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After the Avengers acquire time travel, they decide to go back in time and acquire all of the infinity stones. They choose to split up and go to several different places and times to get them.

Why not go back to a few seconds before Thanos snapped his fingers in Avengers: Infinity War?

There are a few advantages to going back to that moment.

  1. They know all of the stones are in the same place at the same time.
  2. They know the exact time and place.
  3. Thanos was weakened from Thor's strike to the chest.
  4. Thanos' minions are dead so they cannot defend him.
  5. Thanos' armies are not directly near him, so they cannot defend him either.
  6. They could have prevented the Snap.

If they went back in time to right after, they would not have prevented the Snap, but they would have found Thanos even weaker from his injuries of using the stones.

I'm looking for answers based on actual statements from characters in the Marvel Cinematic Universe rather than speculative answers.

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  • This is about Endgame not IW. We don’t need the IW tag here. It might mention the events of that film but it’s not about it and Endgame comes second anyway so if you view the question it’s your own fault if you get spoilers. – TheLethalCarrot May 29 at 17:47
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    They essentially made a plot hole here - said "time travel doesn't work like that", except that Time Stone does lots of that - could rollback time of every limited stuff - in particular its user. They also broke that as Strange would not be able to keep the time loop in such reality to see the outcome. Well, making sense isn't a prerequisite to make billions of dollars. – Mithoron May 31 at 19:38
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    Authors instead of self-consistency chose surprises, variety and timeskip. – Mithoron May 31 at 19:54
  • Marvel movies are very good at figuring out the most common denominators to achieve entertainment, going the extra mile to enhance those, and not going one step beyond. It's a take-it-or-leave-it thing. – Misha R May 31 at 20:27
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Let’s go through all of your points:

  1. This isn’t much of an advantage, they know where all of the Stones are at various points anyway when they are less guarded and so easier to take.

  2. As per the above they know exact times and places anyway so this isn’t really an advantage.

  3. He may have been weakened but Thanos is still an incredible foe, and in IW he’s not even trying. In Endgame he goes in trying and he puts all of the Avengers on the ground and walks away smiling without even breaking a sweat. He only loses by Tony’s “trick”.

  4. Maybe so but that’s not much of an advantage and in all of the places they went the Children of Thanos wouldn’t have been present anyway. Thanos only finds out because Nebula’s storage interferes with the 2014 Nebula’s.

  5. Again if a Stone is completely unguarded that’s easier than taking on Thanos who still could call for backup from his armies in the time it takes to steal the Stones.

  6. No they couldn’t have. Time travel does not work like that in MCU, this is established several times:

    Smart Hulk: WHY DOES EVERYONE THINK THIS? THAT’S NOT TRUE. IF YOU TRAVEL TO THE PAST, THEN THAT PAST HAS BECOME YOUR PRESENT, AND YOUR FORMER PRESENT HAS BECOME THE PAST, WHICH NOW CAN’T BE CHANGED BY YOUR NEW FUTURE!

    Avengers: Endgame

There are three main points though. They needed the easiest shot they had to get the Infinity Stones without failing. That means with as few as possible fights and less risk. Thanos isn’t a pushover even weakened from Stormbreaker or the Snap. On top of that he has the Space Stone; if he wanted to he could just zip across to somewhere else and then Snap leaving the Avengers clueless to where he is and the trip pointless.

To top this off they only had enough Pym Particles for one round trip so failure was not an option. They couldn’t risk any of that so needed to grab the Stones whilst they were unoccupied with as little risk as possible.

Scott: These are Pym Particles. You can’t shrink to the Quantum Realm without them, and since Hank Pym got snapped out of existence, we can’t make any more. I told you. We’ve only got enough for one round trip each, no do-overs.

Avengers: Endgame

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    Smart Hulks "explanation" caused vast amounts of audience confusion. But the more direct quotes have been posted plenty of other times. Anyone interested should carefully see the Ancient One's comments on the subject. The Pym particle shortage is definitely also why they did it the way they did. Thanks for adding that. – lucasbachmann May 29 at 7:26
  • The Pym particle shortage wouldn't have been a problem if they were able to go to rough before the Snap... but other reasons rule that out – Ross Presser May 29 at 14:05
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    @RossPresser why they didn’t decide to go get loads beforehand or reverse engineer the particles is beyond me. They didn’t need to rush to go back. – TheLethalCarrot May 29 at 14:10
  • Because time travel does not work like it does in Back to the Future – JK. May 31 at 2:03
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  1. Time travel in the MCU does NOT change the past. Rather the traveller is visiting a duplicate timeline's present - which can go forward with alternative events. Thus resulting in multiple universes.

  2. Given that fact. Fighting Thanos to stop a snap doesn't solve the Avengers' goal of obtaining the stones to do something in their own universe. It's possible but it is the maximum difficulty way to do it.

  3. Going back to points where they knew the stones were EASY to obtain is what they did. And even then it did not go completely smoothly.

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Doctor strange went through millions of possibilities, found only one that worked. If grabbing the glove would have worked, he would have suggested it.

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    That really isn't the case here. If they'd grabbed the glove it might have led to an even worse future. We don't know what criteria Strange was using when he decided to push for the optimum one-in-four-million. It might simply have been his own survival, for all we know. – Valorum May 30 at 20:11
  • Considering the end result was everyone was brought back in one universe and Thanos and his army was dusted sparing another universe from it happening I'd say it worked out fairly well for everyone in one or both universes. – lucasbachmann May 31 at 1:18

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