Endgame Theory: What Doctor Strange REALLY Saw In The Future

The shock of The Avengers: Infinity War's defeat is enough to shake the MCU's heroes, but at least Tony Stark knows this timeline is the one that eventually leads to victory over Thanos, as promised by Doctor Strange. But we have a theory that Doctor Strange's prophecy isn't what Iron Man or Marvel fans think. Especially since there's really only one future that would make sense for Doctor Strange to see... and he definitely wouldn't describe it to anybody.

Fortunately, we've weighed the evidence in not just Infinity War or The Avengers: Endgame trailers, but Doctor Strange's own movie. It's there that the rules of the Time Stone were explained, along with the one character trait that may define Strange's sacrifice. Fans can still spin theories of Avengers: Endgame time travel, or hope that Captain Marvel can defeat Thanos on her own. But based only on what is actually shown in the films themselves, we think a different theory may make as much, if not more sense.

Fans Are Forgetting Doctor Strange's Big Lesson

Despite how pivotal Doctor Strange is to the ending of Infinity War, and just about every theory currently being debated by fans, many have ignored or forgotten one of the most important and poignant moments of his own origin movie. Because Stephen Strange isn't the only sorcerer to use the Time Stone locked in the Eye of Agamotto to see into the future. And for our theory on just what role Doctor Strange will end up playing, it's important to remember the one restriction placed on the Time Stone's gift of foresight.

RELATED: Doctor Strange Was Almost in Into The Spider-Verse

The other sorcerer who used the Time Stone is of course The Ancient One, Stephen's mentor. Even if audiences never saw The Ancient One using the Time Stone to watch one future after another play out in her mind, she revealed her final conclusion to Stephen in the moments before her death:

I've spent so many years peering through time, looking at this exact moment... but I can't see past it. I've prevented countless terrible futures, and after each one there's always another. And they all lead here, but never further. I never saw your future, only its possibilities. You have such a capacity for goodness. You always excelled, but not because you crave success, because of your fear of failure.

Arrogance and fear still keep you from learning the simplest and most significant lesson of all... it's not about you.

That distinction tells viewers exactly what Doctor Strange could see in his millions of alternate visions of the future, and more importantly, what he couldn't. But factoring in the actual lesson The Ancient One was trying to teach him, and his cryptic final claim that "there was no other way," we may know the real reason Strange traded his life for Tony Stark's.

The Endgame Future Doctor Strange Didn't Want to See

Knowing that The Ancient One could see countless possibilities, and knowing how analytical, brilliant, and neurotic Doctor Strange is by comparison, it's easy to believe that he could even process the minor permutations of millions of outcomes (especially with so many main characters involved). But the sheer ratio of failures to successes - 14,000,605 to 1 - demands that the audience ask one particular question. No, not 'How do they beat Thanos?' The real question is why Strange envisioned 14,000,605 different versions of the future specifically. Why not 14,000,606? Why not 15 million? Why not 20 million?

The simplest answer is that Strange stopped once he finally arrived at 'the one way they win.' The one solution that presented itself when he remembered The Ancient One's simplest, but most important lesson: that it's not about him. It just took him 14 million tries to get there.

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Key Release Dates
  • The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
  • Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
  • Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
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