In the world of Marvel and its Cinematic Universe, the Infinity Stones are probably the most valuable, dangerous, and important objects out there. Thanos wants them so they can fit nicely on his Infinity Gauntlet, which would allow him to overtake the galaxy as he sees fit. Major organizations on Earth either want to contain the Stones or use them for their own means. Sometimes, the superheroes we know and love come across them, too.
One of the most notable of these Stones is the Space Stone, better known as the Tesseract, and also known simply as the Cube. While it is able to cause much chaos, it can also be used for the creation of weapons and other related technologies. However, it’s been deemed far too dangerous for mere mortals to handle (who, often, literally cannot handle it, since it can damage human skin). Therefore, many have tried to contain it or get rid of it, with varying degrees of success.
The following list covers a variety of facts, trivia, and surprise revelations about the titular Cube, both in film and comics. Since it doubles as the Cosmic Cube, as well as an Infinity Gem, we’ll also be covering those versions were applicable.
Here are 15 Things You Didn’t Know About The Space Stone, aka The Tesseract.
15 Cosmic origins
In the realm of Marvel comics, the Tesseract is most like the Cosmic Cube. While both are of similar shape (and emit a similar out-of-this-world glow), they are also capable of altering reality and can serve as powerful tools to those who know how to wield them. The Cubes are most commonly created by opening a rift to the dimension of the Beyonders. The energy from their dimension is combined with the energy of others (Earth’s, for example) to forge a perfect cube with unlimited power.
As Marvel comics history has proven, getting your hands on a Cube isn’t an easy task. And getting one does not guarantee world domination or wish fulfillment. While some believe the Cube can help a user take over the world, its ability to manipulate beings that come across it means that, more often than not, it’s the Cube willing the user, instead of the other way around.
14 The first Cube was created by A.I.M.
Advanced Idea Mechanics (A.I.M) were the first to create a Cosmic Cube, and it was used by different organizations such as Hydra and M.O.D.O.K. for mind control. Eventually the Cube was under the control of one Bernard Worrell, who was the leader of rogue A.I.M. scientists. After a fight with Captain America, the Shaper of Worlds came to put a stop to the Cube’s use, as it was distorting under Worrell’s influence, which could have meant the end of reality.
The Shaper took it upon itself to raise the Cube, and it was able to help superheroes in various space encounters. By the time the Shaper and the Cube had arrived to the Beyonder’s pocket universe, the Cube was in humanoid form and went by the name Kubik. Kubik met his (literal) other half, the Molecule Man, and the two fused to become Kosmos.
13 Its energy got stuck and lost in Peru after WWII
While the Tesseract was recovered and in the hands of S.H.I.E.L.D. after the Second World War, HYDRA was able to successfully replicate and harness its energy. That meant objects powered by its energy could exist outside of the Cube itself. Former scientists of this group traveled to Peru after the war to build more Tesseract-powered weapons. However, this energy eventually became unstable and stuck in a temple.
The sole weapon that was too dangerous to be kept was later discovered by an archaeological team many decades later. S.H.I.E.L.D. went in to retrieve it and then destroy it, but actually kept it, which then lead to it being stolen by a HYDRA agent.
Everyone’s favorite Agent (Coulson) retrieved it and also killed the agent in the process. The weapon would be stolen and retrieved again some time later, also resulting in the thief dying by the weapon’s hands.
12 Red Skull has had it more than once
In the world of the MCU, the Red Skull was the villain in Captain America’s first theatrical outing, The First Avenger. Here we see one of the Cube’s earliest modern appearances: as a weapon of HYDRA. By the time our heroes encounter him, Red Skull has already experimented with and been affected by the Cube, and he’s dead set on using it to bend the world to his will.
Red Skull has previously used the Cube before, with his first comic usage being when he used an island of slaves to recreate one. However, this version of the Cube was destroyed by Korvac after it was exposed to anti-matter energy. In the Ultimate Universe, the Red Skull worked along with A.I.M. scientists to create one; he then manipulated certain agents in order to get the Cube for himself. However, he was killed before he could fully use it.
11 Thanos has acquired the Cube before
In the MCU, the Tesseract is one of those mighty objects the great Thanos wants to get his hands on. After all, what powerful being wouldn’t want it in their collection for the purpose of complete galactic control?
With the Ultimate Universe, a variety of things that wouldn’t have happened before in Marvel Comics could be realized for the first time. One of those things involves Thanos grabbing a hold of the Cosmic Cube as a young child and using it for—what else?—universal domination.
However, as could be expected, Thanos’ reign on possible control of all creation didn’t last. He was defeated and later tried to get a new Cube for the same purpose. His second time around also resulted in his downfall, due to a fail-safe in this new Cube (more on that later).
10 Mister Fantastic built it
Related to our previous entry is the Ultimate Universe’s Reed Richards. After the Fantastic Four encountered Thanos, the intergalactic tyrant tried to persuade Reed make him a new Cosmic Cube. He tried to possess Ben Grimm as a way of forcefully convincing the team, but Ben was able to resist the possession. While Reed refused to make the Cube for Thanos, he later made one for himself so that he could use it against him.
That previously mentioned new Cube with a fail-safe? It was Reed’s, which was built with an ability to kill Thanos when he came into contact with it by removing the Cube’s “cut-out,” which allowed the Cube to respond to consciousness and will. When Thanos held the Cube and wished to ascend to godhood, he was instantly killed. Reed then deposited the Cube in a time-rift… that led the Cube right to a young Thanos, creating a time paradox.
9 Cosmic Cube vs Tesseract
With it also being known as the Space Stone, it should be of no surprise that the Tesseract shares similarities with the Space Gem, its other comic book counterpart.
Both the Cube and Gem have been hunted down by the one and only Thanos for galactic conquest and annihilation. The Gem has also been curated by other worldly beings; while the Space Gem (and the other Gems) weren’t made by a society of beings, they have been followed and studied by Elders of the Universe.
Probably the most immediate way the Cube and Gem are similar is in their abilities to warp reality as the user sees fit. The Gem, like the Cube, grants users unreal power, such as travel and speed. It can even put its user in all places of the universe all at once when joined with the other Gems.
8 But the Tesseract is only an Infinity Stone in the MCU
While the Tesseract resembles and is very much like the Cosmic Cube (to the point where it’s identified as “the Cube” by many characters), its larger status in the MCU is also that of an Infinity Stone. In fact, its status as an Infinity Stone exists solely in the MCU, which is also why its true comic analogue is the Space Gem, rather than the Cosmic Cube.
The Tesseract has the unique properties of being an Infinity Stone that was shaped into a cube, thus giving it the appearance (as well as qualities) of the familiar Cosmic Cube. So while it mainly functions as the Cube, villains like Thanos are after it for its Infinity properties, since the stone hidden somewhere inside fits his Gauntlet.
This is also why certain heroes don’t want the Tesseract in the hands of anyone at all, preferring to leave it in seclusion in Asgard for everyone's safety.
7 Asgard connection
The history of the Tesseract begins with its creations by the Cosmic Entities, where it started life as an Infinity Stone. From here, it was reshaped into a cube and in the possession of the Asgardians; it stayed in Odin’s vault until it was brought down to Earth and kept in a box in Tonsberg, Norway.
A fellow Asgardian and all around God of Mischief, Loki tried to use the Tesseract for his own means (world domination), which resulted in the Battle of the New York and the Avengers battling an army of Chitauri. It was after this battle that the Tesseract was returned to the Asgardians via Thor and Loki.
Handing it over to Heimdall, guard of the Bifrost Bridge, it was used to repair the bridge so that the Asgardians could travel and protect the Nine Realms once again.
6 It can show visions of the future
The Tesseract, and its various incarnations, can do many things, both great and terrible. However, less prominent function is its ability predict the future. While these visions don’t always come true, they affect their users all the same, with a sense of fear and sometimes hypnotism.
Red Skull was one of the first to wield the Tesseract as see of a possible future yet to come. However, a couple of other examples involve influence from the Chitauri scepter, and involved the Battle of New York. Dr. Erik Selvig became entranced with the cube and, under the scepter’s influence, helped create the Chitauri portal on top of Stark Tower.
Then there’s Hawkeye, who, almost from the get-go in The Avengers, was under the scepter’s influence and also saw a vision via the Tesseract.
5 It can be used for travel
For all the things the Tesseract has been seen to do, it may come as a surprise to know that it can also be used for travel. While it’s understandable that something as powerful as the Cube can transport people, it’d make more sense if it happened by accident or by the own Cube’s will. However, a few characters managed to, by their own will, use it to safely (or dangerously) to go from one point to the next.
Red Skull, being the crazy man of HYDRA with the powerful stone that he was, used the Tesseract for teleportation. However, this trip strongly scarred him, and almost left him dead. Both Loki and Dr. Erick Selvig used the Tesseract’s energy to open up portals, with Selvig using it directly and Loki manipulating it from afar. After the Battle of New York, Thor used the Tesseract to travel Loki and himself back to Asgard.
4 It's four-dimensional
After all that’s been described, one little detail becomes greatly apparent about the Tesseract: it’s four-dimensional. This is essentially what allows it to gather energy from elsewhere, teleport people, and generally be a dangerous object capable of mass destruction.
Its existence as a four-dimensional property isn’t usually spoken about, but it’s been alluded to, either by characters pointing out the capabilities of the Cube, or in more subtler ways.
One of the most direct references to the Cube’s four-dimensional nature comes from a scene in Iron Man 2, when Tony looks over one of his father’s journals. He comes across an image of the Cube that’s drawn with the knowledge that it’s four-dimensional, featuring a smaller cube inside of a greater one, along with several other notes about the Cube.
3 Steve Rodgers used it to bring back Bucky Barnes' memories
The Red Skull is all over this list - and with good reason. In the comics, Bucky Barnes, aka The Winter Soldier, aka Steve Rogers’ best friend, was tasked with retrieving the Cosmic Cube from Skull. After using the Cube to detonate a bomb in Philadelphia, Barnes was then tasked to store it in a safe in West Virginia.
Around this time, Captain America learned Barnes was The Winter Solider, confronted him, and used the Cube to restore his memories. However, this resulted in him being overcome with remorse, and he used the Cube to teleport elsewhere.
On a related note, Bucky would later help fellow heroes during the 2017 Secret Wars arc to bring back the real Steve Rogers to defeat the fascist HYDRA one. This was done by Barnes shrinking sub-atomically, entering a reassembled Cosmic Cube, and reaching a point that would allow the real Rogers to come back for good.
2 It has possible ties to Wolverine’s recent resurrection
Recent events revealed in Marvel Legacy that the one, the only Wolverine was brought back to life. Though once believed to have been permanently dead, the adamantium shell he was supposedly encased in was discovered by Jean Grey, split in half.
Later in the story, Wolverine was revealed (though not immediately, for his face was hidden) driving a pick-up truck to Area 51 to retrieve something. A Frost Giant named Snarr showed up to the same location for the same purpose; he was easily defeated by Wolverine. It was then shown that what Wolverine was there to pick up was an Infinity Stone. But not just any Stone: the Space Gem.
While Wolverine’s resurrection has yet to be fully explained, one can easily tell that the Infinity Gems are somehow a part of it.
1 Loki is its current owner
The most recent of developments for the Tesseract come from the latest MCU flick, Thor: Ragnarok. While the plot mostly involves Thor being misplaced from Asgard as his long lost sister Hela, the Goddess of Death, tries to bring about the titular Ragnarok, the elusive and sacred Cube makes a notable and important appearance.
During the film’s climax, Thor tells Loki to bring back Surtur, the activator of Ragnarok, to life by rebirthing his crown in the Eternal Flame. While underground in Odin’s gallery of collectibles, he takes a moment to notice the Tesseract.
We don't see him take it, but given that Asgard was being destroyed, and was going to be utterly wiped out by Surtur, it makes sense that Loki would take with him what is easily the most valuable thing there. This would also explain why a large foreign space vessel comes across the survivor’s ship in the film's post-credits scene. Thanos is on the hunt.
Do you have any trivia to share about Marvel's Space Gem, aka Tesseract? Leave it in the comments!