WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Marvel's Black Panther, in theaters now.
Virtually every Marvel Studios film since at least 2012's The Avengers has slowly built toward one objective: saving the universe from Thanos. While the heroes we've have followed for the past decade haven't necessarily known they would eventually face off against the Mad Titan, it's evident to audiences. Infinity Stones have cropped up throughout the Marvel Cinematic Universe for years, culminating in Thanos' arrival on Earth in May in Avengers: Infinity War, intent on completing his Infinity Gauntlet.
There are six powerful stones needed to unlock the unlimited power of the gauntlet, and so far five have been unearthed. The Space Stone is in the possession of Loki after the destructive events of Thor: Ragnarok; the Mind Stone is implanted in the forehead of The Vision; the Reality Stone ended up in The Collector's possession after Thor: The Dark World; the Nova Corps are looking after the Power Stone, thanks to the actions of the Guardians of the Galaxy; and Doctor Strange is using the Time Stone to aid with this magic.
That leaves the Soul Stone, which many fans speculated would be revealed in Black Panther, which would make considerable sense, as the trailer for Infinity War establishes Wakanda as one of the film's primary settings. It's worth noting previous theories about the Soul Stone have been incorrect; it didn't turn out to be hidden behind Odin's eye patch, or safeguarded by Heimdall.
So, does the Soul Stone finally surface in Black Panther, as many expected? Surprisingly, no. There's not even a sly nod to the powerful relic.
However, the film shows on multiple occasions that its hero, King T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman), can commune with the spirits of the dead. What better way to interweave that spiritual process into the larger MCU narrative than to connect it to the Infinity Stone? It would provided an explanation as to how the Wakandans visit the Ancestral Plane. Not only that, it would give Thanos and his Black Order a viable reason to invade.
The Soul Stone could still be located in Wakanda, though. We've all seen the trailer for Infinity War, right? A lot of the action unfolds in Wakanda, home to Black Panther and, at least for now, the Winter Soldier.
Why would so much of Infinity War play out in Wakanda if the nation didn't possess one of the objects of Thanos' desire? Of course, it's possible the Mad Titan requires a supply of Vibranium to achieve his ultimate goal, but that would still leave the question: Where is the Soul Stone?
It's definitely not in Black Panther, but that obviously doesn't mean it isn't in Wakanda, somewhere. However, we'll have to wait a few more months, until Avengers: Infinity War arrives in theaters, to learn the whereabouts of the Soul Stone.
In theaters now, director Ryan Coogler's Black Panther stars Chadwick Boseman as T’Challa, Michael B. Jordan as Erik Killmonger, Lupita Nyong’o as Nakia, Daniel Kaluuya as W’Kabi, Letitia Wright as Shuri, Danai Gurira as Okoye, Angela Bassett as Ramonda, Martin Freeman as Everett K. Ross, Andy Serkis as Ulysses Klaue, Winston Duke as M’Baku and Forest Whitaker as Zuri.