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This Is the Wildest Avengers: Infinity War Fan Theory Yet

infinity war soul stone iron man

Based on new Marvel promotion art of the Infinity Stones, fans are speculating that the mysterious Soul Stone might have been hiding in plain sight for many years. But you’ll never guess where.

My friends, I believe that we have reached maximum theorizing velocity. I first saw this speculation go by on Tumblr, then covered in several outlets, and though we know I’m willing enough to wade into the fan theory weeds, this one seems like a bit much.

The recent theory about the Soul Stone, which, as far as we know, has not yet been seen in the MCU, kicked off when Marvel released new promo art featuring all six of the Stones. Fans quickly noticed that the superhero superimposed on the Stones were those whose stories were most closely bound to the Stone in question and where we first saw that Stone in play: Doctor Strange with the Time Stone, Vision with the Mind Stone, Thor with the Reality Stone, Star Lord with the Power Stone, and Captain America with the Space Stone.

And who should be placed over the Soul Stone but Iron Man?

This prompted a sprawling fan conversation across multiple platforms that Tony perhaps is already in possession of the Stone (my guess is that he will find it or be the one to defend it from Thanos), but the wildest supposition was yet to come: that Tony Stark is the Soul Stone.

The reasoning, as it were, behind this theory supposes that Howard Stark, Tony’s troubled genius inventor father, got his hands on the Soul Stone and used it to invent … Tony. As extra evidence, they’re citing Howard’s line to Tony in Iron Man 2: “What is and always will be my greatest creation is you.” But, uh, parents say this kind of stuff to kids they biologically create, too. Right?

Other theories along the Tony/Soul Stone line put forward that if Tony wasn’t born from the Stone himself, perhaps the Stone was powering his Arc Reactor. Per Tumblr user infinitystarks, this stemmed from an earlier fan theory:

do you guys remember that theory about how the element in IM2 that tony rediscovered (from his dad) to replace the palladium arc reactor wasn’t actually an element, but was instead an infinity stone?? (thus the REAL reason why loki’s sceptor didn’t work on him in A1, in contrast to it just being clinky arc reactor metal in the way of tony’s heart?)

well, my head is spinning bc although this promo poster doesn’t “prove” anything, it surely adds more reason for speculation. and i’m over here like:

1) what does this mean for tony stark vs. thanos during infinity war?

2) is this why we’ve been getting those photos/trailer clips of what looks like tony with his arc reactor back in his chest?? and

3) did howard stark mean to create an infinity stone? if so, for what purpose? why did he never tell anyone else directly??? i have so many questions ugh

It’s true is that we have seen Tony appear in Infinity War with what appears to be the return of an Arc Reactor. But Tony himself being the Stone seems like a pretty big leap. Not to mention we’re pretty sure that Thanos is going to assemble his whole gauntlet, which would mean that Tony Stark the Infinity Stone would have to die, which I do not see happening (yet). And one Stone (the Vision’s Mind Stone) being physically embedded in an Avenger seems like enough.

Still, theories like this can be fun, and this one speaks to just how much of a central “soul” of Marvel’s last ten years Tony Stark has served as, or we wouldn’t even be talking about this.

Of course, maybe Marvel just wanted one of their most recognizable characters on this Infinity War promo art. And Tony is hardly alone here—he’s joined by Falcon, Black Panther, Scarlet Witch, Vision, and Thor. Maybe when their powers combine …

Or you could take the more cynical stance. As my friend and comics guru Alex Stone (hmm, interesting name) put it, “People reading in to Marvel promo artwork like this is a little silly. Marvel has never been, and never will be that clever.”

(via Tumblr, images: Marvel)

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Kaila is a lifelong New Yorker. She's written for io9, Gizmodo, New York Magazine, The Awl, Wired, Cosmopolitan, and once published a Harlequin novel you'll never find.