A Mind-Bending Avengers: Endgame Theory Suggests Marvel Had a Twist Years in the Making
Avengers: Endgame theories are not for the casual fan. They involve quantum realms, time loops, time vortices, multiple dimensions, concurrent timelines, and a number of convoluted plots culled from decades of comic books. At this point, there's no telling how Marvel plans on resolving Thanos's snap in a way that actually makes sense to non-superfan movie goers.
But, of all the complex theories out there, this one recently posted on Reddit might be the most galaxy brain. It's long and confusing and involves math (!) but hang in there because it's worth it:
A number of people have presented fan theories on what the plot of Avengers 4: Endgame will be. I was watching Age of Ultron and Doctor Strange and realized something that most if not all the other theories have missed.
Several users have surmised that Endgame will feature time travel and Quantum Realm as a major component to defeating Thanos - and fulfilling Doctor Strange's 1 out of 14 million visions. The more I think about it, it seems to me that we are grossly underestimating the scope of that vision and how far did Dr. Strange implement his plan before he was turned to dust.
If there is one thing we know about Marvel, it's that they love putting in hints and Easter eggs in the movies. Piecing together at least of some of these, I think most of what have happened since Doctor Strange (or some time after the events of Doctor Strange) is part of a time loop - that will repeat itself until it is broken in Endgame.
In the Age of Ultron, Banner says to Tony "this is a time loop..." which struck me as an odd statement given the context. There's not much discussion or mention of a time loop reference other than that exchange and in Doctor Strange where Strange puts Dormammu in a time loop in order to force Dormammu to quit his plans for Earth and seal the dimensional passageway.
Further, I think that it is weird that in only 1 out of 14000605 futures that Strange saw resulted in a victory over Thanos. By its very definition, there are an infinite number of universes - every decision any being takes results in a new alternate universe. By that logic, it does not make sense why Strange saw a subset (large as it may be) of the alternate futures and why in only 1 do they win. By definition there cannot be only 1 out of all possible alternate universes in which they win. 14000605 is too arbitrary a number.
I do not think that Strange saw all possible outcomes - rather he saw 14000604 iterations "until the heroes win". There literally is "only one way to stop Thanos". That makes even more sense because he is using the Time Stone which controls time. Alternate realities should be the domain of the Reality Stone (and I don't think we have seen the true potential of the Reality Stone) not the Time Stone. Though admittedly of course 14 million iterations might take the plot a tad too far.
In Infinity War, when Strange cedes the Time Stone to Thanos, the stone is clearly glowing and thus "activated" - since the events of Infinity War at least at that point are within the time loop.
Even though Strange is dust, that does not break the time loop, as we saw in Doctor Strange (when Dormammu repeatedly kills him). We are again reminded of that by Strange when he tells Ebony Maw, "you will find a dead man's spell.. hard to break.." in Infinity War.
I believe the time loop is also perhaps another reason why the Infinity War movie is named as such. Think about it, the war against Thanos doesn't happen everywhere in Universe - but only in specific locations like Earth, Xandar, Titan, knowhere, etc. Several other cosmic places and entities exist in Marvel's universe but are not party to this war, though of course they would affected by the outcome. The war however is infinite in iterations - in addition, at least, to the war being over Infinity Stones, the events of Infinity War on an infinite loop (though we see only one iteration) until the heroes win and break the loop in Endgame.
Scott Lang (Ant-Man) is the wild card in breaking the loop. Since he went into the Quantum Realm, he may escape the time loop (perhaps by going to a Time Vortex mentioned in Ant-Man 2). That would explain why Time Vortices were so wittily mentioned in the movie. Everything we see in Civil War and Ant Man movies is part of the time loop - but going through a Time Vortex while stuck in the Quantum Realm allows Ant-Man to escape the time loop.
Hey, and welcome back. Did you make it through all of that without a headache? Cheers to Mr. Reddit User RahulVijh for being some sort of Marvel theory savant.
Essentially, from what I can gather here, is that Doctor Strange somehow trapped Thanos in a time loop sometime before the war, so it could all play out over and over again until they got the one result that worked. Here is the interaction the fan is referencing:
There are a few problems with this theory, mainly his timing of Doctor Strange casting the time loop sometime during Age of Ultron. The events of Ultron took place before Doctor Strange obtained the Time Stone. That means the time loop Banner mentions is not the one in question (although maybe there's some situation where Doctor Strange could travel into the past and cast one? I have no idea but sure why the hell not.). The theory could still make sense, however, if Doctor Strange put Thanos in a time loop any time between his origin story and the events of Infinity War.
Anyway, Marvel has a lot of options to play with, all they have to do is assure it makes sense for children and people who don't understand the nuances of comic book time travel theory.
This story originally appeared on Esquire.com.
* Minor edits have been made by the Esquiremag.ph editors.