In the film The Avengers, the main characters becoming a team relies on the following:

  • Iron Man: If Stark had gone in the Humvee with Rhodey, he would never have been captured and never would have become Iron Man.

  • Captain America: If he wasn't found in the ice before the events of the Avengers film, he would never been part of the team.

  • Thor: If Thor had not learnt self sacrifice, or had he been punished and sent to a different world, he would never have been part of the team either.

If these main characters had never been our defence against the Chitauri invasion in the Avengers film, we would have been significantly worse off. Thanos would have still sent the invasion to claim the Tesseract (although they might have a leader other than Loki). We would still have the Hulk, Black Widow and Hawkeye on our side, but I doubt on their own they could have fought off the Chitauri invasion.

The Ancient One and the Masters of the Mystic Arts have obviously been around for a long time. During the film Doctor Strange the Ancient One mentions that the "Avengers tackle physical threats, whereas they dealt with the mystical threats" (I'm paraphrasing here).

However if that Avengers had never come together to save the world from the Chitauri invasion, would the Ancient One and the Masters of the Mystic Arts have intervened at all? Would they let the Earth fall under the control of Thanos?

Would their magic be sufficient to push the Chitauri back?

2022 EDIT:

Having now seen Avengers Endgame, it does indeed show the Ancient One defending Earth from the Chitauri invasions during the events of Avengers 1 - so I guess the answer to my question is: yes!

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    VTC as primarily opinion based as this calls for pure speculation and what-ifs.
    – phantom42
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 11:57
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    perhaps I should rephrase the question - my point is that the Ancient One has been around for a long time, but the Avengers have only just appeared - would protection of the Earth from alien invasion have been covered by the Ancient One prior to the Avengers appearance?
    – Jimmery
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 12:00
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    @phantom42: You voted to close... and answered?? Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 10:40
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    And then retracted after his explanation.
    – phantom42
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 11:44
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    @TylerH Actually, no, the Tesseract was found WAY before Cap was found. Howard Stark retrieved the Tesseract much longer before modern-day.
    – user71772
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 16:14

3 Answers 3


Collider asked this very question earlier.

And now, with the introduction of Doctor Strange, the question becomes, where the hell have these mighty sorcerers been when shit got real in the past?

Producer Kevin Feige answered, explaining that the Sorcerers are more solely focused on other things, not whether or not we're invaded by aliens; they're protecting all of reality.

There are people inhabiting the same world that are stopping buildings from falling down, robots from doing this, aliens from doing that – these people in this movie are stopping inter-dimensional forces from wiping out all of reality.

So although it doesn’t necessarily come up, we’ve always assumed that the sorcerers have bigger fish to fry when they hear there’s something in a city or there’s a bank being robbed. They’re not thinking about it. They’re thinking if we don’t keep vigilant our sense of reality will disappear, and there won’t be a bank to rob and there won’t be a city to be conquered.

However, Avengers: Endgame slightly contradicts this as we learn that The Ancient One was there in New York defending the Sanctum against some Chitauri. Seeing as that she didn't just ignore the attack as Feige implied that the sorcerers would, it's not not unreasonable to assume that she and other sorcerers may have mounted a larger defense if necessary.

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    Surely the world getting invaded by a hostile alien force would be more important than a bank getting robbed? Humanity being enslaved by the Chitauri could have had serious consequences for the Masters of the Mystic Arts and their 3 Sanctums that protected the Earth...
    – Jimmery
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 13:09
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    Perhaps we can assume that it is trivial to protect the sanctum from non-mystical threats, and so they completely ignore threats of a physical nature. Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 14:45
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    The invasion of Earth in the Avengers featured 2 infinity stones. Does the Mind Stone controlling people's wills and the Space Stone creating a portal to another point in the universe not count as a mystical threat?
    – Jimmery
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 15:36
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    The muggers were in the process of severely beating Strange at the time. The watch had very little to do with Mordo getting involved. Since they were well aware of who Strange was, in particular the Ancient One's foreknowledge of the upcoming conflict and his involvement, it's perfectly reasonable that they would protect him personally.
    – Nij
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 19:31
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    @Jimmery To be fair, Earth had already toyed with infinity stones and weapons created from the Tesseract, Earth in a way with aliens may not be the realm of Sorcerors. A more pressing case could be the invasion of the Dark Elves. Malekith trying to END THE UNIVERSE using the Reality Gem (Aether) is a pretty extreme mystical threat.
    – DariM
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 22:24

Assumedly yes

This is the Marvel universe; although their remit is supernatural threats the Ancient One and the sorcerers probably would have stepped in to stop the Chituri had the Avengers not been there. Heroes will be heroes, after all. In the comics Doctor Strange has fought the Skulls more than once (such as during the Kree-Skrull war and as part of the Illuminati) showing that he takes an interest in defending Earth regardless of the nature of the threat, I assume the Ancient One would be similar (but maybe not!)

But the Avengers were there.

However, if we're assuming the sorcerers have been in the background of the MCU all this time, what's to say they haven't had a hand in ensuring the Avengers are there to tackle threats the sorcerers aren't interested in?

We see in Doctor Strange that Kamar-Taj is wide-reaching and has students in all walks of life; who's to say S.H.I.E.L.D. doesn't have one or two former Kamar-Taj members who guided them to Steve Rogers resting place, etc? While they're messing about with reality, who's to say they didn't nudge Tony Stark into choosing the funvee, not the humvee and thus becoming Iron Man?

  • this idea is brilliant, that the Masters of the Mystic Arts subtly helped in the creation of the Avengers - is there anything that could back this up?
    – Jimmery
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 15:33
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    @Jimmery I'm afraid that's mostly my supposition.
    – evilscary
    Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 16:54
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    shame, coz this is my favourite answer of the three here - if it was more than just a supposition it would have easily gained the tick
    – Jimmery
    Commented Nov 20, 2016 at 16:25

In the mid-credits credits scene of Doctor Strange

Doctor Strange expresses that Loki is a sufficient danger to the Earth to make him worried.

It is possible that the Ancient One has different standards to determine when to intervene in "mundane" conquest of the world. They had many rules, and maybe "let the mundanes be mundane" is one of them. Aliens are, in a sense, just another kind of mundane.

The other infinity gems — the mind and space stones — may be viewed as less likely to cause reality itself to unravel than the time stone. With their efforts focused on

a being who exists outside of time itself

the time stone may be more in their remit than the other power stones. In fact, the time stone may not be their primary concern, compared to the real foe they are facing; it just happens to be some of many artifacts they have collected over the ages.

With Doctor Strange in ascension among the Sorcerers, new rules about how Sorcerers interact with the world may be expected to develop.

Beyond the MCU movies,

Doctor Strange is known in non-MCU appearances as the "Sorcerer Supreme"; by the end of Doctor Strange movie he has not officially achieved that title.

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    Well, in that credits scene it is heavily implied that Strange has assumed that title by that point, as he specifically refers to it being "his job" to protect Earth from threats like you-know-who. I suppose one could argue that this is the job of any sorcerer, but from the attitude and bearing of the scene I got the impression that his duty was rather more singular and prodigious than that. Commented Nov 16, 2016 at 21:34
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    Voldemort is certainly a mystical threat.
    – Dennisch
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 14:35
  • @Dennisch that made me laugh! You-know-who also being he-who-shall-not-be-named...
    – Jimmery
    Commented Nov 17, 2016 at 17:27

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