'Avengers: Endgame' Theory Claims Collecting Infinity Stones Is Unnecessary

Avengers: Endgame theories have been focused on which Infinity Stones might be needed to defeat Thanos, but what if the answer is none of them? An intriguing new theory offers a clever alternative, and injects a time travel subplot into Avengers: Infinity War at the same time.

Redditor u/webdevnoobs1 recently broke down the theory, which hinges on the idea that the Avengers could travel back in time and drain the Infinity Stones of their power without actually taking the stones themselves.

Ant-man, Stark, and crew go on a time traveling adventure not to collect the stones before Thanos, but to collect their energy signatures. Leaving the stones in place does not alter the timeline, and allows the remaining Avengers with a weapon to nullify the stones’ power when Thanos uses them.”

That may sound like a stretch, but there’s an established precedent that comes from the animate series Avengers Assemble in an episode where the team takes on Thanos. On the show, their strategy involves Tony Stark collecting the energy signatures from the Infinity Stones while the rest of the Avengers work together to get Thanos to use each stone individually. They may plan to do the same thing in Endgame. Afterward, Tony could create his own version of the Infinity Gauntlet designed to harness the energy of each stone, rather than the stones themselves.

The theory also goes on to argue that time travel has already been incorporated into Avengers: Infinity War. During the Battle of Titan, Thanos mentions Tony’s name out loud, something he doesn’t do with anyone else. “You know me?” Tony asks. “You’re not the only one cursed with knowledge,” Thanos responds. The first assumption while watching the scene is that Thanos, a very powerful being, probably did some research of his own. But why single out Tony and not the others? Could it be that Thanos has met Tony before in another timeline?

avengers endgame spoilers
Thanos and Tony Stark meeting for the first time. Or is it?

During the Battle of Wakanda, Captain America is the first to charge at Thanos, but once he takes hold of the Infinity Gauntlet, Thanos hesitates in taking him down. If you watch closely in the video below, there’s confusion on Thanos’ face and he stands there for a bit before finally punching Captain America. Perhaps he isn’t expecting the First Avenger to be there at all because Thanos had already killed him in another timeline.

According to u/webdevnoobs1, that’s exactly what happened. The theory explains that in Endgame, the Avengers will travel back in time and encounter Thanos on Xandar while “collecting the energy signature from the Power Stone.” In the ensuing battle, Captain America will die while Tony Stark and the rest of the team escapes, which explains Thanos’ reactions to those two heroes in Infinity War.

There’s an elegance to this theory, which combines the popular assumption that time travel will play a key role with several moments from Infinity War that may seem confusing in the context of that movie.

It might also explain another big mystery from Infinity War: Why did the Infinity Gauntlet become damaged after completing the Snap? This could be explained by u/webdevnoobs1’s theory if the Infinity Stones weren’t actually operating at full capacity, though it still doesn’t reveal how the Avengers will undo the Snap that’s already happened. To find out the answer to the question, we’ll have to wait for Endgame’s release.

Avengers: Endgame is in theaters April 26, 2019.