Avengers: Infinity War is almost here, but with less than two weeks to go before release fans are still feverishly trying trying to piece together the movie’s plot from the trailers – and one intriguing fan theory suggests the movie could revolve around multiple timelines. This isn’t too far-fetched, given that Doctor Strange plays a major role in the movie and he just so happens to have the Time Stone around his neck, inside the Eye of Agamotto. In Doctor Strange, he used his Infinity Stone to smuggle a time loop into the Dark Dimension and force Dormammu into a stalemate – which meant a montage of Dormammu killing him in creative ways.
Movies with multiple timelines offer the opportunity to kill off major characters in dramatic ways, but without any lasting consequences. Twilight: Breaking Dawn – Part 2 shocked fans with this particular trick – killing off multiple key characters in a brutal battle, before revealing that the scene was merely a vision of a possible future. X-Men: Days of Future Past also used its time travel antics to gleefully kill off beloved X-Men characters like Ice-Man and Storm, before resetting the timeline. And given the pressure on Infinity War to deliver a culmination of ten years’ worth of storytelling, directors Anthony and Joe Russo might choose to show many possible endings, instead of just one.
There are a few versions of this theory floating around, but Twitter user @mcuhollnd has pulled together some of the most compelling evidence for Avengers: Infinity War having multiple timelines.
AND AVENGERS FOUR IS THE FINAL PLAN!— ᴊᴏᴀɴɴᴀ (@mcuhollnd) April 13, 2018
It’s a crazy theory – so crazy, in fact, that it just might be true. Here’s our breakdown of the evidence we’ve seen so far indicating multiple timelines, and what it could mean for Avengers: Infinity War‘s plot (not to mention Avengers 4).
- This page: Evidence That Avengers: Infinity War Features Multiple Timelines
- Page 2: Is Hawkeye the Key to Defeating Thanos?
Evidence That Avengers: Infinity War Features Multiple Timelines
Perhaps the most compelling evidence that we’ll see various possible timelines in Infinity War is the fact that Doctor Strange says outright, in a recent trailer, “I went forward in time to see all the possible outcomes.” Tony then asks if the Avengers won in any of the possible outcomes, but Strange’s tone and expression don’t offer much hope.
We’ve also seen two distinctly different versions of the scene in which Spider-Man meets Doctor Strange. In the second full-length trailer, Spidey says, “I’m Peter, by the way,” and Strange shakes his hand and says, “Doctor Strange.” Peter responds with, “Oh, we’re using our made-up names. Then I am Spider-Man.” In the recent “Defend New York” TV spot, however, the two are standing at a distance, Strange does not shake Peter’s hand, and the dialogue is slightly switched around, with Peter saying, “I’m Spider-Man, then” instead. While trailers are known for their tricky editing, and often use varying takes, it certainly seems like we could see two different iterations of this scene in the movie.
Beyond the trailers, there are also clues in what the actors have said about the movie during the press tour. In this clip from The Graham Norton Show, Spider-Man actor Tom Holland explains that in some of his scenes he was acting opposite tennis balls on a stick, and had no idea which character(s) Peter was speaking to. This suggests that different characters could be placed in the scene depending on the particular timeline being shown.
THEY ARE REPLACING THE ACTORS. THERE WERENT REAL ACTORS THERE BECAUSE MOST OF THE CHARACTERS HAVE DONE THE SAME SCENE WITH SPIDER-MAN THEY JUST DOMT KNOW ABOUT IT! pic.twitter.com/PyLTdw5zJq— ᴊᴏᴀɴɴᴀ (@mcuhollnd) April 13, 2018
Then there’s the fact that none of the actors appear to know the whole story – except, that is, for Benedict Cumberbatch. In an interview on Good Morning America, Holland and Loki actor Tom Hiddleston say they haven’t seen the full movie or even read the full script, but that Cumberbatch has. “I had to understand what the context was,” Cumberbatch explains. “Strange has this wonderful role in it, and I’m kind of trying to hold the Multiverse together, so I needed to know what goes on between those brackets.” That certainly fits with the idea of Doctor Strange being the only character who has lived through all of the timelines.
BENEDICT IS THE ONLY ONE WHO HAS READ THE WHOLE THING BC HE IS DOCTOR FREAKING STRANGE. HE KNOWS EVERY OUTCOME AND EVERY SCENARIO. HE CONTROLS THE MOVIE! HOLY SHIT I JUST SOLVED INFINITY WAR! pic.twitter.com/yqlPZ86y54— ᴊᴏᴀɴɴᴀ (@mcuhollnd) April 13, 2018
Finally, there’s the footage that appears to show major Marvel characters on the verge of death. Teaser footage shown at D23 last summer included a brief clip of Peter laying on the ground, seriously injured, and saying, “I’m sorry, Tony” through his tears. The trailers have also shown Thor screaming in pain as Thanos squeezes his head, seemingly about to crush his skull. Another trailer clip has shown Vision lying on the ground screaming as the Mind Stone is forcibly ripped from his head. Finally, even Doctor Strange himself has been seen held captured, helpless, and screaming in pain as dozens of spikes start to pierce his body. All of these scenes could end with our favorite superheroes being horribly (but not permanently) killed.
If the multiple timelines theory is accurate, it might explain why a certain someone has been so carefully kept out of Infinity War‘s marketing.
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