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The MCU Only Introduced Two of the Infinity Stones' Original Guardians

In the Marvel Universe, the Infinity Stones were once guarded by the Elders of the Universe. Thanos, in his quest to collect the Stones to create the Infinity Gauntlet, bested each Elder, taking their stone in the process. Despite Thanos and the Infinity Stones being crucial aspects of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, only two of these Elders have appeared in the films, and only one had a connection to an Infinity Stone.

There are six Infinity Stones in the Marvel Universe: Time, Space, Reality, Power, Mind, and Soul. Each of these Stones gives its user mastery over its respective trait—that is the Time Stone can slow or speed up time, the Power Stone gives its user unparalleled strength, and so on. Each Infinity Stone is powerful on its own, but when brought together, the Stones can make the user a god, capable of defeating cosmic beings such as Eternity and the Celestials. Perhaps the most famous story involving the Stones was 1991’s Infinity Gauntlet, considered one of Marvel’s greatest stories and the foundation for the “Infinity Saga” running through the MCU’s first three phases. In the translation to film, key parts of the story were changed - including how Thanos obtained the Stones. In the films, Thanos took the Stones from a variety of disparate sources, such as the Nova Corps, but in the comics, he defeated each of the Elders of the Universe, taking their stones. However, only two of these Elders have appeared in the movies so far.

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The Elders of the Universe are the last survivors of their respective races and have all been granted immortality. These Elders are noted for obsessions—such as the Collector, who, as the name implies, collects things; or the Gardener, who seeds the cosmos with plant life. During Thanos Quest, the Mad Titan defeated five of the Elders for their Infinity Stones: the Champion (Power), the Gardener (Time), the Collector (Reality), the Runner (Space), and the Grandmaster (Mind). Thanos also took the Soul Stone from the In-Betweener, who is not an Elder, but still immensely powerful. So far, only two of the Elders have appeared in the MCU. The Collector, played by Bencio del Toro, has appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy and Infinity War and the Grandmaster, who appeared in Thor: Ragnarok, played by Jeff Goldblum.

Despite the fact that Thanos and the Infinity Stones seem to have run their course in the MCU, there are still plenty of opportunities for the other Elders to appear. Of the two Elders who have appeared in Marvel movies, only one - the Collector - had ties to the Stones, making incorporating the remainders of the Elders easier. The obsessions that drive the Elders would lend themselves well to movies. For example, the Champion, who once possessed the Power Stone, loves to fight and is skilled in combat techniques from around the galaxy. Imagine the Champion squaring off with a powerhouse like Thor or the Hulk? Or the Gardener fighting Groot?

The two Elders of the Universe who have appeared in the MCU so far have been formidable presences. Even without the Infinity Stones, the Elders are still fascinating, and powerful characters who would add much to the expanding MCU.

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