An Avengers: Endgame theory argues the key to defeating Thanos (Josh Brolin) following his devastation of exactly half the universe’s living creatures lies in a trick first employed in Doctor Strange.
Reddit user u/RahulVijh, posting to the site’s popular Fan Theories subreddit, believes Earth’s mightiest heroes are caught in a time loop, similar to the spell cast by Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch), who utilized the Eye of Agamotto — powered by the Time Stone, one of six Infinity Stones coveted by Thanos — when combating inter-dimensional conqueror Dormammu, who the wizard defeated by trapped the creature in an endless time loop.
The Reddit user argues the events taking place post-Doctor Strange — almost all of Phase Three, including Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Thor: Ragnarok, Black Panther, Avengers: Infinity War and Ant-Man and the Wasp — is part of a similar unending loop that will repeat until it’s broken in Endgame.
A key moment belonging to the Sorcerer Supreme’s loop, RahulVijh argues, is Strange handing over the glowing green Time Stone to Thanos, which he relinquished to spare the life of Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) before telling the armored Avenger they’re “in the endgame now.”
That loop isn’t broken by Strange’s subsequent death caused by Thanos’ Infinity Stone-powered snap that obliterated half the universe because — as Strange previously told Thanos lackey Ebony Maw (Tom Vaughan-Lawlor) — a dead man’s spell is difficult to break.
The user goes on to argue that time loop is the reasoning for the Infinity War title, believing the war between Thanos and the assembled heroes “isn’t infinite in distance but in iterations” in addition to the “war” occurring over the half-dozen Infinity Stones. The audience then sees just one iteration of that infinite loop, which will be ended when the heroes win the day and halt the loop in Endgame.
Also pointed out is Scott Lang (Paul Rudd), a.k.a. Ant-Man, as a “wild card” who will prove pivotal in helping break the loop. The size-altering superhero was last seen stranded in the elusive Quantum Realm in the mid-credits sequence belonging to Ant-Man and the Wasp, where he was warned by Janet van Dyne (Michelle Pfeiffer) to avoid getting sucked into a time vortex when journeying into the world-between-worlds.
Ant-Man will escape the time loop by traveling through a time vortex in the Quantum Realm, the user argues, allowing him to reach the Avengers facility and contact Captain America (Chris Evans) and Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) — and ultimately help the heroes achieve one of the 14 million-plus realities where they win the day.
Avengers: Endgame opens April 26, 2019.