'Avengers: Endgame' Theory Says Thanos Was Always Stuck in a Time Loop

And he knew it, too.

Thanos may have proved himself a formidable and presumably undefeatable villain in Avengers: Infinity War, but Endgame put an end to the Mad Titan and his genocidal plans. But what if Thanos had known all along that he would ultimately lose? A brazen new theory suggests the Marvel villain was stuck in an endless time loop, and he knew it all along.

Shocked? Us too, but there’s a ton of evidence to back this theory up. Let’s dive in.

While Thanos carefully strategized over the course of both films, it’s his change in demeanor that draws the most attention. There’s a stark difference between present Thanos and past Thanos. The Infinity War version is silently resigned to his fate, almost sullen as he methodically collects the Infinity Stones. When we meet the Mad Titan again in Endgame, he’s a few years younger, arrogant, and confident that he’ll best the Avengers.

Redditor u/GTomB theorizes the older Thanos knew all along that he was caught in a time loop. At the beginning of Infinity War, Thanos says that he knows “what it’s like to lose… to feel so desperately that you’re right.” But by that point in time he hadn’t lost at all, right?

Infinity War was a huge win for Thanos. He’d accomplished what he’d set out to do with relatively little push back (for him anyway). By the time the Avengers caught on to his plan, it was too late.

So why does he say he knows what loss is like? Perhaps he was referring to his home planet, but it’s still a red flag. It’s almost more believable that the older version of Thanos in Infinity War was already aware that his younger self would lose (had lost?) in Endgame. That other line about being “cursed with knowledge” also seems to support this far-out theory.

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

But how did Thanos end up stuck in a time loop? Instead of fading away at the end of Endgame, u/GTomB suggests that Tony’s snap actually caused Thanos to time travel.

“If you pay attention you’ll see Thanos’ massive ship dust away as well as his armies and himself,” they write. “Could Tony’s snap have just sent them back to 2014?”

Sure, this theory technically goes against the time travel rules set up by Endgame — that changing the past doesn’t affect the future — but the writers later broke their own rules by sending Captain America back to the past to live there, so anything’s possible. (Also, those rules never made any sense in the first place.)

Thanos’ entire arc across both movies makes a lot more sense when you view it as a cohesive time loop. And considering how little we know about what happens when you get dusted by the Infinity Stones (one theory even had everyone trapped within the Soul Stone) it’s still within the realm of possibility. As Marvel heads into Phase Four, we’ll probably never find out if this theory is true, but maybe if we’re lucky someone involved in the creation of the Infinity Saga will eventually speak up and set the record straight.


Avengers: Endgame is currently out on digital and available on Blu-ray/DVD August 13, 2019.

Media via Marvel, Marvel Studios