Thanos the Mad Titan might be the principal villain in Avengers 4 (and Infinity War), but a new fan theory reminds us that the corrupting influence of the Mind Stone has been a malevolent presence for far longer in the MCU. It could even be the cause of Thanos’ madness.

Over the weekend, redditor u/zaneman777 posted a new Infinity War theory to the /r/FanTheories subreddit titled “The true [villain] in Infinity War is the Mind Stone.”

They note “that every time the Mind Stone is involved there is somebody who wants to kill everybody,” citing consistent events across every Avengers movie, starting with the first. Essentially, “the Mind Stone is alive” and “can see the future,” so it might’ve triggered the series of events that led to Thanos winning in Infinity War to save itself.

“The final proof,” according to zaneman777, is the scene from the first Avengers in which the Mind Stone, from inside Loki’s Scepter, seemingly fosters discord among Earth’s mightiest heroes, dragging them into conflict with one another. The Infinity Stones came from the singularity that formed the universe, so what if the Mind Stone exerts its will upon sentient beings to create chaos? (This actually ties in with another theory that each Stone punishes anyone that gets too close to it in specific ways.)

In 'The Avengers', it sure looks like the Mind Stone causes discord among Earth's mightiest heroes.

Pretty much every major event and conflict in the Avengers movies arises because of the Mind Stone’s influence.

Thor seems somewhat surprised that Loki wants a war on Earth during Avengers, implying that the Stone might corrupt his behavior. Age of Ultron also shows that Hydra had the Scepter during Winter Soldier, and subsequently made plans to destroy anyone in their path. The Mind Stone even gave Scarlet Witch her powers, and those powers bewitched enough paranoia into Tony Stark that he created Ultron. The killer robot then tried to wipe out all of humanity.

Redditor zaneman777 also notes a hugely important quote from Thor in Age of Ultron shortly after Vision’s creation: “I’ve had a vision: a whirlpool that sucks in all hope and life, and at its center is that,” Thor says, pointing to the Mind Stone in Vision’s head.

Therefore it’s fitting that the Mind Stone is the very last that Thanos claims in Infinity War, but the Mind Stone is also noteworthy by being uniquely large compared to the five others.

'Infinity War'
Thanos takes the Mind Stone right out of Vision's head in 'Infinity War'.

The most interesting part of this theory, however, reminds us that Thanos loaned the scepter to Loki at the start of Avengers, so zaneman777 theorizes that the Mind Stone’s influence “may be how he became the Mad Titan.”

The fact is, we don’t know how long Thanos had the scepter for before the events shown in The Avengers. What if he was a general on Titan and the Scepter corrupted him, literally making him into the “Mad Titan” and prompting him to dream up his horrible idea of mass genocide? Thanos might not have known the Scepter held an Infinity Stone initially. So maybe it was the Mind Stone that set him on his quest.

The Reddit post does note that Vision being one of the good guy’s could invalidate this theory. But much like how Frodo remains good despite wielding the One Ring in The Lord of the Rings, it’s possible that Vision somehow resists the Mind Stone’s corruption.

Bruce Banner also says something to that effect in Infinity War.

“Your mind is made up of a complex construct of overlays,” he tells Vision. “Jarvis, Ultron, Tony, me, the Stone — all of them mixed together, all of them learning from one another.”

That’s why they theorize removing the Stone is possible and doing so would preserve the “best parts” of Vision. Maybe Vision simply has more good overlays than evil ones.

In Captain America: Civil War, Vision says of the Mind Stone, “Its true nature is a mystery” adding, “I wish to understand it. The more I do, the less it controls me.” So his overall story arc has been one of gradual understanding and authorship over his own existence, maybe even one about overcoming the evil Stone in his head.

At least, that’s what may have been happening until Thanos totally killed him. All that remains is for Vision to resurrected in some fashion as part of Avengers 4, right? Then we might finally learn the true nature and importance of the Mind Stone.

Avengers 4 will be released on May 3, 2019.

Photos via Marvel Studios