Welcome To Soul World, Secret of The Infinity Stone
Like many other fans of Marvel Comics and the original Infinity Gauntlet storylines, we have had our theories on just how the Soul Stone will be revealed in the MCU. The main reason being that it must be held in secrecy for a specific reason - and that reason is surely going to be more than holding off on orange blasts of cosmic power. Should Thanos get his hands on the Soul Stone, he would be able to hold mastery over the living and the dead, by claiming authority over his enemies' souls.
For what reason, you might ask? Aside from being able to bring the dead back to life, the requirements of the Soul Stone are impossible to avoid. To give mastery over souls, the Soul Stone hungers for them. It wishes to take souls into its aptly-titled Soul World: a paradise-like world in which souls contained (trapped?) there may completely forget they ever left the land of the living.
And considering the changes recently made to the look of the Soul World, some questions should probably be asked. Chief among them: how do we know the Infinity War trailers are actually showing the living world, and not the cosmic realm of the one Infinity Stone yet to be revealed, contained, and hidden?
These comic images come from the recent Guardians of the Galaxy #150, an issue setting up Marvel's own Infinity Countdown comic event. In the original version of the Infinity Stones (or Soul Gems, as they were first called) their colors were different from the ones introduced in the MCU. But as Marvel's films have reached millions around the world, Marvel Comics have tweaked their Infinity Stones to match the color scheme of the movies. Where the Soul Stone once looked like Black Panther's afterlife, it is now as orange and rocky as the Stone itself.
What makes the comic book version of the Soul World even more interesting, as Marvel Comics begins its own Infinity War alongside the movies, is who lives inside of it. In the past, heroes like Gamora and Drax have wound up as spirits (more or less real, depending on whose 'paradise' readers were seeing) inside of Soul World. Having been defeated by Thanos absorbed into the Soul Stone, and left to await a possible resurrection.
So with the landscape, the color scheme, some of the players, and the idea that facing Thanos means death all resonating with those Infinity War shots, fans may need to stop trusting what they see. And the same goes for Tony...
Will Tony Stark Be Tricked By The Soul Stone?
The theory, then, is that through deception a battle between Thanos and the film's heroes is assumed to be real, but is actually taking place inside the Soul Stone (explaining its importance to this particular story). Whether that's just the audience, the Infinity War heroes, just Tony Stark, or perhaps even Thanos being deceived is harder to say. The directors opened the door to audiences and characters walking through simulated spaces by confirming that Civil War's dream technology would return for this story.
Instead of B.A.R.F., the Soul Stone's orange-colored fictional world may be the answer. This twist would potentially make good on Tony Stark's arc to this point, delivering him not into a paradise, but a Hellscape. After all, it's been Tony's fear of inadequacy and failure motivating him in Age of Ultron and Civil War. After Scarlet Witch saw his worst fears - a cosmic battlefield littered with the Avengers' bodies - is it coincidence that this location seems to fit that bill once more?
The real question, beyond whether or not this theory is persuasive or compelling, is whether it's good or bad news for Tony and the heroes. If this theory is true, who wields the Soul Stone? And who is truly trapped inside of it? And most importantly: can they escape back into the actual fight once the deception is realized?
For that, we will have to wait for Infinity War itself.
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018