I watched Avengers: Infinity War today, and there's one thing I don't get.

Dr. Strange saw a bunch of alternative futures, using the Time Stone, of which there's only ONE which the Avengers win. And Dr. Strange hinted that he is following this potential future.

Can't Thanos do the exact same thing, now? Especially since he has ALL the infinity stones, which enhances the Time Stone's power even more. He should be able to see that he will (inevitably?) fail.

I put "inevitably" there since, he too can see in the future and potentially avoid failing or being beaten.

My point is that is can Thanos override Dr. Strange's "Future"?

  • 9
    Maybe I am wrong, but does the person, who possesses the Time stone, need to learn some spells to use it? I mean, in Dr. Strange movie, he went to Kathmandu, Nepal where he learned and then later possessed the Time Stone, so that he could be able to use the ability of the Stone? Or once a person possesses the Stone, he can know by default all the spells to go with it?
    – Ragnarsson
    May 3, 2018 at 8:06
  • 3
    @Ragnarsson Thanos used the stone in the movie, didn't he? So guess he knows the spell. Or maybe, there aren't any spells.
    – ironman
    May 3, 2018 at 10:14
  • 3
    @Ragnarsson I agree with your line of thought. My impression is that he is that he is not aware of the future sight capabilities, hasn't considered it useful or hasn't "mastered" all the time stone's capabilities yet.
    – josh
    May 3, 2018 at 10:59
  • 7
    That could be part of what Dr. Strange saw - that there is only one future where Thanos didn't bother with looking into the future and Thanos doesn't do this because of X, Y, and Z that Dr. Strange sets into motion. May 3, 2018 at 11:50
  • 1
    "He should be able to see that he will (inevitably?) fail." - Will he really? Technically, he already won. No matter what happends for him next, he can't "fail", so he has no reason to check the future. May 3, 2018 at 18:27

5 Answers 5


Can't Thanos do the exact same thing, now?

Sure, but there's no guarantee that Thanos would discover an outcome that would lead to his demise.

For all we know, if Dr. Strange would have continued his search through the future, then, he could have discovered another couple, or even couple hundred, different paths that lead to beating Thanos. Conversely, it's also possible that he'd never discover another single one..

Similarly, if Thanos were to look into the future, then, it's easily possible that he might not discover a future that leads to his doom until his 4 billionth trace of the future; maybe even 4 trillionth!

Given that there are literally an infinite number of "branches" that occur when searching through the future, really, Dr. Strange was extremely lucky to find a winning future in just 14 million searches.

At the same time, perhaps Thanos just doesn't have a motivation to do such a thing -- he's just obtained the six most powerful objects in the universe, is now the most powerful being himself, and, has just accomplished his ultimate goal.

My point is that is can Thanos override Dr. Strange's "Future"?

If he's able to find the exact same future that Dr. Strange saw, then, maybe it's possible, but maybe it's not.

This kind of topic usually invokes paradoxical arguments, etc., so I won't get into all that, but, in general, perhaps some futures can't be changed, regardless of a character's efforts to avoid it?

A classic example of this kind of story (where the character is aware of their future, makes an active attempt to avoid it, but by doing so actually fulfills their destiny) is the Greek tragedy of Oedipus Rex.

  • 12
    Thanos just doesn't have a motivation to do such a thing is the more right answer, in my opinion
    – Dane
    May 3, 2018 at 4:04
  • 9
    Agree. it would seem that being the now most powerful entity can obviously create that "God complex", thinking you are untouchable, so why bother looking to see if you can be beaten. May 3, 2018 at 6:23
  • 2
    1. Aren't the stones depleted of power after he did what he did and 2. does Thanos posses the magical skills to use the timestone as the eye of agamotto ?? May 3, 2018 at 11:24
  • 1
    @ИвоНедев The Eye uses the Timestone's power, not the other way around. May 3, 2018 at 11:41
  • 6
    "Dr. Strange was extremely lucky to find a winning future in just 14 million searches." That depends on what the odds actually were (unknown). Maybe the odds of winning were hugely in the Avengers' favour, but Dr Strange was extremely unlucky to only find one winning future in the first 14 million he examined ;) May 3, 2018 at 13:13

Dr Strange is not just some guy who picked up the Time Stone, he's an extraordinary mind, as Tony says a "wizard" and has mastered the use of the stone. Looking into the future to see all possible outcomes is something he can do with the power of the stone. There's no evidence that anyone who picks up the stone can do that without practice, or will even know it is possible.


Gamora (younger): Did you do it?
Thanos: Yes.
Gamora (younger): What did it cost?
Thanos: Everything.

Thanos's singular goal in life is to kill half the people in the universe, at random & mercifully so as the other half can live prosperously with the resources.

His goal is not to rule the entire universe or convert it into a dark dimension like Melakith.

He's an antagonist, who was shaped by his surroundings & decided to do something about it. No matter the cost, personal or otherwise.

After accomplishing his goal, he goes to Gamora's planet to see the sunrise, at peace, contemplating his losses.

As far as he's concerned, his job is over, the killings are irreversible. The attack on him by the Avengers will be a surprise attack. So he'll not have time (pun intended) to use the time stone to see outcomes. Even after, he will not need to. For the simple fact that the guy achieved his goals & lost everything in doing so (even his other children).

The key point is, as far as he knows, the effects of the SNAP are irreversible. He's an honorable man, a powerful one too & he would like to defeat the Avengers (if they seek a rematch) through his power & not with tricks.

  • Wait did you think he was really on Gamora's planet talking to a really young, not dead Gamora? He seems to be in another dimension, prevailing theory being that he's inside the mind stone's reality Jan 7, 2019 at 8:14
  • @GordonBennett U misunderstood. After the snap, he went into soul stone & had the exchange with young Gamora. But later on when he escapes from Wakanda & sees the sun rise on a grateful universe, I thought he was on Gamora's planet Jan 7, 2019 at 10:08

With the release of Endgame, I think we have additional details.

As mentioned above, Thanos could search but he might give up before finding the one in 14 million where he eventually fails. Plus, as far as he is concerned he has won.

And as we saw in Endgame,

Thanos destroyed the stones, ensuring no one could use them to undo his work.


Strange didn't use the time-stone to look into the future and possible outcomes, just like the ancient one could when looking at the future. We've not seen the time stone itself be used to travel through time, only to manipulate time on a specific object (apple, page of the book and vision) or an area like to restore hong kong.

  • Welcome to Movies.SE! Could you clarify your answer a bit? I don't see how it answers the question right now. What do you mean, "Dr. Strange didn't look into the future?" Do you mean he did?
    – F1Krazy
    Jan 6, 2019 at 22:00
  • He said "didn't use the time-stone to look into the future"
    – user63699
    Jan 7, 2019 at 13:53
  • in "Dr Strange" it was mentioned that using the Eye of Agamotto has been forbidden since long before The Ancient one became Sorcerer Supreme, which means she didn't use it to look at all possible futures, therefore i postulate that Strange didn't use it either. It's not been shown that the stone even works that way. It's only been used to manipulate time on specific objects and places.
    – Fall Guy
    Jan 8, 2019 at 15:00

You must log in to answer this question.

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