The Avengers 4 Theory No One Saw Coming
The following contains mild spoilers for Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Captain America: Civil War, Avengers Age of Ultron, Doctor Strange, Avengers Infinity War and potential Spoilers for Avengers 4. This is your warning. Proceed only if you’ve seen these films or you don’t mind having things spoiled. Oh, also a spoiler warning for The Terminator (1984).
One of the most highly anticipated films of the upcoming year is Avengers 4, the follow-up to Avengers Infinity War. It is also the film that has occupied the internet with random theorizing and speculation. I’ve heard quite a few of them, but something I heard the other day really stuck with me. I’ve not heard the specific theory I’m about to put forth, but I feel like it really wraps everything up with a neat little bow. There are several aspects of this theory that, if you’re like me, you’ve heard from various podcasts, seen from various YouTubers, and read in different articles. My theory connects the dots to form a picture no one else has seen up to this point.
First off- time travel. I know, it’s not exactly something new, but it’s also super obvious. Towards the end of Infinity War, we see Doctor Strange using the Time Stone to look at every possible outcome of the coming conflict with Thanos – 14, 000, 605 to be exact and saw only one in which they were victorious. As a result, he would do whatever was in his power to achieve victory and save half of the universe from annihilation. It just so happened that he had in his possession something that would enable him to be in a position to ensure that the singular outcome would be possible. Right before he hands over the Time Stone to Thanos he holds his hand up, two fingers extended and the Time Stone appears between them. It was also glowing.
Throughout the film we see Thanos using the Infinity Stones for various reasons. Each and every time he uses a Stone, that Stone has an aura around it. The only Stones that have the aura are the ones being used; the others remain static and do not glow. So it stands to reason that Dr. Strange has used the Time Stone in some capacity. We just don’t know exactly how, yet.
Or do we?
In Captain America: The Winter Soldier (2014) there is a scene where a Hydra agent mentions that they have multiple people around the country under surveillance, including Stephen Strange. But why? Because they anticipated that he would drive his car too fast on a slippery road, crash and destroy his hands, then spend several months and hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to rehabilitate himself, then spend the remaining money he had left to travel to Kamar-Taj, pursue training in the mystic arts and become the Sorcerer Supreme? That seems unlikely. Especially when you consider that when Strange crashed his car, he’s on the phone, and one the other end of the phone is a nurse saying “I’ve got a 35-year-old Air Force Colonel, crushed his lower spine in some sort of experimental armor. Mid-thoracic burst fracture” which is a clear reference to James Rhodes’ injury (War Machine) during the airport battle during Captain America: Civil War (2016). This means that Strange’s accident took place a full two years after the initial mention of his surveillance, and nearly three years before he gains any type of power that would classify him as a person of interest to Hydra, or anyone else for that matter.
So why would anyone know about him? Easy. Because he went back through time and told Nick Fury about himself. Every single event that happened in the Marvel Cinematic Universe was put into motion because Dr. Stephen Strange traveled through time and told Nick Fury, in startling detail, each and every single significant event that would happen. The first thing he told him was that someone would fall from the sky and be the singular hope of mankind. That person is Carol Danvers, AKA Captain Marvel. Want proof? Watch the Captain Marvel trailer again. Fury specifically tells her that he was ready to quit, walk away from S.H.I.E.L.D. before she showed up. Why? Because Strange told him that it would happen, but wasn’t sure when. Fury started to give up hope because he desperately wanted it to be true.
That was when Fury realized that everything Strange told him would come true, and how to recognize things. This is why we haven’t seen Captain Marvel up to this point. Strange told Fury to keep her existence secret because there would be a time when it was absolutely necessary, and it would be absolutely necessary only after Thanos snapped his fingers inside the Infinity Gauntlet and eliminated half the life in the universe. He would be vulnerable with the Gauntlet ruined and without the same level of power. And while Thanos would be vulnerable he is still a significant threat, and only someone of her power would be able to defeat him, even in his weakened state. Maybe Marvel herself is being held in a sort of stasis, waiting for the signal from Fury’s clearly technologically enhanced pager to let her know that her time has come. Maybe she’s in the Quantum Realm and that’s how Ant-Man is able to free himself. Maybe Strange knew exactly which heroes and major players would be eliminated and left strict, exact instructions in order to truly defeat Thanos.
This theory also holds that Fury is the reason that Strange, hundreds of miles from the city after his car fell off a cliff into a body of water but was rescued before he drowned and brought to the very hospital where he would receive the exact care he would need that would require him to travel to Kamar-Taj and get the power he needed to put this whole plan into motion. Strange would have no ability to free himself from a smashed car and swim to the surface while he was unconscious, let alone with his irrevocably destroyed hands. He wouldn’t be able to undo his seatbelt, forget about breaking a window because his door was impossible to open. He wouldn’t be able to use his phone to call for help either.
Fury is also the reason that Tony Stark is still alive and still around because he is clearly the key to defeating Thanos. Strange told Stark that it was “the only way” right before he turned to dust, and Tony’s injury was what prompted Strange to finally offer up the Time Stone in exchange for Thanos sparing him. Because of Strange’s insistence you see Fury’s interest in him and how Fury helps him through what some would call tough love. First, he invites him to join the Avengers, then disinvites him. He provides Stark with the ability to create better, more powerful suits while simultaneously curing his palladium poisoning through his father’s research. Stark has the uniquely singular experience battling the Chitauri and interacting with Scarlet Witch during the events of Age of Ultron. The visions both he and Thor received were a result of the mutations, I mean enhancements, Scarlet Witch (and her brother Quicksilver) obtained through an Infinity Stone, specifically the Mind Stone. Both of their visions came true. I personally believe that the reason they were able to glimpse the future is that the Time Stone was used on Vision to remove the Mind Stone from his head. The Mind Stone was in the Gauntlet along with the tampered Time Stone, so that undoubtedly had an impact on it. As I’ve already pointed out with Strange telling Fury about his accident, things happen cyclically with the Gauntlet. Think about it like how John Connor sending Kyle Reese back in time to protect his mother from a Terminator (and become his father), and as a result Cyberdyne was created from the remains of the destroyed cyborg, setting into motion the events of Judgment Day which then led to the rise of the machines and required Connor sending Kyle Reese back in time to protect his mother from a Terminator (and become his father). Basically, by collecting the Stones and eliminating half the life in the universe Thanos set into motion the very means of his defeat.
Of course, I could be way off, connecting threads that have no real ties to each other. But you have to admit there’s a real chance I might be on to something. Guess we’ll have to wait until May to know.