Unless you’ve been wintering on Mercury for the past decade or so, chances are you’ve seen one or more of Marvel’s Avengers movies. Thanks to high budgets for special effects, the famous actors, great scripts, and marketing support from Disney, the Marvel Cinematic Universe has become the most profitable film series of all time.
Marvel seems to be an unstoppable juggernaut at the box office, blasting away any and all competition. Some, like ScreenRant’s Kareem Gantt, think that this dominance simply can’t last.
“Those glory days may be coming to an end as the next slate of Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) films wade into unknown territory with characters that fans may not instantly recognize and storylines that focus more on character development than superhero slugfest,” Gantt writes.
And now, thanks to Disney+, the Marvel stories continue on the small screen too. Shows like “WandaVision,” “Loki,” and “What If?” are available to fans, and they tie into the next phase of the films.
’The Avengers’ and ‘Star Trek’
Before Marvel connected their films and television series together with a narrative tale, “Star Trek” was blazing the trail. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Trek had a successful film series in theaters and multiple television shows on the air. The stories on TV were affected by events in the films. Kevin Feige, the mastermind behind the MCU, is said to be a big fan of Trek and modeled much of “Avengers Endgame” on the final episode of “Star Trek: The Next Generation.”
The whole plot of the first 22 MCU films was the Infinity Stones and how the “Mad Titan,” Thanos, wanted to use the power of the stones to destroy half of everything — everywhere. The Infinity Stones are, according to TIME’s Eliana Dockterman, are “really powerful gems that, when united, can be used to destroy people, planets, solar systems — you name it.”
Interestingly, “Star Trek” has something almost exactly like these Infinity Stones. On “Deep Space Nine,” Sisko and his Federation crew are introduced to power, unlike anything they had encountered. They are the Bajoran Orbs, which were worshiped by the people of Bajor, and harnessed by their Cardassian overlords.
Unlike the Infinity Stones, of which there are six, ten Orbs were created. According to Trek fan site Ex Astris Scientia, the Orbs were made “by the Prophets or wormhole aliens of the Bajoran star system.”
And, in another divergence from the Infinity Stones, the incredible power of the Orbs were supposed to help the inhabitants of Bajor, according to Ex Astris Scientia. According to Memory Alpha, those who looked upon the Orbs could see in the past and the future, travel through time, become more intelligent, or even create beings of energy.
Were the Bajoran Orbs a copy of the Infinity Stones?
The first appearance of the Infinity Stones in Marvel Comics was in 1972, in an issue of “Marvel Premier.” Written by Roy Thomas and edited by the legendary Stan Lee, the story introduced comics readers to the Soul Gems, which the Stones were initially called.
In 1991, Marvel published a limited series of comics called “The Infinity Gauntlet,” which featured Thanos collecting the stones. This is roughly what the MCU version of the Thanos stories was based on.
The first appearance of the Bajoran Orbs was in the script for the pilot episode of “Deep Space Nine,” which was written by Michael Piller and based on a story by Piller and Rick Berman. This script was drafted in 1992, and the “Unnamed Orb” is there from the start.
According to Trek.fm’s Christopher Jones, “science is unable to fully explain the effects of the Orbs.” This is much like the Stones, which has power that science cannot explain — even though Professor James Kakalio attempted to do so here.
No relation between Stones and Orbs
Though there is no proof that the Infinity Stones inspired the Bajoran Orbs. According to writer Jonathan Bailey, these sorts of similarities happen all the time in the world of creative arts. On his website, he compared “Deep Space Nine” and “Babylon 5,” which aired in the mid-1990s, and both featured humans and aliens on a space station.
“Even if the two shows had a completely independent creation, they would have been extremely similar,” Bailey wrote. “Two science fiction shows about space stations made in the early 90s were always going to have a lot of overlap.”
There is even the story of the famous lawsuit between the creators of Superman and Shazam. The parties fought in court for over 12 years, both saying that their character had been copied. Eventually, Shazam became the property of DC Comics.
A Trek God who acts like Thanos
Even if there was no attempt to wield power like the Infinity Stones, some believe this could happen now. According to a story by Ryan Britt of Inverse, Q (John de Lancie) could be using time travel to torture Jean-Luc Picard (Patrick Stewart) in the upcoming season of “Star Trek: Picard.”
Britt points out that in the recent teaser trailer for “Picard,” the old captain has a bit of Bajoran Reckoning Tablet, which was seen on an episode of “Deep Space Nine.” This ties Q and Picard to the Bajoran religion.