Posts Tagged: and then I accidentally a whole dissertation


so of course Halloween got everyone excited and my friends asked me to extend the revelry and deejay my playlist in studio since the party got cancelled

fair enough, and like I wouldn’t oblige

However, they did opt to second-guess my addition of “the Austin Powers theme” (Soul Bossa Nova) to the playlist.

Look, if you don’t think

  1. being ridiculous
  2. being a James Bond parody
  3. dressing up as any character from Austin Powers
  4. being that silly

isn’t Halloween-worthy then I’m not sure we can be friends



Yup, yup, yup, yup. See my 4th point.

There’s a lot of fanfic that describes Tony’s arc reactor as being powered by vibranium, which is due to fanfic authors relying on the Iron Man 2 movie novelization as canon. Honestly? I think the novelization screwed up on the vibranium thing. I think the author made a leap and didn’t bother to verify with whoever Marvel has in charge of continuity.

It’s possible that the Tesseract is made of, I dunno, superheated vibranium (so hot that the metal becomes a gas/energy?), or more likely that vibranium was forged in some way by the Tesseract or from the Tesseract element. If the movies later confirm this, that’s fine, but I can’t see why they’d bother at this late date—comics!canon has never been associated vibranium with the Cosmic Cube, which the Tesseract is kind of based on. Vibranium is a very stable, very rare metal that can withstand anything. So says Howard, and you can at least trust Howard Stark on the science, even if you can’t trust him on anything else. OTOH, the Tesseract element is very volatile, very pretty blue glowy energy. And let’s face it, this is a movie franchise about superheroes in spangly outfits, not actually rocket science. Glowy blue energy goes with other glowy blue energy. Cap’s shield is pretty much the opposite of that.

My personal take? Tony’s arc reactor is powered by a new element that he “invented” based on Howard’s Tesseract research. This new element is not vibranium, because otherwise JARVIS would have just called it “vibranium” when Tony invented it (because vibranium is a rare but known metal) instead of calling it “a new element” because, well, it’s new and doesn’t have a name yet.

(Tony wants to call it badassium in the tie-in comics.)

[snipped my/scratch-the-maven’s tesseract commentary]

from the linked LJ post:

Anyway, the reason Loki couldn’t mind-control Tony is because the Tesseract doesn’t work against itself. It’s how Black Widow and Erik Selvig closed the wormhole—by using Loki’s staff with its orb to connect with the Tesseract and basically neutralize itself. Loki touched his staff to Tony’s arc reactor and got a whole bunch of nothing, because the Tesseract recognised itself and wouldn’t hurt what it recognised.

One, I GET SUPER EXCITED every time I see people dissecting this. I JUST LOVE SCIENCE OKAY high fives all around to Team Tumblr Science Bros. ironically all of which I’ve seen are ladies

Two, I re-read my original tesseract notes (both of them) since it’s been a while and I’m going to try to rehash my thoughts on some stuff, I’d love some feedback if people have any thoughts on the matters. I don’t have scripts on hand so call me out for any inaccuracies, but I’m going to go with setting up as much as can be pulled explicitly and then extrapolate. Some of my original observations were wrong or just wonky so here are some adjustments.

First up, Tony’s chestpiece arc reactor. I don’t think they ever explicitly say it’s an artificial heart, and it’s my own pet peeve when it gets called that, so I’m going to try to poke around that a bit and see what we do know. We know Yinsen put a magnet in his chest hooked up to a car battery to keep the shrapnel barbs at bay. To me this seems horrifically short-term and that as soon as you got back somewhere with a legit surgery team you would have them take that shit out because of risk of internal bleeding or tearing your stomach lining or muscle fiber or an artery or something, but let’s just chalk that up to me being surrounded by a family of medical doctors and ignore it for now. It’s an electromagnet which means that the shrapnel is a ferromagnetic material. Tony replaces the car battery with the first arc reactor, which we know from his discussions about it and the larger arc reactor back in Stark labs that it is a clean power source.

I’m going to backtrack on my own statements now, I was thinking the arc reactor itself generated an electromagnetic field. HOWEVER thinking back, we know that when he gets back home in Iron Man he has Pepper come and remove the first arc reactor model— which is still attached to the magnet. So, presumably, the magnet is doing its job and the arc reactor is just powering it “cleanly”, although the second model he replaces it with, we can’t really see where (or if) a magnet is involved. We can tell that he has “a base plate” that Pepper has to reach her whole hand in to attach it to, which would be practically, like, HIS SPINE?! That’s weird as fuck to me. But I digress.

I think some of the confusion with it being an artifical heart stems from here— Pepper shocks him in this scene and he goes into cardiac arrest (but that tends to happen when you shock someone). She later comes back with the mounted first model as “proof that Tony Stark has a heart”. It also later seems like he’s dying once Stane removes his chestpiece, but on reflection I chalk that up to Stane’s paralytic device and not the arc reactor.

In Avengers we do hear Tony tell Bruce:

I’ve got a cluster of shrapnel trying every second to crawl its way  into my heart. This… stops it.

I think it’s pretty safe to conclude here that the arc reactor chestpiece is not an artificial heart. (Apparently, also, Yinsen says that the shrapnel is headed into Tony’s “atrial septum” which is a partition between the left and right atria which means yes he has a heart and yes the shrapnel’s already there?! And I missed this line because I never looked at the script before but TONY, TONY MAN, GET YOURSELF TO A CARDIO SURGEON, jesus christ)

So back to the arc reactor, and now we get into tesseract-y science territory and out of pacemaker territory.

Right, so, we know that the arc reactor somehow helps create an electromagnetic field. Like I was saying, I was thinking that the arc reactor itself created that field (rather than being a power source and inducing it with the attachment), which had the effect of being a protective field against not only the shrapnel, but Loki’s staff (which is pretty arguably the same material as the tesseract). I still lean towards that moreso than the similar-material theory, if only perhaps because it’s poetic (since that protective field is its whole job) and because I’m a hardware geek. (So sue me, I have an engineering degree!) It also rectifies my (arguably lesser than the non-surgery concept) problem that if this thing is creating a field but is also a power source, how would Tony deal with surges/lags in the field as it was used to do other things (fly, fire the repulsors, etc.)? So, I do concede the fact that it is unlikely that the arc reactor itself is creating an electromagnetic field, and is in fact simply a power source.

Okay but HOLY FUCK MINDFUCK TIME I only just realized— I always assumed that when Yinsen said he had an electromagnet hooked up to a car battery, and later we see Tony take the disk out, that the disk was the magnet but NOPE, IT WOULD HAVE TO BE AN IRON CORE not a magnet. So that giant-ass washer is a ferromagnetic material, probably iron, and not itself a magnet, which means that the newer arc reactor models—since he has Pepper remove the washer—must still have some core that the field is induced around. You could speculate and say it’s the “cord” we see get attached to the baseplate, and if we assume the wire is wrapped simply around this form (solenoid style) it should be inducing effective fields? I AM ALSO THINKING WAY TOO HARD ABOUT THIS, so let’s just step back.

I choose to believe that the electromagnetic field, in a wild spurt of poetic fiction, was able to disrupt the tesseract-similar mindfuck-staff. However I’m now going to go off on an even more ridiculous examination of the arc reactor/tesseract theory that I’ve been wheedling and we’ll see where this goes.

So we know that Tony gets palladium out of the Stark weapons in the cave, and that in IM2 the palladium cores are undergoing “neutron damage” (whatever that is, I can’t tell) and slowly poisoning him. (Despite being a “clean energy” source, ironically…) I swear there’s another line in the movies about palladium but I can’t for the life of me find whatever I was thinking of. Anyway, we do know, however, that Tony’s “new” element (and I say “new” because he “rediscovers” it— technically Howard did, but couldn’t synthesize any) is a viable replacement for what they continually call “the palladium core”. (Palladium is not ferromagnetic, however, so this is not the electromagnet aspect— also evidenced by his need for both palladium and the ferromagnetic washer in the first model.)

So I can’t figure out if it was me reading too much into the actual science behind things or I am remembering lines (deleted material?!) I can’t find, palladium is used in catalytic converters (to convert toxic byproducts of combustion into less toxic ones… ironically?), is part of cold fusion research, and is in the same metal family— the platinum metal group— as iridium. Which is also, interestingly, is the most corrosion-resistant material and is used in Avengers, according to Tony (and Selvig and Clint) as a “stabilizing agent” for the portal.

It may have been, simply, the idea that a catalyst is not consumed in the reaction, and is thus very stable (except for Tony’s “neutron damage” which is maybe a side effect and I still don’t have a fucking clue what it is except possibly some type of radiation).

So what we have is one metal that glows (and tastes like coconut) and serves as a core replacement for palladium, which is some inherently integral part of the functioning of the arc reactor (not, however, key to its miniaturization, as Tony was able to do that beforehand), and a metal in the same group acting as a stabilizer (under massive energy conditions) for the tesseract’s portal. Originally I was thinking the palladium (and its replacement) acted as stabilizers as well, but unless I can dig up whatever original lines I was basing that off of, there’s really no substance to the hypothesis. But we shouldn’t disregard it completely.

It is worth noting here that the new element glows after its creation without the addition of whatever blue glowy gas was being added to the arc reactor (seen with both IM1 and Vanko).(Perhaps that was a fuel to induce catalysis but is not necessary with the newer element, although platinum group metals are not very reactive to oxygen so who knows?!)

Anyway, there’s a lot of themes at play here with these metals, the idea that they are highly powerful and relatively immutable to some degree—vibranium we don’t know chemically how it reacts, but physically it absorbs almost any force put to it (not really possible and it drives me nuts but let’s assume it’s some, like, non-newtonian solid and just go with it. Vibranium: the oobleck of superscience).

According to wikipedia, the platinum metal group:

The platinum metals have outstanding catalytic properties. They are highly resistant to wear and tarnish, making platinum, in particular, well suited for fine jewelry. Other distinctive properties include resistance to chemical attack, excellent high-temperature characteristics, and stable electrical properties. All these properties have been exploited for industrial applications.

It’s a pretty good argument that Tony’s element is the same as the tesseract material. All of the information from Howard, who we know recovered it from the ocean, and whose tesseract notes we see in IM2, who we see working with the HYDRA weapon tech (and getting thrown explosively backwards). The only weakness I see here is that one object (the chest piece) seems to be catalyzing a reaction to create power while the other (the tesseract) is containing portals and itself needs a stabilizer, although HYDRA is able to weaponize it. If we bring in the staff, it, too, is able to create some kind of controllable (to some extent) power. HOWEVER there is not strictly one use of palladium or anything like that, so let’s just chalk it up to multiple applications and we’ll come back to that in a second. It could also be different manifestations of the same element, such as isotopes or crystals (bonded with other elements in a matrix), etc.

I tend to think that there’s some yet-undiscovered series of elements to which Tony’s element and vibranium likely belong, that are similar to platinum group elements. I started calling them the vibranium group elements, and if it turned out that Tony discovered something other than the tesseract-element or whatever permutations of the fiction, they’d still likely be related, and the idea likely still fits.

Regardless. So in an earlier post someone mentioned the continuing discovery of transuranium (very heavy) elements and I quipped, wouldn’t it be funny if it’s actually so dense that it’s capable of holding eight dimensions within one? (Which works, I might add, regardless of whether the tesseract is a constructed geometry in use or whether it is is a natural feature of that element’s physical form.)

Which works, with this heavy element discovery, along the already existing hypothesis that there might be a group of yet-undiscovered elements that sits in a sort of “island of stability” within some future range of the periodic table—what if this island of stability is based on fourth-dimensional physics? We haven’t found it yet because our periodic table, in comparison, is far too limited. But it allows for multiple stable elements to exist outside of our current knowledge but within this universe.

Side note here: can you imagine a tesseract-element crystal matrix? TOTAL MINDFUCK.

However, you know WHAT ELSE WE SEE? In Avengers, Thor is able to zap Tony’s suit and the reactor is able to handle the physically impossible value of 400% capacity. Think about that. Staggering.

So then I got a little crazy. In researching electromagnetic fields and ferromagnetic material and platinum metal groups and all that, I found out that electromagnetic force is one of the four fundamental forces of nature, along with gravitation, and weak and strong interaction. I was getting all into the orientation of Weiss domains and how directionality is induced with an electromagnet, and I’m sitting there thinking about fourth-dimension-capable elements, and— holy shit, what if “portals” are a sort of “induceable field” within fourth-dimensional-capable elemental materials?! And massive amounts of power are simply a radiation side effect of these being fourth-dimensional and probably requiring lots of energy?!

I think I just broke my own brain with that.

This element needs a name, though, maybe starkium or howardium or something, maybe even tonium, because I called it tesseractium before but I tend to think of the tesseract as more of a geometric structure than the material.

Also, if we assume that this fourth-dimension-capable element group thusly contains vibranium, its not-being-limited-by-three-dimensions might explain why it absorbs forces LIKE MJOLNIR but you can turn around and use it like a fucking boomerang, let alone PICK IT UP

Because fuck your brain the laws of physics, THAT’S WHY.

Source: scratch-the-maven


So me and my friend have been talking about some connections and weird coincidences that surround Tony Stark’s arc reactor and the Tesseract in the Marvel movieverse.  Maybe it’s out there, but some of the similarities are eerie enough to give all of this a good thought.  This is a pretty lengthy theory, so click that “read more” if your interest is spiked.

[readmore snip]

Alright, let’s travel back to 1942 when Johann Schmidt storms into Norway in search of the Tesseract.  Here we learn that the Tesseract was the “jewel of Odin’s treasure room”, letting us know that its origins are from Asgard, where Thor tells Jane that magic and science are the same thing (which is something I want you to keep in mind while reading this).  Schmidt tells the Norwegian man the same thing: “You are a man of great vision…what others see as superstition, you and I know to be science.”  He kills the man and open fires onto the town because he’s a huge jerkstore, taking the Tesseract with him.  Later we see Dr. Arnim Zola about to attempt to use the energy of the Tesseract to see if it’s capable of powering his weapons designs.  As we know, they succeed.  I’m guessing Zola’s weapons were very futuristic in their design, requiring an energy stronger than electricity or perhaps even nuclear power or any earthen fuels.  Which says a lot about the energy needed to power those weapons.  And we see them in action, we see that they’re capable of turning a person into nothingness (also note that the sound of these weapons firing off sound dead on the Iron Man suit’s repulsor beams).

Steve Rogers eventually storms into the HYDRA base, enraged that his military superiors wouldn’t even bother to rescue those imprisoned within its walls.  We see some giant circular structures that are being used as energy sources for the base:

Look familiar?

Anyway, Steve manages to steal a sample of the Tesseract’s energy components and returns it back to the good guys.

Here’s where things start to pick up some more relevance, if the above wasn’t convincing enough.

We know Howard Stark starts running tests on the sample Steve managed to bring back.  Hell, he even does something to it that causes it to go unstable and blast him backwards (those damn Starks and things exploding on them), followed by a “write that down”.  Later, after the Tesseract “kills” Schmidt/Red Skull (though if we refer to The Avengers we see that it has the ability to transport people to other worlds, leading me to believe that the Tesseract didn’t kill Skull, just sent him someplace else, especially if you watch that scene closely) and after Steve crashes into the ice, we see Howard Stark searching for Steve only have their radar picking up the energy signal of the Tesseract at the bottom of the ocean.  He fishes it out, and continues looking for Steve.

I believe that Howard spent a lot of time running tests on the Tesseract, very possibly trying to replicate its energy.  We know he wasn’t exactly successful, but I think it at least inspired him to create very similar designs (primarily the large arc reactor that powers the Stark Industries generator, which was later destroyed to completely fry Obadiah Stane to hell and back), providing Tony with the knowledge to create these replica designs via palladium.

Quick cut-scene: maybe you’re asking yourself how Howard could have possibly run tests on the Tesseract when it ended up in S.H.I.E.L.D.’s custody.  That’s simple, Nick Fury tells Tony Stark in Iron Man 2 that Howard was one of the founding members of S.H.I.E.L.D., and as a scientist and engineer, that would give him plenty of time and authority to study the artifact.

Moving on….

Howard left plenty of clues behind for Tony, which was damn useful since the palladium of his arc reactor at the time was poisoning and killing him.  Howard even records a message for him, telling the specific reason why he can’t do what Tony can: he’s limited by the technology of his time (and if you’re buying this theory so far, may I just point out the deeper meaning and irony behind “I built this for you”?).  We then have Tony analyzing Howard’s model of New York City, finally picking up on the riddles and clues his father left behind for him.  Then we have an impressive sequence with badass music and muscly arms, where Tony creates a new element and all is well.  It’s impressive, but highly unbelievable if you think about things in the terms of scientific logic.

Now, I know someone is going to pull the “but this is a movie based from comic books” card.  I know, I know, okay?  But bear with me and just take a little stroll with me outside of the open boundaries of science-fiction and comic book logic for a bit and look at this logically (or as logically as we can while pretending that all of this is possible).

Tony says to Fury in Iron Man 2 that he’s tried every known element on Earth to find a replacement for Palladium.  He then creates this new, unnamed element.  Now, transuranium elements (let’s just call them super-heavy elements) do exist, and scientists have created a couple atoms of them in special laboratory experiments.  Problem: all of them are so unstable that they only live for a few fractions of a second before decaying into nothing, or they’re so radioactive they’d kill you.  If Tony had actually managed to create a new element stronger than palladium when no other element was a suitable replacement, it would not have continued to live and work within the reactor or Tony would just have died from radiation exposure.  I won’t even go into element half-life, but there, I mentioned it.

None of that would have been possible…unless he managed to somehow successfully replicate one of Howard’s formulas to produce Tesseract material.

We know that the Tesseract can power machines and weapons that require a great deal of energy.  Tony’s suit would be a weapon that requires an extreme amount of energy.  And let’s be honest, a little thing like the arc reactor could not realistically power a weaponized suit like Stark’s unless there were some other (perhaps otherworldly) properties going on there.

Now we arrive to The Avengers, where the Tesseract rears its ugly head again as a formidable force to be reckoned with.  The most important - and only - scene I’m really going to talk about from this movie in concern with this theory is when Loki attempts to control Tony via the scepter, which is a weapon powered by the Tesseract.  It flat out does not work.  Now, there’s reasonable doubt here as to whether or not the scepter would have been able to place Tony under Tesseract Mind Control if it had touched his skin rather than have been prodding at the reactor.  Reasonable doubt because we know from Iron Man 2 that the new reactor gave Tony a boost, judging from his reaction when he put it in.  Maybe the new Tesseract fueled reactor sends enough of its enegy through Tony’s body that even if the scepter had touched his skin it still wouldn’t work.  Regardless of that speculation, the reactor completely shuts down the scepter.  It doesn’t just not have an effect on Tony, the reactorshuts the scepter down.

My friend suggested that Tesseract energy can’t be used against the Tesseract other than to neutralize it, which is supported by the fact that the scepter was able to shut down the actual Tesseract that was creating a giant wormhole in space for the Chitauri to come through.  Also, take into consideration that Stark Tower is powered by arc reactor energy, which I’m presuming is based off of Tony’s new reactor since Pepper tells Tony that “all of this came from that” and points to his new reactor.

More interesting similarities…

The chamber Tony uses for the reactor to power his tower (yay rhyming!):

The chamber used to hold the Tesseract to send Loki back:

Also, look who brings the Tesseract:

Another quick, interesting tidbit is that Nick Fury tells Tony Stark in Iron Man 2 that Howard was about to “embark on an energy race that would dwarf the arm’s race”, something that would make nuclear energy look like a “Triple A battery”.  And look what Tony’s bragging about in The Avengers: “I’m the only name in clean energy right now.”

The one thing that some of you may be thinking doesn’t fit into all of this is that in the novelization of Iron Man 2, the new element that Tony creates is named as Vibranium, which we know is the metal that Steve’s shield is made out of.  

Usually the Tesseract disintegrates everything it blasts.  Leaves nothing behind.  The only objects the Tesseract has not been able to turn to nothingness are Steve’s shield and Mjölnir, which we know was crafted in the explosion of a dying star.  An explosion.  Kind of makes you think about how Vibranium is the rarest metal on Earth (How did it get here? Via explosion?) and the only source of it found on Earth was crafted into Steve’s shield.  It still fits with the theory that the Tesseract’s energy (which may be Vibranium fueled) can’t be used against another form of its energy other than to neutralize it, or in this case, simply not affect it at all (also think of the explosion that took place when Thor attacked Steve in the forest).  Maybe Vibranium has both metallurgical and chemical variants.

Well, if you’ve made it to the end of this post, congrats.  I hope this was at least interesting.



Okay THE BEST PART ABOUT THIS is how it fills EXACTLY the hole I pointed out before: Tony would not be “discovering” an element his father had worked with,i.e. vibranium.

TWO, I LOVE THE GIANT HYDRA TECH/ARC REACTOR THEORY, because I have yet to rewatch Captin America since accidentally dissertationing on the tesseract.

The only qualm I have is a minor one, that the size change from the display arc reactor in IM1 to Tony’s miniaturized one in the cave is not a matter of elemental power source but rather just technological miniaturization— I mean, we even (hypothetically) have Hydra evidence that they created smaller tesseract batteries than Howard/Stark Industries’ giant one. HOWEVER it could be some sort of geometric law of physics because if we look at the tesseract harness at the beginning of Avengers, and the equipment Banner is using in the Helicarrier to look for the tesseract, and, to a lesser extent, the portal-harness at the end, they all echo this circular array setup.

HOWEVER I love how fucking elegantly this solves the design dilemma of “Tony discovering vibranium” which AFAIK is not stated in the movies anyway, only the novelization. (Vibranium itself, is, well, a whole ‘nother matter.)

More on the nitty gritty, however: the palladium that Tony is using throughout IM1 and IM2 is acting as a stabilizer, for who knows what some kind of reaction (where we see in his cave-science and also with Vanko that there’s some kind of gaseous or fluidic addition that causes the glow). (Palladium is also in the same metal group as iridium— what Selvig says he needs to stabilize the tesseract portal.)

Actually, crap, I might have to go back and find my original notes on this, because I initially stumbled onto it when I was researching catalytic converters and incidentally, looking at wikipedia just now, palladium is also used in fuel cells. But I believe there’s a line in either Iron Man or IM2 about this? That it’s a stabilizer? Anyway, it brings up interesting thoughts regarding the line “what’s keeping you alive is also killing you”, because catalytic converters decrease pollution output.

When I rewatch Iron Man 2 tonight I will report back, because THIS SHIT IS MY LIFE NOW. (Hahaha, you think I’m kidding…)


I mean, if we’re talking heavy elements (we are), and on top of that potentially transuranium heavy elements, HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT ELEMENTS THAT ARE SO DENSE THAT YOU HAVE EIGHT SPACE CUBES IN ONE SPACE. HOW DO YOU FUCKING LIKE THAT.


OKAY! Okay. So this reaffirms all my suspicions that the Tesseract will remain key in the Marvel Movie Universe/franchise. Although hopefully not strictly because it would be too much to have everyone always focusing on this one thing rather than doing their own, and eventually it would devolve into an argument about Marvel Spice-Must-Flow-Where-Are-The-Dilithium-Crystals-Hey-Assholes-We’re-Out-Of-Tylium-Suddenly-It’s-All-A-Parallel-For-the-Oncoming-Energy-Crisis (and isn’t it convenient that I stumbled on this article yesterday).

Although they did say it emitted Gamma radiation, which, admittedly, I was about to use Banner as an outlier to the tesseract-focus theory, but I guess I kinda can’t now. Shit

here’s hoping they don’t also tie in Clint and Natasha to that thread

Okay, I guess, one last complaint I forgot about. I’m not in love with the idea that the Tesseractium (which for some unknown design reason is a triangle and I cannot fathom it) is stopping Loki’s Magic Mind-Warping Mace. (Not a mace, yes, just trying to alliterate.) Well, at least, not strictly on its own. Possibly assisting, but to me it has more to do with the function of Tony’s not-an-artificial-heart in that it acts as electromagnetic field (which was what Yinsen put it initially, hooked up to a car battery) that repels the shrapnel.

Incidentally, I’m not totally in love with the EMF-reactor concept, either, but that’s because I overanalyze things, ESPECIALLY the engineering ones. One, it really bothers me that it’s just “keeping this shrapnel away” rather than him going in for surgery to get it taken out. Shrapnel could still cause internal damage and bleeding even if it’s not finding its way into his vital organs. Two, I always want to say it looks like it’s hooked up to his heart’s action as well because he nearly dies when Stane takes it out of him, but then I remember that Stane gave him the sonic-paralytic so nevermind.

Um, also, rewatching IM the other day, when he gets Pepper to put the second arc reactor in in the lab scene, there’s that dangly hookup, and I was just like “wtf? He took the magnet out what is going on” and then he’s just like “hook it into the base plate” TONY WHY DO YOU HAVE A BASE PLATE IN YOUR CHEST CAVITY THERE IS LIKE NO EARTHLY REASON FOR THAT TO BE NECESSARY.

However, same scene, of note: he took the ghettorigged magnet out at that point so theoretically the second reactor acts to create an EMF field without such an obviously “magnet” magnet. Design concept that I feel is probably worthy of note (if only because I might bitch about it again in the future regarding engineering and plot consistency).

Fun fact, I just wiki’d artificial hearts and the guy who first successfully got one implemented was named Jarvik. There’s probably some horrible, wretched, break-your-heart angsty fic (or maybe just essay parallel) hiding in that fact regarding Tony’s arc reactor and the fact that Jarvis used to be his actual human butler in the comics but is now a computer program.

[EDIT: Meant to add a note about the colors of Tony’s repulsors/reactors. Generally they seem more whitish to me, and I think the bluish tint in the underwater scene was the water itself. However I’m not going to totally dismiss it as his “tech” has had a blue theme in all the movies, from his computers to his holoCAD to Jarvis to the HUD. (which really bothered me in Avengers?! like seriously I don’t think he was joking about the spinning rims because he fucking lit his helmet up with blue neon underlighting. TONY.)


(via scratchthemaven)

Source: scratch-the-maven

So I was working on a story, and I was trying to rewatch Avengers to try to key in on some details, and suddenly TESSERACT. I’m not going to call it an essay because I suck at formal writing and stream-of-consciousness is kind of my thing (hate me I guess) but I mean what else is it? Observations, I guess, a collection of possibilities, but if you’re drawing conclusions from observable information then it’s more than just a list.

That’s all irrelevant.

So here’s what we know. I tried to pull as much as possible from lines stated explicitly in the movie. You’re in for spoilers beyond this point so, you know, no complaining.

Let’s start with what a tesseract is. According to wikipedia:

In geometry, the tesseract, also called an 8-cell or regular octachoron or cubic prism, is the four-dimensional analog of the cube; the tesseract is to the cube as the cube is to the square. Just as the surface of the cube consists of 6 square faces, the hypersurface of the tesseract consists of 8 cubical cells.

Or, said better later:

The tesseract can be unfolded into eight cubes into 3D space, just as the cube can be unfolded into six squares into 2D space.

I’m no geometrist or mathematician, but working from this definition and the Marvel Cinematic Universe observations, it’s basically a trapped portal. Or eight. You know, bigger-on-the-inside. Either the power required to contain all of that, or perhaps in one of the eight contained spaces, is accessible and used by both HYDRA and later SHIELD to produce energy weapons.

The staff is given to Loki by Thanos’ assistant (not a Chitauri, I think—wait, his name is actually The Other? That’s terrible) and is powered by the tesseract.We learn this in the scene where Loki mind-visits from Earth:

THE OTHER: You question him?! He who put the scepter in your hand? He who gave you ancient knowledge and new purpose when you were cast out, defeated?!

LOKI: I was a king! The rightful king of Asgard— betrayed.

THE OTHER: Your ambition is little, and full of childish need. We look beyond the Earth, to greater words the tesseract will unveil.

LOKI: You don’t have the tesseract yet. …I don’t threaten, but until I open the doors, until your force is mine to command, you are but words.

THE OTHER: You will have your war, Asgardian. If you fail, if the tesseract is kept from us, there will be no realm, no barren moon, no crevice where he cannot find you. You think you know pain? He will make you long for something sweeter [still?]

as well as from SHIELD’s analysis of the scepter:

STEVE: I’d start with that stick of his. It may be magical, but it works an awful lot like a HYDRA weapon.

FURY: I don’t know about that, but it is powered by the cube. And I’d like to know how Loki used it to turn two of the sharpest men I know into his personal flying monkeys.

So we don’t really know how SHIELD knows that, so I suppose we’ll have to take it on some faith that, since they’ve had their hands on the tesseract (which is NOT a cube, I have to note, as there are more than three dimensions involved) and HYDRA’s weapons since the mid-to-late 1940s, they have enough background research—without Selvig’s help since the staff was captured long after Selvig went to Team Loki— to tell that the tesseract and the staff are connected. Immediately following the scene on the bridge:

BRUCE: The readings are definitely consistent with Selvig’s report on the tesseract.

So Banner sort of confirms that, and they successfully use the gamma signature to backtrace the location of the tesseract (with spectrometers, apparently). It appears as though Hawkeye’s attack team also uses a trace on the scepter to find the location of the helicarrier, at least based on the image we see on their command screen. We also, a few minutes later, see Bruce adjusting some values on one of the screens that affect a wave pattern, which is being compared to a second wave pattern. After his adjustments the two look very similar, and I interpreted this as Banner and Stark refining the gamma ray values to match an exact signature from the staff’s recorded output to the tesseract’s (from Selvig’s files). In fact, he is indeed comparing some type of tesseract value to the staff value, as we can conveniently see in this screenshot thanks to whatever digital artists added that to their screens:

Alright, so, what started this all is the question that seemed to bother so many people, if Edward Norton-Banner figured out how to control the Hulk and the end of his movie, why does Ruffalo-Banner then lose control on the helicarrier and end up injuring a hell of a lot of people?!

Loki (through the staff’s presence?) is able to get to Banner—and later Stark— into their heads. When we first see Loki on the helicarrier, he looks directly at Banner in the lab—smirking, I might add— and Banner winces and rubs his eyes/sinus area. We also see Stark do something similar later when he is tough-guy-sparring with Rogers. While this is obviously lesser influence than Loki has on Barton and Selvig, it’s enough to ignite word wars and enough to make Banner lose control— not just to Hulk out, but to lose focus of the appropriate target and to engage, in, er, friendly fire, so to speak.

Barton and Selvig, however, are both completely taken over mentally. It is worth noting that Loki specifies “do you have a heart?” and comes into contact with both through the scepter. (Interestingly, Tony’s arc-reactor, while not ACTUALLY his heart, as it is creating some sort of [going from the first Iron Man movie] magnetic field to keep the shrapnel out of his heart— and since it is, in fact, an independent energy source, might be enough of a power source to create a sort of protective field that prevents Loki— or is it the tesseract’s power?— from taking control.) While under Loki’s influence, Clint and Erik both have enough autonomy to complete tasks given to them, and based on Loki’s speeches it seems as though he wishes to give people the satisfaction of completing goals without the inter-competition (conviently all to his own benefit). Selvig backs this up:

ERIK: The tesseract has shown me so much, it’s more than knowledge— it’s truth.

LOKI: I know. What did it show you, Agent Barton?

CLINT: My next target.

LOKI: Tell me what you need.

CLINT: I need a distraction. And an eyeball.

So it is, in fact, the tesseract doing the work here, and either Loki has figured out how to use that to his benefit or has somehow learned to at least manipulate it towards his own goals. It seems to me, rather than turning them into mindless slaves, that it takes their passion and imparts some more direct line of sight towards achieving their (Loki’s?) goals.

The remedy to this, according to Natasha, is a sort of reverse-amnesia-hit. A reboot, if you will. (BOOT TO THE HEAD)

Moving onwards: so the Chitauri— or The Other, whatever their relationship is— know that Loki can get their army through the tesseract-portal. The Other can also communicate with Loki through some sort of apparition or mental projection, and we also know that Loki was able to remotely open the tesseract-portal “from the other end”—perhaps the scepter—but not simply enough to reach through this portal and yoink the tesseract. The Chitauri force, and with them, The Other, is forced to wait for Loki to get to Earth in order for them to come through. We can see them waiting in the shadows there with the star whales floating on by in the background of that floaty space island, so presumably they cannot all come through the scepter end of the portal that Loki got through. For whatever reason, they need Loki to get them to the tesseract, and even with the staff, whatever it is, they can’t do it on their own.

Going back to Thor’s “science and magic”—and whatever powers Loki has—his displacement/”rabbiting” magic?—Loki’s manipulation of the tesseract’s power, in combination with something he learned from Thanos (see the first quote) or his own magic, perhaps allows him to be the one that can use the scepter end of the portal. Which, if he learned something from Thanos, makes you wonder why Thanos didn’t do it himself?

It’s also curious to wonder exactly how the tesseract works, location-wise. It seems to create a door, rather than emptying one volume of space (presumable one of the eight cubes) into another, as Loki alone hops through, and later the Chitauri independently come through the opened portal rather than getting dumped in the air above NYC. And, of course, it also gets “closed”. Are there eight places in the whole of space, then, that this portal can be opened at, or is it somehow maybe remotely-programmable? We really don’t know whether the Chitauri chose the place and Loki opened the door, or whether they came because there was a door there (just locked). However, we do know that the tesseract needs to be stabilized— iridium! Well, actually, the whole harness machine— so that the portal doesn’t collapse. Whether it’s just a stabilizer and on/off button or whether the controls are more refined to specify locations, we don’t know, but at least the tesseract end is location-based in that it opens the other end above the harness, a couple hundred feet in the air or so.

So, this scepter-tesseract connection. It has access to the tesseract’s power, which Loki uses both as a weapon and to “magically” bend people to his will. So far in my theory Loki uses it to show up at the tesseract, maybe it’s a piece that zeroes in on its partner, who knows. The only thing unmentioned is that Natasha also uses it to break the stabilized tesseract’s protective barrier and, I would guess, destabilize the system. So it’s a somewhat independent piece, not strictly an extention of the tesseract. My guess? It’s a sort of key. Loki knows how to turn the key on, and subsequently jumpstart the tesseract, and boom, shows up where apparently the Chitauri and The Other and Thanos cannot find. (Apparently they can’t figure out how to rig cross-universe gamma-ray-sensitive spectrometers.) And in the end, Black Widow realizes that value and puts the tesseract in the “off” position.

There’s also an interesting comment from the huge group argument scene, from Thor:

Your work with the tesseract is what drew Loki to it, and his allies. It is a signal to all the realms that the Earth is ready to a higher form of war.

And from the opening of Captain America:

SHMIDT: The tesseract was the jewel of Odin’s treasure room.

wherein the tesseract proves to be hidden behind a relief sculpture of “yggdrasil, the tree of the world… guardian of wisdom, and fate”. Off the top of my head I can’t think if there’s any other explanatory lines from CA regarding the tesseract, but as far as this goes we can figure a few things: somehow the tesseract worked into Nordic mythology, which according to Thor we know is partly based on the visits of Odin and crew to Midgard/Earth. In Thor we see the Frost Giants using the Casket of Winters (or whatever it’s official title is) on Earth, but no sign of anything else. It is possible that the tesseract came from Asgard and was left here on Earth, but I’m disinclined to believe that without more explanation, because if you had a most valued treasure why would you just leave it behind? I don’t actually know if there’s any Nordic legends that might come into play here, I’m frightfully unfamiliar with them. However I ALSO think Shmidt’s choice of commentary for the hiding place is interesting: tree of the world, wisdom, fate. He also, there, presses the eye on a snake-like figure to find the secret compartment containing the tesseract.

Let’s see, what mythology would be easily recognizable to a huge population of the audience and contains trees and snakes and wisdom and fate? GENESIS. So to some extent, that’s Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. (And the Fuhrer digs for trinkets in the desert… trinkets which also prove to have some actionable effects, I might add.)

So! Of course there’s all this interesting religious commentary going on, which, if I may digress for a second and so I may, brings up questions of, perhaps, Freud’s “archaic remnants” and Jung’s “collective unconscious”, and what exactly the relationship between the worlds’ religions might be. There are, of course, SO MANY parallels and stolen ideas, that I can hardly begin, and I could probably write an entirely separate and morseo massively long discussion on them and ALSO ideas like Von Daniken’s, which— here we go!— come back to alien influence. And I haven’t read his work to be honest, though I know he touched on the Egyptians and Mayans and their pyramids, and the Hawaiians and other Oceanic island cultures, and was accused of being ethnocentric in his writing, and now I am curious how many other concepts have been put forth aligning religions—and perhaps the more Eurocentric ones— with ancient astronaut theories?! I mean, this is a fiction, but Thor (the movie) basically lays it all right out there.

Back to the point, and moving back to the tree-of-life imagery, I tend to think that perhaps the tesseract is some universal anchor that was not, necessarily, placed on Earth but rather was a part of its origin, and so now that humans have found it and begun to understand it, it’s maybe communicating—that signal— with other, siblingesque tesseracts in the other worlds. (Which Thor shows us the Asgardians know of many different realms! And maybe somewhere in here is a weird string theory discussion! And also maybe some even weirder creationism vs. evolution discussion that relates back to all the weird feelings I have about the Prometheus movie! OH MAN)  One of the few things we know about the signals, from the first few lines of Avengers:

THE OTHER: The tesseract has awakened. It is on a little world, a human world. They would wield its power, but our ally knows its workings like they never will.

So somehow this thing is a somewhat autonomous… thing… and awakened for some value of “recent” which maybe was triggered by something in one of the Avengers movies. Selvig poking at it? HYDRA poking at it? We really have no idea. (EDIT: Also, we might presume Odin had a tesseract or the Earth’s tesseract since it was “the jewel of his treasure room”, which means it might have left Earth for some time OR it was brought here after its residence there.)

All in all, what’s the conclusion? The tesseract is far from being gone as a plot point, as much as I would love to see other sciency stuff creep in. I am sure it will be an important part of Avengers 2, especially if Thanos doesn’t show up before then. It might even show up in Thor 2, since that’s where it is now and Thor and Loki required it to get back to Asgard (which, presumably, they were able to manipulate it with that container that was similar but not exactly like HYDRA’s). So who else is affected? Well, Howard had it in the notes Tony ended up with, possibly from studying HYDRA’s recovered technology, if SHIELD had him working on that. Jane has a recognized scientific theory on portals as of the end of Thor, so perhaps that’s how they’ll write her back into Thor 2— as an expert researcher, either on Earth or Asgard, but either way in order to poke the tesseract some more. And let’s not forget the early-in-Avengers quip that it gives of low levels of gamma radiation— Banner is certainly not left out here.

So let’s see we’ve nailed: science and technology, character and plot, aliens and archaeology, mythology, and Indiana Jones. For the moment I think that about wraps this puppy* up.

*For “Cerberus”-like values of “puppy”.