Doctor Strange surprised many at the end of Avengers: Infinity War when he did the one thing he said he wouldn’t. He traded the Time Stone, which he swore to protect at all costs, for the life of one single man. But you’d probably change your mind too, had you seen more than 14 million versions of the same losing battle. A new fan theory says that Strange had to make sure Iron Man survives the defeat on Titan in order for the Avengers to ultimately win. This was the only way they could pull it off, as Strange said back in Infinity War.

I already told you a few times that I think Strange is the mastermind behind whatever is going to happen in Endgame. By spending that much time peering through time and looking at possible ways to fight Thanos, Strange may have set all the pieces on the board to beat the titan once all is finally said and done. It’s pretty clear that in Infinity War alone, the doctor had to make several sacrifices to make sure they’d win. Allowing Star-Lord’s temporary insanity moment, giving Thanos the Time Stone in exchange for Tony’s life, or making sure that Ant-Man was in the Quantum Real by the time the snap occurred aren’t accidents. Doctor Strange must be behind it all.

But why did he save Tony? The first Endgame trailer tells us that Tony is drifting through space with Nebula, with no hope in sight. But according to everything we’ve seen so far, someone will save Tony and he’ll travel back in time, possibly via the Quantum Realm, alongside the original Avengers (and a few new friends) to fix everything.

Reddit user thomascgalvin thinks that Doctor Strange knows he needs Tony’s mind to beat Thanos.

Specifically, the Redditor says that the Infinity Gauntlet’s snap is a one-time-trick that can’t be easily replicated now that the weapon is partially damaged, and the master dwarf who forged it can’t make another one:

My theory is that Strange realized the Snap was a one-time-only event, one which Thanos, even with the full compliment of the Infinity Stones, could never replicate.

First, the Snap damaged the Infinity Gauntlet. While it’s still a powerful weapon, in its current state it can probably not be used to perform the Snap a second time.

Second, Thanos himself destroyed any hope of creating a second Infinity Gauntlet. When Thanos mutilated Eitri’s hands, he destroyed the only craftsman capable of harnessing the true might of the Infinity Stones.

Together, these facts mean that if the Decimation can be reversed, Thanos will be well and truly thwarted.

The Redditor further says that Thanos might use the Time Stone to repair the Gauntlet or Eitri’s hands, but the Avengers would probably beat him to it.

With the Quantum Realm expected to play a significant role in Endgame and in the MCU’s next phase, the theory does make sense. The Avengers need Tony’s mind to navigate the Quantum Realm. Per this new theory, which is available in full at the end of this post, Strange sacrificed himself because “Stark has the kind of intelligence necessary to adapt PymTech to access the Soul Realm, while Strange, as smart as he is, lacks those kinds of skills.”

Remember that Strange does have Quantum Realm lines in the movie according to a Tom Holland statement made before everyone knew what would happen in Infinity War. That was one of the first leaks that seemed to imply the snap will be undone in Avengers 4.

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