The Avengers: Infinity War will finally deliver the payoff of a decade of Infinity Stones – but what happens to them when the movie ends? Over the past ten years, Marvel has built up a complex shared universe of solo and ensemble films, and at the center of that shared universe stands the Infinity Stones: ancient relics of unfathomable power, that predate the universe itself. They’ve been a central part of many Marvel blockbusters – from Captain America: The First Avenger through to Doctor Strange – but in Infinity War, their true power is about to be revealed. Thanos, the Mad Titan, believes that he can combine their power to create the Infinity Gauntlet. Wielding this unimaginable power, he intends to Thanos will “rebalance the universe,” literally erasing half of all life in an instant.
Everything’s been building up toward Infinity War and Avengers 4, but that won’t close off all these plots completely. The Infinity Stones were formed before creation itself, and they can’t just be wiped out of existence. The reality is, when the dust settles after the battle with Thanos, Earth’s Mightiest Heroes will have to decide just what to do about these six relics.
What future stories could be told by Marvel Studios? As is so often the case, the clues are found in the original comics (even if the Infinity War movie will be different from the comics). The Infinity Stones have been brought into play by Marvel time and again; in fact, they’re at the center of the current ongoing event, Infinity Countdown. They’re sure to turn up again on the big screen too, and the comics give lots of possible arcs.
3. The Illuminati
Undoubtedly the fan-favorite option, the concept of the Illuminati is one that would translate well onto the big screen. In the comics, the Illuminati were six powerful heroes who decided they should chart the course of the planet itself. They believed themselves Earth’s greatest line of defense, and coordinated to contain several key threats. One such threat was the Infinity Gauntlet itself, with each member of the Illuminati taking possession of an Infinity Stone for safekeeping.
It’s true that the movies can’t use the Illuminati as Marvel fans know them from the comics. Marvel’s Illuminati were Iron Man, Mr. Fantastic, Black Bolt, Professor X, the Sub-Mariner, and Doctor Strange. Right now, two of those characters pose a continuity problem: Mr. Fantastic has yet to be rebooted, and Professor Charles Xavier and his X-Men universe has yet to be folded into Marvel’s. Namor’s film rights are complicated and uncertain, as well. And Marvel Studios passed on the Inhumans property, allowing Marvel Television to create Black Bolt in a TV show. Inhumans was heavily criticized, and performed poorly; as a result, it’s possible the MCU’s version of Black Bolt has whispered his last destructive word.
But that doesn’t mean the concept of the Illuminati couldn’t be integrated into the MCU. All it would take is six surviving heroes to decide to act as guardians of the Infinity Stones – preferably not all so obvious as Doctor Strange’s Eye of Agamotto. The Avengers: Infinity War Prelude teased that the first Sorcerer Supreme, Agamotto himself, had believed the Time Stone needed to be in play in order to protect the universe; should Doctor Strange lose the Time Stone, reality itself would be in danger.