WARNING: This article contains potential SPOILERS for Avengers: Infinity War
With fans searching for the Soul Stone in The Avengers: Infinity War, we have a theory it's already been revealed. Not in a prior Marvel movie, since the studio seems to have kept it under wraps until now. Even as the other Infinity Stones have been revealed one by one. By the time he steps on the scene, Thanos will have enough Infinity Stone powers to defeat the Avengers, the Guardians of the Galaxy, and whoever else may stand against him.
And yet... the mystery of the Soul Stone is impossible to ignore. Especially now that the comic book prequel to Infinity War says the Soul Stone is the biggest threat to Marvel's heroes. Which leads any fan actually paying attention to ask one question, repeatedly, until someone at Marvel answers: where is the Soul Stone hiding in the MCU? The physical location of the final Infinity Stone is still difficult to predict. But after taking a closer look at the trailers for Avengers: Infinity War, we have a theory for how the Soul stone is going to be used.
It may not be the most violent of the Infinity Stones, or give Thanos the biggest power boost in battle. But if the Soul Stone twist is what we suspect, then fans have already seen it in the trailers. If not the object itself, then what's inside of the Soul Stone.
This Page: Infinity War's Mysterious, Orange, Battle Planet
Infinity War's Big Thanos Battle
By now most fans of The Avengers will recognize the above planet, and unknown world in the Marvel Universe that's about to be rocked in a cosmic conflict. The orange-hued atmosphere of the planet made it stand out in the first trailer, but the action soon shifted down to what appears to be its surface. Rocky, orange, and home to an impressive spaceship crash. Followed soon after by the arrival of Thanos in the flesh.
The planet is also cemented in MCU history for marking the official reveal of Thanos (as portrayed by Josh Brolin in the form and visual effects of his own actual film, not a cameo in another MCU feature). Going by the evidence in the marketing, Thanos uses the Space Stone to create a portal onto the planet. Taking a few steps out of the same blue-hued hole in space seen in The Avengers, Thanos takes in his surroundings.
Again, judging by the color scheme and rocky landscape of the planet and shots that follow, surroundings which include Iron Man, Spider-Man, and presumably a few more Avengers (and possibly even Guardians).
The marketing for Infinity War has featured a few key shots from this action set-piece, and fans also are aware by now that the fight doesn't go in the heroes' favor. A few shots which stand out include Iron Man's new Infinity War armor (seen above) being punched to the ground in one blow. And even worse news: a shot of Thanos putting the hurt on Spider-Man. A hurt bad enough to leave Peter Parker prone, apologizing to Tony Stark. And to the truly fearsome MCU fans out there, perhaps even enough to remove Spider-Man permanently.
Some of the secret Infinity War footage from Comic-Con even showcased the Guardians of the Galaxy cast on the planet as well. But considering how Tony is left distraught in the trailer's darkest moments, the fight may go poorly no matter who is on hand to fight. After all, Thanos has the Power and Space Stones by then. But if the fight seem to have the air of finality to it... then the fact that Thanos doesn't seem to possess the Soul Stone by then gets even stranger.
Unless, and this is a theory based only on what has been shown of Infinity War and the comic book version of the Infinity Stones, these very scenes show the Soul Stone in action? Well, less the Stone itself and more of the world it allows its master to rule over. An orange world. a Soul World.
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.