After the movie, Infinity War had released, many fans have been asking one big question- “Why did Doctor Strange view exactly 14,000,605 futures?”
In one of this movie’s crucial scenes, the character, Stephen Strange had used the Time Stone to look into the many alternate futures and work out a way for the superheroes could defeat Thanos. He had emerged from this experience pretty shaken and had revealed that he saw 14,000,605 ways things could eventually play out and there was only one way to win.
The Reddit user, ArenLuxon has also suggested a reason for this. He has suggested that Strange’s plan hinges on a particular combination of superheroes surviving their battle with the Mad Titan and the snap.
As he has pointed out, during the movie, Avengers: Infinity War, one group of superheroes had come within a hair’s breadth of beating Thanos, so it is not too much of a stretch to suggest that another combination could also pull this off.
This explains why Strange had intervened when Thanos had almost killed Tony Stark. He must have known that Stark was one of the superheroes who needed to be alive to defeat Thanos.
To bring down Thanos, this theory says that they may need a specific combination of superheroes to survive this snap:
“There are a total of 24 heroes fighting Thanos: Iron Man, Thor, Hulk, Captain America, Black Widow, Dr Strange, War Machine, Falcon, Spider-Man, Black Panther, Scarlet Witch, Bucky, Drax, Groot, Nebula, Star-Lord, Rocket, Loki, Heimdall, Mantis, Shuri, Okoye, Gamora and Vision. Of these 24, Heimdall and Gamora do not count, because they were already dead at this point. Endgame brings in two new heroes to replace them: Captain Marvel and Ant-Man. So we stay at 24 heroes. Yes, Loki is dead, but let’s face it, it’s Loki. If you don’t count him, you can still stretch things and say Eitri might be considered a hero too. He did make Stormbreaker after all, so he could be important in Endgame. In any case, we need 24 heroes for the math to work out. Every hero can either die or live, which gives us 2*2*2… or 2^24 combinations, which is 16,777,216. That’s too high, except we are wrong about Vision. Vision can’t die from the snap, because he already died when Thanos took the mind stone. So we only have 23 heroes that can die from the snap. This gives us only 8,388,608 possible futures. Too few. But what if Vision stays alive?”
For every hero there are two possible outcomes in every the futures- live or die. Vision is an exception as he dies before the snap and so, the Redditor says that there might be future versions where even Shuri had managed to get the Stone from Vision. In this case, Vision could have died while he was trying to prevent Thanos from acquiring the Stone:
“They actually try to extract the mind stone. They fail, but this hasn’t happened yet when Dr Strange is checking the possible futures. If they had succeeded in extracting the mind stone, Thanos could have taken the Mind Stone while Vision stayed alive. So this would give us another 8.4 million possibilities in which Vision stays alive until the snap. Except we can’t count all of them. It is possible that Vision still dies while trying to protect the mind stone, which would make these futures identical to the previous ones. This is quite likely, considering this is the final stone and Vision is very keen on keeping it safe, even if he has to die for it. He’s the only one who insists they should destroy the stone right there instead of wasting time trying to save him, and the only reason he eventually concedes seems to be to please Wanda.”
According to this Redditor, the conclusion is that Strange might have looked at all the futures, and only found one where they win:
“We are still short 5,611,997 futures, which is 66.9 % of 8,388,608, almost exactly two thirds. So if in roughly two-thirds of the futures, Thanos takes the mind stone and Vision lives and in the remaining one third, Vision dies trying to protect it, we end up with a total of 14 million futures. Only one of these has the right combination of heroes to win.”