After #DoctorStrange answered the question of the heavily speculated upon Time Stone, the new big question of the Marvel Cinematic Universe now regards the location of the sixth and final Infinity Stone, the Soul Stone.
Over the past eight years of the cinematic universe, the existence and locations of each of the six MacGuffins has been the driving force of the narrative, all building up toward the climactic battle against #Thanos (Josh Brolin) in the upcoming Avengers: Infinity War and its as yet unnamed follow-up. We've seen the Mind, Reality, Power, Space, and Time Stones all revealed, and as it stands there's only one left wanting.
Where's The Soul Stone?
As of Doctor Strange, the only Infinity Stone we don't know the location and nature of is — drum roll please — the Soul Stone. It's probably going to crop up sometime prior to #AvengersInfinityWar, the time of which spans Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Black Panther and Thor: Ragnarok.
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Of these, the most likely culprits for which another stone would pop up are Guardians and Ragnarok, as Black Panther and Homecoming are shaping up to edge away from the cosmic and magic. These two are more concerned with setting up another two very important characters for the #MCU within a realistic and grounded world, so while it's not impossible for another Stone to appear here, it's not quite as likely as the other two candidates.
And it's less likely for Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 too. Director James Gunn has already been pretty vocal about how far removed from the continuity of the MCU the movie will be, so it would be a bit of a surprise if we get another Infinity Stone appearing in the Guardians series, after the Power Stone was revealed in the first installment.
Back to likely culprit Thor: Ragnarok. There's already been much speculation about the probability of Heimdall (Idris Elba) being in possession of the Soul Stone, explaining in some manner Thor's strange vision in Avengers: Age of Ultron. But there's another theory that has been tossed around in various incarnations recently regarding another character who could hold the stone — and she's also appearing in Ragnarok.
Does Hela Have The Soul Stone?
Cate Blanchett makes her #Marvel debut as #Hela — the Goddess of Death — in Thor: Ragnarok. The daughter of a previous incarnation of Loki and the giantess Angrboða of Norse legend, Hela rules the realms of the dead.
She's appeared both as antagonist and sometime ally to various characters in the Marvel Comics, but this time around she's going to be causing trouble for Thor (Chris Hemsworth) and the gang as she seeks to claim their souls using her army of undead. Chilling.
This theory mostly hinges on the nature of the Soul Stone itself. While Heimdall claims he can see souls, Hela actually has power over them — she literally rules the dead. We've previously speculated that Infinity Stones act as amplifiers of power that match to a host. The Mind Stone makes Loki a more powerful manipulator and unlocks latent powers in the Maximoff twins, while the Power Stone fed Ronan's bloodlust, and the Time Stone only worked when wielded by a practitioner of sorcery.
So it is possible that Heimdall could have been in possession of the Soul Stone, only to have it taken from him by Hela during the time Loki (Tom Hiddleston) is running Asgard into the ground while Thor is galavanting about upon Earth. This idea is fed by the appearance of the blind Heimdall in #AgeofUltron, and the fact that he tells Thor "We are all dead!"
Hela could take the Stone from Heimdall — leaving him blind — before taking the souls of the Asgardians to Hel to serve in her army. Taking the Stone in the first place would allow her greater control over the souls of the dead, thus making her a more powerful villain. But why would she make her move now?
Enter Lady Death?
Another important thing to note about Hela is that there's been much speculation that she's appearing as the MCU's take on Lady Death, Thanos's paramour. Thanos is deeply in love with Death (or as much as he can be in love), and in Infinity Gauntlet he wipes out half the population of the universe just to impress her. Because he's not really a chocolate and flowers kinda guy.
Fewer characters on screen equals fewer complications in narrative, and given that Hela is literally called the Goddess of Death, it wouldn't be a big surprise for her to slip into Death's role for the MCU. So Thanos could seek her out not necessarily as a love interest, but perhaps even as an ally (although, he hasn't had the best luck with allies in the past).
Something Hela has often tried to do in the comics is extend the boundaries of her realm. In her early appearances she was often trying to branch out into Valhalla, which brings her into conflict with Thor and Odin. It's not too large a stretch to imagine that she could join Thanos in his quest to conquer the universe, if she thinks she could further her own dominion by doing so.
Of course, like most theories it's not perfect. But it's an interesting one, especially when you consider how Hela could step into the shoes of Lady Death. It's important to note that we don't yet know why Thanos is collecting the Stones. Once that is revealed, the nature of the game could totally change. And hopefully his motivations will be more concrete than "He's a bad guy and wants to take over the universe." Gotta get cracking on that villain problem at some point, Marvel.
Who do you think has the Soul Stone? Have your say in the comments, and get the lowdown on the Infinity Stone T.H.A.N.O.S. theory in our video below!