There were many ways to conclude Avengers: Endgame, but one plot element, in particular, could’ve saved our heroes from a whole lot of trouble.
The third act of Endgame had them face off against the Mad Titan and his army one last time. And yes, the ensuing final battle which saw every character from across the MCU assemble was very, very cool. But it also presented the writers with endless possibilities on how they could conclude the story as seamlessly as possible. That’s why if you pay too much attention or try to nitpick, odds are, you’ll find many mistakes and plot holes in the climactic sequence. Including an interesting one that’s now been brought up by the folks over at ScreenRant.
As you know, the priority in the final battle was to get all six Infinity Stones back to their original timelines and away from Thanos’ grip, lest he destroy the entire universe. The only way to do that was apparently to take the gauntlet to Scott’s van, which housed a Quantum Tunnel. But here’s the catch: There was one other way to get the stones back to their original timelines, or at the very least, away from Thanos. And that’s by using Doctor Strange’s magic or any of the Masters of the Mystic Arts for that matter.
Doctor Strange and his students actually played an important part in the final battle, assisting the outnumbered Avengers and protecting them with their Sling Rings. But when you really think about it, they could have done more. For example, Strange could have opened a portal and moved the gauntlet to another dimension or reality. What’s worse, 2016’s Doctor Strange actually confirms that Sling Rings allow the Masters to move not just to any place on Earth, but across the multiverse.
As ScreenRant explains:
The Masters of the Mystic Arts played a key role in Avengers: Endgame. Under the leadership of the restored Doctor Strange, they used their Sling Rings to reinforce the beleaguered Avengers, giving them a veritable army to back them up. But, as crucial as the Masters of the Mystic Arts were in all this, they could have done far more.
As an example, they could have used the Sling Rings to send the Infinity Gauntlet out of the action, removing the risk of Thanos getting his hands on it straight away. What’s more, any member of the Masters of the Mystic Arts could have done this, not just Doctor Strange. That would have completely reshaped the third-act battle, because Thanos would no longer have been laser-focused on acquiring the Infinity Gauntlet.
Then again, the answer to this question also probably lies with the greatest MacGuffin in the entire MCU; the fact that Stephen Strange actually saw every possible outcome of their final battle, and hence tried to move the pieces in a way that would assure their victory.
Again, ScreenRant lays it out pretty well, saying:
He’d presumably have seen timelines where they took this approach, and learned that it ultimately failed to stop Thanos. Of course, this is quite a lazy explanation, a convenient get-out clause that was in part deliberately added to Avengers: Infinity War for precisely this kind of situation. The real issue is that continuity in the MCU is quite complex after 11 years’ worth of movies, and Marvel had likely forgotten that Sling Rings could be used like this.
But regardless, it’s still interesting to speculate how the final battle would’ve turned out if they decided to move the fight to other plains and dimensions. We’ll probably never know, but Marvel’s What If? may yet answer some of these questions when it premieres on Disney Plus.