Both the Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy seem to spin around the 6 Infinity Stones.

In Thor: The Dark World, the Aether is given to the Collector. He explicitly says "One down, five to go.".

In Guardians of the Galaxy he obtains another Infinity Stone "The Orb". However, later his place is blown up because the Orb was touched by a mortal, then Ronan shows up and is only interested in the Orb, but the "One down, five to go" seems to suggest that The Collector had the Aether in his possession before he got the Orb.

Why is Thanos only interested in the Orb. If he is able to obtain all six Infinity Stones and the Infinitely Gauntlet and become the most powerful being in the Universe (which he already is according to his daughter in Guardians of the Galaxy).

Didn't Thanos know the Aether was in the possession of The Collector? Or is the Orb more powerful/destructive? Where are the other 4 Infinity Stones, will they pop up in the next movies?

An interesting analysis can be found here.

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    I asked this exact same question on scifi: scifi.stackexchange.com/questions/65560/… and the consensus was about the same as MattD's -- The Aether was found and taken to the Collector so quickly that Thanos never learned about it.
    – KutuluMike
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 20:50
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    May be he didn't know that it was there, or may be he knew but didn't want to tell Ronan about it because he knew he would betray him, and he didn't want him to have 2 infinity stones.
    – Dhon Joe
    Commented Apr 10, 2019 at 15:32

3 Answers 3


I'll try to answer these as best I can.

1. Why is Thanos only interested in the Orb?

As far as we can tell, this is the only Infinity Stone that Thanos is truly aware of. Even the Guardians of the Galaxy don't become aware of what's in the orb until The Collector opens it and reveals it to them. Thanos is using Ronan and his adopted daughters to retrieve the orb for him, with the promise of using it to destroy Xandar for Ronan, but Ronan takes the Orb for himself and threatens to kill Thanos with it after he uses it to destroy Xandar and the Nova Corps. Given his singular focus on the Orb itself, we can only assume he's aware of the location (however firm or loose that location may be) of this particular Infinity Stone, and is simply after that one for the time being.

2. Doesn't Thanos know The Collector has the Aether?

Probably not. Remember that at the end of Thor: The Dark World, Volstagg and Sif deliver it to The Collector. They entrust it to him likely with the intent of only him and various royal members of Asgard knowing he has it; it's even possible to assume that Thor and Loki still think it's safely within Asgard. Remember: the Aether was hidden for eons before Jane happened upon it, so it had been well hidden for a very long time before they handed it to The Collector. Unless Thanos became aware of its influence in Asgard's struggle against a newly risen Malekith, we can only assume that he doesn't actually know it's been brought back into the galaxy. Which leads us to item 3...

3. Where are the other four Infinity Stones?

Ah, you seem to have forgotten a key bit of info in mentioning the Asgardians delivering the Aether to The Collector at the end of "Thor: The Dark World": they note that since the the Tesseract is also in Asgard, keeping two Infinity Stones so close together is dangerous. As such we know the location of three Infinity stones as of the end of "Guardians of the Galaxy". The Aether is with The Collector (I doubt it was destroyed with the rest of his collection), the Tesseract is in Asgard, and the Orb is now safely locked up on Xandar with the Nova Corps.

4. Will the remaining stones pop up in future movies?

I'd say they certainly will, as Marvel has had a prop for the Infinity Gauntlet for some time now, but until those movies and their story lines are released, anything said would merely be conjecture.


As we now know, the Mind Stone was revealed to be in Loki's scepter and used to create Ultron and ultimately Vision. Considering Thanos gives this scepter to Loki, this indicates he actually gave up possession of an Infinity Stone to someone else in his efforts to uncover the others and achieve his primary goal. When it was briefly in the hands of Hydra it was used to create Quicksilver and Scarlet Witch, the latter being capable of actually destroying stones with her powers.

The Soul Stone ended up being discovered by Gamora who destroyed the details of its location and tried to keep them a secret from Thanos, even going as far as asking Star-Lord to kill her if Thanos manages to capture her. The stone is located on Vormir, guarded by Red Skull, who informs Thanos he must sacrifice someone he loves to obtain it. Thanos reluctantly throws Gamora to her death and obtains the stone.

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    According to the post-credit scene of The Avengers Thanos does know about the Tesseract.
    – Oliver_C
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 14:36
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    Ah, haven't seen it since it was in theaters and simply read the synopsis on Wikipedia to refresh my memory. Alright, so I guess it's safe to assume he knows about the Orb and Tesseract, but likely not the Aether if only for no other reason than neither Thanos nor anyone else explicitly states that he knows where it is?
    – MattD
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 14:38
  • The Dark Elves knew about the Aether and weren't really discrete about, so I'm not so sure that Thanos doesn't know about it, but I can't find prove...
    – invalid_id
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 17:30
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    Well, his collection was pretty much decimated to the point that one could assume it was a total loss until everything could be checked on, which would take a while as his collection is absolutely massive. Ronan's only goal was to retrieve the orb for Thanos and nothing else, so once he had it nothing else mattered to him. Even the audience is left to assume the collection was a complete loss until the end credits scene.
    – MattD
    Commented Sep 2, 2014 at 18:41
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    @invalid_id - I would suspect that Thanos knows about all the infinity stones, given the overarching plot. Rather, I'd say that he only knew the location of the Orb.
    – Bobson
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 14:41

Aside from

there might be another possible explanation:

  • The Aether wasn't in that museum.

    • To quote director/writer James Gunn:

      "I will say that is probably not the Collector’s only museum. I think he probably has other spaces in which he keeps his incredibly vast selection. That’s just his 'Knowhere' wing [in the movie]."

    If the Aether wasn't there, and Thanos (somehow) knew it was at a different location, then it would explain why he didn't order Ronan to get it as well.

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    But this leads to another question: if Thanos knows the Collector has the 'Aether', why hasn't he gone after him? Why not capture the Collector and force him to hand it over? - Or maybe Thanos knows where the Collector keeps the 'Aether' and has already made plans to get it.
    – Oliver_C
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 16:31
  • And another possibility might be that the timeline isn't entirely clear or equal to the movie releases. So maybe the Colector didn't have it at all because Thor 2 didn't happen yet. (But I don't remember what year it was that Peter was abducted, only that the movie happened 26 years afterwards.)
    – Napoleon Wilson
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 16:34
  • The opening for Guardians of the Galaxy is definitely set at some point in the 1980s. If we're to assume the events of GotG took place in our year of 2014, then that would place the movie's opening in 1988.
    – MattD
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 16:39
  • I will say the, "This is just his Knowehere wing," bit could make sense given they had to wait for The Collector. Maybe he was busy, maybe he had to travel in from another collection elsewhere in the galaxy.
    – MattD
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 16:40
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    The movie itself says '1988' at the beginning, and after the opening credits it says '26 years' later. - Plus, there is an official prequel comic in which the Collector, after receiving the Aether, hires Gamora (Zoe Saldana's character) to get the Orb for him.
    – Oliver_C
    Commented Sep 3, 2014 at 16:57

The collect didnt make them wait because he was away, clearly he is at nowhere before hand as he tells his assistant to work harder on cleaning as they have guests coming (not the exact quote).

The collect had them waiting simply because thats part of who he is In my opinion. It wasn't a negotiation tactic like starlord suggests. I suspect anyone who tries to deal with the collector ends up waiting more often then not.

As for why hasn't thanos gone after the others? Well, he may simple be following a plan. He isn't taking those stones yet because its not the right time yet.

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