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After re-watching the Tony vs Thanos scene again, a thought came to mind and made me wonder. At no point did Doctor Strange ever pause time and simply deal with Thanos and proceed further. This would have obviously been the easy way out. Or at least whilst paused, he could have used the sling ring to cut Thanos' head off. I do note about the many different outcomes that he saw, but I still see this as a possibility.

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    In universe no future showed that would work? out of universe that would kill the sequel if the movie ended there? – Joe W Apr 17 at 2:33
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    He did, it just took him a while to get there, and he needed his whole team for it. – Möoz Apr 17 at 2:54
  • See also: scifi.stackexchange.com/q/186722/21267 and scifi.stackexchange.com/q/181996/21267 and scifi.stackexchange.com/q/208562/21267 all of which point to the fact that this was the only way for Thanos to be permanently defeated. – Möoz Apr 17 at 2:56
  • This is one of several plot holes in the movie. – LincolnMan Apr 17 at 6:06
  • I’ve closed as a duplicate of the rewind time question, it focuses on time and why Doctor Strange didn’t alter it and the answer is the same: because it wasn’t a winning outcome. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 17 at 7:37
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Simplistic solutions like that would not work. Remember that Thanos already had the Reality Stone when he arrived on Titan.

Some time before the battle with Strange, Thanos had a run in with the Guardians of the Galaxy in which he got stabbed – and killed – by Gamora. To the Guardians' surprise and shock, the scene around them changed and Thanos was whole and intact thanks to the power of the Reality Stone.

Strange probably saw that if he tried any bodily harm that would end Thanos's life in Titan, Thanos would be able to negate it with the Reality Stone. Keeping Thanos in a loop like Strange did with Dormammu would also probably not work - the combined power of the other Stones could probably defeat the Time Stone.

Strange had seen 14,000,605 timelines, and in only one of them the good guys won. I don't know if those 14+ million timelines are all the ones that exist, but they are enough for Doctor Strange to be sure that the final battle against Thanos would not be the one on Titan. The Avengers would only have a chance in a different scenario – my personal opinion is that the battle on Earth was the one with the most favorable outcome because in that context Thanos was practically separated from the stones the whole time – he only manages to use the Power Stone for a brief moment, but that was it.

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  • The time loop certainly wouldn’t work, it only worked against Dormammu because he exists out of time. Thanos wouldn’t even realise a loop was occurring. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 17 at 7:51
  • Your first paragraph about the Reality Stone and the start of the following one also seems wrong, it wasn't the stabbing of Thanos that rewound the events, there was a facade going on with Thanos changing what everything looks like to trick them so he could get Gamora. – TheLethalCarrot Apr 17 at 8:03

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