In Avengers: Endgame the Infinity Gauntlet passed through many hands while reaching the time travel van. There was a significant risk of Thanos reclaiming the Gauntlet. A very simple thing would have been for any one to wield it and do the finger snap. One life for the entire universe?

Were none of them ready to sacrifice themselves or is there some other nuance that I missed?

  • 2
    None of them ever really had a good grasp of it as I recall and, in any case, that wasn't the plan. The plan was for Dr Hulk to do it not Tony.
    – Paulie_D
    Apr 27, 2019 at 11:08
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    @Paulie_D The plan was to get it to Lang so that he could return the stones back to their time line. They never thought about using it until Thanos clobbered everyone up.
    – user73251
    Apr 27, 2019 at 12:57
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    They'd already saved the universe at that point, and could stop any further threat by removing the stones from their timeline. Not wanting to die when there's a plan that doesn't require any of them to die isn't the worst idea ever.
    – aroth
    Apr 27, 2019 at 15:07

2 Answers 2


There's now an interview confirming that basically, only Hulk (and Tony) could do it. You have to remember that the Gauntlet is equipped with all six Stones at that point, which is a whole lot to handle. Even Captain Marvel might not have been able too, and she's easily in the top 3 of overpowered people in the MCU.

Sure, that interview only talks about the "final" snap, but it's probably valid for partial actions as well - in the heat of the battlefield, you won't stop to take a Stone off, fire part of a power, reslot the Stone... Sounds like a nice way to lose one, which would jeopardize the overall plan of "in the end, use all six and unsnap".

Q: Why Iron Man has to be the one to do the final snap, couldn’t the people like Thor, Star-Lord or Captain Marvel whom all previously have handled the power of Infinity Stones done it instead?

A: Thor in this movie couldn’t do it, only Hulk was strong enough to do the snap without dying. We are still not sure whether Captain Marvel can also withstand all the power of Infinity Stones at once. The reason we choose to let Iron Man do it in the end was because he was the closest one to Thanos at the time. In all the futures Doctor Strange foresee, Iron Man was the only one who could get close to Thanos and do the snap.

'Avengers: Endgame’ directors just explained some of the movie’s biggest mysteries, BGR, April 30th, 2019

  • Strangely though doing the snap didn't seem to harm Thanos at all. We see him immediately afterwards without any apparent ill effects from it. He had just had a magic axe wedged into his chest too.
    – user
    May 13, 2019 at 11:02
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    @user maybe Thanos wasn't using the same gauntlet for that snap, he was using the Nidavellir gauntlet. Even then his second snap (to destroy the stones) caused the same kind of effects that Hulk and Tony experienced when using the 'Iron' gauntlet. May 13, 2019 at 16:18

Many of these heroes saw Professor Hulk put the gauntlet on and get his arm cooked. Likewise, many of these heroes know that using the stones unleashes a fatal level of radiation that will kill any mere human, regardless of what technology they wrap it in.

Nearly all of the heroes that have followed the cinematic universe this far are aware that only super powerful beings are able to hold individual stones.

There is also more to it than "sacrificing themselves" - they're well aware that the problem of Thanos killing half of the universe doesn't end until the stones have been returned to their own timeline, simply using the stones doesn't guarantee that they're going to win and Thanos has already changed the game - his next snap isn't going to kill half of all life, it's going to kill all life and then recreate half of it. This is the last chance. There's no room for mistakes.

So - why didn't they use it? Because it wasn't the plan. The plan was:

  • Hulk snap
  • Return stones to their original times
  • Even Hulk using it was a gamble; they weren't sure if he was going to survive long enough to finish making his wish. They just hoped. Apr 29, 2019 at 22:33

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