Four down, two to go.
That’s where we are right now in tracking the Infinity Stones which Thanos (Josh Brolin) will use to assemble the Infinity Gauntlet in Avengers: Infinity War. There are six Infinity Stones in total and so far, we have accounted for Space (the Tesseract from Captain America: The First Avenger and Marvel’s The Avengers), Reality (the Aether from Thor: The Dark World), Power (inside the Orb in Guardians of the Galaxy), and Mind (planted on Vision’s (Paul Bettany) forehead in Avengers: Age of Ultron).
That leaves two—Time and Soul—left in the wind and fans have been busy speculating which Phase Three films in the Marvel Cinematic Universe might introduce them prior to Avengers: Infinity War. Naturally, fans have looked to this year’s Doctor Strange as a favorite in the Infinity Stones betting pool. The film will introduce a whole new magical and mystical side to the MCU, so it seems like the perfect place to show where an Infinity Stone has been hiding.
Those who are well-versed in the comics even think they’ve figured out where an Infinity Stone will be found in Doctor Strange. It has to be hidden within the Eye of Agamotto, which is the enchanted amulet hanging around Stephen Strange’s (Benedict Cumberbatch) neck. It seems, however, that those on the hunt for Infinity Stones in Doctor Strange may leave the theater empty-handed.
During a set visit for the film, Comicbook.com was part of a group of press outlets pressing Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige about the presence of an Infinity Stone in Doctor Strange and his answer surprised them.
“If you’re tracking such things, perhaps but we don’t get into it in this movie.
“It’s close; you can look at for as long as you want. Again, there’s a lot to take in this movie, there’s a lot of new concepts, there’s a lot of new characters, there’s a lot of new mythologies that we didn’t want to clutter up by talking about other [Mcguffins].”
And just like that, the stone rush on Doctor Strange is over. The movie does not have any Infinity Stones, unless it does.
Let me first stress that it’s probably best to take Feige at his word and at face value. With that out of the way, let’s go back to that first sentence in Feige’s response to the Infinity Stone question.
“If you’re tracking such things, perhaps but we don’t get into it in this movie.”
This does not actually rule out the presence of an Infinity Stone in Doctor Strange. It means that there either is no Infinity Stone in the film, or that there could be one and it just isn’t acknowledged or addressed as an Infinity Stone yet. This actually has happened before in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Remember that the Mind Stone that currently resides on the forehead of Vision was originally tucked away in Loki’s (Tom Hiddleston) Scepter, a device which was introduced in Marvel’s The Avengers. We went through an entire film and most of a second film—Avengers: Age of Ultron—without being told that the Mind Stone was right in front of us (though many had guessed it was there).
Even the Tesseract was not acknowledged as an Infinity Stone until the mid-credits scene in Thor: The Dark World after first appearing in the post-credits scene in Thor and then being the McGuffin in Captain America: The First Avenger and Marvel’s The Avengers.
Out of the four Infinity Stones introduced so far, only half of them were actually called Infinity Stones in the film in which they first appeared (the Aether/Reality Stone in Thor: The Dark World and the Power Stone in Guardians of the Galaxy). There is certainly precedent for Marvel Studios including Infinity Stones without immediately acknowledging them, so there could be something tucked inside the Eye of Agamotto or somewhere else in Doctor Strange after all.
All of that is just me having a bit of fun with some speculation. Regardless of whether or not there is something that is eventually revealed to be an Infinity Stone in Doctor Strange, I’m happy that Marvel Studios has elected not to use one as its central McGuffin right now. The studio has already pulled that trick a few times and there’s no need to jump right back into it.
As Feige pointed out, Doctor Strange will have enough of its own new concepts to deal with. There is a lot of ground to cover for an audience that is generally unaware of the main character and the many facets of his mythology. It would take a Herculean effort to give the audience everything they need to know about the Sorcerer Supreme while also giving focus to an Infinity Stone and its implications of the future of the MCU. It’s best to focus on the core of the story to make sure the audience is with Marvel and investing in this new character.
Marvel’s Doctor Strange is in theaters November 4.