Everyone (media, fans) calls Aether an Infinity Stone. It has become common now. But, look at these:

In Thor: The Dark World, Odin says:

Their leader, Malekith, made a weapon out of that darkness and it was called the Aether. While the other relics often appear as stones, the Aether is fluid and everchanging. It changes matter into dark matter. It seeks out host bodies, drawing strength from their life-force.

It says that Aether was made by a creature. It differs from what The Collector said in Guardians of the Galaxy:

Before creation itself, there were six singularities. Then the universe exploded into existence, and the remnants of these systems were forged into concentrated ingots… Infinity Stones.

Where in the movies does it say that Aether is an Infinity Stone? And why this contradiction?

  • 1
    Are you saying everyone calls it an Infinity Stone in-universe or out-of-universe?
    – Edlothiad
    Nov 8, 2017 at 9:32
  • 4
    @Edlothiad Obviously, out-of-universe. Otherwise, there was no point of the question.
    – user931
    Nov 8, 2017 at 9:34
  • 3
    "were forged into concentrated ingots" and "made a weapon out of that" means the same, there's no contradiction.
    – Mithoron
    Nov 8, 2017 at 15:06
  • It's like Loki putting the Mind Stone in his staff. Loki didn't create the Mind Stone, but he did create the staff and use the Mind Stone in it to control people. Similarly, Malekith didn't create The Aether, but he did use it to make a weapon. Nov 8, 2017 at 16:20
  • Yes, it is. Because the Aether is the stone of time-space. And if it's condensed, it turns solid. But in Thor: The Dark World it's fragmented into sand because it can change it's own shape. It -is- the stone of space-time after all. Apr 27, 2018 at 16:09

5 Answers 5


From the mid-credits scene of Thor: The Dark World, just before handing The Collector the Aether, one of the Asgardians says:

The Collector: Of course. But if I may ask, why not keep it secure in your own vault?
Volstagg: The Tesseract is already on Asgard. It's not wise to keep two Infinity Stones so close together.
The Collector: That's very wise. [Sif hands the Aether over to The Collector] I can assure you it will be absolutely safe in...in my collection.

The scene can be seen here:

This is, albeit subtly, confirmed by Kevin Feige (President of Marvel Studios) in an interview with Craved Online

Kevin Feige: He’s going to go off and investigate that, and the Tesseract, and the orb in Guardians [of the Galaxy], the sceptre in this movie…

CravedOnline: The Aether in Thor: The Dark World…

Kevin Feige: The Aether… They’re all connected.
Interview: Kevin Feige on the Infinity Stones, Civil War...

This is confirmed as the Tesseract (housing the Space Stone), Orb (housing the Power Stone) and Scepter (housed the Mind Stone) all are infinity stones, and Kevin Feige throwing the Aether in that list seems to confirm it, especially since we find out that Thor was indeed looking for the infinity stones in Ragnarok (IIRC)

Malekith didn't create the Aether. He merely turned the Reality Stone into a weapon. Similar to how the Mind Stone was turned into a weapon (Vision) and the Tessarect (Space Stone) before that with Hydra.

  • What about the contradiction?
    – user931
    Nov 8, 2017 at 10:30
  • 25
    Which contradiction? The weapon? Just because someone “made a weapon” out of something doesn’t mean that person created it. It means that they used it and turned it into a weapons. The Americans didn’t create atomic theory, but they made a weapon out of it. Tony Stark didn’t create the mind stone, but he made a weapon out of it (Vision, although it was possibly more Thor than it was Tony Stark)
    – Edlothiad
    Nov 8, 2017 at 10:57
  • @Edlothiad It was more Ultron than either Thor or Tony - he designed the body and created it with that biochemist's help. Tony only inserted JARVIS' matrix into it and then tried to power it up; all Thor did was provide the last 40% or so of power from a lightning strike after Cap wrecked the systems providing power/data.
    – TylerH
    Sep 6, 2019 at 13:43

Your answer is actually in the movie itself, only a couple of lines before the one you quoted. When Odin first starts showing Thor & Jane the book, he says the opening line:

ODIN: There are relics that predate the universe itself. What lies within her appears to be one of them. The Nine Realms are not eternal. They had a dawn, as they will have a dusk. But before that dawn the dark forces, the Dark Elves, reigned absolute and unchallenged.

[Odin carefully opens an ancient, beautifully illuminated book and selects a page. As Thor reads from it, the illustration moves.]

THOR: “Before the eternal night, the Dark Elves come to steal away your light.” These were the stories mother told to us as children.

ODIN: Their leader, Malekith, made a weapon out of that darkness, it was called the Aether. While the other relics often appear as stones, the Aether is fluid, and ever changing. It changes matter into dark matter, and seeks out host bodies, drawing strength from their life force. Malekith sought to use the Aether’s power to return the universe to one of darkness. But, after eternities of bloodshed, my father Bor finally triumphed; ushering in a peace that lasted thousands of years.

He then continues to explain about the Dark Elves and Malekith making a weapon out of the darkness. Note that the topic he is explaining is not just the Aether itself, but all of the "relics". Odin is merely stating that Malekith harnessed one of them into a weapon called the Aether.

It's also important to note that even in-universe, not everyone calls them "Infinity Stones". I think the first time we hear Thor call them that in-universe is at the end of Avengers 2:

Thor: I have no choice. The Mind Stone is the fourth of the Infinity Stones to show up in the last few years. That's not a coincidence. Someone has been playing an intricate game and has made pawns of us. But once all these pieces are in position...

Tony Stark: Triple Yahtzee?

Steve Rogers: You think you can find out what's coming?

Obviously, they had already been called that previously in GotG, but since Thor wasn't present for those events it indicates that he heard the term somewhere on Earth or Asgard between the events of "Thor 2: The Dark World" and "Avengers: Age of Ultron".


Before time existed, these singularities existed. Aether was one of it. Others infinity stones may or may not have a form earlier. We know that the elders forged them into stones but Aether had always been in the possession of Malekith. And during the war with Asgard, Bor sealed it away for nobody to touch. Maybe it never manifested into an ingot like the others. Aether is also the only of the six that the elders never used. Another possibility that comes into mind is the reference. Since Aether represents control over reality itself, and can completely change it as the user wishes, the shape metaphorically is ever changing. This is pure hypothesis but makes sense but that might be stretching it.


In Thor's vision in Age of Ultron we see the Tesseract, Orb, and scepter open to reveal their respective stones; in the same sequence the Aether coalesces into a red stone. It is an Infinity Stone, but Malekith may have altered it to make it liquid (as there are six gem settings in the Infinity Gauntlet and the Collector's 3D PowerPoint showed the red stone as a gem like the rest). This may be the weaponisation that Odin spoke of.

  • 2
    "3D PowerPoint" killed it for me, nice answer!
    – Edlothiad
    Nov 9, 2017 at 11:14

Their leader, Malekith, made a weapon out of that darkness and it was called the Aether.

Regarding the "contradiction":

This is a case where punctuation (for writing) and tone/timing (for speech) actually make a difference. So what does the "it" actually refer to? Well, we have 3 options:

  • The leader
  • The weapon, or
  • The darkness

If referring to the leader, then the pronoun "he" would probably have been used instead of "it", the verb would have probably been "named" instead of "called", etc. So we can rule out that the leader was called "Aether".

So that leaves the weapon or the darkness. Here's a clip of the quotation in question.

Odin leaves no significant pause between the word "darkness" and the rest of the sentence. So I would say this implies that the weapon is what "was called Aether". Thus I'd argue that the Aether is really a byproduct of the Reality stone, not the stone itself.

However, it could be that weapon is so closely associated with the stone, that the Marvel universe inhabitants make no distinction between them (in much the same way that the average person associates "Android" with the physical phones instead of the operating system). So it's kind of an accepted contradiction at a very pedantic level.


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