5 Ways to Solve Marvel’s MacGuffin Problem


The MacGuffin is one of the oldest cinematic tropes in the book. It’s generally thought of as something without meaning to the audience but of great importance to the characters in a film. (Think Hitchcock’s The 39 Steps or, more recently, the rabbit’s foot in Mission: Impossible III.)

Marvel has established a series of MacGuffins known in its universe as the infinity stones. Individually, they all seem capable of destroying the world. Together, they form something called the Infinity Gauntlet and, presumably, do something worse than destroy the world.

A vocal minority of Guardians of the Galaxy detractors have cited these interchangeable MacGuffins as a reason why the Marvel films (Guardians included) feel so familiar and why they make the stakes of these massive films feel so small. The purple orb of Guardians, the blue cube (Tesseract) of The Avengers, the red smoke-like substance called Aether in Thor: The Dark World—they all do the same thing, which means it’s not unfair to say we’ve watched the same Marvel film three times in two years. Worse still, there are three more infinity stones to be found.

I think the solution to this problem isn’t to get rid of the infinity stones concept, but rather to find the right MacGuffin to register with its audience. Some plausible options:


A Cylinder


I think this would be a great shape for a Marvel MacGuffin.


Something Green


This color just screams Marvel MacGuffin to me.


Yellow Pyramid


The combination of color and shape seems just powerful enough to work as a Marvel MacGuffin in my opinion.


White Disc, Kind of Like a Frisbee


It’s flat and colorless, which makes it a solid candidate to be a Marvel MacGuffin.


Indescribable Shape


I’m not really sure how to describe this shape, but I could see it working as a MacGuffin if placed in the proper cinematic context.

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One Response to 5 Ways to Solve Marvel’s MacGuffin Problem

  1. Pingback: The Guardians of the Galaxy Mixtape Will Make Your Day - dblback

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