Captain Marvel landed in theaters this past weekend and in a big bad way. The film was received well critically and judging by the numbers, audiences seem to dig it too. And why not? It’s flashy, often exciting and consistently funny. It also boasts a couple big reveals, chief among them being the Tesseract as the source of Carol Danvers’ aka Captain Marvel’s cosmic abilities.

Yes, we’re talking about the Tesseract again, the MCU’s go-to-McGuffin which was later revealed to be the Space Stone, one of five Infinity Stones that Thanos needed to snap away half of all life in the universe during the climactic finish to Avengers: Infinity War.

As much praise as Captain Marvel is getting, one of the biggest questions that seems to be on a lot of moviegoers’ minds walking out is “How did Mar-Vell (Anette Bening) get her hands on the Tesseract so that Carol and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) were able to find it in her lab in the 1980s?” To understand the question, let’s briefly walk through the Tesseract’s known whereabouts thus far in the Marvel Cinematic Universe.

The Tesseract was first introduced in Captain America: The First Avenger. The film opens in 1942 with Red Skull (Hugo Weaving) tracking the cube to a Nordic temple. This tracks as we know that the Tesseract used to be under the watchful (and only) eye of the All-Father Odin (Anthony Hopkins).

Red Skull wields the Tesseract in The First Avenger.

The First Avenger ends with Steve Rogers, aka Captain America (Chris Evans), sacrificing himself by crashing one of Hydra’s advanced planes into the ice, where he and the cube laid dormant until Howard Stark (Dominic Cooper), Tony’s father, retrieved them. We know that the cube remained in Stark’s possession for a bit before he ultimately handed it over to S.H.I.E.L.D. for presumably safekeeping.

Flash forward to 1995. S.H.I.E.L.D. has been in possession of the Tesseract for 50 years without a clue as to what to do with it or how to utilize the infinite energy it supplies. Enter Kree scientist Mar-Vell (Annette Bening). It’s unclear if Mar-Vel specifically came to Earth to study the cube, but what we do know now thanks to Captain Marvel co-director Anna Boden is that at some point Mar-Vell negotiated a deal with S.H.I.E.L.D. to try and harness the Tesseract’s energy to craft vehicles capable of lightspeed travel.

Towards the conclusion of Captain Marvel, Carol Danvers entrusts Nick Fury with the Tesseract, who then returns the object to Earth and S.H.I.E.L.D’s research facility, which, as The Wrap‘s own Umberto Gonzalez and Phil Owen point out, is the same facility where the Tesseract is being studied and that Loki ultimately destroys using the cube at the beginning of The Avengers.

Flash forward 70 years. The Tesseract is the source of all the commotion in the first Avengers film. Loki (Tom Hiddleston) activates the cube from space to teleport himself inside the secret compound where S.H.I.E.L.D. is storing the cube. Eventually, the cube tears open a wormhole above New York City through which Loki summons a massive alien army.

Thor (Chris Hemsworth) Takes the Tesseract & Loki back to Asgard in The Avengers.

At the end of The Avengers, Thor takes both Loki and the Tesseract back to Asgard where the cube is stored away in Odin’s vault until Loki runs into it at the end of Thor: Ragnarok and plucks it off the planet before its ultimate destruction at the hands of Surtur the Demon.

Jump ahead to the dramatic opening scene of Avengers: Infinity War. Thanos (Josh Brolin) has tracked down the Asgardians on their way to make a new home for themselves, boards their ship, and wipes out half of their people. The Mad Titan threatens to end Thor’s life if Loki doesn’t hand over the Tesseract, which Loki ultimately does. Thanos smashes the cube to reveal the Space Stone. From there, Thanos gathers the remaining the Infinity Stones before dusting half of the universe’s population in an event which became known in the MCU as “The Decimation.”

The Space Stone is currently still sitting inside the Infinity Gauntlet, which is still in the possession of Thanos, who looks to have followed through on the retirement plans he divulged to Doctor Strange. How will the journey of the Tesserect end? We can only guess until Avengers: Endgame hits theaters late next month.

What do you think about this breakdown of where the Tesseract has been in the MCU? Am I missing any important stops along the way? Hit me up in the comments below and let me know!


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