Avengers: Endgame is often talked about as the grand finale to the first ten years of the MCU, so it’s expected that it’ll feature many cameos from the past twenty-something movies. One that we’re sort of expecting is for Tilda Swinton to reprise her role as The Ancient One, last seen in 2016’s Doctor Strange. The nemesis of spoilerphobes everywhere, Mark Ruffalo, told us as much when he revealed he’d recently worked with the actress and a quick look at his resume confirms that he was referring to Endgame.
But how can The Ancient One return in the fourth Avengers film when the former Sorcerer Supreme perished in Stephen Strange’s solo movie? Well, Endgame‘s widely expected to make heavy use of time travel so that the remaining heroes can revisit their own personal histories in order to reclaim the Infinity Stones before Thanos gets the chance. Given this, Reddit user Jackram517 has devised a theory that could explain Swinton’s possible return.
The fan made the good point that half of the Infinity Stones are accessible from New York during the events of The Avengers. The Space and Mind Stones were key to the plot of that movie, and Doctor Strange established that the Time Stone – found at Kamataj, Nepal – could be visited by the portal in the NYC Sanctum Sanctorum.
Thanks to set photos, we know that Endgame will take us back to the events The Avengers. So, what if during this portion of the film, Strange and Banner – being familiar with the Sanctum from Avengers: Infinity War – go to retrieve the Time Stone. This will likely mean they have to do battle with The Ancient One, who’s yet to meet her fate at that point. The fan even suggests that perhaps Kaecilius and Mordo could reappear here, too.
This is definitely a pretty plausible, well-conceived theory, but given that much of the plot of Avengers: Endgame is so up in the air at the moment, it’s hard to say whether it’ll come to pass when the movie arrives in April. For now, though, it’s certainly intriguing to ponder.