'Avengers: Infinity War': Where we've been, where we're going and those crazy stones

From left, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Wong (Benedict Wong) 
 get ready for battle in "Avengers: Infinity War."
From left, Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.), Hulk (Mark Ruffalo) and Wong (Benedict Wong) get ready for battle in "Avengers: Infinity War." Marvel Studios

In case you didn't know it, "Avengers: Infinity War" opens Friday with all the subtlety of an exploding planet.

The film is being billed as "the biggest crossover event of all time," with every Marvel Cinematic Universe film for the past 10 years all leading up to this. Here's a look at where we've been and where we're going heading into "Infinity War":


"Iron Man" (2008) -- The one that started it all. After being held captive in an Afghan cave (which doesn't sound like much fun), billionaire industrialist Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr. ) builds a weaponized suit of armor to fight evil.

"The Incredible Hulk" (2008) -- After being exposed to gamma radiation, scientist Bruce Banner (Edward Norton) turns into the monstrous creature Hulk whenever he gets angry. He seeks a cure for himself before the military cashes in on his condition. (Mark Ruffalo would later play Hulk in other MCU movies, since this one doesn't exactly fit onto the MCU.)

"Iron Man 2" (2010) -- After Tony Stark reveals himself to be Iron Man, the U.S. government demands he hand over his technology. Meanwhile, a rival industrialist and a Russian scientist conspire to use his own technology against him.

"Thor" (2011) -- The powerful but arrogant god Thor (Chris Hemsworth) is cast out of Asgard to live amongst humans on Earth, where he meets cute but nerdy astrophysicist Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and soon becomes one of Earth's defenders.

"Captain America: The First Avenger" (2011) -- In 1942, puny Steve Rogers (Chris Evans) is deemed physically unfit to enlist in the U.S. Army (how rude!) and fight the Nazis in World War II. But after being recruited for a secret military operation, he is physically transformed into a super-soldier dubbed Captain America. At the end if the movie, he somehow wakes up in modern-day New York.

"Marvel's The Avengers" (2012) -- Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson), the director of S.H.I.E.L.D., gathers superhero buddies Iron Man, Thor, Captain America, Hulk, Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and Hawkeye (Jeremy Renner) to fight Thor's brother Loki, who plots to overtake Earth (of course).

"Iron Man 3" (2013) -- Tony Stark's world is torn apart by a formidable terrorist called the Mandarin.

"Thor: The Dark World" (2013) -- Thor reunites with Jane when she unwittingly becomes the host for a powerful weapon called the Aether, forcing him to bring her to Asgard before Dark Elf Malekith captures her and uses the weapon to destroy the Nine Realms (including Earth, of course).

"Captain America: The Winter Soldier" (2014) -- Steve Rogers, now working with S.H.I.E.L.D., teams up with Black Widow and Falcon to expose a deep conspiracy that involves a mysterious assassin known as the Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan) -- or as he says "just Bucky."

"Guardians of the Galaxy" (2014) -- Peter Quill (Chris Pratt) and a group of misfits that include Gamora, Rocket, Drax the Destroyer and Groot fight to keep a powerful orb from the clutches of the villainous Ronan (Lee Pace).

"Avengers: Age of Ultron" (2015) -- The superheroes must work together to defeat Ultron, a technological enemy bent on human extinction. New allies include the powerful twins Pietro and Wanda Maximoff and Vision.

"Ant-Man" (2015) -- Thief Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) must aid his mentor, Dr. Hank Pym, in safeguarding powerful technology that allows its user to decrease in size but increase in strength.

"Captain America: Civil War" (2016) -- The Avengers become fractured into two opposing teams, one led by Captain America and the other by Iron Man, after extensive collateral damage prompts politicians to pass an act regulating superhuman activity. Ant-Man, Spider-Man and Black Panther/T'Challa (Chadwick Boseman) join the ranks.

"Doctor Strange" (2016) -- After brilliant neurosurgeon Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) suffers injuries from a car accident that ruin his career, he sets out on a journey of of physical and spiritual healing that draws him into the world of the mystic arts.

"Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2" (2017) -- The Guardians unravel the mystery of Peter Quill's true parentage.

"Spider-Man: Homecoming" (2017) -- Peter Parker (Tom Holland) tries to balance his new life as a superhero while navigating high school, under the guidance of Tony Stark.

"Thor: Ragnarok" (2017) -- Thor, trapped on another world without his mighty hammer, must survive a gladiatorial duel against the Hulk and return to Asgard in time to stop his villainous sister Hela (Cate Blanchett) from taking over the universe (of course).

"Black Panther" (2018) -- T'Challa returns home to his technologically advanced nation of Wakanda to take his place as king, only to be challenged by a vengeful outsider.

"Avengers: Infinity War" (2018) -- The Avengers and their (many) allies join forces to defeat powerful purple dude Thanos (Josh Brolin), who seeks the six Infinity Stones to make an Infinity Gauntlet that will let him wreak havoc and rule the universe (of course).


We've already seen five of the stones in previous films. Here's what we know about them:

The Space Stone: We saw it in "Captain America" and "The Avengers," but it was called the "Tesseract," and was used to open a portal for the Chitauri creatures to get to New York City. It's energy was also harnessed to teleport Thor and Loki back to Asgard when all the dust (mostly) settled. It then was stored in Thor's dad Odin’s vault on Asgard, and was taken by Loki in "Thor: Ragnarok."

The Mind Stone: This was seen in both Avengers movies, first in Loki’s mind-control scepter from the first film, and then embedded in the forehead of Vision after helping to create Ultron.

The Reality Stone: Otherwise known as the Aether, as seen in "Thor: The Dark World," this stone deals in dark matter and almost fell into the wrong hands of the Dark Elves. It's currently in the possession of the Collector (Benicio Del Toro), as seen in "Guardians of the Galaxy."

The Power Stone: This was at the heart of the scuffle in "Guardians of the Galaxy," coveted by Ronan and eventually recovered by Star-Lord and the rest of the Guardians. Currently, the Nova Corps peeps are keeping it safe in their vaults on planet Xandar.

The Time Stone: This was seen in the " Eye of Agamotto" in "Doctor Strange." It's now kept in the halls of Kamar-Taj in Nepal, guarded by the Doc and his order of sorcerers.

The Soul Stone: The final gem. This is typically seen in comics in the possession of Adam Warlock, though "Infinity War" screenwriters Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely explained to ET online that including Warlock in the movie would been "a massive backbend," cryptically meaning he won't be in the film. So the location of this stone is unclear. But I bet it shows up.