We’re in the final stages of the end game, and that’s Avengers: Endgame. We already know from Doctor Strange that there’s only one way for the Avengers to come out on top, and for that to happen all the deaths and sacrifices that we’ve witnessed in Infinity War were necessary. In the next movie, they’ll very likely have to face the mad titan again and again, but Thanos might not be the real villain in the film. Or, better put, while Thanos is the best villain the MCU has ever seen and he’ll probably continue to shine in the upcoming movie as well, there’s a much more significant threat looming. We’ve seen all sorts of theories trying to explain who that real threat might be, but the newest one is pretty interesting, as it suggests the real danger has been hiding in plain sight right in front of our eyes.

Thanos did something remarkable in Infinity War. He gathered all the Infinity Stones in one place and used them to do evil… or good, depending on who’s telling the story. He is the hero in his own mind, having made sure that the universe has a chance of surviving by eliminating half of its population so that the remaining half doesn’t run out of resources.

He accomplished something no other character was able to do before, and that’s what Redditor ankitm1 focuses on in his new theory. It’s not decimating life across the known universe; it’s gathering all the Infinity Stones in one place. The Infinity Gauntlet may be badly damaged following Infinity War, but he still has all the stones. Anyone with knowledge of that fact could try to take them from him, and rule the universe. So the real threat of Endgame might be the Infinity Stones themselves, according to the Redditor, and the fact they’re no longer scattered.

If the Avengers beat Thanos — and they surely will in Endgame — the stones will need to separated and managed. And perhaps each stone will get a new master:

The solution to this was briefly hinted in the Infinity War in the conversation between Banner and Vision. Where Banner called Vision as much more than the stone. (Something on the lines of take away the stone, Vision is still left). It was like Vision was an interface between the power of stones and humanity where he was constantly learning more and more and think rationally rather than just let the stone decide. It’s like he has a soul too.

Moreover, he can still fight whosoever wants his stone. If Mind stone can survive in this way, so can other stones. The one avenger with the power to do this will be Vision. Or maybe someone with the Soul stone who assigns a soul to every stone, and then scatter them again. But the way Vision has been introduced and given importance, I feel it will be Vision to do it. They have spent a lot of time on him and his union with the Mind stone right from the Age of Ultron. Maybe he does it with the gauntlet or without it. He will order the sentient power within the stones to go with a soul, and then the stones are no longer just that but living identities.

Marvel earlier this year made a subtle change to its canon to confirm that Loki was under the spell of the Mind Stone in the first Avengers movie, and the Redditor points out that Loki, unlike Vision, wasn’t necessarily the best guardian of the stone. He lost control and we all know what followed. I’ll also remind you that Thor was the deciding factor for creating Vision back in Age of Ultron, having realized in his own way that the Mind Stone requires a sentient being that could control its power.

The Redditor went on to say that maybe the Soul Stone reaches Adam Warlock and sets up the next phase of the MCU. In the comics, of course, there is a precedent for this, although it’s unclear whether Marvel will follow any storylines from the comics going forward.

Avengers: Endgame premieres on April 26th, and this new theory is available in full right now to tide you over for now.