Thanos’ destruction of the Infinity Stones in Avengers: Endgame threw a huge wrench in our heroes’ plans. As a result of this, they were forced to resort to complex and dangerous time travel in order to bring back their fallen comrades. It was also a neat character moment for Thanos, cementing that his murderous plans weren’t intended to glorify himself and that, as he put it, after he’d achieved his goal they “served no purpose.”
Now, Anthony and Joe Russo have revealed that Thanos didn’t actually obliterate the stones, instead he just made it impossible to obtain them. The explanation came in an interview with /Film, where they said:
Thanos actually says he reduced the Stones to atoms – which means that the Stones still exist on “an atomic level.” You can’t touch them, you can’t use them, but they’re still out there. Somewhere.
It’s an interesting explanation and neatly sidesteps the potential plot hole created after the Ancient One explained that the Stones are necessary for the universe to continue functioning normally. But, could this development mean that we may one day see the return of the Infinity Stones in the MCU?
My bet is most likely not. Though there’s a tiny chance that some insanely powerful god-like being could reassemble the stones on an atomic level, they’d first have to track down every atom of them on Thanos’ garden world, which is the atomic equivalent of finding needles in a haystack.
Then there’s the simple fact that after Avengers: Endgame, the MCU is ready to move forward with new stories. We’ve been seeing movies revolving around various Infinity Stones for over a decade now (it has to be said, they make fantastic MacGuffins) and everyone is expecting Phase 4 to break new ground. Still, it’s nice to have this little detail cleared up.