With Avengers: Infinity War recently being added to Disney Plus, Marvel took the opportunity to give a rundown of the history of each of the Infinity Stones in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Noteworthy is that the IG post by Marvel Entertainment lists the status of each of the stones as “destroyed”, a description which has caused a little debate online. To clarify, the stones in question here are those from the Prime Timeline and not the ones that were acquired as part of the time heist in Avengers: Endgame; each of those stones is clearly still in play in its individual timeline which explains why we have a Loki show coming up on Disney Plus eventually.
As Thanos told the Avengers, he “used the stones to destroy the stones” as they served no further purpose than to pose as a temptation; however, as the Russos described in an interview in May of 2019, even in the MCU the stones follow the very important scientific principle of the conservation of mass so the true fate of the stones was, as Thanos further described it, isn’t quite so simple and incredibly important. Even the power of the Infinity Stones can’t change the simple fact that matter can neither be created nor destroyed, but Thanos did use that power, and the particulate nature of matter, to reduce the stones into their individual atoms.
This is good news for the MCU because, as the Ancient One told Bruce Banner, the stones are essential to the flow of time and their removal or destruction would portend very, very bad things for the timeline. So while the stones aren’t big chunks of matter anymore, all the matter that made up the stones still exists which means the world can keep on keeping on. We will see what implication, if any, this has on the future of the MCU, other than allowing it to have one, when Phase 4 gets going sometime in the next 4 months to a year.