A throwaway line in Thor: The Dark World may well establish a link between the Quantum Realm and the Soul Stone. The Quantum Realm is expected to be vitally important to the future of the MCU, and it’s generally believed the Avengers will use it to travel through time and avert Thanos’s victory in Avengers 4.
The last month has seen speculation that the Quantum Realm may somehow be connected to the Soul Stone. One Redditor pointed out that something happened in the Quantum Realm right at the moment Thanos snapped his fingers and countless billions across the cosmos faded from existence. Marvel has always stressed that there’s nothing incidental in these scenes, with producers and directors carefully planning every element of the effects seen in the Quantum Realm. Given that’s the case, the fact the Quantum Realm suddenly flooded with mysterious orange particles – orange being the color of the Soul Stone in the MCU – caused some to suggest that the souls of Thanos’s victims were found in the Quantum Realm. Some even theorized that there may be a connection between the Quantum Realm and the Soul Stone itself.
It’s a fun theory, but in truth there isn’t a massive amount of evidence supporting it. Except, curiously enough, a line of dialogue in Thor: The Dark World that’s previously been overlooked. That film saw Thor’s (then) beloved Jane Foster exposed to the Aether, and the God of Thunder took her to Asgard for examination. Asgardian medics checked Jane out using a fascinating piece of equipment that Jane was able to identify as a “quantum field generator.” She suggested that its function was to “transfer molecular energy from one place or another,” a level of understanding that took the Asgardians by surprise. For the record, this kind of technology is actually possible, derived from quantum field theory. That’s a framework used to construct physical models of subatomic particles and quasiparticles, and it’s associated with classical field theory, quantum mechanics, and special relativity. In the MCU, all those same areas of science have been adapted to provide a pseudo-scientific basis for the Quantum Realm, that mysterious plane of reality that can be accessed by shrinking beyond subatomic size.
At first glance, this is simply the first time the MCU explicitly referenced theories of quantum mechanics, and can be seen as little more than an interesting hint of what was to come in the Ant-Man films. But here’s the most curious detail; it’s only Jane that calls this machine a “quantum field generator.” The Asgardians, however, give it a very different title; they call it a “Soul Forge.” It seems that, to the advanced science of Asgard, there is some sort of link between the Quantum Realm and the concept of the soul. Given that the Soul Stone is a manifestation of that, the suggestion could be made that the Quantum Realm is just the human understanding of the Soul World.
If that’s the case, then it really is possible that, in the MCU, the souls of the dead go to the Quantum Realm – explaining the flares of energy around Scott Lang when Thanos snapped his fingers. The idea of a link between the Soul Stone and the Quantum Realm suddenly doesn’t seem so unbelievable.
Meanwhile, this also suggests that Thor and the Asgardian refugees could potentially play an important part in Avengers 4. If the Asgardians have mastered quantum fields, then it’s very likely they’ve tapped into – and perhaps even explored – the Quantum Realm before. That knowledge could prove very useful indeed if, as is generally believed, the Avengers decide to use the Quantum Realm to rewrite history itself.