Was The Infinity War Snap random in who was dusted?

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Thanos Snap
Is it really random? Or was there a plan?

A thought occurred to me last night while watching a YouTube video about Thanos’  Snap: were the people who became dust selected at random? At first glance I always assumed so, but maybe not.

I’m not a mathematician, and questions of probability can confound even professors of mathematics.

I’ll lay out my reasoning and you tell me if I missed something in the comments.

We know Dr. Strange observed 14,000,605 outcomes of the conflict with Thanos, and in only one of those outcomes did it end satisfactorily for the Avengers in Endgame.

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Dr. Strange voluntarily gives up the Time Stone, and perhaps performs a few other tasks we don’t know about, to set the course for the one favorable outcome.

Spoilers follow for Avengers: Infinity War and Endgame. Make sure you’ve seen these before reading further!

The question is: how did Dr. Strange know Tony Stark/Iron Man would not be dusted?

The simple answer: Dr. Strange watched the outcome and knew Tony survived after a certain chain of events occurred.

Right? Then the snap itself does not randomly select lifeforms to dust. If an event — Tony surviving The Snap — always follows a chain of previous events, then it is a determined event, and not random.

If the snap itself randomly selects, then each snap will select a different set of lifeforms to dust. Therefore, all Dr. Strange could know is there’s one chain of events that ends well for the Avengers, as long as Tony doesn’t get dusted.

Remember, based on the outcome of Avengers: Endgame, the only solution Dr. Strange saw was for Tony to be the one, and the ONLY one, to reverse The Snap.

What do you think?

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  • jill florio

    Jill Florio Administrator

    Okee dokee. Clearly it was NEVER intended to be entirely random, whatever Thanos spouts off about in his tirade in Infinity War.


    My thoughts:
    1. He (Thanos) didn’t intend to die. Duh. 🙂
    2. He told Nebula about The Garden (AKA, the retirement plan), so he figured she’d go too.
    3. I’m sure he wanted Maw and the Children of Thanos to join him, based on his comments about “this day taking a heavy toll.”
    4. And by gods above and below, he of course wanted Gamora by his side after the Snap.

    Then we have two more Snaps.

    Hulk’s Snap: he tried to undo Thano’s events, but still keep things at “five years later”. Never mind the HUGE problems with that. Anyway, it worked. He also tried deliberately to bring Natasha back. That didn’t work. So while the stones are all-powerful, esp as a whole, there are some things that you cannot undo. I don’t know if he tried to help Vision, since he didn’t say. (Vision was a bit undeserved in Endgame.)

    Tony’s Snap: This killed ALL of the bad guys. Of course, this is problematic with some bad guys who aren’t exactly Thanos-aligned, but are a bit, er…nebulous…(pun incidental) at this point in the timeline (Nebula, Gamora).

    I say all this to point out that the ‘randomness’ is with caveats. Thanos probably said, “Make it random, but none of certain beings I care for.” I DOUBT with all doubtfulness that he himself was willing to throw in his 50% chance of non-survival. He’s not the self-sacrificing type. He wanted to see a grateful universe. He wanted to be there to see it happen.

    This doesn’t even enter the issue of halving the universes’ resources of plant and animals, throwing his entire logic out the window. Groot, a plant, dies in Thanos’ Snap.

    Ant-Man sees birds coming back to show that Hulk’s Snap worked on animals. Nothing in these films are accidental. Plants and animals were halved.

    So…what was even the point? Thanos could have halved the sentient beings but increased the food sources….and now my head hurts.

    Nit picking at it’s best….but really? Thanos said , “All life,” not just “Sentient beings.” The MCU dropped the ball, but granted, it took me a year to even think about that, and I’ve been picking at nits intently. I’ll give the writers a break, but only to an extent.

    Suffice to say I don’t think any of the Snap was actually random, and Thanos is a purple nutsack of shit. 🙂

    • Dan Gardner Administrator

      Very good points. I’m guessing the writers purposely didn’t reveal the exact thing that Thanos wished for when he snapped just so they’d have a little wiggle room for excuses as to why some things happened and not others.

  • jill florio

    Jill Florio Administrator

    Yeah. I don’t have a problem with wiggle room. It’s better than writing your way into a corner and having to ret-con your way out.

    Or writing so many over the top dilemmas that there can really be no satisfying resolution (See The X-Files, and Battlestar Galactica…and maybe Star Wars. Rise of Skywalker is going to have to really pull out all of the stops in grand storytelling to not kill the franchise. I still have ‘hope’.)

    I will say that two franchises ended more than right, offhand: Star Trek The Next Generation (All Good Things) and Farscape (Bad Timing/The Peacekeeper Wars). Oh, and Buffy (Chosen). Arguably, Angel went out on a perfect note too (Not Fade Away).

    This is a fun topic. So far I’m super impressed with what the MCU does and keeps on doing.

    • Dan Gardner Administrator

      Agreed, Buffy, Angel, TNG, FarScape all ended satisfactorily.

      I think the MCU did a magnificent job setting up Endgame over a 10 year, 22 movie schedule. But boy have they set the bar high. They’re going to have a hard time improving on what they’ve done. They have to create characters and relationships that are as compelling to the audience as Iron Man, Cap., Black Widow, etc., so that we can care about what happens in the upcoming phases.

      • jill florio

        Jill Florio Administrator

        Honestly, i think several things. 1. They won’t equal the Endgame of the Infinity Saga ever again. I don’t think it’s even possible. And without RBJ, they will have to work hard to make people care that much.

        Said. We DO care about the mid level heroes. Spider-Man, Black Panther, The Guardians of the Galaxy, Ant Man, Dr Strange. Professor Hulk, and Captain Marvel…those have a lot to offer. (I don’t know what to say about the Disney Plus characters, honestly. Scarlet Witch, Vision, Falcon/New Cap, Winter Soldier/White Wolf, Loki, SHIELD). But as far as the main MCU movie lineage, we’ve got a LOT of heroes to care about. But the Marvel universe is so big, and so many heroes are untapped. All we’ve really lost is Iron Man and Cap. We have Black Widow in a prequel, which could even have Cap and Stark make cameos.

        With Hulk and Thor (in the Asgardians of the Galaxy) still in play, I don’t think we’ll feel a big loss in terms of Avenger narrative.

        A lot will ride on the Disney Plus TV channel shows. I’d totally watch the Loki show, and maybe Falcon/Winter Soldier. We’ll see.

  • Dan Gardner Administrator

    I think that could be a problem: having too many characters to care about.

    The MCU is going to lose one character in the future. Sony and Disney can’t come to an agreement so Spiderman’s time as an Avenger may be coming to an end.

    • Anonymous

      What about Spider-Man? No! He needs to be the Iron Spider.

      • jill florio

        Jill Florio Administrator

        I’m happy Disney figured out the Spider-Man issue. Finally, we got a great hero in Tom Holland. Iron Spider FTW!

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