Black Panther is the last Marvel movie before Avengers: Infinity War, and fans expected it to answer one big question: Where is the Soul Stone? The film, however, does not explicitly provide that answer. Absolutely no mention is made of the impending war, and the story itself is fairly self-contained.
However, there’s now a theory going around that the Soul Stone is hidden in plain sight in Black Panther; it’s just that director Ryan Coogler doesn’t directly point it out. Here’s how that might be possible.
Thanos needs six Infinity Stones, one of which is the Soul Stone
First, let’s talk about what the Infinity Stones are and why they’re important. Essentially, they’re six immensely powerful objects that date back to before the universe again, each one possessing unique traits. If someone were to acquire all six Infinity Stones, they would basically be unstoppable.
That’s exactly what Thanos’ plan is in Infinity War. He’s trying to assemble all six stones into the Infinity Gauntlet, and the Avengers must prevent him from doing so. If he gets the stones, he can reshape reality and literally kill half the universe with the snap of a finger. Marvel has been planning this storyline for a long time, and so it’s been slowly introducing the stones in its movies.
First is the Space Stone, which is contained in the Tesseract and which Thor and Loki have, as most recently seen in Thor: Ragnarok. Next is the Mind Stone, which is inside Vision’s head. Third is the Reality Stone, which The Collector got at the end of Thor: The Dark World. Then there’s also the Power Stone, which the Guardians of the Galaxy gave to the Nova Corps on Xandar. The fifth is the Time Stone, which is in the Eye of Agamotto from Doctor Strange.
But that’s only five Infinity Stones. Where’s the sixth one?
Next: Here’s the deal with the sixth Infinity Stone.
Nobody knows where the Soul Stone is
The last Infinity Stone is the Soul Stone. Avengers: Infinity War comes out in a few months, and still nobody has any idea where the stone is. We do know that the stone is orange, but that’s about all that the movies have confirmed.
In the comics, the Soul Gem allows its user to manipulate the souls of the living and the dead. It can actually capture and store a being’s soul as well. The user of the Soul Gem can also enter a pocket dimension called Soul World that contains all of the souls that the gem has captured.
Next: Does the stone show up in Black Panther?
The stone is not explicitly revealed in Black Panther
For a long time now, a lot of people have assumed that Black Panther would reveal the Soul Stone. After all, this is the last movie before Infinity War. It made sense that the reason for that scheduling might be because Black Panther puts the final pieces in place for Avengers.
However, Black Panther doesn’t do so, not even in the post-credits scenes. There’s never any mention made of Thanos, the Infinity War, the Soul Stone, or anything like that. But that doesn’t mean the stone isn’t in the movie.
There’s precedence for the Marvel movies retroactively revealing that established objects were actually Infinity Stones. So could that be the case with this object in Black Panther?
Next: This fan theory suggests the stone is hidden in the film.
Some fans think the stone is inside the meteorite that crashed on Wakanda
One new theory is that the Soul Stone is actually at the core of the meteorite that crashed onto Wakanda. As the film’s opening narration explains, this meteorite containing Vibranium crashed onto Wakanda millions of years ago, and this is how the African nation is so technologically advanced. The meteorite also caused the heart-shaped herbs to grow. There’s a lot of magic associated with Wakanda, and maybe it’s not just because of some random meteorite but because of an Infinity Stone.
Just like we later found out that the Tesseract houses an Infinity Stone, we can find out in Infinity War that Wakanda is actually home to the Soul Stone. This idea would have been sort of seeded into Black Panther, but the movie itself just didn’t get bogged down with that stuff in order to stay standalone. Also, none of the characters in this movie would even be aware of the stone, anyway, so there’s no reason it would have come up.
Granted, director Ryan Coogler did suggest in a recent interview with IGN that the stone isn’t in the movie, but he could have just meant that it’s not shown in the movie, not that it’s not there at all. And if the plan was for the stone reveal to be an Infinity War surprise, it’s not like he would give that away in an interview months in advance.
Next: Could the stone actually be the explanation for this element of the movie?
The Soul Stone could be the source of the heart-shaped herb powers
In Black Panther, we learn that it’s the heart-shaped herb that gives the Black Panther his heightened abilities. Also, it’s by ingesting the herb that Black Panther is able to go to the Ancestral Plane, where he can communicate with the souls of the dead. Perhaps, then, the heart-shaped herb’s powers are actually coming from the Infinity Stone itself. When the meteorite crashed onto Wakanda, its powers seeped into the soil and affected the plant life.
This would make sense, as the Soul Stone’s abilities have to do with death, and it allows the user to enter a plane full of souls. It also just so happens that in the movie, the heart-shaped herb allows its user to enter a plane full of souls, just like the Soul Stone does.
The stone is supposed to be orange, and the heart-shaped herb is purple and the meteorite was blue, which is one wrinkle in all of this. However, the soil that Black Panther is buried in so he can communicate with the ancestors is orange.
Next: The one main reason why the Infinity Stone may be in Wakanda
A big battle in Infinity War takes place in Wakanda
There’s one other big reason to believe that the Soul Stone is in Wakanda. We know from the Avengers: Infinity War trailer that a major battle — possibly the climax of the movie — takes place in Wakanda, where Thanos is presumably headed.
Why would Thanos be interested in Wakanda if there isn’t an Infinity Stone there? His plan involves assembling the six stones, and the only way any of the Avengers can even still be alive is if he is missing at least one of them. So the fact that the Avengers’ last stand is apparently in Wakanda suggests that this is the location of the stone, and they’re trying to prevent Thanos from getting it.
An alternate theory is that the last stand happens in Wakanda because Vision — who is in possession of the Mind Stone — goes to Wakanda, so Shuri can heal him. But in the recent Super Bowl ad, it sort of looks like Vision might not have the stone in his head by the time he’s taken to Wakanda. If that’s the case, the most likely solution seems to be that the Soul Stone is located in Wakanda.
Next: This insane theory fits with the idea that the stone was in the meteorite.
Does the word “THANOS” indicate the location of the stones?
For a while now, there’s been a crazy theory that THANOS is actually an acronym revealing the location of the six stones. T would stand for Tesseract, A would stand for Aether, N would stand for necklace (the Eye of Agamotto), O would stand for orb, and S would stand for scepter.
So what does H stand for? Some people thought Idris Elba’s character from Thor might have it, and so the H would stand for Heimdall. But the theory now is that it stands for heart-shaped herb, and so this could be another piece of evidence that the stone is in Wakanda.
It’s a safe bet that the Soul Stone will be revealed in Infinity War and won’t be saved for Avengers 4. After all, the stakes won’t be that high if Thanos still needs two more stones in the next movie. So if the stone is in Wakanda, we’ll probably find out early in Infinity War.
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