The Tesseract (also called the Cube) was a crystalline cube-shaped containment vessel for the Space Stone, one of the six Infinity Stones that predate the universe and possess unlimited energy. It was used by various ancient civilizations before coming into Asgardian hands, kept inside Odin's Vault. Eventually, it was brought to Earth and left in Tønsberg, where it was guarded by devout Asgardian worshipers.
In 1942, the Tesseract was retrieved by Johann Schmidt, the leader of HYDRA, who used the Tesseract to power enhanced weaponry in order to defeat the Allies during World War II. Following Schmidt's defeat at the hands of Captain America in 1945, the Tesseract fell into Arctic waters, where it was recovered by Howard Stark. After studying the Tesseract, Stark relinquished custody of it to S.H.I.E.L.D., where it remained until it was stolen in 2012 by Loki, the Asgardian God of Mischief, who used the Tesseract to open a wormhole and allow the Chitauri to invade New York City. Following the Battle of New York, the Tesseract was acquired by Loki's brother Thor, who brought the Tesseract back with him to Asgard.
After using the Tesseract to rebuild the Bifrost Bridge, Odin tasked Heimdall, the realm's gatekeeper, with the task of protecting the Tesseract. However, after Loki usurped the throne and disguised himself as Odin, he charged Heimdall with treason, forcing the gatekeeper to flee, while the Tesseract was placed within Odin's vault once more. During the destruction of Asgard, Loki noticed the Tesseract and took it for himself before the vault, along with the planet, were destroyed. Thanos later acquired the Tesseract and crushed it to unveil the Space Stone within and then inserted the stone into his Infinity Gauntlet.
The Stone within the Tesseract is a remnant of one of the six singularities which existed before the universe's creation. After the universe came into existence, four cosmic beings known as the Cosmic Entities forged the energies of these singularities into six immensely powerful objects called the Infinity Stones. The Stone within the Tesseract represented the fabric of space. The Tesseract was used by various civilizations to achieve their ends.
Over the aeons since its creation, the Tesseract came to be kept in the care of the Asgardians during King Odin's rule, locked away in Odin's Vault. The Tesseract was brought to Earth by Odin and after being left on the planet for unexplained reasons, it ended up being kept safe in a church in the village of Tønsberg. The Tesseract became the subject of many legends of Norse mythology.
World War II
In March 1942, during World War II, Johann Schmidt, the commander of the Nazi special weapons division: HYDRA, invaded Tønsberg. There he found the Tesseract in a box hidden behind a sculptured mural of Yggdrasil, the world tree. Schmidt took the Tesseract back to his headquarters in the Alps to be experimented on by Arnim Zola.
After experimenting on the Tesseract, Schmidt and Zola were able to harness the object's power to create highly advanced weaponry, fueling Schmidt's plans for world domination. With the power of the Tesseract, Schmidt felt strong enough to turn his back on Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich. He intended to destroy both the Axis and Allied powers and make himself ruler of the world.
In November 1943, Schmidt brought the Tesseract into HYDRA's top secret weapons facility in the Austrian Alps, located halfway between Kitzbühel and Klagenfurt. During the facility's operation, Allied Prisoners of War were forced to serve in the large-scale assembly of Tesseract based energy weapons including the development of the Valkyrie super-bomber, and a set of nuclear-scale Tesseract energy bombs. When the Allied super soldier Captain America infiltrated the facility to free the four hundred Allied POWs, a large confrontation began. Seeing that his men wouldn't be able to defeat the freed prisoners, Schmidt took the Tesseract and set the base to self-destruct.
In March 1945, with his gigantic super bomber, the Valkyrie (which was powered by the Tesseract) finally finished, Schmidt was prepared to launch an offensive that would shake the entire planet. With its flying nuclear bombs (which were also powered by the Tesseract), Schmidt intended to destroy populated cities across the United States. However, his last base was attacked by Captain America, the Howling Commandos, and a US Army detachment led by Colonel Chester Phillips and Peggy Carter of the Strategic Scientific Reserve.
Schmidt's men were defeated, but he managed to take the Tesseract and launched the Valkyrie. However, Captain America managed to board the plane and attacked Schmidt, damaging the machine that was using the Tesseract to power the Valkyrie and its flying nuclear bombs. Angered, Schmidt physically handled the Tesseract, only for the object to open a portal, which consumed Schmidt before closing. The Tesseract fell burning through the floors, causing it to plunge into the sea below. Sometime later, it was recovered by Howard Stark – CEO of Stark Industries and a member of the Strategic Scientific Reserve.
In the Possession of S.H.I.E.L.D.
After World War II, Howard Stark became one of the primary founders of S.H.I.E.L.D., an international counterespionage agency. He studied the Tesseract for some time, which stayed in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s possession after his death. At the beginning of the 21st century, Howard's notebook with a drawing of a "hypercube", was found among his research and examined by his son Tony.
By 2010, the Tesseract had remained in S.H.I.E.L.D.'s possession and the World Security Council ordered S.H.I.E.L.D. to make one of its primary objectives to reignite the Tesseract, a project titled Project P.E.G.A.S.U.S.. Nick Fury, acting director of S.H.I.E.L.D., instead turned his attention to the recovery and surveillance of extraordinary people for a program that would later be called the Avengers Initiative.
After an incident in New Mexico during which the Asgardian prince Thor battled and defeated the Destroyer, humanity finally realized they were not alone in the universe. Thor's friend, astrophysicist Dr. Erik Selvig, was hired by Fury to research and study the Tesseract with hopes of unlocking its power just as Schmidt had. Later, the Tesseract was moved to the Joint Dark Energy Mission Facility in the Mojave Desert, where Fury also positioned Clint Barton to keep guard over Selvig and the Tesseract.
War for Earth
In 2012, after his defeat at the hands of Thor, Loki came into contact with the alien race known as the Chitauri, and their master, Thanos. For reasons which were unknown at the time, Thanos had already been seeking the Tesseract, and Loki promised to retrieve it from Earth and give it to Thanos in exchange for his army.
Through manipulation of the Tesseract's energy, Thanos teleported Loki to the Tesseract's location at the Joint Dark Energy Mission Facility, where he killed several S.H.I.E.L.D. agents and brainwashed Selvig, Barton and a number of other agents into following him using a Scepter gifted to him by Thanos. He revealed his plans to use the Tesseract to enslave and rule over the human race, and quickly stole the aforementioned object and escaped. The energy from the portal destroyed the entire facility, while Loki took the Tesseract to an undisclosed location.
In response to Loki's threat, S.H.I.E.L.D. decided to re-start the Avengers Initiative and swayed Bruce Banner, Iron Man, and Captain America to their cause. Fury also wanted them to trace the Tesseract as it was emitting small amounts of gamma radiation that only Banner and Stark would be able to trace.
While Loki was dealing with the Avengers, he ordered Dr. Selvig to begin working on a device that could utilize the Tesseract's full power to create a portal that could transport the Chitauri army to Earth. Selvig and Loki later put their plan into effect and opened the portal above Stark Tower in New York City, which unleashed the Chitauri upon the city and an immense battle ensued. Agent Natasha Romanoff eventually used the Tesseract energy inside of Loki's scepter to reverse the effects of the device, shutting down the Tesseract and closing the portal. The remaining Chitauri were then defeated by the Avengers.
Following the invasion, Thor returned the Tesseract to Asgard along with Loki. Though his superiors were very angry at this turn of events, Fury defended his decision to allow Thor to take the Tesseract back to Asgard along with Loki, saying that humanity simply wasn't at the level where it deserves the Tesseract's power, much to the council's dismay.
Back on Asgard
After his return to Asgard, Thor gave the Tesseract to Heimdall. The all-seeing Asgardian used the Tesseract to repair the Bifrost Bridge so the Asgardians could once again protect all of the inhabitants of the Nine Realms endangered by the Marauders.
Saved by Loki
- "That's not bad."
As Hela was walking in Odin's Vault, she pointed out the Tesseract was "not bad", making it the only object in the vault that impressed Hela. Later, as Loki was about to resurrect Surtur to cause Ragnarök, he passed by the Tesseract and took it from the vault.
Destroyed by Thanos
Having located the Tesseract on the Asgardian refuge ship, Thanos and the Black Order travelled with the Sanctuary II and attacked the ship. They killed half of the Asgardian survivors and captured Thor and Loki. Thanos tortured Thor with the Power Stone in order to make Loki to give him the Tesseract. Loki acceded to his demands, though he managed to give enough time for Hulk to ambush the Mad Titan but Hulk was swiftly defeated and Thor was firmly restrained. Afterwards, Ebony Maw retrieved the Tesseract and presented it to Thanos, who proceeded to effortlessly crush the Tesseract in his hand and placed the Space Stone in his Infinity Gauntlet.
The Red Skull is the first person shown to have used the Tesseract to teleport himself to another location, although it appeared to damage and possibly kill him. Loki was able to manipulate the Tesseract from afar to open a portal that transported him to its location, which destroyed the facility it was in. Under its influence, Erik Selvig was able to construct a machine powered by the Tesseract guarded by an impenetrable forcefield, which opened an enormous portal to the Chitauri.
Many believe it is an unlimited source of energy because it draws cosmic energy from space. It appears intelligent or temperamental since when Erik Selvig was studying it, he noted that it "behaves". When they turn off power used to harness its energy, the Tesseract turns the power back on using its energy source. Wherever it is drawing its cosmic power from, it appears to be able to be manipulated from the other endpoint as well. The Tesseract also emitted low levels of Gamma Radiation, which interfered with Selvig's methods of harnessing its energy source, and later allowed the Avengers to track its movements.
As an incredible source of power, it can be used to power objects and artifacts of incredible power, such as the Bifrost Bridge. A single spark of its power was enough to create a small explosion. HYDRA was able to use the Tesseract to power advanced vehicles and weapons of mass destruction including guns, tanks, and bombs that vaporized their targets. It melted through steel on contact, although it could be held using gloves for a short time, as well as in specialist containment units.It could also be handled directly by exceptionally powerful beings such as Loki, Ebony Maw, and Thanos.
- "Seems harmless enough. Hard to see what all the fuss is about."
- ―Howard Stark
After Howard Stark found the Tesseract, he managed to discover how to make a similar element that could emit a similar energy, but with the technology of his era, he was not able to. Howard's son, Tony was able to make the element based on a hidden tape Howard made to Tony when he was very young. Tony used the element as the core for a new Arc Reactor that would stop his Palladium poisoning from his previous one.
In 2013, the lost HYDRA weapon in Peru was discovered by an archaeological team. S.H.I.E.L.D. classified the object as an 0-8-4 and sent a team to retrieve it. The weapon was deemed to be dangerous technology, and was purportedly destroyed by launching it into the Sun from the secret S.H.I.E.L.D. installation known as The Slingshot. In fact, the device was sent into The Fridge installation, where it was stolen by HYDRA agent John Garrett. It was later recovered by Phil Coulson, who used it to kill Garrett. The weapon was recovered by rogue officer Victor Ramon and attempted to be sold to the Watchdogs. The weapon was regained by S.H.I.E.L.D., although not before a Watchdog accidentally killed Ramon with the powerful weapon.
|Appearances for Tesseract|
In chronological order:
- In the non-canon video game Captain America: Super Soldier, the Red Skull uses the Tesseract to activate the Sleeper, the giant robot buried beneath Castle Zemo.
- In the comics, the Cosmic Cubes are cube-shaped matrices that can control matter and energy, and allow their users to shape reality. The cubes were used by different individuals, like the Beyonders, the Kree, the Skrulls and earthlings like Red Skull and A.I.M. employees.
- ↑ Guardians of the Galaxy
- ↑ Guidebook to the Marvel Cinematic Universe - Guardians of the Galaxy
- ↑ 3.0 3.1 Thor
- ↑ 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 4.5 Captain America: The First Avenger
- ↑ 5.0 5.1 Iron Man 2
- ↑ The Avengers Prelude: Fury's Big Week, Volume 1
- ↑ Thor Post-credits Scene
- ↑ The Avengers Prelude: Fury's Big Week, Volume 8
- ↑ 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 The Avengers
- ↑ 10.0 10.1 Thor: The Dark World Prelude, Volume 2
- ↑ Avengers: Age of Ultron
- ↑ Thor: Ragnarok
- ↑ Avengers: Infinity War
- ↑ AVENGERS - INFINITY WAR Buildup & Infinity Stones Explained In New AGE OF ULTRON Featurette
- ↑ 15.0 15.1 Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.02: 0-8-4
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.18: Providence
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: 1.22: Beginning of the End
- ↑ Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Slingshot