Why Did Dr. Strange Give Thanos the Time Stone in ‘Infinity War’?

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Avengers: Infinity War represents the climax of everything that the MCU had been building up to that point, with the showdown between Earth’s mightiest heroes and Thanos. Some call him a genocidal warlord, others a madman, but it is undeniable that Thanos is one of the toughest villains that the Avengers have ever faced. Believing that the universe is overpopulated, Thanos had one goal – to wipe out half of the total population from existence.

To do so, he needed the Infinity Stones – six of them, to be exact. And while the Avengers fought their best to prevent him from obtaining all the Stones, Dr. Strange willingly gave the Time Stone to Thanos. But why did he do that? Why did Dr. Strange give Thanos the Time Stone?

Dr. Strange willingly gave the Time Stone to Thanos to save Tony Stark’s life. He saw 40,000,605 possible futures and outcomes of the battle against Thanos. He knew that Tony must stay alive so they could come victorious ultimately and restore the universe as it was before Thanos’s snap.

The battle for the Time Stone occurred on Titan, Thanos’s home planet, and was tense, to say the least. It felt like the Avengers had Thanos trapped for a moment, but it all went sideways soon. Let’s see how it all happened.

Obtaining the Time Stone was an essential part of Thanos’s grand plan

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To fully understand the importance of Dr. Strange’s actions, we need to have a bigger picture in mind. Thanos had spent years trying to obtain all the Infinity Stones. The Avengers and The Guardians of the Galaxy unknowingly spoiled Thanos’s plans several times over the years, so his quest to collect all the Infinity Stones was not as easy as he expected.

After several years of tracking down Infinity Stones, Earth became Thanos’s primary target, where the Mind Stone and the Time Stone were, one in Vision’s head and the other in the Eye of Agamotto, a powerful relic worn around Dr. Strange’s neck. So, he sent the members of the Black Order to attack Dr. Strange, who was then beamed into an alien ship. The Black Order and Thanos’s rendezvous point was Titan, and Ebony Maw tried his best to obtain the Time Stone from Dr. Strange before they reached their destination.


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Luckily, Spider-Man has seen the movie Alien and devised an efficient way to rescue Dr. Strange based on it. Sorcerer Supreme was in a tough spot with Ebony Maw’s huge spikes penetrating his face. And this is where it gets interesting. Ebony Maw is ejected from the ship to space, and Iron Man and Dr. Strange devise a plan on what to do next. The two of them were not fond of each other from the moment they met and had their differences, but they had the same goal, to prevent Thanos from getting the Time Stone.

Ultimately, they agree that they will confront Thanos on his turf, as they could prevent mass destruction on Earth in that way. Dr. Strange agreed to that but made one thing clear- if it came to saving Tony, Peter, or the Time Stone, he would not hesitate to leave either of them to die, as keeping the stone safe was his main priority. Little did they know that all of that was about to change soon enough.

The Avengers knew that taking the Infinity Gauntlet from Thanos was essential

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After a bumpy landing on Titan, Iron Man, Spider-Man, and Dr. Strange immediately cross paths with the Guardians of the Galaxy. It took some light clash and name-calling, but they realized they were on the same side and Thanos was the main enemy. Devising a plan was difficult as Star-Lord was not typical ”yes, I will obey” type of guy but likes to do things his way, which led to a dispute with Tony.

While they were arguing about what to do next, Dr. Strange used his powers and went forward to view alternate futures and see all the possible outcomes of the upcoming conflict with Thanos. Over 14 million possible outcomes, and there is only one where the Avengers come out victorious. It doesn’t sound very promising, does it?

Anyway, when Thanos arrived on Titan, they all knew what they needed to do, as the main goal was to take the Infinity Gauntlet from his hand. After demonstrating exceptional teamwork, the team managed to restrain Thanos, and Spider-Man was seconds away from taking the gauntlet from Thanos’s hand. However, after hearing that Mad Titan killed Gamora, Star-Lord lost control, resulting in Thanos regaining consciousness again, and their endeavor to take the gauntlet failed.


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What followed next was a fierce battle. Thanos realized Dr. Strange didn’t use the Time Stone during the battle, so he easily overpowered him. Tony confronted Thanos one-on-one and again proved why he is one of Earth’s greatest heroes. Iron Man put on a good fight, but it wasn’t enough to stop Thanos. The Mad Titan severely wounded Tony and was seconds away from ending his life. And that’s when Dr. Strange interfered with a proposal.

Dr. Strange proposed an exchange: The Time Stone for Tony’s life

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As Thanos was about to make a final strike on the severely injured Stark, Dr. Strange, led by the greater good theory, decided to prevent that from happening. ”Spare his life, and I will give you the Stone,” he said. Even though he made it clear before that if it comes to saving someone’s life or protecting the Time Stone, he will not hesitate to protect the stone, his seeing the alternative futures changed all that.

He summoned the Time Stone and gave it to Thanos, who then possessed five Infinity Stones, with only Mind Stone yet to obtain. The Avengers were devastated by Dr. Strange’s action, and even Tony did not understand why the Time Stone protector did something like that. However, Dr. Strange knew it was the only way to defeat Thanos.

And that proved to be true. After Thanos used all six Infinity Stones and made his infamous ”snap”, the universe was devastated, with the remaining population grieving for the ones they lost. Five years later, the opportunity presented itself to restore everything before the ”snap”, and Tony was the only one who knew how to do that effectively. The only alternate future where the Avengers defeat Thanos and restore the universe is when they go back in time and collect the Infinity Stones from different historical points before Thanos gets his hand on them.


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After Ant-Man presented the Avengers with his knowledge of the quantum realm and how it can be used for time travel, Tony played a crucial part. He was the only one capable of finding a solution to travel through time safely and created a time-space GPS for structured and precise travel.

And ultimately, in the final battle against Thanos, Doctor Strange signals to Tony that this is the one time they win. So, Tony made the ultimate sacrifice – he used his nanotech Iron Man suit to take all the Infinity Stones in his hand and snapped his fingers. Thanos and his troops evaporated instantly, and the Avengers won.

Looking back, none of it would be possible if Doctor Strange hadn’t given the Time Stone to Thanos on Titan. By saving Tony’s life back then, he ensured that the alternate future he had seen as victorious come true, and that was only possible by trading the stone for Iron Man’s life.

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