Reality Stone. This isn't the first time it's been pointed out that it's weird Jane Foster was able to use the Reality Stone. This is probably the biggest hint that the Stones have a mind of their own and choose their wielders. In #ThorTheDarkWorld, the Aether literally pulls Jane to it and then bonds to her. When Malekith attempts to bond the Aether to himself, it corrupts him even further and #Thor is able to easily defeat him (something you shouldn't be able to do to someone possessing an Infinity Stone).
3. Rocket Raccoon - The Orb/Power Stone
Granted, this is where the theory falls apart slightly. In order to control the Power Stone it takes the entire team of #GuardiansoftheGalaxy. However, according to the Reddit fan theory, none of the other members were worthy of being the Stone's wielder for long: In the movie, it wasn't until Rocket joined in that the Stone was able to be controlled and used. Watch:
Now, this is most easily explained by the fact they needed all four of them to spread the power out and make it bearable. Personally, I think it'd make more sense for #PeterQuill, a.k.a. #StarLord to be the Stone's wielder, although it's true that he was being torn apart (literally) until he got help from the others. He held onto it for far longer than anyone else, didn't die, and he was the one to harness the power and defeat Ronan.
But an alternate idea is that perhaps we haven't been introduced to the Power Stone's true wielder yet; maybe they're one of the many new characters to be introduced in #GuardiansoftheGalaxyVol2. It might play out that Ego the Living Planet is the Stone's true wielder, and Star-Lord could only hold it for as long as he did because he shares some blood with his dad.
4. Vision - Mind Stone
I would like to point out that, yes, Loki technically used the Mind Stone, but only when it was encased in the Scepter (which was given to him by Thanos), which still holds true to the theory: Others can use a weapon that's being powered by a Stone, just not the Stone itself. Now, onto the wielder of the Mind Stone, #Vision. He was literally created to be the one to control the Mind Stone. Sure at the time, nobody was sure what that even meant, but it's really what brought him to life, a part of him, as he explains in the clip below:
And while Loki could only use the scepter to control minds, Vision can utilize the stone for so many other things (like accidentally shooting down his own teammate). The Mind Stone is literally bound to Vision, which might mean Thanos will have to kill him if he wants the Stone out of his head.
5. Doctor Strange - Eye of Agamotto/Time Stone
As seen in the latest installment of the #MCU, Doctor Strange was able to control time itself through the use of the Eye of Agamotto, which he was informed was actually an Infinity Stone. Both Wong and Baron Mordo were rather surprised that Strange could use the Stone at all, which might indicate other Masters had tried and never succeed which is why it was kept in the library.
Despite its power and Stephen Strange's relative inexperience with the mystic arts, Strange hangs on to the Time Stone. A few fans have pointed out this doesn't seem to make sense, but the potential narrative contradiction could be easily explained by this theory. As it's known that relics choose the wearer, it's possible that they allowed him to continue to wear the Eye of Agamotto, despite their reservations - it was not their position to argue with the will of an Infinity Stone. This theory also fills in another minor nitpick that people had with #DoctorStrange, namely that the reason Strange mastered using it so quick was because he was destined to use it. The Stone itself wanted to be used.
So why does this matter? Why should we care about each Stone only having one rightful user at a time? Well, remember what I said at the beginning of this article that the Gauntlet may actually be even more important to Thanos than the Infinity Stones themselves? This is why:
Thanos Needs The Infinity Gauntlet To Control The Stones
In the comics, the Infinity Gauntlet is just a glorified glove #Thanos had lying about that he thought would look stylish if he put some Stones on it. However, in the movie universe, it is clearly much more important. It was safeguarded in Asgard and, in the end credits scene of #AvengersAgeofUltron, he pulls out the Gauntlet and declares that he has to take matters into his own hands.
We always just assumed that he was finally stepping up to take a more prominent role, as he'd always planned. But his wording in the clip was odd; it's what's you say when the people you've counted on can't get the job done so you decide to take matters into your own hands. We know Thanos has been pulling the strings behind the MCU all along and we know that he's secretly been responsible for sending some of the Stones out into the universe. What if he'd looked at the failures of Loki, Malekith, Ultron, etc. and realized that it was up to him to make it happen?
That's why he pulls the Gauntlet out. You can't control a Stone that isn't yours. Even being a incredibly powerful being, Thanos needs some way to harness the power of the six Infinity Stones without it destroying him, because they don't want to be used by him. Just like the scepter harnessed the Mind Stone's power and Red Skull was able to harness the Tesseract's powers, the Gauntlet will enable Thanos to control the Infinity Stones.
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- Why The Climax Of 'Doctor Strange' Should Make You See Thanos In A Whole New Light
This theory makes so much sense, I'm kinda surprised it hasn't been brought up before. I imagine this will become very important as we near the third Avengers movie and Thanos starts stealing the Stones from their rightful owners. What do you think of this theory? Let me know in the comments below!