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In Avengers: Infinity War, in an attempt to find one of the Infinity Stones before Thanos gets it, the Guardians of the Galaxy go to Knowhere to try and take the Reality Stone before Thanos can get it.

Thanos, being one step ahead, already has the Stone and when they come and start attacking him, he uses it to literally turn Drax and Mantis into little cubes. He then kidnaps Gamora and after he leaves they get up like nothing happened.

Did Thanos use the Stone to "put them together again" or does it mean the Stone's effects are only temporary?

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    Alternatively, it was an illusion that Thanos let go of when he left--he may not have literally turned them into cubes. – Kitkat Apr 30 '18 at 20:13
  • He didn't want to kill them, so he just incapacitated them reversibly. – Mithoron May 5 '18 at 20:53
  • It didn't really look like Mantis was cubed. It looked more like she was unwound. – tox123 May 14 '18 at 2:52
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From MCU wikia on Aether (reality stone):
Capabilities:

Reality Manipulation - The user with the Aether can manipulate reality. During the convergence, this is manifested mostly through energy projections. Thanos used it primarily to create illusions (such as the one that hid the destroyed Collector's Museum from the Guardians of the Galaxy, or another that showed to Doctor Strange how Titan was in Thanos’s prime), or prevent lethal attacks, with both Peter's beams and Gamora's dagger being turned into bubbles, and the Hulkbuster being embedded inside a cliff wall.

They are illusions, he is not really harming them, just affecting their reality (it is the reality stone after all). Also I think it's an ilusion because, if it wasn't Thanos could easily create infinite resources and "fix" the universe.

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    If they were just illusions shouldn't Quills gun have killed Gamora? – Marie May 1 '18 at 1:10
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    Thanos /can/ create illusions with the Reality Stone, but that doesn’t mean it’s the only thing he can do with it. Presumably he actually changes reality when it’s necessary—but why do that all the time if it’s not required if an illusion serves just as well? – Kitkat May 1 '18 at 4:23
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    I think there's an important point here: Thanos didn't kill them. Cubes they may have been, but did you notice Mantis's eye blinking? They may have been changed into such a form that, under ordinary reality, they couldn't be alive: but they retained consciousness in Thanos's version. – Obie 2.0 May 1 '18 at 10:24
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    They were not illusions. Thanos altered their forms, but didn't kill them, and the effect vanished when he stopped concentrating on it. Perhaps he could have made it permanent, but maybe not. Or perhaps he didn't care, so he didn't bother. – Obie 2.0 May 1 '18 at 10:26
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    That is what I am thinking as well. You cant say "How did they survive something that no person could survive" because you are basing that on our reality. He just made reality different so the normal rules don't apply. I dont think that he wanted to kill Mantis and Drax, he just wanted to subdue them. – Marie May 1 '18 at 13:43

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