What was Doctor Strange thinking in Avengers: Infinity War? It’s a question that’s arisen time and time again in fan forums as viewers draw on their best detective skills to predict how the Sorcerer Supreme’s long-term vision will come to fruition in next year’s Avengers 4. Just take this recent theory on Reddit for example, which observes Strange’s unusual choice to surrender the Time Stone to Thanos, and connects this to the post-credits twist of Ant-Man and the Wasp.
As with most Stephen Strange theories in the wake of Infinity War, this one all comes back to the part where Benedict Cumberbatch’s character looks forward in time to the millions of possible futures and concludes that just one sees them come out victorious in the fight against the Mad Titan.
With this curious scene in mind, it’s generally assumed that Strange’s seeming moment of weakness against Thanos was actually part of his mysterious strategy to realize this one favorable future. But if he intended to give the intergalactic tyrant the Time Stone all along, why didn’t he do so earlier? Why expend the energy battling the purple despot if he knew that this is how their exchange would end?
Redditor Trullius acknowledges a previous theory which argues that the doctor was playing for time, allowing Thor to attain the mighty Stormbreaker axe in order to slay Thanos – or not, as it sadly turned out. Trullius, however, offers the alternative notion that it wasn’t Thor whom Strange was counting on, but rather one Scott Lang, which brings us to that Ant-Man and the Wasp cliffhanger.
In the latest MCU movie’s post-credits scene, Scott ventures into the Quantum Realm only to find himself trapped there after his friends in the normal world are turned into dust as a result of Thanos’ snap. Though this leaves Ant-Man in a pretty awkward position, it remains a hugely popular prediction that the Quantum Realm will play a major role in the eventual defeat of the Avengers’ greatest enemy. Apparently, Doctor Strange could be thinking the same thing, since according to Trullius, his delayed surrender of the stone was an attempt to time the genocidal finger-snap with Scott’s entry into the Realm.
So, why is it advantageous for Scott to be in the Quantum Realm at the time of the snap? The Reddit theory doesn’t get that far in its speculation, though the Russo Brothers have already shot down the notion that being in this zone protected Ant-Man from the effects of Thanos’ snap, attributing his survival instead to dumb luck.
In any case, this theory seems to line up pretty well with what know and believe already about next year’s film. But whatever future the Russos have mapped out for Stephen, Scott, and the rest of the partially dusted superhero ensemble, you can be sure that these various multi-movie plot strands are going to find some way of coming together when Avengers 4 hits theaters on May 3rd, 2019, and the results are going to be universe-changing.