Endgame Already Solved Phase 4's Confusing Infinity Stones Question

The "Party Thor" episode of Marvel’s What If…? may raise questions regarding the use of the Infinity Stones, but, thankfully, Avengers: Endgame already cleared up any potential confusion. At the end of “Party Thor”'s episode of What If, the hedonistic Asgardian prince cleans up his world-spanning and potentially lethal party and asks Jane Foster out on a date. Their tender moment is interrupted by the sudden appearance of what seems like an alternate universe Ultron, inhabiting the vibranium Vision body and possessing all six Infinity Stones. How could this version of Ultron use the stones when they’re said to only work in their native reality?

The Infinity Stones are some of the most powerful objects in any Marvel universe. When combined into the Infinity Gauntlet (or a functionally similar housing), they give their wielder omnipotent powers. The Marvel comics lore also establishes that they cannot work outside of their native reality. For this reason, the Infinity Stones were jokingly treated as worthless in Marvel’s Loki, with low-level TVA employees keeping them in drawers and sometimes using them as paperweights. This doesn’t diminish their value. It simply shows that they lose their potency in the TVA’s alternate reality.

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With his sudden appearance via a portal, it would seem that the Infinity Stone-wielding Ultron is from another timeline, which should neutralize the stones’ powers. In Endgame, however, the surviving Avengers spend most of the film retrieving Infinity Stones from various points in their timeline, and the stones still work when combined into Stark’s nanotech gauntlet. What this means is that the Ultron in What If didn’t receive his Infinity Stones from other realities, nor is he from another reality. If he was, his stones wouldn’t work.

The Avengers traveled through time to retrieve the Infinity Stones before their destruction, but they never left their home reality. Instead, they simply traveled back through the timeline of their home reality. When they altered the timeline by taking the Infinity Stones, they created new realities, but could still use the stones in their present. At the end of the film, when Steve Rogers goes back to return the stones to the point where they were stolen, he effectively ensures that they retain their power since his actions prevented new realities from being created.

The Ultron in What If exiting a portal to confront Thor doesn’t mean that he got his stones from another reality. He might have finished taking the stones from other points in his reality’s timeline, therefore remaining in a universe where they’ll work. Ultron may have also simply used the space stone to create a portal to Thor for their confrontation. In any case, Ultron is most likely not contradicting Marvel lore in What If.

While the Marvel comics established the limitations of Infinity Stones in the multiverse, Endgame made it clear that simply traveling through the timeline of one’s native reality won’t neutralize said universe’s stones. It’s only when using them in an entirely different reality that they lose their power. The Avengers kept the stones in their native reality in Avengers: Endgame and Ultron appears to follow these same rules in Marvel’s What If…?, resolving any potential confusion.

Next: Every Plot Hole In Party Thor's Invasion Of Earth

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