One of the most interesting theories to stem from the Marvel Cinematic Universe is that the real villain of the Infinity Saga wasn’t Thanos, but Tony Stark, and if you think about it makes a great deal of sense.
During his decade as part of the franchise, Iron Man was either directly responsible for or played a huge part in Obadiah Stane, Justin Hammer, Aldrich Killian, Whiplash, Vulture, Mysterio, Ultron and even Zemo wreaking havoc in the MCU, with the latter forced into action after Tony’s rogue A.I. caused the deaths of his family in Sokovia, while Black Widow‘s Taskmaster has also been rumored as a potential result of rogue Stark Industries technology.
Given that Thanos reveals in Avengers: Infinity War that he’s well aware of the genius billionaire playboy philanthropist when they eventually cross paths, word of his inadvertent misdeeds must have spread across the galaxy. And now, a new fan theory leans into that idea by offering the reasonable argument that Doctor Strange deliberately chose a timeline where Tony would die as the one that would save the universe in Avengers: Endgame.
The Sorcerer Supreme said there was one outcome from over 14 million where Earth’s Mightiest Heroes won the battle, though this theory claims that there could’ve been multiple variations where Tony lived, but Doctor Strange had seen that his repeated efforts to save the world only kept making things worse, which may have even resulted in him keeping hold of the Infinity Stones for himself after doing his own Snap to restore half of all life. With Stark out of the way, though, there was nobody else capable of accidentally doing more damage. It’s an interesting theory, to be sure, but that would be a hell of a dark twist on Avengers: Endgame‘s tear-jerking finale.