The 6 Most Plausible ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Fan Theories We’ve Seen (Spoilers)

Any or all of time travel, Ant-Man, Gamora and more may factor into what happens next

avengers infinity war marvel cinematic universe infinity stones thanos infinity gauntlet post-credit scene
Marvel Studios

(Warning: This post is basically made out of “Avengers: Infinity War” spoilers. You might want to wait until you’ve seen the movie before reading on. Also, if you like this story, you’ll also like this list of the 8 Wildest ‘Avengers: Infinity War’ Fan Theories.)

We’ve been obsessing over the ending to “Avengers: Infinity War” for days now, trying to understand just what that shocking outcome could mean. How in the world do they come back from this bleakest of defeats for “Avengers 4?” We’ve looked something like this:

A lot of other people came out of the film obsessed too. Fans are all over it with their own theories for what happened in “Infinity War,” and what it means for the future of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. And we’ve compiled some of the more believable “Avengers” fan theories we’ve heard so far. It could be a combination of some or all of these that turn out to be true. Or maybe none of them! But that’s the fun of this franchise in the first place.

Of course, it hardly needs to be said again but “Avengers: Infinity War” spoilers ahead.

Doctor Strange Saw This Coming

TheWrap broke down this idea in great detail here, so we’re obviously partial to it. Here goes: Close to the end of “Infinity War,” Doctor Strange uses the Eye of Agamotto (AKA the Time Infinity Stone) to look into the future at all the possible outcomes of their battle with Thanos. He sees 14 million scenarios but only one in which they win. Shortly after, Strange then does a couple of, well, strange things. First, he doesn’t stop Peter Quill from losing it out of grief over [REDACTED]’s death, which then screws up their plan to subdue Thanos and steal the Infinity Gauntlet. And then, despite having earlier said he would never give up the Time Stone even if it meant everyone dying, he turns it over to Thanos to save Tony Stark’s life. This allows Thanos to head to Earth to get the final Infinity Stone, then snap his fingers and wipe out half of all life in the universe. Whoops.

Tony – and frankly, the whole audience — wants to know why the hell Strange did that. Just as Strange starts to fade to dust, he tells Tony “this was the only way”. In other words, it looks like out of the 14+ million scenarios he saw, the one in which The Avengers win required Strange to turn over the Stone, allow Thanos do kill half the universe, (and probably to save Tony’s life).

Everyone who disappeared is just trapped in the Soul Stone

This is one of our favorite “Infinity War” fan theories. So what exactly is the Soul Stone? It’s not entirely clear, but it appears to connected to the afterlife in some way. The Marvel Comics equivalent of the Soul Stone, called the Soul Gem, actually houses an idyllic pocket dimension, the Soul World, where the souls of people associated with those who control the Soul Gem live after their bodies are destroyed. They aren’t dead, exactly, since they technically haven’t progressed to the actual afterlife.

You can guess where this is going: In “Infinity War,” after Thanos snaps his fingers, he appears in some kind of spiritual realm (and we’re pretty sure this is totally different from the “Quantum Realm” that will be explained in more detail in “Ant-Man and the Wasp”) and encounters Gamora as a child. If the Soul Stone works like it does in the comics, then this probably wasn’t Thanos having a comforting vision, but him talking to the actual soul of the recently-deceased Guardian of the Galaxy? Which means — PERHAPS — everyone who disappeared isn’t literally dead, but their souls are trapped and confined to this realm.

(A confession: This theory is also in our list of the wildest “Infinity War” fan theories. It falls into the school of “s0 crazy it just might work.”)

The Avengers travel back in time to The Battle for New York

This “Avengers” fan theory has actual evidence to back it up. Some paparazzi set photos revealed Captain America, Tony Stark, Thor and Loki all back in the uniforms they wore in the original “The Avengers.” But they can also be seen there with Ant-Man wearing matching watch, doohickey looking things. Sure does look like they’ve traveled through time back to the Battle of New York, and that Ant-Man factors into “Avengers 4” in a big way after being MIA during “Infinity War.”

Why? Like because “The Avengers” was where Thanos first meddled in the affairs of humanity. Maybe the plan is to take him out at the start of his quest for the Infinity Stones.

Remember, Thanos’ whole plan was to get the Space Stone — AKA the Tesseract with Loki’s help, which is why Loki used it to create a wormhole in the sky above New York.

Thanos tries to bring back Gamora

When Thanos sees the young Gamora in his vision, she asks him what he had to give up to achieve this. “Everything,” he replies. Maybe he does care! And given his newfound invincibility, he may attempt to use the Time Stone to revive Gamora. Though that could end badly for him if it means the Avengers can take advantage of the time travel.

This shot from a trailer wasn’t a misdirect at all

This is a little less plausible but still fun. Check out this shot from the trailer in the tweet below, where, for one thing, we clearly see The Hulk running when in the scene actually included in “Infinity War,” it’s actually Bruce Banner in Tony Stark’s Hulkbuster suit instead:

Now likely, this shot is either clever marketing (we’re pretty sure they deliberately changed a few tiny details to avoid spoilers) or simply footage that ultimately didn’t make it into the film. (Though we think we know where things are going with The Hulk.) But what if this theory is right? If we buy that time travel factors into the sequel in some way, then this shot may still actually exist in the MCU, but showing up in “Avengers 4” instead.

“A soul for a soul”

This would be the heaviest of outcomes, but it makes sense, and we elaborate on it here. Captain America mentions several times in the film that “we don’t trade lives,” and so much of “Infinity War” is about sacrifice and the consequences of our choices. But he and the other Avengers may have to pay the ultimate price, trading their souls and lives for those of the next generation of heroes. The post-credits sequence pays heavy homage to “The Leftovers” or “Left Behind,” and while Marvel isn’t likely to go as dark as those movies, that path for “Avengers 4” seems to gel with those themes. It makes even more sense considering that on the business end of things, the contracts for the major Avengers are all up after the fourth movie.