Doctor Strange doesn't fight Thanos in Avengers: Endgame, and here's why. Benedict Cumberbatch's magical hero has become one of the most powerful characters in all of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Strange's quick learning helped him master the mystic arts, but it was by using the Eye of Agamotto and Time Stone that he became even more powerful. This also put him directly in harm's way when it came to Thanos' plan to take all of the Infinity Stones for himself.
Thanos and Strange went toe-to-toe on Titan in Avengers: Infinity War in a moment dubbed the "Wizard Duel" by Marvel Studios. Strange was able to hold his own with just the Eye of Agamotto and Time Stone on his side, while Thanos had four Infinity Stones at that point. But, Strange also knew that he wouldn't be able to defeat him in that moment to ensure that the one future out of 14,000,605 possible outcomes would happen. He gave up the Time Stone, willingly knowing that he would be turned to dust. This set off a chain of events that saw Thor eventually decapitate Thanos, and five years later Hulk snap everyone back to life, including Strange, in Avengers: Endgame's ending.
Once Strange was back alive and helped orchestrate the transportation of multiple armies to fight Thanos, many fans were ready to see the "Wizard Duel" part 2. This rematch never happened, though, as Thanos and Strange were both preoccupied with other threats. Thanos had to fend off multiple Avengers, and Strange maintained a spell to keep the battlefield from flooding. They may have been busy, but there's another reason that Strange couldn't get involved. As discussed in the Screen Rant video featured at the top of this post, Strange had to avoid fighting Thanos because "it was the only way."
While fans may have wanted to see Thanos and Strange face each other once again, Strange knew that he could not engage with Thanos under any circumstance. Out of the 14 million possibilities that Strange saw, there is a decent chance that he tried to do it himself in a few of them. None of these would be successful, though, so only in this exact sequence of events culminating in Iron Man's death would the one future where they win come to pass.
Strange may have started as a selfish character and certainly has an ego, but he is also smart enough to put all of that to the side to save the day. As much as Strange may now miss Iron Man in the future, his entire plan also came at a great cost for his line of duty. He no longer has the Eye of Agomotto, and it would not even have an Infinity Stone to hold if it was still around. Thanos destroyed all six Infinity Stones, which could leave Strange and all of Earth vulnerable to other threats. But, all that matters in the present is that Strange did what he had to do - including not fighting Thanos - in Avengers: Endgame to guarantee that this future would still come.
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019