A new Avengers: Endgame theory suggests that the heroes could’ve won the final battle at a much more reasonable cost, but Doctor Strange inadvertently sent Iron Man to his premature demise.
The fact that Stephen Strange went forward in time to see all the possible outcomes of their encounter with Thanos in Avengers: Infinity War was a convenient plot tool that would answer all the ‘what if’ questions that fans were eventually going to come up with. In fact, as the Master of the Mystic Arts himself put it, out of more than 14 million possible futures, there was only one in which the Avengers could win and stop the Mad Titan from erasing half of life from existence. During Endgame‘s climactic moments, we realized what Strange meant when Tony Stark gave up his life to destroy Thanos and his army.
While some fans have speculated that Doctor Strange might end up being the next big baddie of the MCU, and getting rid of Tony was a step in fulfilling his villainous plans, a new theory circulating online suggests that the Sorcerer Supreme was indeed wrong about Iron Man’s death, but he just didn’t know it.
First, let’s take a trip down memory lane. In Doctor Strange (2016), the Ancient One claims that she can’t see past the point of her own death despite having the Time Stone in her possession, saying:
‘I’ve spent so many years peering through time, looking at this exact moment. But I can’t see past it. I’ve prevented countless terrible futures and after each one there’s always another, and they all lead here but never further,’ she says in her last moments.
So, in theory, when Strange was seeing all the alternate outcomes, he counted every possibility where he dies as a failure since he couldn’t see what would happen by the end of the conflict. So, arguably, there must have been hundreds of outcomes in which the heroes would’ve won without Tony needing to sacrifice himself, but Strange couldn’t see those as he was one of the casualties along the way.
This is certainly an interesting thought, but Avengers: Endgame regrettably marked the end of Stark’s charismatic presence in the MCU, and there’s nothing we could do to change that. Let’s just hope that his legacy lives on through other Marvel movies that are currently in production to kickstart a new phase.