It wasn’t long after the Infinity Stones were revealed to be a major influence on the MCU that Thanos decided to complete his goal of eliminating half of all life in the universe. While it took a few years, Thanos finally tracks down all six Stones and performs the dreaded Snap.
However, that is not the end of the story. The Stones were used for multiple Snaps in the MCU, and not all of them were made by Thanos. While the future of the Stones in the MCU remains a great mystery, fans have learned a lot about the Stones’ history and what they are capable of when all six Stones come together for one purpose.
8 Thanos was the first to take photos
After a long and arduous journey, Thanos finally assembled the six legendary Infinity Stones. Thanos decimated Xandar to obtain the Power Stone, killed most of the remaining Asgardians (and Loki) for the Space Stone, and managed to steal the Reality Stone from the Collector before smashing its place.
Thanos then sacrifices his favorite daughter for the Soul Stone before encountering a handful of Avengers on Titan to claim the Time Stone from Dr. Strange. Thanos finally reaches for the Mind Stone after bringing Vision back to life and ripping the Stone from his forehead. While defending himself from an attack from Thor, Thanos pulls the trigger on the first Snap.
7 Thanos did what he promised and wiped out 50% of all life in the universe
Unfortunately, for the heroes, Thanos succeeded in the mission he set out to accomplish. With a fully charged Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos manages to perform his Snap despite Thor placing Stormbreaker on his chest. Thanos kills 50% of all life in the universe, all life, before taunting Thor and escaping to his private garden oasis.
The consequences of this event are immediately felt when the heroes of the Battle of Wakanda begin to disappear, followed by the heroes on Titan. Thanos sent the entire universe into utter chaos for at least five Earth years simply by snapping his fingers with a handful of stones.
6 Thanos also took the second snap
Just a few weeks after the initial Snap, Thanos decided a second was needed. Thanos performs the second Snap in a selfish attempt to prevent others from undoing what he considered his life’s mission.
If it weren’t for his second Snap, the remaining Avengers wouldn’t have been able to find and kill him. They managed to trace the Stones ‘energy signature back to Thanos’ Garden (Planet 0259-S), where they finally enacted their revenge for him by eliminating half of his friends and family.
5 Thanos’ second snap destroyed the stones to make sure no one could undo his work
The second Snap destroyed the physical form of the Infinity Stones, preventing others from collecting the Stones (or stealing them from Thanos) to undo the 50% erasure of all life. While the Law of Conservation of Energy explains that energy cannot be created or destroyed, the physical form of the Stones was destroyed in the second Snap, rendering them useless in practice.
The energy of the Infinity Stones is still in the universe, potentially in search of new homes and / or users. With Wanda as a living Mind Stone totem and Captain Marvel as one for the Space Stone, it seems almost inevitable that the Stones will return at some point, or at least their energies.
4 The “professor” Hulk made the third snap
With the Main Stones destroyed, the Avengers finally come to the conclusion that time travel is the only way to undo what Thanos had done. After some tinkering, the team develops a time machine and splits into teams to retrieve the Stones from the past. Cap manages to seize the Mind Stone in 2012 in New York, but when things go wrong, he and Tony have to return to Camp Lehigh from 1970 to get the Space Stone. After some back and forth, the Hulk finally convinces the Elder to give him the Time Stone in 2012.
Black Widow sacrifices herself for the Soul Stone while Rhodey and Nebula find the Power Stone before Quill arrives. Thor returns to Asgard with Rocket to retrieve the Reality Stone from Jane Foster. Once everyone returns to the present, Tony develops his own nano glove to handle the Stones. After declaring that he should be the one to Snap due to the gamma radiation output, Hulk makes the third Snap in the MCU, sacrificing his right arm in the process.
3 Hulk managed to bring back everyone who was lost during the blip, except for some
The Hulk successfully brings everyone back (to safety) who had been dusted five years earlier in Thanos’ Snap. Unfortunately, despite trying, the Hulk was unable to bring back those who had been killed out of the Snap. Gamora lost her life on Vormir when Thanos sacrificed her for the Soul Stone, Vision lost her life when Thanos extracted the Mind Stone, and Black Widow sacrificed himself for the Soul Stone during the Time Heist. Also, Thanos had killed Loki before Banner returned to Earth, so perhaps he tried to bring him back as well.
The return of billions of lives to the MCU is a wonderful thing, although with the loss of so many heroes it was not without a cost. Not only did the aforementioned heroes remain dead, but other heroes also lost their lives during the final battle of Endgame.
two Tony took the fourth and final snapshot (for now)
Somehow, Thanos managed to replicate and mass produce Pym Particles to travel to the present and try to take the newly collected Stones from the Avengers. An all-out war ensues between Thanos and his forces against the Avengers and the heroes who had just been returned by Hulk’s Snap for possession of the Stones.
At the last moment, Tony managed to snatch the Infinity Stones from Thanos’s glove as part of a last-ditch effort to keep the Stones from Thanos 2014. While watching Thanos in his final moments, Tony declares himself Iron Man for the last time before making the fourth and final Snap, at least until the Stones decide to reform.
1 Tony dusted off Thanos and all his strength and committed suicide in the process
While Tony saved the day and kept the universe safe from Thanos’ threat in 2014, it came at a significant cost. All of Thanos’ forces were extinguished by the Snap, but so was Tony. Unfortunately, the radiation from the Stones was too much for his body to handle once the Stones were used.
While the Thanos threat in the MCU has seemingly been put down by the mightiest heroes on Earth, heroes will need time to recover after so many permanent losses. Tony’s story ended with the Infinity Stones, although given the concepts introduced in WandaVision Y LokiThe potential comeback for the Stones, as well as Stark, is wide open.
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