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In Infinity War, Dr. Strange explains all the events that took place were the only 1 out of 14,000,605 ways to win against Thanos and after having watched Endgame I am not quite convinced. Here are the following objections I have against his endgame and I would like to know how his final plan is justified:

  1. He could have warned Nebula to not inform/or stop Quill
  2. He could have turned Thanos really old or into a baby while under the influence of Mantis. To counter the argument that doing so would have unintended consequences I would like to point out that in Endgame, Scott Lang was easily turned into a baby/old man with the quantum tunnel. Therefore, the time stone should've been able to replicate the same feat without any repercussions (especially since an infinity stone would operate effectively than a man-made machine. He could have done it himself or have someone else to do it at the right moment.
  3. With his foresight, upon his return via Hulk's snap he could have immediately arrived to stop "evil" Nebula while she and mini- Thanos was unguarded.
  4. In endgame, he could have also used his foresight to get a hold of the gauntlet (with his foresight) and tried to use some of the stones directly on Thanos (the ones he could handle) or have someone who could handle the snap use it (I'm thinking Valkyrie the Asgardian or Cap Marvel)

These are just some of the objections I have and I know that they can be somewhat countered on the basis of 'If-then' arguments. However, the point of such objections is to point out that it seems quite illogical to justify that the specific set of events that led from Infinity Wars to Endgame could have been the only one possible outcome that would have been successful.

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    The part about why Strange didn't use the Time Stone is (sort of) answered here. – F1Krazy May 23 at 8:45
  • I don't see a possible answer to this question. Dr. Strange could have done a lot of thing. He could have done 14 million things but the one we saw in Endgame is the only one that the Avengers win. No other way. Maybe that 1 in 14 million was because of that rat who walked on the quantum realm console & that was it. As Tony mentioned to Scott, it was 1 in a billion cosmic fluke. – KharoBangdo May 23 at 14:40
  • Isn’t the fact that they won justification of his endgame? – ferret May 28 at 3:07
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As you say, they could have handled some things differently. By the middle of Endgame, the MCU has both time travel capabilities and the deus ex machina Infinity Stones. So logically the heroes could have done anything and the events should not be fixed to just 1 possible outcome. The movie simply decided to show us how it played out in that 1 timeline.

A possible explanation of why it happened the way it did, could be:
Dr. Strange saw 14,000,604 possible timelines where the heroes lost before he finally found timeline 14,000,605 where the heroes won. But had he continued 'meditating' with the Time Stone, he might have seen 168,176,891,001 timelines where the heroes could have won in 18,601 of those timelines. But Dr. Strange was being lazy, stopped once he found one 'successful' timeline and was simply following the course of that timeline.

  • Perhaps looking at more than 14,000,605 timelines was too exhausting, or too time consuming, (supposing it took a microsecond per timeline to evaluate, for a total of 14 seconds), rather like trying to skim every page of every book in a library. Presumably the first timeline one would consider is *"what if I took more time in the midst of battle to look at timelines?", and suppose it turned out that expending 10 minutes of lookup time while hesitating in battle meant invariable doom, 5 minutes too, 2 minutes also, down to however little time it took to consider magic number 14,000,604. – agc May 30 at 21:03
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Foresight is not omniscience, and certainly not omnipotence. Although in the comics Doctor Strange is occasionally able to use time-magic to team up with versions of himself from other timelines, in the movies most of these characters are far less powerful -- mostly because it's easier to keep the plot somewhat tight that way.

Strange could not have acted otherwise while Thanos was subdued by Mantis; even with her manipulations, he was still struggling against the restraints the others had set up, and he had a tight grip on the Gauntlet, which is why the group was begging Quill to help out in the first place.

Strange may have had trouble warning Nebula. Although by this point her intentions are mostly good, she's still pretty full of rage and can't be expected to act purely rationally. Besides which, Quill is nosey, rash, and can be sneaky when he wants to be; any method used to prevent him overhearing may alienate him from the team in a way that results in the battle being lost some other way, or else he finds out anyway, or else getting the Gauntlet back from Thanos doesn't actually prevent him from winning in the end.

Nebula appeared to summon Thanos from their alternate timeline during or immediately after the Vanished were resurrected. And that's assuming he knew that would happen; it's not clear what Strange knows or doesn't know about this future, besides what he's actually present for.

I believe the audience is meant to use our own imagination to think about what might have happened in the other possible futures from Infinity War. The main things to consider are that the good guys (even the super genius ones) aren't always the most rational actors, that Strange might have had a specific definition of victory in mind, and that Thanos and his armies are very, very powerful.

  • Oh, and also that this whole movie series is set in an extremely bizarre and fantastical world; the writers seem to have done their very best to make as many things make sense as possible, but sometimes drama or humor win out over perfect logic; Lang turning into a baby doesn't make any sense at all, let alone fit into the rest of the movie's explanation of time-travel mechanics, but it got left in because somebody thought it was funny. – Jesse Amano May 23 at 6:59
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Any answer to this is going to be pure speculation, and continue to open up "what-if" scenarios, but here goes:

An important outcome of this Endgame is that the stones are GONE, and the avengers only suffered two losses (3, counting Cap). In any timeline where they use they defeat Thanos before he snaps half of reality, the stones still exist. In any timeline where the stones exist, they are a threat. A number of beings more powerful than Thanos, or the avengers, will want to get there hands on them to wipe out all of the universe or remake it in there image. Any future where they kill Thanos and then the universe is completely destroyed by another force is probably considered a loss to Strange.

But wait, you say, once they kill Thanos, they can just use the gauntlet to get rid of the stones themselves! Not so, say I. The only being besides Thanos who is shown to use the stones without suffering death is the Hulk, who is in no mental state to do the snapping. But wait, can't one of the avengers just make the self-sacrifice play to get rid of the stones? No, the only being who can physically fit into the Thanos gauntlet is Hulk, so another avenger can't just throw on the glove and take one for the team.

What about Tony's nanobots, can't he make a nanobot glove? Sure, he can reform the bots into a glove shape, but without time to analyze the gauntlet or gather info from eitri the dwarf about how the glove taps the power of the stones and how to wield them, his prototype is just as likely to blow up as it is to work.

and thus the argument continues to spiral further and further downward, when the core of the issue is that Doctor Strange plan was the only way, because we are told it's the only way. We can spend hours and hours theorizing about how each of the "obvious" plans would have failed and put the universe in a worse situation, but it's unnecessary. The other plans would have failed, because both Doctor Strange and the Russo brothers say they would have failed. The actual reasoning behind what would have caused each of them to fail is moot.

  • -1: Not only was the facsimile Infinity Gauntlet used by Hulk based on Stark's tech (it adjusted it's shape when put on, so getting smaller - like even some of Tony's early suits have done - is highly plausible). Furthermore, Tony did make a nanobot Gauntlet and successfully used it (even if it killed him, the Gauntlet still worked). – T.J.L. Aug 8 at 14:59
  • @T.J.L. After the Hulks first snap, the gauntlet appears to be slightly damaged and no longer resize. Whether that means it can't resize anymore, or just that noone tries to resize it is up for interpretation, but I took that to indicate that the nanobots in the gauntlet were to damaged by the snap to be reformed. In addition, it took years of research not shown on-screen to build the facsimile gauntlet. That's the crux of my original answer, it was TIME that was the real issue. Another would try to claim the stones BEFORE they had time to build a new gauntlet. – AAlig Aug 9 at 15:29
  • The Starktech gauntlet was not damaged - Thanos tried to use it just before Tony's snap. It didn't work for Thanos because Tony had the stones in his nanotech gauntlet. – T.J.L. Aug 10 at 22:43
  • I think we are caught up on different things, Thanos doesnt need to resize the gauntlet. We can take this to chat if you'd like to continue discussing. – AAlig Aug 11 at 23:07

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