A Strange Plan: 14,000,605 Ways To Win Infinity War Explained

It has been months since the release of Avengers: Infinity War and fans are still agonizing and theorizing about it. One of the major questions regarding this film was Doctor Strange’s plan to stop Thanos and what he saw in those 14,000,605 future scenarios. Let’s break down the magician’s strategy and how that huge number is an integral part of the plot of Avengers 4.

A breakdown of what happened

Infinity War is one of the most significant crossover cinematic events in history, and the massive selection of people is divided into various groups. We saw what each of them was doing to prevent Thanos invasion or to protect the closest Infinity Stone that the Black Order was trying to steal. When the Mad Titan arrived anywhere, one person had to decide whether to give him the gem or risk someone dying.

In the end, Thanos always got the jewels. Just as he was about to kill Thor, Loki gave him the Space Stone. Regarding the Soul Stone, Star-Lord had to kill Gamora to protect the location, but he failed because he loves her. Gamora decided not to tell him, but Thanos threatened to hurt her sister, Nebula, even more, and then the Mad Titan had to choose to throw his own daughter to her death to get the gem.

To protect the Mind Stone, Scarlet Witch destroyed it even though it would kill her man, Vision. However, the villain turned back time and gets it in the end, meaning that Vision died twice. But, the most important and definitive moment in this film came when Doctor Strange had to give the Time Stone to save Tony Stark, even though he said he would not do it earlier in the movie.

Why did he change his mind?

Before Thanos arrived on Titan, Doctor Strange decided to use the jewel in his possession to go forward in time to study all the possible outcomes of their battle against this powerful villain. He tells Tony, The Guardians, and Spider-Man that he saw 14,000,605 consequences, and they would only win in one. Most people at the theater thought this was a random number, but not real fans and theorists.

These theorists came up with several ideas about this oddly specific number, so let’s talk about one of them. There’s “The Log Poster Theory” which states that you have to look at the main poster for Avengers: Infinity War where there are 24 heroes, and if you calculate the log base 2 of the number Doctor Strange said. The result is pretty close to 24.

For those that do not remember high school calculus, getting the log base 2 out any given number means that you want to find how many variables exist to get so many outcomes. Therefore, this 24 characters can make a myriad of decisions and combinations that would result in those 14 million and something conclusions.

This makes a little sense because most of the characters had to face the decision of giving or not giving Thanos the stones. It was either “yes” or “no”, so that is why this theory uses log base 2. However, they could have used a number that gives precisely 24, and not just close. That would be 16,777,216. Furthermore, Loki does not appear on the poster, and he had to make a crucial decision.

If this theory does not work, what is going on with this number?

We have to go back to what Doctor Strange said to Tony, “…to see all the possible outcomes of the coming conflict.” The word “all” is pivotal here because with so many people making decisions and so many variables, the fact that there are only about 14 million results is surprising. Should there be more? Especially because of the name “infinity”, and there’s only one way to win? There should definitely be more ways to come out victorious.

We almost saw them defeating the Mad Titan at one point with Mantis’ “sleep” power. This other theory suggests that there are many ways to win, but there’s ONE constant: Tony must survive at all costs, and he has to believe there is only one way to win. After taking a look at these future scenarios, we have to assume that Doctor Strange did everything exactly right to make the winning outcome possible.

What is winning?

However, we were confused because Thanos accomplished his mission and snapped his fingers. We have to ask ourselves what is the meaning of the word “win”. We could debate this forever, but for this theory, the critical questions are: what does Doctor Strange take as winning? And what does Tony believe is winning?

It is safe to assume that Tony believes winning means that everyone is alright, and they have stopped Thanos’ from snapping his fingers or even getting all the stones. The meaning of winning for Stephen might be something completely different. After this important scene, we do not see them again until they have already come up with a plan that allegedly complies with the condition that Strange saw.

But, it seems like they lost, and maybe someone messed up along the way, choosing to do something that changed the whole outcome. Most people blame Star-Lord for hitting Thanos and waking him up from Mantis’ influence, which was apparently not part of the plan. However, did Doctor Strange see this happen? He must have, and he did nothing to stop it.

He knew right away that their silly plan was going to fail. Otherwise, he could have chained Star-Lord or thrown him into another universe for a while. Doing nothing to stop all that happened on Titan clearly states that Doctor Strange was not preventing him from getting the stones. To win, he had to let the Mad Titan complete his mission.

He was not just protecting the Time Stone, but also the Mind Stone. He had to have seen the fight back in Wakanda and how Thanos would use time travel to get the last piece for the Infinity Gauntlet. Therefore, Doctor Strange knew that to overthrow the villain so that he would never be a threat again, they probably had to let him get all the gems to complete the gauntlet, which they would, eventually, use against him.

The point was to let Thanos think he won while ensuring that certain key people would stay alive. “We’re in the endgame now.” The use of the word “endgame” is vital in this part because it is usually used in chess, when a player has to give up important pieces in order to get to the King, i.e., to win. This means that Doctor Strange has to sacrifice half the universe for the bigger picture, and that includes himself.

Tony’s importance

It should come as no surprise that the hero that started the MCU is probably the one that needs to save everyone in the end because Doctor Strange is not going to be there to help anymore. As we stated previously, Tony had to live, and the magician did everything to guarantee this. He understood that protecting the gems was not vital to the endgame, so the big fight on Titan was just window-dressing.

Stephen needed Tony to survive, knowing only that they were “on the endgame” and that there was only “one way to win”. Even the number 14,000,605 to one might have been a lie from Doctor Strange to make Tony desperate enough to find the answer to their problem once the warlock was gone. This is a pretty genius plan.

What did you think of this theory? Is it plausible that there is only one outcome where our superheroes win? We look forward to seeing Iron Man working urgently to bring back his loved one, as we knew this was his biggest fear. If you liked this article, share it with your friends who will accompany you to Avengers 4. See you next time!

Sources used: Youtube/SuperCarlinBrothers

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