Any movie that features time travel as a key plot point is going to throw up a paradox or two, and Avengers: Endgame is no different. There’s been plenty of discussion from both fans and the filmmakers about the countless possibilities and alternate scenarios that have been opened up in the Marvel Cinematic Universe as a result of the team’s ‘time heist,’ with some of them even being spun off into Disney Plus shows.
One character with the ability to manipulate time that was unavailable was Doctor Strange, who’d been dusted by Thanos at the climax of Infinity War, but not before revealing that there was only one possible future out of over fourteen million that saw the Avengers coming out on top in their battle against the Mad Titan.
After reappearing to lend support to Earth’s Mightiest Heroes during Endgame’s climactic third act battle, Strange’s vision comes true as Tony Stark gives his life to ensure the survival of the universe. Now, co-directors Joe and Anthony Russo have addressed just how Doctor Strange knew that this was the only future where the Avengers could win, and it sounds like it may have taken him quite some time to figure out, as Anthony explained:
“Strange has to exert an immense amount of energy to go into this state and the amount of time he’s in this state, as we know from his history in his own standalone film Doctor Strange, he can be in the state for who knows how long. It could have taken Strange an immensely large time to review all these scenarios.”
If you’ll recall, the final showdown in Doctor Strange sees the Sorcerer Supreme go up against arch-rival Dormammu in a time loop, which the two could have potentially been trapped in for thousands of years.
Joe then went onto describe the painstaking lengths Doctor Strange would need to go to in order to ensure the correct outcome in Endgame, saying:
“He has to physically review all of these scenarios and die in them and right before he dies, he has to reset it as we saw at the end of Doctor Strange, and do it again, talking copious notes each time he does it.”
Doctor Strange definitely put the work in prior to his return in Avengers: Endgame, living out all possible scenarios in order to find the single reality that didn’t end in the destruction of the entire universe. The first Doctor Strange movie leaned heavily into the cosmic side of the MCU with some incredible visuals, especially during his battle with Dormammu, and the promise of multiple realities in the recently-announced Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness creates endless exciting possibilities for the character’s next solo adventure.