Avengers: Endgame featured the return of all those dusted in Avengers: Infinity War, including one Stephen Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch). Despite being one of the Marvel Cinematic Universe's most powerful heroes, the Master of the Mystic Arts ended up being a non-factor in the final fight, instead coaching Tony Stark (Robert Downey Jr.) along the way.
After he was such a formidable opponent against Thanos (Josh Brolin) in Infinity War — who at the time, had an almost-completed Infinity Gauntlet — why would he step aside in Endgame, when it really mattered most? As one recent fan theory explains, it's because what was needed to make sure they were able to defeat Thanos.
That's an easy enough of an explanation, right? Let's dive a bit deeper into it. Strange ended up seeing more than 14 million futures and according to him, they only won one future...apparently the one where he hardly had a hand in the fight. That would bring up another point — why was there only one future in which they won that didn't have Strange putting up a fight?
Captain Marvel (Brie Larson) and Scarlet Witch (Elizabeth Olsen) each had their hand in helping take on the Mad Titan in the final fight, so why not Strange? Perhaps the filmmakers thought it'd be too easy of a fight for Strange to win. After all, a decked-out Thanos was nervous about the Crimson Bands of Cyttorak on Titan. In fact, the baddie needed nearly needed several Infinity Stones to defeat just Strange's self-replicating spell.
Perhaps another situation was the fact that Strange is lying about seeing just one future in which they won. If you think back to Doctor Strange, the doctor was pretty distressed that he killed just one of Kaecilius' zealots. If he was still on-board with the Hippocratic Oath, perhaps "the" future he saw them winning was the one where the least amount of people died. That'd certainly be a grim take on the ordeal, yet something that would completely fall in character with the sorcerer.
Avengers: Endgame is now in theaters and will be followed by Spider-Man: Far From Home on July 2nd. Captain Marvel is now available digitally ahead of a digital media release on June 11th.