With less than two months until the release of Avengers: Endgame, speculation continues to mount as to how, exactly, the surviving heroes of the Marvel Cinematic Universe will regroup to defeat Thanos and undo the catastrophic events of Avengers: Infinity War.
A new fan theory has surfaced from Reddit user Fribbulate, centered on the Soul Stone playing a pivotal role in the upcoming MCU film -- and it's a really good one. Just as Thanos' recovery of the Infinity Stone involved the costly sacrifice of Gamora on Vormir for the Stone to appear to him, the heroes similarly would have to sacrifice something at least one of them holds the most dear on the alien planet for the Soul Stone to leave the Mad Titan and his Infinity Gauntlet and change owners.
To support the theory, the Redditor points to Gamora's death scene from Infinity War, where she's thrown from the top of the ancient stone structure by Thanos after the Red Skull informs the villain that he must give up the thing he loves the most for the Stone to appear. As Gamora's body is displayed at the foot of the mountaintop structure, the impact marks and blood stains of previous victims are clearly visible around her. This suggests that Thanos is far from the first individual to commit a costly sacrifice on Vormir for the Infinity Stone, and leaves the possibility open that future sacrifices in exchange for the Soul Stone can be similarly made.
With many fan theories regarding Endgame assuming that the Avengers recover the Stones from Thanos in order to undo the damage he unleashed with the Infinity Gauntlet, this theory hypothesizes that in order to recover the Soul Stone, the heroes travel to Vormir to make their own sacrifice. With Tony Stark and Pepper Potts reportedly having a daughter sometime between the events of Infinity War and Endgame, and Scott Lang having a daughter of his own, there are definitely heroes left in the MCU that potentially have a lot to lose in their desperate bid to recover the Infinity Stones from Thanos, though it's unlikely Marvel Studios will allow its biggest heroes to commit infanticide, even if it means saving the galaxy.
The theory also elaborates that once the Avengers have recovered the Soul Stone, they would be able to communicate with echoes of those killed by the Infinity Gauntlet at the end of Infinity War, similar to how Thanos was able to speak with a vision of Gamora from within the Stone immediately after making the climactic snap. With Doctor Strange, one of the most knowledgeable about the nature of the Infinity Stones, among the half of the universe killed by the Gauntlet, this would allow the heroes to communicate with the Sorcerer Supreme from beyond to grave to develop a strategy moving forward to his, and the rest of the half-gone universe's inevitable resurrection.
Of course, with the Infinity Gauntlet still in Thanos' possession, the Mad Titan would immediately notice the disappearance of the Soul Stone. The cunning villain would then realize what the surviving heroes are up to, driving him firmly into Endgame's story as he actively works against the Avengers to stop them from recovering the other Infinity Stones and undoing his earlier victory.
As to how the Avengers learn of Vormir and the planet's connection to the Soul Stone, during the heroes' battle with Thanos on Titan, Nebula indicated that she knew of Gamora's fate and how it was linked to the Stone on Vormir. With Nebula still alive and well at the start of Endgame, she will presumably inform Tony and the rest of the Avengers of how and where to recover the Stone once the heroes regroup on Earth, potentially leading an expedition to Vormir herself to save her sister. Whether this leads to a reunion between Captain America and the Red Skull, we have no way of knowing, but the Russo Brothers confirmed that the villain is no longer bound to the Stone after Thanos recovered it in Infinity War.
Perhaps the most mysterious of the Infinity Stones, the Soul Stone was the subject of a fairly large amount of speculation regarding its location and nature leading up to the release of Infinity War last year. With the Avengers all but confirmed to embark on their own quest to recover the Stones in Endgame, the Soul Stone will surely play a central role in the upcoming MCU film. However, as previously seen, there is no Infinity Stone that comes at a greater personal cost leaving the larger question: Which Avenger is prepared to make such a devastating sacrifice?
Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, Avengers: Endgame stars Robert Downey Jr., Josh Brolin, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Olsen, Chadwick Boseman, Sebastian Stan, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Bettany, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Benedict Wong, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Holland and Anthony Mackie. The film arrives on April 26.