When it comes to the Marvel Cinematic Universe, fans have been gifted with over a decade of interwoven storytelling that has had many of their most beloved comic book characters come to life. Many people have literally grown up watching these films, and they all are invested in these films, many on a borderline religious type level. These type of fandom for the MCU has led to a bevy of fan theories. Most of them have been a simple thought about what may happen. Others have been downright crazy and asinine. But, there are some where the fan is too smart for their own good, dive too deep into the “hidden meaning” in every little detail, and thus they build an intricate, but ultimately way off base, theory.
Let me give you an example of what I mean before I dive into debunking this theory. There’s a story of how a famous painter, Jackson Pollock, was having an art exhibit and all these well studied and vetted art critics came out to see it. The central piece of the exhibit was the large canvas of black paint splattered all over, except for one spot of red near the lower center. Each critic talked about how deep the piece was, showing the chaos of life splattered randomly, while Pollock’s soul was represented by the small red dot in the vastness of said chaos. The piece sold for a ton of money.
When Pollock was asked about the “deeper meaning” of the piece, and if the red dot truly represented how small he felt in this crazy world, Pollock said, “Red? Oh, that must have accidentally splattered from another piece I was working on. I just splatter paint in why I like.” The moral of the story? Many times, there’s not a deeper meaning than what you see.
So, onto the theory. It was posted on ScreenRant. It is well written and well researched, but it simply digs too deep into something that works just fine on the surface. This theory suggests that the people who were snapped away in Infinity War never died. Let’s break it down. It’s starts off by ignoring the only people that can verify exactly what was meant in the story; the writers and directors. They acknowledge that these people, they only real experts when it comes to this story, blatantly say that these people died and were brought back in Endgame. Then, they basically say, “nope, they’re wrong” and go on to explain why.
The theory starts by pointing to The Ancient One and her inability to see past her own death in Dr. Strange. This theory has actually popped up before on Reddit, and we’ve already debunked that. The Ancient One never used the Time Stone. Its temptation to alter the “natural order” was too great, so she pulled her power from the Dark Dimension, instead. Now, in Endgame, she is wearing the Eye of Agamotto, but this was only in case it was the last resort to save the Stone from the impending invasion of New York. She otherwise never used it. And here in lies the issue with overthinking things, you miss other details along the way.
The theorist says that The Ancient One used the Time Stone to look into her own future but couldn’t see further than her death. Yet, Strange was able to see multiple futures past his own “death” from the snap. But, this isn’t the case. The Ancient One uses her own dark magic to see her future, which is why it ends with her death. Putting this sort of limitation on an Infinity Stone drastically diminished it’s power, which is terrible for the story.
There’s another side to this point as well. Let’s say that they’re right in that The Ancient One being unable to see past her death is proof that no one can. What happens if you die, but then come back 5 years later? Wouldn’t your timeline continue on, and thus you could see more in the future? Even if this point is right, maybe Dr. Strange saw 14 million ways because the Avengers always went back and got the stones and brought people back, meaning he would live on past the snap? That creates a loophole in the “mortality/time line” theory, and allows him to see past the snap.
The next point brings in Black Panther and the astral plane where dead kings live on. But, when Peter Parker returns with zero knowledge of the missing 5 years, so would the rest of the snapped victims. But, shouldn’t Black Panther go to the Astral Plane of Kings when he dies? Wouldn’t that mean T’Challa would know about the five years away? Maybe, maybe not. The snap is done by the most powerful force in the galaxy; the collective force of all 6 Infinity Stones. Death by this power could be stronger than the pull of the astral plane. Also, we have no idea how time works in the astral plane. And, we never heard if T’Challa was unaware of the five year gap or not. It just wasn’t covered. So, maybe he did go to the resting place of his forefathers. Who knows. That’s called ‘negative space’ in filmmaking. A point of storytelling the viewer isn’t shown, and must infer or simply ignore.
The last part of the theory states that if these snapped victims didn’t actually die, then Thanos is still alive. Except he isn’t. Even if this theory was right, that is 2014 Thanos, who goes on to die at the hands of Thor in the beginning of the film! Also, once the Avengers pulled the Stones from their points in time, they created alternate timelines, and that Thanos was from an alternate 2014. And now, even if the snapped Thanos is technically still alive (based on this theory), he doesn’t actually exist. By Captain America returning the Stones to their rightful places, those branched timelines are erased from existence. So THAT Thanos never existed in the first place.
There is also one more thing to point out. If the snapped victims didn’t actually die, thus meaning that 2014 Thanos didn’t actually die (nor the rest of his army), then Tony Stark’s sacrifice is all in vein. If Thanos comes back at any point in the MCU (besides in a flashback or something), it would be like the writers pissing on Tony’s grave. It belittles what Tony did completely. And we just can’t have that.
There are other parts of this theory that don’t work as well. Like, how Thanos’ snap would destroy ecosystems if these victims actually died. Well, yeah, of course it would. But, the exact same result would happen if they were just snapped to another dimension. So, that “fact” does absolutely nothing to prove they didn’t die. The outcome of ecological disaster happens whether they all die or just get sent away.
They also mention the possibility of the souls being sent to the Quantum Realm. And that could have actually happened. But, the wording here is important. Their SOULS were sent to the Quantum Realm. The theory acknowledges that their bodies definitely turned to dust. This right here should have been the end of the theory. If your body is destroyed and your soul is sent to another realm, you’re dead. Whose to say that the Quantum Realm isn’t the MCU’s version of ‘heaven’, i.e. the place where souls go when one dies? Again, this is where overthinking comes in. It’s Occam’s Razor: The simpler solution is much more likely than the complex one. If your body is turned to dust, and your soul is transported to another dimension/realm, without a form, you’re dead. Plain and simple.
Again, I’d like to say that this theory was well written and I mean no ill will by debunking it. But, theories like this can get people into a frenzy and the truth needs to be out there. When the people crafting the story tell you a fact, don’t say they’re wrong and your theory is right. Because it’s not.
What do you think of this theory? Do you have any theories of your own? Let us know in the comments below!