In Avengers: Endgame the Avengers try to pull the

time heist -- basically trying to retrieve Infinity Stones from the past.

When Iron Man is not able to retrieve the Tesseract from the battle in New York in 2012 (as Loki takes it and disappears) -- Iron Man and Captain America travel further back in time to year 1970 to retrieve the tesseract from S.H.I.E.L.D. base.

If, for a second let us assume that Iron Man in fact got the Tesseract in New York in 2012 and just took a detour to 1970 -- let's say to collect some Pym particles (just for fun) -- would he be able to get the Tesseract​ from the S.H.I.E.L.D. base and finally end up with two Tesseracts -- and repeating the same process with n Tesseracts with n -> Inf ?

  • 1
    I like this question !!
    – Nigel Fds
    Commented May 2, 2019 at 0:14
  • 3
    Of course! Why do you think they're called Infinity Stones?
    – BJ Myers
    Commented May 2, 2019 at 3:15

4 Answers 4


There is some precedent in the comics for this not working.

In the comics, the alternate reality rules are taken to the extreme, with alternate timelines constantly branching off from each other (no meddling time-travelers required), resulting in countless alternate realities. In many stories, sufficient magic or technology allows people to travel from one reality to another. And in these stories it's been established that the Infinity Stones don't work outside their home reality - that is, if you bring an Infinity Stone to a different timeline, it loses its power and becomes nothing more than a pretty gem.

Does the same rule apply in movie continuity? Who knows? But if it does, then we could surmise that if you go back and "steal" a Tesseract, then bring it back further in time and get another Tesseract, your second trip has now split you off into a separate timeline - which would mean that first tesseract is no longer in its own reality, and is therefore no longer functional. (Note that this isn't the case for the Tesseract Loki stole, since that one remained in its own timeline). In other words, you can never have more than one of each "working" Infinity Stone in any given reality.

  • Magic or Technology, you say >.> (just the obligatory Arthur C. Clarke reference) Commented May 1, 2019 at 22:57
  • 7
    Wouldn't that rule be shown not to be in effect in the MCU by both of the snaps in Endgame?
    – Jasper
    Commented May 1, 2019 at 23:10
  • 1
    @Jasper It all depends on the (unexplained) details of when/how alternate realities are spawned. Perhaps taking something back in time spawns a new reality, but taking something forward in time doesn't (since you can't cause the grandfather paradox or anything by going forward).
    – Dan Staley
    Commented May 1, 2019 at 23:32
  • I think reality != timeline in the comics or the movies Commented May 2, 2019 at 7:22
  • @DanStaley, In the movie the Stones are taken from other timelines to the Original Timeline in 2023. Based on your logic the reverse-snap of Hulk shouldn't have worked. So I don't think that logic is followed in MCU.
    – MovieMe
    Commented May 7, 2019 at 14:35

Based on the rules established by the movie, this seems perfectly possible to do. Just unnecessary as only one is needed to undo the snap.

  • 7
    Also they needed one of each. So they couldn't grab six tesseracts and accomplish the same thing.
    – DeeV
    Commented May 1, 2019 at 14:58

This is a plot hole that can be exploited to the very extreme. I'm sure the Russo bros don't want you to think too much about time travel and they probably won't use the same time travel plot in the future MCU movies.

Also, whoever wrote the comics must have thought of this possibility --- of someone stocking up the infinity stones using time travel (I would have open a company like Amazon and just sell infinity stones to whoever in need in any timeline)


The issue with them not working in alternate realities could be one of frequency alignment. Obviously there must be some sort of quantum vibrational difference that separates realities otherwise everything would all just be a soup of quantum energy with no sense to be made of any of it. The more different two realities are to one another, the more misaligned they became.

Think of alignment as a 360° rotation with the "original" timeline being 0°. Every year of separation in events branching timelines will rotate 0.1°. A reality which seperated from your own 10 years ago would only 1° apart, whereas a reality which separated 1800 years ago would be °180 apart, completely opposed to the control reality. Instead of a closed circle, this rotation would be on a spiral, thus preventing realities from "reconverging." 1800 years of separation would yield VERY different realities, with entirely new societal paradigms, and it's unlikely any of the same people would even exist.

Think of the stones as being "calibrated" for their own realities vibrational frequency, they might work if the realities are close, but less so the more apart they are. For the sake of argument let's say my above example was correct math. Two of the stones came from 1970, and four of them came from 2014, but since the stones work in tandem, their offset would be averaged at a 2.56° rotation. If we think of 180° as the point of no return where the stones become 100% ineffective, a 2.56° rotation would yeild a 1.42% margin for error whenever the alternate reality stones were used. 1.42% would be 142 out of every 10,000 actions, and every person or thing brought back would be a separate action.

Now of course my math probably isn't exactly right, the margin for error could be far less or far greater than my example, but considering how many people there are the universe, even a 0.0142% margin for error could have devistating ramification when you consider what errors could mean. A margin for error doesn't necessarily mean failure, only error. Maybe one of those errors is that the same person is brought back twice, or someone who didn't have superpowers now does have superpowers, or someone who did have superpowers now doesn't. Someone could be brought back younger, or older than they should have been. And of course straight up not bringing someone back is also a possibility.

You must log in to answer this question.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged .