One of the most iconic Marvel moments in Avengers: Infinity War happens when Doctor Strange uses the powers of the Time Stone in a desperate bid to stop Thanos in their last battle on Titan. After analysing fourteen million six hundred and five different possibilities, Stephen Strange concluded that there was only one way the Avengers could defeat Thanos, even if it meant sacrificing something very valuable to the team.
As we learn in Endgame, what the Avengers had to sacrifice was Tony Stark’s life, who dies heroically as he uses the new Infinity Gauntlet to erase Thanos and his forces for good. However, there are still some things about the Avengers’ confrontation with the Mad Titan that still bother us to this day – like, why was Strange so quick in surrendering the Time Stone to Thanos? And why was he so hesitant on revealing the secrets of the future to the rest of the team?
At the very least, had Strange revealed what would happen with the Snap, the remaining Avengers would have been prepared for the five-year interim they would have to face until they finally defeated Thanos. On the other hand, what if it was always Strange’s design that Earth Mightiest Heroes be kept in the dark?
What this fan theory proposes is that Doctor Strange’s goals might not necessarily align with that of the rest of the Avengers. Why should they, after all? As the Sorcerer Supreme, Doctor Strange is in charge of protecting his universe against multiversal threats, and what he perceives as victories might not look as such in the eyes of the rest of the Marvel universe.
One thing we learned in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness is that Strange, in many realities and alternate versions of himself, is quite prone to corruption and the temptations of higher powers. This is a well-established character trait that has existed ever since the first Doctor Strange when the sorcerer-in-training went against the teachings of Kamar-Taj to possess the Time Stone and its powers. Ever since then, it was clear that Strange was not above disobeying higher orders to acquire forbidden power – a trait that he shares with some of the more sinister of his alternate versions from across the Multiverse.
Perhaps another clear suggestion that the good Doctor might not be that good after all comes, again, from Multiverse of Madness, more specifically, in something that happens at the very end of the movie. Moments before the introduction of Clea to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, we’re treated to a brief scene of Doctor Strange having some side effects after using the Darkhold – namely growing a third eye right in the middle of his forehead.
As we know, this is the same third eye that Sinister Strange possessed, denoting a certain corruption that has already taken place in the psyche of Earth-616 Strange. What this could mean for the future of the MCU remains to be seen, but it certainly points towards a decidedly more sinister plotline for the Sorcerer Supreme.
Even if Thanos was ultimately defeated thanks to Strange’s premonition, the long-lasting repercussions of the Mad Titan’s defeat and how they affect Strange and his powers are yet to be seen. Strange might have won the battle against one of the most dangerous foes the MCU has ever seen, but only time will tell what will happen in the grander scheme of things now that the Multiverse – and the sinister cosmic entities therein – have their sights set on Earth-616.
One thing is for sure, though: Doctor Strange is certainly an odd fellow, and blindly trusting him – as Peter Parker did – could lead to some truly bizarre occurrences that might tear down the entire fabric of the Marvel Multiverse.