In Avengers: Endgame, we learn that

Thanos destroys the Infinity Stones. And then, the Avengers go back in time (perhaps to different realities) in order to gather Infinity Stones. Once they finish their work with these Infinity Stones, they are taken back to their respective realities.

So, in the main timeline, where they bring back the dusted characters, there are no Infinity Stones.

But, consider the Time Stone. Doctor Strange and his sanctum swore to protect the Time Stone.

Then why did Doctor strange give away the Time Stone

if Thanos was going to destroy it?

  • Protecting the Time Stone if the Earth is destroyed... not really a good bargain, right ?
    – Jemox
    Commented Aug 20, 2019 at 12:05

5 Answers 5


Then, why did Doctor Strange give away the Time Stone to Thanos while it's anyway not there at the end of Endgame ?

What other choice did he have?

Of the 14,000,605 outcomes there was only one way to win.

Strange had to give up the Time Stone to let the remaining Avengers on Titan continue to live (Thanos would have killed them otherwise) so that ultimate victory could be achieved.

If Tony Stark is killed by Thanos on Titan during Infinity War then he can't be there to complete the victory in Endgame.

Once the final battle is over, Captain America returns the Time Stone to it's proper place in the timeline (with The Ancient One) who will eventually leave it in Kamar-Taj for Doctor Strange to "inherit".

  • 2
    The Doctor Strange who "inherits" the stone is from a different reality isn't that ? What about the one in the main timeline (2023) ? Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 11:49
  • 4
    He no longer has a time stone since it was destroyed by Thanos.
    – bobbyalex
    Commented Apr 30, 2019 at 12:55

Then, why did Doctor strange give away the Time Stone to Thanos while it's anyway not there at the end of Endgame?

Remember that Strange had seen 14,000,605 possible futures in Infinity War and was trying to bring about the one scenario where they won.

If Tony dies in Infinity War, he doesn't

solve the time travel navigation problem that they have initially faced in Endgame.

If someone else fixes that, he's not around to

come up with the idea of jumping back to the 70s to try and regain the Tesseract and more Pym Particles after the trouble they have in 2012.

If someone else thinks of that, he doesn't

create a nano-tech version of the Gauntlet to wield the stones

And finally he's

not there at the final fight to grab the stones off Thanos and carry out the final snap to destroy both Thanos and his attacking army.

Tony was absolutely key to the single winning scenario. As Dr Strange knew this already, he had to do whatever was necessary to ensure that Tony didn't die in Infinity War.


At first, think why the time stone required to be protected. It's because if it falls into wrong hands, the timeline can be compromised.

Looking through 14 million and 605 possible outcomes of their upcoming battle, Doctor Strange found that the only way to win against Thanos is to give away the time stone to save Tony's life. Even if Thanos destroys all the stones, the avengers can fetch the six stones from different timelines and return it after bringing everyone back using it.

Now here's the catch. If the time stone is already destroyed, there are no risks regarding the time stone with the responsibilities as well. So it was a safe play for Doctor Strange.

  • 1
    Interesting, I like it. He'll have to hope Dormammu doesn't notice he doesn't have it any more though Commented May 13, 2019 at 7:33
  • 1
    It creates potential movie plot for Marvel. We don't know what idea they currently have in their mind. 'Time' will tell. ;) Commented Jun 1, 2019 at 10:57
  • Additionally, Dormammu doesn't understand the aspects of time. He doesn't know about time stone. He is so paranoid of time that he kept his promise and didn't attack the Earth after being released from time loop. Commented Jul 20, 2019 at 19:10
  • the time travel problem they faced was EPR Paradox,
    – ashveli
    Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 5:46
  • They already solved the problem using the concept of separate timelines Commented Aug 21, 2019 at 6:23

I think others have answered this well, but another aspect of it may be this.

When Banner went back to get the Time Stone from the Ancient One, she did not want to give it up. However, once Banner mentioned in his timeline Strange gave it up to save Tony's life this changed her opinion. The shift in her opinion/mood was very clear.

She talked about how Strange was going to become the best of them (the Sorcerers, or maybe the Sorcerer Supremes?). This is sort of mentioned in Doctor Strange, she talks about viewing his possible futures. She said that if he was willing to give up the Time Stone then surely he had a very good reason and that she should trust him.

(I can't find a copy of the script so this is from my memory, maybe once there is one or once the movie is released I or someone else can edit the dialogue in.)

  • I seem to remember her saying that either Dr. Strange made a mistake, or she did. Not exactly sure what she meant by that though.
    – Gertsen
    Commented May 1, 2019 at 7:00
  • I like this answer and this is how I interpreted the scene as well. Sure, it's not definitive proof that it's the right answer, but at least worth an upvote from me :)
    – sous2817
    Commented May 1, 2019 at 14:15
  • 2
    @Gertsen I believe what she meant is simply that, at that point in time, she understood the proposition of giving the Time stone away, and relying on Banner to return it at the right point in time, to be too high of a risk. Once she learned that Strange gives it away in the future, she realises that she erred in thinking this is just Banner's plan, but it's actually part of something Strange set in motion.
    – DariM
    Commented May 2, 2019 at 5:42
  • 1
    To me he gave it away as a message to the Sorcerer Supreme. Such a counter intuitive move is seen by Tilda Swindon as a signal or an instruction of what she herself should do. Thus, the choice was done because Strange knew this was required for her to give the stone to Hulk.
    – Three Diag
    Commented May 5, 2019 at 11:19

I'm parsing it a little differently; see, the Thanos that died at the END of endgame was the Thanos from the past. By Hulk's snap undoing Thanos' snap would have restored the "present (end of Endgame)" stones to miscellaneous points in the universe; the Soul Stone back to Vormir, the Space Stone in the place Asgard occupied before Ragnarok (Presumably now a black hole), the Time Stone back in the Eye of Agomoto in the Sanctum Sanctorum, the Power Stone back to wherever it came from, etc. They should appear (or reappear) in their previous places of residence, prior to being seized by Thanos. Also, given Tony snapped past-Thanos and his army out of existence, everyone and everything destroyed by Thanos prior to his acquiring the infinity stones, those in his path of destruction would similarly be restored to the timeline.

You know...timey-wimey...stuff...

  • 1
    That's not how time travel works in the MCU. It's stated pretty clearly that travelling to the past creates a new alternate timeline, so you can't actually change the future. Tony snapping the parallel Thanos would not have prevented any of the actions of their own timeline's Thanos.
    – F1Krazy
    Commented May 11, 2019 at 9:18
  • @f1Krazy - Not quite. The ancient one explains that removing an infinity stone creates a new timeline and Banner argues that replacing it when they're done with it erases that new timeline. The whole point of replacing the time stone is to not create a new 2012 timeline without it (even though now apparently main timeline is without it) Commented Nov 26, 2019 at 5:13

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