The arrival of Infinity War in theaters has answered a great many questions that fans have been asking for a long time. Unfortunately for those without a whole lot of patience, the movie also left quite a few questions dangling out there for us to ponder until the arrival of Avengers 4 next year. One of the biggest questions many likely have, has to do with Doctor Strange and the Time Stone, which he was guarding during the events of Infinity War.
Warning: this post contains massives spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War. If you have not seen the movie yet, turn back now. Doctor Strange has been guarding the Time Stone, which is located inside the Eye of Agamotto and is one of the six Infinity Stones that Thanos needs to get his hands on. Early on in the movie, the Sorcerer Supreme makes it clear that he will protect the powerful artifact at all costs, even if it means that Tony Stark or Peter Parker have to die. Strange is a big picture guy. That’s why it may be puzzling to many that he hands the Time Stone over to Thanos near the end of the movie in exchange for Stark’s life, shortly after the Mad Titan nearly kills him.
Prior to their fight with Thanos on Titan, Doctor Strange went forward in time and viewed a staggering 14 million scenarios that could take place during their encounter with the villain. According to the Sorcerer’s account, there is just one of those scenarios in which The Avengers and the Guardians of the Galaxy could emerge victorious. Given the fact that Strange clearly knew the long game at hand, it stands to reason that his surrendering of the Time Stone for Tony Stark’s life must have to do with that single victory scenario. Things get all the more complicated, because Doctor Strange was one of those who fell victim to Thanos’ balancing of the universe once he acquired all of the Infinity Stones.
Before Doctor Strange turns to Ash, he says, “There was no other way.” So what does that mean exactly? It definitely signifies that the magical figure knew of a way to beat Thanos, but the long game is very unclear as of right now. What seems to be crystal clear is that Tony Stark is crucial in this scenario. Why else would Strange, who made it very evident earlier on in the movie that he doesn’t particularly care for Stark and has the whole universe in mind, give up the Time Stone to save him?
The Sorcerer Supreme has a greater understanding of the universe than any of the other Avengers could hope to at this point, so this was definitely a calculated move and not some foolish, misguided moment. Still, it will be interesting to see how this plan unfolds in Avengers 4. It’s also worth mentioning that Wong stayed in New York to protect the Sanctum Sanctorum. Assuming he didn’t fall victim to Thanos’ deadly finger snap, Wong, as a master of the mystic arts, could help Tony Stark figure out how to proceed. While this definitely seems like one of the more puzzling moments in Avengers: Infinity War on paper, Marvel probably has a plan in place and one that we likely won’t be able to fully predict, given how surprising this movie wound up being.