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Did Doctor Strange Curse the Time Stone in AVENGERS: INFINITY WAR?

Dying was always a part of Doctor Strange’s plan, but was that because he placed a curse on the Time Stone? That’s the thinking behind one Avengers: Infinity War fan theory, and we’re diving into it headfirst on today’s episode of The Dan Cave.

I’ve read through approximately 14,000,605 Avengers: Infinity War fan theories since the movie came out and this is one of the most compelling yet for explaining Doctor Strange’s seemingly odd behavior and why he handed over the Time Stone to Thanos during their big battle on Titan.

Now, if you haven’t seen Avengers: Infinity War yet, what are you even doing? Just tell your boss you need to use the bathroom…for three hours. Bonus points if you actually do it, but then you might also need to someone like Doctor Strange because your butt is probably haunted. Regardless, if you haven’t seen Infinity War, buckle up because things are about to get more spoiled than Star-Lord when he learned the truth about his favorite movie.

With a snap of his fingers, Thanos erased half of all life in the universe. The Snapture turned many of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes and countless others to dust. Whether they’re dead and gone or simply trapped in the Soul Stone is a matter for another video, but what we’re going to talk about today is why the Snap melted the Infinity Gauntlet and left Thanos in critical condition.

But why was Doctor Strange so confident in handing over the Time Stone to Thanos to save Tony Stark’s life during their battle on Titan? According to redditors Mynccx and Death_Star, that’s because Strange put a powerful hex on the Time Stone to sabotage Thanos’ attempts to turn half the universe into dust.

Other fan theories—which we have covered on Nerdist News Edition—argue that Doctor Strange used the Time Stone while on Titan or that Tony Stark will replace Doctor Strange as Sorcerer Supreme, but perhaps the real reason that Strange tells Tony that there was no other way was his way of subtly hinting that he had sabotaged the Infinity Gauntlet.

The theory, which was first spotted by Uproxx, is predicated on an innocuous-sounding line that Strange tells Ebony Maw when the Children of Thanos come to Earth to retrieve the Time Stone. When Ebony Maw attempts to take the Eye of Agamotto—the amulet containing the Time Stone—from Doctor Strange’s neck, his hand gets horribly burned.

“It’s a simple spell but quite unbreakable,” Strange says. “You’ll find removing a dead man’s spell troublesome.”

Unfortunately for Ebony Maw, he gets airlocked, Aliens-style, before he ever gets a chance to torture Strange into removing it or telling Thanos about why he needs the world’s largest bottle of aloe vera now. The wording of Strange’s warning is particularly important here, especially the “dead man” part. It suggests that the spell may get even stronger or the effects will activate after the caster dies. So when Thanos snaps his giant purple sausage fingers inside his bedazzled glove, he is activating a dead man’s switch, which leads to the Infinity Gauntlet overloading.

The theory points to other clues like green runes appearing around the Time Stone and Thanos’ wrist when he puts the stone into the gauntlet on Titan. Rather than bathing him in sweet colored light like the rest of the stones did, arcane sigils and runes appeared. The same thing happened when Thanos used the Time Stone to undo Scarlet Witch’s attempt to destroy the Mind Stone in Wakanda. Immediately following the Snap, one can also see green streaks throughout the Gauntlet, which the theory alleges is evidence of the spell’s lingering effects. We know that Thanos is capable of using the Infinity Stones, but is he skilled in magic? These arcane markings could simply be something that happens anytime anyone uses the Time Stone or they could be remnants of what Doctor Strange may have done to the stone.

At the end of the film, when Thanos is LARPing Stardew Valley, his left arm can be seen burnt to a crisp in a similar manner to Ebony Maw’s hand. Now one can argue that this might be a side effect of the awesome power of the Infinity Gauntlet and the Infinity Stones being used in unison for the first time, but it could also be an after-effect of whatever dead man’s switch Strange imbued the Time Stone with.

Whatever Doctor Strange did, he did so with absolute confidence. Doctor Strange already knows what’s going to happen in Avengers 4. As writer Kevin Biegel pointed out on Twitter, he already watched the movie during Infinity War. It’s unclear as to how the effects of Strange’s purported sabotage could play out. Maybe it damaged the Gauntlet so irreparably that Thanos can no longer use its full power. Perhaps Strange used some sort of interdimensional energy to ensure that those dusted by the Snappening will make their way into the orangey pocket dimension inside of the Soul Stone. Or maybe it was simply a gambit to trick Thanos into thinking that he’d won so that Tony Stark, Captain Marvel, and the rest of Earth’s Mightiest Heroes can band together to defeat the Mad Titan. We’ll all find out come next year.

But what do you think of this theory? Did Doctor Strange place a curse on the Time Stone? What did he see in that 14,000,605th timeline anyway? Let me know in the comments below!

Images: Marvel Studios

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