One of the many meme-able scenes from Avengers: Infinity War sees Benedict Cumberbatch’s Doctor Strange look into the future 14,000,605 times in order to find every possible scenario in which the Avengers could face off against Thanos, and what the outcome would be. Based on what he saw, Strange told Iron Man that there was only one future where the heroes win—a fact that has sparked a number of fan theories as to what the situation might be. But have you ever wondered why Strange looked into the future that exact number of times? Was there a significance to that number? One Redditor thinks so, according to Screen Rant.
ArenLuxon took to Reddit to explain that Strange was likely using a specific combination of the characters surviving the battle against Thanos and surviving his snap. Using this formula, he would be looking at 21 characters in the film, including Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, Black Widow, War Machine, Falcon, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Scarlet Witch, Winter Soldier, Drax, Groot, Nebula, Star-Lord, Rocket, Shuri, Okoye, Gamora, and Vision. On top of that, Avengers: Endgame will include Hawkeye, Captain Marvel, and Ant-Man. This totals 24 heroes. Their fates are either living or dying, meaning two possible outcomes for each character.
The combinations would then be 2^24, or 16,777,216.
The theorist then considers Vision as uncountable here, as he died only because Thanos reversed time. This bring us to 2^23, or 8,388,608 combinations. However, it’s entirely possible that Vision could survive, so the Redditor puts him at a one in three chance of surviving. This would add another 5,592,405 futures, and our total is now 13,981,013 combinations, pretty close to 14,000,605.
If you’re questioning the legitimacy of this theory because of the other characters involved in the film, such as Loki, the theorist has an explanation for that, too. “Of course you can argue a bit about who is a 'hero' and who isn't. But it only matters who Strange considers to be heroes, since those are the futures he will watch,” they write. “If he doesn't consider someone important, he might not check how the future changes if they live or die.”
While we likely will never get an answer as to why Strange looked into the future this exact amount of times, this theory might be onto something. At the very least, it provides a talking point to argue about until Avengers: Endgame hits theaters on April 26.
[h/t: Screen Rant]