Cookies help us deliver our Services. By using our Services, you agree to our use of cookies. Learn More.

Fan Theories About Thanos' Snap That Make The MCU Scarier

Let's be honest: Living in the Marvel Cinematic Universe sucks if you're a random citizen. One second, you're going about your business when an army of Chitauri aliens and their giant fish spaceships attack your city. Another, you're hanging out at the Stark Expo when a bunch of drones go crazy and start shooting everybody. Or, perhaps you're enjoying an afternoon drive in Sokovia, when the entire city rises into the air and becomes Ultron's latest doomsday weapon to obliterate all life on Earth.

But, by far, the worst thing that ever happened to you occurred in 2018 when the Mad Titan Thanos snapped his fingers and erased half of all life in the universe. Suddenly people all around you turned to dust, leaving you to pick up the pieces for the next five years. Or maybe you turned to dust, only to wake up in a crazy world where your kids were five years older and you wife had a new husband.

As bad as some of those scenarios may be, Marvel may be treating us with kid gloves. Compared to what some fans believe really happened in the aftermath of "The Snap" from "Avengers: Infinity War" (2018), and in the fallout from when the Avengers brought the missing population back in "Avengers: Endgame" (2019), our imaginations can barely grasp the consequences of such world-altering events. 

For those of you who want to learn how dark the Marvel Cinematic Universe can get, here are some of the scariest fan theories that show just how terrifying it is to live in a world of gods and monsters.

Thanos killed way more than half the universe

Thanos may have erased half the life in the universe to correct an overpopulation problem, but the truth is a lot more people were killed when he snapped his fingers. Some of this was shown in the end credits scene of "Avengers: Infinity War" (2018) when Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) and Nick Fury (Samuel L. Jackson) witness car accidents happening everywhere due to people vanishing from their vehicles. Shortly after, a helicopter smashes into a building and blows up, likely killing several people inside.

It gets worse when you look into what some fans believe happened to the universe in the aftermath of "The Snap." James Scott, a firefighter who once served as an army paratrooper and EMT, speculates on Quora that mass panic would halt supply lines, leading to starvation in many areas. Worker shortages would keep essential workers from maintaining power plants or communication infrastructure, and gangs would fight over remaining resources, turning cities into war zones. As society collapsed, Scott believes the aftermath of the Snap would resemble "'The Walking Dead' without the zombies."

Thanos put everyone in a parallel universe

Following the devastating finale of "Avengers: Infinity War" (2018), the internet lit up with fan theories about what really happened to the superheroes and civilians who were "dusted." A number of people speculated that Thanos hadn't really killed characters like Spider-Man and Black Panther, but had merely trapped them in some alternate dimension or hidden realm.

For instance, Reddit user "Bruce Banner" believed Thanos' snap actually split the universe into two quantum states, each containing half the population of the original universe. This theory speculated that in "Avengers: Endgame" (2018), Ant-Man (Paul Rudd) would figure out how to collapse the two realms back into one. 

Of course, "Endgame" proved this theory wrong. People like Peter Parker (Tom Holland) or Monica Rambeau (Teyonah Parris) have since returned, with no idea that any time had passed and no memories of where they were for the last five years.

But what if there was some truth to the theory, and the vacant memories of those who returned in the Blip had been wiped?

It's pretty terrifying if you think about it. Perhaps these people were in some parallel universe where they lived with everyone else who was dusted — only to be ripped out of that existence and have their memories erased of that time. What if you had managed to create a new life for yourself, only to have everything you built be wiped out a second time? Thanks a lot, Hulk.

Thanos selfishly spared certain people

In "Avengers: Infinity War" (2018), Thanos told Doctor Strange he wanted to randomly kill half of Titan's population with no distinction between rich or poor. Presumably, he applied this same philosophy when he erased half of all life in the universe — but some fans believe he still played favorites.

For one thing, there's an argument to be made that Thanos made sure he would survive the "Snap." Since there was a fifty-fifty chance that Thanos would be dusted with everyone else (allowing Thor to pick up the Infinity Gauntlet and reverse everything he'd done), at least half of the 14,000,605 possible futures Doctor Strange viewed should have ended in a victory for the Avengers. Since they didn't, Thanos must have spared himself.

Other fans believe the Infinity Stones prevented Thanos from dying, because objects like clothes or Bucky's metal arm also disintegrated following the Snap. Since Thanos was wearing the Infinity Gauntlet, this theory believes the stones wouldn't let Thanos die, because it would mean their own destruction. Of course, since this is something Thanos wanted to do to them anyway, it seems like a counterproductive move.

An additional theory suggests Thanos also spared his daughter Nebula (Karen Gillan) out of some twisted love for her. Of course, since Thanos is an abusive father who regularly tortured his daughter, this probably didn't do any real favors for Nebula.

Unborn babies may have been killed in the Snap

One of the more disturbing fan theories examines what happened to half of the unborn babies in the universe when Thanos administered his "Snap." While debate rages over when life truly begins, the possibility exists that an unborn child could turn to dust within its mother's womb (potentially killing the mother as well). An even scarier scenario examines what would happen if only the mother vanished, leaving the undeveloped fetus to die.

Some fans argue that since objects like clothes or weapons also disappear when a person is "dusted," a mother who was killed in the "Snap" would take her unborn child with her and then reappear five years later with the baby intact. Other fans debate over whether Thanos is pro-life or pro-choice and would allow such horror to happen. Of course, since he clearly has no problem with mass genocide, it's very possible that he'd consider this an acceptable loss.

On the flipside, when Hulk returned billions of people across the universe with his reverse-snap, it's also possible that he returned all those missing babies, some of whom may have spontaneously reappeared in their mother's wombs. Depending on how he arranged for the missing to return, this could result in some immaculate-seeming pregnancies  — or, what if the mother was pregnant again now with a different baby? The mind reels.

Hulk killed lots of people

Bruce Banner may have accused Thanos of murdering trillions of people in "Avengers: Endgame," but the truth is, the Hulk may have been guilty of killing plenty of people himself when he brought back half the population. Scenes in "Spider-Man: Far From Home" (2019) and "WandaVision" show that people reappeared exactly where they had disappeared. This led to some funny scenes where a school band popped back into existence during a basketball game or when Aunt May (Marissa Tomei) recalls she was mistaken as a mistress when she reappeared in her resold apartment.

Other people, however, might not be so fortunate. What if you were in a moving vehicle when you vanished — only to rematerialize in the same space five years later to discover the car, boat or plane you were riding in is no longer there? You'd probably die all over again — or worse, die in a huge accident that takes the lives of others as well.

The YouTube video "How Spider-Man: Far from Home Should Have Ended" uses some animated footage to explore these scenarios. While they're predominantly played for laughs, the fact remains that Hulk and the Avengers may have committed some mass genocide of their own when they decided to play God by reassembling the Infinity Gauntlet and performing their own "Snap."

Mass bigamy became a problem

During the first half of "Avengers: Endgame" (2019), a depressed Captain America (Chris Evans) is shown leading a support group for people who lost loved ones in the "Snap," encouraging them to move on. His efforts help some people start dating again and forming new relationships to replace those that they lost. 

But although Cap meant well, when all those "dead" spouses returned in the Blip, he must have had a lot of apologies to make.

One "Vulture" article by James Grebey looks at how "Spider-Man: Far From Home" (2019) explores the post-snap life in the MCU and questions why broken marriages aren't being explored. While the film does make a joke about how the wife of one of Peter Parker's teachers faked being "dusted" so she could run off with another man, it hints at darker implications of altered relationships that aren't being explored in MCU films or television shows.

After all, a lot can happen in five years. Your significant other may have moved on, remarried, and even raised a new family. If "dusted" husbands and wives return to their spouses, will their previous marriages still be considered legally valid? What happens to the "new" spouse? How does the law recognize their status in these restructured families, and does it result in some kind of rise in bigamy because, say, a former "widow" suddenly can't choose between her first and second husbands?

The Snap freed many dangerous criminals

Seeing your friends and loved ones turn to dust before your eyes might be devastating — but what if the person who vanished was the police officer arresting you? Or the prison guard keeping you from escaping? 

Being in such a situation might have been advantageous for criminals and convicts who could use the immediate chaos of Thanos' snap to escape and commit more crimes (which actually happens in the original comic book version). Even worse, if several high-ranking mobsters also die in the initial snap, it could create a power vacuum leading to deadly gang wars.

Quora user Amyas Cavit questions what would happen in the post-Endgame world when Hulk brought back many of those missing people — including domestic abusers, murderers, and gangsters. "Avengers: Endgame" (2019) focused on the universal issues of reversing Thanos' snap, but the street-level fallout could keep local heroes like Daredevil (Charlie Cox) and the Defenders very busy as old criminals return to battle heroes who are now five years older.

Daredevil's alter ego Matt Murdock may also have to put in some overtime as an attorney, thanks to the legal issues surrounding the returning criminals. For instance, if a convict disappeared from his or her prison cell and then reappeared 5 years later, should those 5 years count toward his or her sentence? The implications are troubling.

Entire ecosystems are now irreversibly damaged

So many people focus on the superheroes killed by Thanos' snap that they forget the "Snap" didn't just kill humans — it erased half of all life in the universe. That includes half of all animals, plants, and even microscopic life like bacteria. This invariably created a devastating domino effect for the ecosystems of multiple worlds, as nature struggled to rebalance itself.

In the Smithsonian magazine article, "If Thanos Actually Wiped Out Half of All Life, How Would Earth Fare in the Aftermath?" PhD candidate Sadie Witkowski interviews multiple scientists for their takes on the long-range consequences of Thanos' snap. The fallout ranges from immediate digestive and health issues (thanks to the sudden depletion of microbes needed to digest food and keep us healthy) to a sudden upswing in rat populations (since smaller animals breed faster than larger ones).

Most troubling, however, is the chaos that would result in losing half of all insects that help pollinate plants or break down dead matter and waste. Since we're already suffering from a reduction in bee populations and other pollinating animals, entomologists like May Berenbaum of the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign believe this loss would create major problems with food growers and even worse issues with sewage without dung-feeding insects to eliminate waste.

Finally, imagine you were riding a horse full gallop at the moment Thanos snapped. Yeah, that would probably mess you up. 

Black Widow, Vision, and Iron Man didn't need to die

Some of the most tragic scenes in "Avengers: Infinity War" (2018) and "Avengers: Endgame" (2019) focus on how Vision (Paul Bettany), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson), and Iron Man (Robert Downey Jr.) die trying to prevent or reverse Thanos' actions.

However, some fans debate whether these characters need to stay dead since Doctor Strange should be able to use the Time Stone to heal Tony Stark's wounds and bring him back to life. The screenwriters counter by stating, "The Gauntlet, as of yet, has not brought back anybody to life that wasn't removed by the Gauntlet. Tony was physically killed."

Even if this scenario wouldn't work, it still doesn't explain why the Avengers had to sacrifice so much to rebuild the gauntlet. After all, if Hulk invented a machine that reverses time around people or objects like Scott Lang, couldn't he simply restore Thanos' damaged gauntlet (from the beginning of "Endgame") back to its functioning form?

Even if this didn't work, couldn't he just use the Time Stone he received from the Ancient One (Tilda Swinton) and restore the gauntlet with that? The Time Stone can clearly restore other Infinity Stones (as Thanos showed when he briefly resurrected the Vision), so much of the Time Heist — including Black Widow's sacrifice — seems unnecessary. Doctor Strange could possibly even use the Time Stone to re-resurrect the Vision, saving Wanda all of her pain. The fact that they didn't do this seems cruel, but then again we never would've gotten "WandaVision," so maybe we're the real winners here.

The Avengers kept Thanos from saving the universe

One of the more radical theories floating around on the internet claims Thanos wasn't just trying to establish universal population control by killing off half the universe — he was trying to stave off an even greater threat to all life. According to a fan theory that came out prior to "Avengers: Endgame" (2019), Thanos' vastly overpopulated world of Titan was destroyed by none other than Galactus, the Devourer of Worlds.

An iconic antagonist of Marvel's Fantastic Four, Galactus is a demigod that feasts on the living energy of certain planets. This fan theory posits that worlds "ripe" with life forms are more desirable to Galactus, which is why he destroyed Titan. By killing off half of all life forms, Thanos made most worlds undesirable to Galactus, thereby saving them from destruction.

This theory also explains why Thanos didn't simply double the universe's resources to aid the overpopulated worlds — doing so would just increase their supply of life energy and make them better meals for Galactus. Thus, by bringing back the missing people, the Avengers may have made a bad problem worse since Earth is now more overpopulated than ever, making Galactus more likely to see us as a tasty treat.

Interestingly, many fans have been posting theories that the next big MCU villain will be Galactus. As Marvel has announced that the MCU version of the Fantastic Four will be the part of their Phase 4 lineup, aspects of these fan theories may actually come true. It will be interesting to see if Thanos' actions — and the Avengers "saving the day" — comes back to flip the script on who was the good guy all along.

Doctor Strange used Thanos' Snap to kill Avengers

One intriguing fan theory suggests Doctor Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) is the true mastermind behind "Avengers: Infinity War" (2018) and Thanos is an unwitting pawn in Strange's efforts to ... kill or cripple key members of the Avengers.

This idea was proposed by Redditor Arc_the_lad, who theorizes that Thanos was only one of the dangerous beings on Doctor Strange's watchlist. Other people included Tony Stark, whose recklessness would eventually cause him to engineer the destruction of the world, and the Vision, a ticking time bomb with one of the universe's most powerful weapons. Likewise, Hulk, Thor, and the Infinity Stones were also deemed potential threats that needed to be neutralized.

Thus, Strange created a long-game strategy designed to eliminate or depower all of these targets. He lied to Stark about seeing only one future where the heroes won, manipulating events so the universe would arrive at a future where Thanos was wiped from existence, Tony Stark died, the Vision lost the Mind Stone, Hulk's power was depleted, and Thor became a depressed shell of his former self. Moreover, this world now doesn't have the Infinity Stones, once Captain America returns them.

Strangely, this theory does appear to have credence thanks to some fan videos that showcase multiple alternate ways Strange could have shown the Avengers how to beat Thanos. Perhaps Doctor Strange truly is the universe's greatest chess master ... and a cold-hearted man.

Thanos is still alive

Thanos appeared to die a fairly definitive death at the end of "Avengers: Endgame" (2019) when Tony Stark's snap turned the Mad Titan and his entire army into dust, essentially giving them the same fate Thanos once bestowed upon half the universe. However, one fan theory claims this didn't really kill Thanos — or anyone else who was "dusted."

Thomas Bacon of ScreenRant states that the people who turned to dust thanks to the Infinity Gauntlet weren't killed but dematerialized, similar to how the transporters in "Star Trek" take you apart molecule by molecule and leave your disembodied form in a pattern buffer. According to this theory, all the people who "died" in the original snap were just turned into dust particles that drifted into the atmosphere (explaining why everything looked darker in the post-snap world). Once Hulk reverse-snapped everyone, the dust particles rematerialized into their original forms and the world literally became brighter.

Of course, this also means that Thanos isn't dead — he's just stuck in a weird type of "dust stasis." While this may have temporarily neutralized him as a threat, it's always possible that someone could rematerialize him — meaning we may have not seen the last of the Mad Titan.