16 MCU Fan Theories That Retroactively Make 'Infinity War' And 'Endgame' Even Better

Voting Rules
Vote up the theories that make you appreciate 'Infinity War' and 'Endgame' even more.

The second a new film or series is announced - and sometimes a great deal of time beforehand - the Internet becomes rife with new MCU fan theories, and Avengers fan theories are easily the most numerous among them. But while theories that attempt to predict the Marvel Cinematic Universe adventures to come are plenty of fun, the real speculative enjoyment comes from gazing back at the stories of the past and trying to recontextualize them in a new way - one that makes them even more enjoyable than they were originally.

There’s little doubt that Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame represent the pinnacle of the franchise, and by now, every single Avengers Easter egg and subtle detail have been long since picked over. But by delving into the realm of the hypothetical, there’s always new ground to cover. In fact, fans might never stop speculating about what really happened in these films - and that’s perfectly alright with just about everyone. 

Photo: Avengers: Infinity War/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

  • 1
    714 VOTES

    Doctor Strange Only Finding One Winnable Future Makes Sense If He Also Had To Find One In Which He Survived, Too

    The events of Loki and What If…? have cast a lot of doubt on Doctor Stephen Strange’s assertion that he could only find one future in which the Avengers defeated Thanos and saved the Marvel Universe. But his words stand up better if one accepts that Strange was searching through a limited field - specifically, as Redditor /u/sonnytron speculates, only futures in which Strange himself survived to tell the tale:

    I don't think [Strange] was lying... I think he just couldn't see past the scenarios where he dies because he has no idea what happened afterward.

    So, by nature of him not being able to see past his own death, he couldn't see scenarios where he lived and Tony survived but they won.

    By limiting the scenarios to ones where he survives/returns after the Snap, he was already limiting scenarios to either:
    1) He survives the battle on Titan.
    2) He doesn't survive the battle on Titan but is resurrected later.

    So, for me, I see this as him thinking when he told Tony:

    "Out of 14,000,605 possible endings to the coming battle, narrowed down to the ones where I survived, or I die and come back to life, I only saw one where we win. There might be more, but because I can't see them, I have to treat them as not existing... Which means I can't find a way where we win and you don't die."

    714 votes
  • 2
    644 VOTES

    Tony Stark’s Sacrifice Wouldn’t Have Been Possible Had He Not Found Out About It At The Last Minute; Otherwise He’d Just Try To Invent His Way Out Of It

    Doctor Stephen Strange apparently knows all along that Tony Stark will sacrifice himself at the culmination of Avengers: Endgame, but he doesn’t let him know until seconds before the deed is to be done. But, as Redditor /u/GameCube99 explains, that may have been a strategic choice, not a callous one:

    Obviously, by the end of the first Avengers movie, we see the [“cut the wire”] line come to fruition, since Tony is willing to make the sacrifice play. However, it’s the next line that I feel is often overlooked in these discussions, especially considering it immediately precedes the “big man in a suit of armor” quote.

    “Always a way out.”

    Since the beginning of the series, Tony is the tinkerer, the thinker. He has backup plans and contingencies, and when he fails, he corrects those mistakes to the best of his ability. So why did I say all of this?

    Strange holding his finger up at the end of Endgame, and the subsequent realization on Tony’s face, is the acceptance that there’s no way out. How many futures had Strange tried telling Tony about his fate? How many times had Strange immediately told Tony what would have to happen? Tony is, at his core, a survivor. In every movie, this rings true, even when he doesn’t want it to.

    To me, the only way this outcome could ever work is for Tony to understand that once and for all, there was no way out. How many scenarios had failed because Tony sought another option? Yes, it’s clear he’s willing to make the sacrifice. We learned that from the first Avengers movie - honestly, you could argue we could see it in the first Iron Man.

    But the sacrifice play is only taken if it’s the last possible option. He will search again and again for an escape, a way to preserve himself. The beauty of that final moment, that look of understanding in Tony’s eyes, is the argument coming full circle. Just as Cap had proven himself worthy of Mjolnir just a short while earlier, Tony proves himself willing to lay down on the wire. After a lifetime of cutting it, or finding some other means to save himself and everyone, he sees Strange’s finger and understands his destiny.

    644 votes
  • 3
    393 VOTES

    One Theory Ties Together Thanos’s Actions From ‘Avengers’ To ‘Infinity War’ Through Loki

    If one is totally honest with oneself, Thanos’s plot in The Avengers doesn’t make a ton of sense. He gives the one and only Infinity Stone in his possession, the Mind Stone, to Loki, and tasks him with retrieving the Space Stone - but only after overseeing an alien invasion. The inevitable end result is that Thanos loses both Stones. If a theory by Redditor /u/TheMediocreCritic is true, however, the Mad Titan may have had an ulterior motive in sending Loki to Earth, one that didn’t come to fruition until Avengers: Infinity War:

    TL;DR: Thanos manipulated Loki, giving him the Mind Stone, to get to Nidavellir.

    Thanos orchestrated the further corruption of Loki and the New York attack to divide and distract the Asgardians. With the Asgardian royalty destabilized and fighting among themselves, he could attack the unprotected forge of Nidavellir, the only place capable of forging a device strong enough to hold the Infinity Stones.

    Thanos specifically sought Loki to launch the attack on Earth. The Mad Titan wasn’t aiming for the 2-for-1 Mind/Space Stone deal he pitched to Loki, he was secretly plotting to create a rift in the Asgardian royal family. Thanos’s ultimate goal was to invade Nidavellir and force Eitri to make the Infinity Gauntlet, but he can’t subjugate the forge while it still has a defense pact with Asgard.

    “You were supposed to protect us, Asgard was supposed to protect us.” - Eitri to Thor (Infinity War, 2018)

    393 votes
  • 4
    390 VOTES

    The Existence Of Morgan Stark Explains Why Doctor Strange Had To Keep Tony Stark In The Dark

    To some, it comes off as a bit cruel that Stephen Strange foresees 14,000,605 futures and doesn’t give Tony Stark the slightest heads up about any of it, from the existence of his daughter to his inevitable sacrifice. But, as Redditor /u/sonnytron explains, there may have been a good reason to keep Tony ignorant, and it all comes down to Morgan Stark:

    Dr. Strange saw that in scenarios where he gave Tony too much information about what happens, Morgan's birth/existence changes how Tony's actions take place after the Snap.

    In some timelines, too much information led to Tony not taking part in the Time Heist because of his fear for his daughter growing up without him. In others, he participated but with hesitation and fear, which led to failure.

    The worst outcome? Tony and Pepper didn't have Morgan at all. Tony's knowledge of his fate led to him not having a daughter with Pepper at all, which led to Tony going into the Time Heist with too much aggression.

    Also, Tony's relationship with Morgan is what made him think of Peter before attempting to create the Time Travel GPS.

    I think the Avengers being careful to bring everyone who died back to 2023 and not trying to undo the last five years was critical to the success of the plan and, more importantly, the stability of the universe. But all that goes out the window if Morgan wasn't born, why? Because Tony would want to go back in time and try to have a baby with Pepper again.

    Tony was the key to everything, but how little he knew was just as important as him being the one to do the Snap.

    390 votes
  • 5
    380 VOTES

    The Laura Barton Phone Call Plot Hole Is Easily Fixed By A Guess At Hawkeye’s S.H.I.E.L.D. Privileges

    It’s been said that Laura Barton calling Hawkeye a few seconds after being unsnapped in Avengers: Endgame is a bit of a plot hole. Really? Her phone is still charged and her plan is still active after five years of nonexistence? But as Redditor /u/OGCelaris points out, that’s not so surprising for the spouse of an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D.:

    Hawkeye said that Fury helped him keep his family and home a secret. That probably included phones that did not operate on the normal cell network to keep them from being traced. Something like that probably doesn't have a monthly bill.

    As for her phone still being charged, that’s as simple as the phone being on her person when she was snapped and returning in the same state it left. If it worked for Spider-Man’s web-shooters and Star-Lord's rocket boots, it works for Laura’s phone. 

    380 votes
  • 6
    230 VOTES

    The TVA And ‘Endgame’s’ Time Shenanigans Work Perfectly Fine Together If The TVA Needed Tony Stark To Invent Time Travel So They Could Exist

    Doctor Strange and Avengers: Endgame introduced the concepts of time travel and the Marvel Cinematic Multiverse…and then Loki and the TVA exploded them not too long thereafter. There may have been some phony talk of a “sacred timeline,” but it doesn’t explain why the TVA was perfectly fine with the Avengers messing around in time. Unless, as Redditor /u/Ed_Derick_ posits, the TVA needed Tony Stark to invent time travel to even come into existence:

    My explanation is that Nathaniel Richards (Kang/The One Who Remains) needs the time travel technology so the TVA can exist, and the only way he gets it, is if Tony Stark invents it. Remember, the Multiverse is in an infinite cycle of death and rebirth. And things need to play out exactly as the last time, so Nathaniel Richards can become The One Who Remains, and create the TVA. He made Infinity War, so Tony Stark could have a motivation to create time travel, because he must have figured out that Tony is the only human smart enough to do it. So in the 31st century, Kang can obtain that technology and improve it, so he can create the Time Doors, and become the one who decides the fate of everyone. 

    So, all the Avengers have been through, all those deaths and battles, had the purpose of allowing The One Who Remains to create the TVA, and restart the cycle. And don't forget that concept art that shows Iron Man's helmet in Kang's room, showing that he is a big fan of him - probably because if it wasn't for Tony's time traveling technology, there would be no TVA.

    230 votes