“Don’t do it, Quill, don’t do it!”
The above sentiment neatly sums up the single most hard-to-watch moment in Avengers: Infinity War, and in a film that featured the deaths of multiple beloved characters, that’s quite a statement. But, the scene where Star-Lord loses his temper and allows the almost de-gloved Thanos to escape the Avengers and co. is a surefire way to stress out Marvel fans everywhere.
It was perhaps the story beat that all but confirmed that Thanos would complete his mission, albeit up until the events of Avengers: Endgame, and this has led to some speculation on r/marvelstudios on what might have happened had Star-Lord kept a lid on his anger.
Very few responders were convinced of an Avengers victory in such a world, with one of the most popular answers being the world getting engulfed by the Emergence, as we almost saw in Eternals. Since Thanos’ snap was a key event in delaying the Emergence, which also gave the Eternals time to realize that it needed to be stopped, it seems like a likely event.
Another user suggested that outside forces would come into play, causing a massive war for control over the Infinity Stones. They also noted that Doctor Strange only said that there was one timeline in which the Avengers were victorious, but that doesn’t necessarily mean victory over Thanos.
And one other user posited that it’s in fact Star-Lord, not Thanos, who is inevitable.
Whatever would have happened, the bonus of not having to watch Star-Lord single-handedly confirm Thanos’ five-year-long victory would be well worth it. And with a second season of What If…? coming up, perhaps we just might get the definitive answer soon.