** As the title says, this is Part 2. If you haven’t read Part One, it might be good to give it a look-see before going on. As always, this will in all likelihood contain spoilers – particularly if you are not up to date on Marvel Movies – so proceed at your own risk. I also went on a little longer than I had originally intended to, but hopefully you stick it out to the end.
Ever since that moment when I saw Thanos turn his big purple mug toward the camera in the last scene of the Avengers, I held out hope that they were about to do what it now appears they are going to do – bring the Infinity Gauntlet, possibly one of the biggest events in Marvel Comic history, to the big screen. My first thoughts as I watched the credits roll (after turning to explain to my girlfriend who Thanos was) were “So if they are doing this that means we are going to need a Dr. Strange movie and Adam Warlock somehow – probably with the Guardians of the Galaxy since they are already going to be on the Avengers animated series.” (Which was about 2 weeks later on Season 2, Episode 6 of Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes, titled "Michael Korvac" which btw, if you have not seen, you should go watch. Seriously, go on, this article will still be here when you get back).
It would seem the Comic Book Gods were listening to my fanboy prayers that day for lo and behold Marvel has announced both a Dr. Strange movie and the Guardians of the Galaxy. With this realization we turn to look back at the previous Marvel films of the last few years and realize “Wait a minute... they already started! We just didn't realize until now!”
So What Do We Know?
As was mentioned in Part 1, in the comics, it was Thanos who created the Infinity Gauntlet. In the MCU, it would appear that the Gauntlet already exists, the gems have just been removed and separated. Don’t believe me? Go back and watch the first Thor movie. Pay particular attention to the other objects in the Asgardian vault when the Frost Giants first arrive and attempt to steal back their artifact. See anything familiar?
So we can assume that for the purposes of the MCU storyline, the 6 Gems have been assembled before and they know this to be a bad thing, so they were split up.
The first Gem that finds its way to the big screen is the Space Gem – known also to the 9 realms as the Tesseract. A Tesseract, in mathematics refers to a geometric shape which is a cube within a cube, representing 4 dimensional space, the study of which is theorized to be able to pinpoint a position in Timespace. For the purpose of the movie world, it is a glowing cube that can open portals to other places; the Space Gem.
The Tesseract was left on Earth by Odin 1000 years ago after the Asgardian defeat of the Frost Giants, whether on purpose or not we don’t know, but it eventually found its way in to the hands of the Red Skull and Hydra. Thankfully for the world at large Herr Shmidt did not understand the true nature of the object and simply used it to create weapons. It is unclear if he simply harvested the gamma radiation of the cube to power his devices (which seems the most likely) or if he actually used it to create micro singularities (tiny black holes) which destroyed their targets by imploding them. Had he understood the power he actually held in his hands he could have teleported the entire USA into deep space and been done with it. Instead, he made guns and was defeated by Captain America before he himself was teleported who knows where (possibly we will find out in the Winter Soldier?).
Of course, this is also assuming that Marvel had decided to make the Tesseract an Infinity Gem yet. Personally, I believe they originally intended it to be a Cosmic Cube (if you go way back to Tales of Suspense #79-81 from 1966, you will find a storyline where the Red Skull gets a Cosmic Cube and uses it to fight Captain America. This story was also revisited in the animated series Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes) hence its cubic shape and since Captain America was the first movie of the new crop, they had yet to really determine what direction they were going to take it. Once the Infinity Gem storyline was decided upon, they retconned the Tesseract as the Space Gem.
After the events leading up to the Avengers, the Tesseract was lost with Captain America, found again by Howard Stark, and held by S.H.I.E.L.D. for several decades. Meanwhile in Asgard, the Bifrost Bridge was destroyed after Thor’s battle with Loki. In the two issue comic released to coincide with Thor: The Dark World (Thor: The Dark World Prelude), it is shown that the Tesseract is required in order to rebuild the Bifrost, putting to rest (IMO) some rumors that claim Odin himself had created the Tesseract. If that were the case, couldn't he just make a new one?
The next Infinity Gem is the Aether. Now, Marvel execs have claimed that this is the Power Gem. I have my doubts about that. It makes more sense to be the Reality Gem for a number of reasons. First, in the comics, the Reality Gem is red. In the Marvel CU, it has a red liquid form and is the only one of the 6 that does not generally appear as a stone, possibly denoting its ability to transcend normal physics. In Thor: The Dark World, we are told that the Universe used to be only darkness, before life and light came to be. The Dark Elf Malekith, not dealing well with change, attempted to use this Gem to return the galaxy to its previous darkened state. I am a bit fuzzy on how he was going to pull this off if it was just the Power Gem he was using- maybe by causing the suns in the nine realms to nova thereby wiping out their orbiting worlds? No clue, but with the Reality Gem he could certainly bring about the changes he desired. In any case, he was stopped by Asgard both 5000 years ago on his first attempt, and just this past winter in his latest.
The Reality/Power Gem was then taken from Alfheim by the Asgardians who – if you have watched the final credits scene of The Dark World, take the Gem to the Collector, claiming that it is unwise to keep 2 Infinity Stones so close together. The Collector agrees and Sif and Volstagg go on their way at which point the Collector says “One down, Five to Go!” This again is where I question the Gem's heritage, since in the comics, Thanos received the Reality Gem from the Collector, so it makes sense for him to have the same Gem in the MCU does it not? It is unclear if the Collector is actually working for Thanos, or if like in the comics, Thanos will somehow trick/beat him to recover the Gem, though rumor has it that he is indeed working for the Mad Titan. Time will tell.
Producer Kevin Feige has stated that there will be a Third gem revealed in the Guardians of the Galaxy, as well as more information about The Collector and Thanos, due out in August and some leaked promo art would seem to support this revelation, but is that all?
What We Suspect?
Now, this part is mostly conjecture which may or may not be true, but I have my reasons for believing it as do many others out there who support the same theories. Come along with me on this little side trip won’t you?
There is one important equation in this entire scenario which requires close attention and that is Thor’s adopted brother Loki. This is a man who plays life like a game of Chess, always 3 steps ahead of his opponents. Everything he does, while appearing to some as though “That guy's brain is a bag full of cats”, is according to a master plan. What is that plan you say? Why, to help our good friend Thanos acquire that which he seeks. Let’s review shall we?
At the end of Thor, Loki falls from Asgard and is lost in space. He is either found, or in some way comes into contact with Thanos and his band of Chitauri warriors. Thanos being Thanos, upon finding out that Loki is from Asgard comes up with a plan to seize control of Infinity Gauntlet and the Space Gem, thus “burdening Loki with Glorious Purpose”. Loki’s mother Frigga, manages to use her magic to find and contact Loki while he is still with Thanos. She is able to ascertain that he is planning something to do with the Tesseract and informs Odin, who sends Thor to Earth after it.
Enter Loki’s sceptre/staff, given to him by Thanos (see Thor: The Dark World Prelude) Now, many people have speculated that Loki’s staff was powered by the Tesseract but I don’t believe that is entirely accurate. It is said in the Avenger’s movie that the sceptre has the same energy signature as the Tesseract. This could be true of any of the Infinity Gems. The Tesseract as we know is the Space Gem, so how would Loki use a gem designed for controlling space to brainwash people? Or to cause the Avengers to argue amongst themselves in its presence? You wouldn't, but you know what could? The Mind Gem. Loki again uses this Gem to project his mind across the galaxy to speak with The Other; another power that seems more likely for the Mind and less like the Space Gem to possess. A Mind Gem that perhaps, Thanos already had in his possession and lent to Loki for a singular (glorious) purpose.
What purpose was that? Well, not the conquest of Earth as S.H.I.E.L.D. and the Avengers believe, that was never the plan. Thanos needed 2 things from Loki; the Tesseract and the Gauntlet, both of which by the end of the Avengers are now in Asgard. At the end Loki, who can turn invisible, create illusions or move himself out of harm’s way simply waits for the Avengers to come and arrest him, knowing that they will take him back home to Asgard.
Loki’s sceptre, remains with S.H.I.E.L.D. on Earth – possibly so that the Mind Gem can be inadvertently used to help create Ultron in the upcoming Avengers 2? However, the fact remains, after the events of Thor 2, Loki is now ruling Asgard and has access to the Gauntlet and the Space Gem and knows exactly where the Power and Mind Gems are as well. To paraphrase the Collector, “Three Down, Three to Go!”