Major spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War.
One of the most fascinating twists in Avengers: Infinity War involves Doctor Strange and Tony Stark. Early on in the film, Strange insists that he will sacrifice anyone and anything in order to prevent Thanos getting his hands on the Time Stone. Then, later in the movie, Strange actually bargains with Thanos - he offers him the Time Stone if he leaves Tony Stark alive. It's an unexpected moment, and you see that shock on Stark's pained face. Why has this happened?
It's heavily implied that this is a result of Strange's use of the Time Stone. The someday Sorcerer Supreme has clearly learned a great deal about the Time Stone between Doctor Strange and Infinity War; he's able to use it to glimpse millions of different futures, in order to formulate a plan that could defeat the Mad Titan. Shockingly, Strange reveals that he's only seen one possible future out of 14,000,605 in which Thanos was defeated. At the film's conclusion, as he fades from existence, Strange tells Tony; "There was no other way."
Strange, it seems, had looked beyond the cliffhanger ending of Avengers: Infinity War. He knew that what has been done by Thanos can yet be undone, whether through time-travel or use of the Infinity Gauntlet itself. But what if it isn't just the Avengers losing that's necessary, but them losing in a specific manner, with him actually having to save Tony Stark to fix Thanos' wrongs.
Tony Stark is Just What The Avengers Need After Infinity War
Most superheroes tend to be reactionary in nature. A villain masterminds a terrible plot, and the hero reacts to it, working to defeat them. But Tony Stark is different. He's not just a "billionaire genius playboy philanthropist," he's also a futurist. Marvel tend to use that term to describe a hero who intuitively recognizes the threats and possibilities of the future. The MCU has faithfully reproduced that element of Stark's comic book character; one glimpse of an alien invasion in The Avengers was enough to tell him that another attack was coming.
A futurist is a dangerous force, as the MCU has made clear. Believing another alien invasion was on its way, Stark attempted to create a global defense system - Ultron. In Captain America: Civil War, Stark was so focused on the fact the United Nations would push further measures that he sacrificed the Avengers' unity in the short-term.
In the aftermath of Infinity War, though, a futurist is just what the Avengers need. Most of the heroes are reactive, and will find themselves struggling to deal with the reality of what Thanos has done. Tony Stark, however, is the kind of man to look beyond that. A futurist is the only type of hero who can ask; can this be undone? Is there a way we can put this right? No wonder he's the one man Strange needs to keep alive.
Tony Stark Now Knows About Time Travel And Alternate Dimensions
"When did you become an expert in thermonuclear astrophysics," Maria Hill snarked at Tony Stark in The Avengers. "Last night," he responded confidently. There's a sense in which Tony Stark is your stereotype comic book genius; a man so intelligent that he can master an entirely new scientific discipline overnight. It's true that Marvel has since teased that he's not actually the smartest man on Earth; one of Black Panther's producers suggested Shuri is smarter than Tony Stark. But, in this case, Stark has knowledge that Shuri doesn't.
While on Titan, Tony saw Doctor Strange using the Time Stone to view myriad alternate futures. He's smart enough to thus intuit that the multiverse theory is real, and that time-travel is actually possible. If that's the case, it means history can be rewritten. Thanos's victory can still be prevented, made as though it never happened in the first place - or somehow twisted to be undone.
There's a lot of evidence that Avengers 4 is a time-travel film, including set photos that show members of the Avengers wearing what appear to be strange timepieces, including Tony Stark. It's distinctly possible that, inspired by the example of Doctor Strange's sorcery, Stark will be the one who invents time-travel and launches a plan to rewrite history...
- Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) release date: Jul 02, 2019
- Avengers: Infinity War / The Avengers 3 (2018) release date: Apr 27, 2018
- The Avengers 4 / Avengers: Endgame (2019) release date: Apr 26, 2019
- Captain Marvel (2019) release date: Mar 08, 2019
- Ant-Man & The Wasp (2018) release date: Jul 06, 2018