“This is the only way…”
With his back to the wall, Doctor Stephen Strange is left with no choice but to surrender the Time Stone to Thanos in the hope that Tony Stark and the remaining Avengers will be able to defeat Marvel’s Mad Titan come 2019. It’s arguably the pivotal scene of Avengers: Infinity War, and one that’s been discussed 10 times over as curious comic book fans search for answers and potential plot clues going into the so-far untitled Avengers 4.
That’s very much the case with this new theory – observation, really – put forward by Reddit user ‘picklesguy123,’ which digs a little deeper beneath the surface to assert that Scott Lang’s survival is just as important (if not more important) than that of Tony Stark.
Allow him/her to explain:
First, we know Strange has seen many futures, and that he has one specific plan that leads to their victory (or at least gives them the best chance). Second, Strange says to Tony at the end of the movie, “It was the only way.” From this, we know that Thanos getting the time stone was part of Strange’s plan all along. Because if he never meant for it to happen, he wouldn’t have reassured Tony at the end as if everything went according to plan. This is where the “Tony had to survive” theory doesn’t totally hold up for me. The entire fight on Titan (particularly the last couple minutes or so) greatly endangers Tony’s life. What reason would Strange have to let the fight happen, and go on as long as it did, if his ultimate goal was for Thanos to get the stone anyway?
The secret, it seems, lies in Doctor Strange’s timing. He’s an ancient of spacetime, after all, so it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that Marvel’s Sorcerer Supreme is privy to multiple timelines – even if this Reddit theory proves to be a little off.
Which brings us to Ant-Man and the Wasp. If you’ve seen Marvel’s most recent release with your own two eyes, you’ll know that Scott Lang winds up trapped inside the Quantum Realm, as his closest allies – namely Hope, Hank and Janet – have all been affected by Thanos and his wicked ways.
If the snap occurred a few seconds later, then the full-grown Scott likely would have been standing next to his allies; a few seconds earlier, and he may not have entered the Quantum Realm at all.
The answer is time. It’s fitting, really, considering that the entire fight is for the time stone. The reason Strange let everything play out the way it did (Quill hitting Thanos, Tony getting stabbed, etc) is because he needed the fight to last exactly the right amount of time. This wasn’t Strange simply delaying Thanos as long as possible. Because if that were the case, he would have utilized some final tricks to keep the stone away from the Mad Titan for a few more minutes. And if Strange’s only goal was Tony’s survival, he certainly would have given up the stone before the guy got impaled through the stomach and was seconds away from being obliterated by the force of 4 infinity stones.
All of this comes together at the tail-end of this particular Reddit theory, where ‘picklesguy123’ suggest Scott Lang’s survival is vital to Avengers 4, as it gives Joe and Anthony Russo an outlet to the Quantum Realm as the remnants of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes begin to coalesce – Ant-Man and Captain Marvel included.
This is why I believe Strange allowed everything to play out the way it did. At the end of Ant-Man and the Wasp, Scott travels into the quantum realm for mere seconds, and ends up stranded due to all 3 of his companions being snapped. If the snap had happened a few seconds earlier, Hope, Hank, and Janet would have disappeared before Scott entered the quantum tunnel. Scott being trapped in the quantum realm is the only event that we know of which happened in such a specific time frame that the snap being delayed or rushed by a few seconds would have prevented it. If the Titan fight hadn’t played out exactly how it did, Scott never gets stuck. That’s why Strange had to let the fight happen, but still give Thanos the time stone in the end. Plus, the quantum realm has basically infinite possibilities for new story points that the writers can utilize however they want.
Will this transpire? It’s too soon to tell, but with Avengers 4 already cramming up the pipeline, it won’t be too long before Marvel rolls out the answers we so crave.