This article contains SPOILERS for Thor: Ragnarok.
Marvel Studios president Kevin Feige explains how they solved the Marvel Cinematic Universe's big Infinity Gauntlet issue in Thor: Ragnarok. In Kenneth Branagh's first Thor film from 2011 - back when the shared universe was just getting off the ground - the studio added several easter eggs to tease what was to come in the future, including placing the Infinity Gauntlet inside Odin's vault on Asgard. However, they unwittingly cornered themselves by doing so.
The studio officially teased Thanos and Jim Starlin's iconic Infinity Gauntlet storyline in the mid-credits scene for Joss Whedon's The Avengers in 2012. From that moment, comic book fans knew that Thor's story would one day intertwine with Thanos', seeing as the Mad Titan needed the Gauntlet to carry out his mission. That was the presumed narrative until Thanos appears in Avengers: Age of Ultron's mid-credits scene donning the "real" Infinity Gauntlet. The studio addressed the supposed continuity error, saying that one of the Gauntlets is a fake - and, it turns out, the fake was the one in Asgard's vault all along.
The Infinity Gauntlet issue was finally resolved in Taika Waititi's Thor: Ragnarok, with Hela, the Goddess of Death, revealing the Gauntlet to be fake. And now, Feige has explained to /Film how the retcon came together, organically.
"As we learn in this movie, he vanished his firstborn daughter because he sort of got what he needed, he got to the top of the Nine Realms and it was like oh, this is much too violent. And Hela says, glad to have it, ashamed of how we got it. And we see that mural in the movie of [how] it was not a pleasant history of how Asgard got all that gold. So Odin has a history of doing what he wants to do to maintain power. And going back, I mean, now it’s probably five years ago we started again just in our internal creative group saying, 'Well, it’s fake.' Because if the Asgardians knew that there was something that had that kind of power, that could theoretically wipe out Asgard and whatever else with a, in the comics, a literal snap of the fingers. They might question Odin’s ability to protect them.
"So Odin put a fake and he goes, it’s fine, I got it. Look, it’s fine, it’s in our vault, don’t worry about it. And it’s not until Hela goes down there. It was fun being back in that vault, by the way, for the first time since Thor 1. It was just the opportunity to call it a fake. So for people like yourself, and like all of us at Marvel Studios who were paying attention, that answers that question. And for people who have no idea that an out-of-focus Infinity Gauntlet appeared in the back of Thor 1, it just showcases her knowledge and her sort of disgust with the way Odin had handled things on her way to the true power that is below the surface."
The gauntlet's inclusion in 2011's Thor was the first major tease to Starlin's universe-altering storyline and seeing the sudden appearance of the second gauntlet - which could have been chalked up to fan-service at the time - brought about one of the MCU's biggest unanswered questions, especially since everything is supposed to be connected. Without the retcon, the only other opportunity for the studio to address the issue would have been Anthony and Joe Russo's Avengers: Infinity War, but now, that film can focus solely on Thanos and his loyal Black Order obtaining the six Infinity Stones.
At the moment, one Infinity Stone is still unaccounted for and it seems its location may not be revealed until Infinity War hits theaters next summer. Then again, Ryan Coogler's Black Panther could always surprise audiences with the Infinity Stone's inclusion.
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