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The location of the Soul Stone, the last of the Infinity Stones, remains one of the last big mysteries of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As filled with new information as the Avengers Infinity War trailer shows, it doesn’t shed any light on the Stone’s hidden locations—but a key scene in the most recent Black Panther trailer might.
At some point during Infinity War, Black Panther and some of the Avengers will lead an army of Wakandan warriors into battle with what appears to be a horde of Thanos’ Outriders, but what’s vague is where the fight will take place and why. Given the number of Wakandans in what we see of the fight in the trailer, it stands to reason that it’s set somewhere in or near Wakanda itself, but then the question becomes why. As nice a location as Wakanda must seem, the reason Thanos and his minions would arrive at the country would perhaps be to seek the Soul Stone, which hasn’t really been seen in the Marvel Cinematic Universe just yet.
That logic holds together firmly enough on its own, but there may be a hint within the Black Panther trailer alluding to T’Challa having much more close knowledge about the Stone than we think. Toward the middle of the trailer, we get a glimpse of T’Challa dressed in white, walking across an ethereal savannah bathed in the light of a purple and blue aurora borealis.
As he walks, he bumps into an actual black panther sitting in a tree, and many assume that the sequence is of T’Challa communicating with Bast, the panther god Wakandans worship. There hasn’t been much speculation as to howT’Challa might encounter Bast, other than the Heart Shaped Herb ritual that imbues him with the powers of the Black Panther, but it would make a lot of sense if their meeting had something to do with the Soul Stone.
In Marvel’s comic books, the Soul Stone (or Gem, if you prefer) has a wide range of cosmic powers relating to life, death, and the afterlife. More than just being able to bring people back from the dead, the Soul Stone is also uniquely capable of manipulating souls and is sometimes described as being a sentient gem that always craves to consume the souls of living things.
Ta-Nehisi Coates’ current take on Black Panther has spent a considerable amount of time exploring Wakandan spirituality and T’Challa’s connection to the Necropolis, a city beneath Wakanda where all of the previous Black Panther are laid to rest.
Despite its ominous name, the Necropolis isn’t so much an underworld as much as it is a repository of knowledge and wisdom, united by the fact that it only exists within the minds of Wakanda’s dead leaders. It’s an impressive asset to the current Panther and one that, in a way, sees death not as an inherently negative thing, but instead a natural part of life, very similar to the Soul Gem.
By now, we’re running out of time for the last Infinity Stone to show up within the MCU—and while Thanos could just hide it in his pocket or something, it’d be much more interesting to see him battle an entire country of technologically-advanced war people to get it. Also, who doesn’t want to see the ghosts of Panther past line up to tell T’Challa that his time has come?