Implanted with the Mind Stone in his Marvel Cinematic Universe debut, in 2015's Avengers: Age of Ultron, Vision was on a collision course with Thanos from the very beginning. That tragic moment occurred in the climactic battle of Infinity War, during which the Mad Titan ripped the Infinity Stone from the android's forehead, seemingly destroying him. Or did he?
A new fan theory about Avengers: Endgame argues Vision actually survived his showdown with Thanos -- or at least his consciousness did. Posted on Reddit by user wheresthetrigger123, the theory posits that in his final moments, Vision transferred his consciousness into the Mind Stone before the gem was removed. It supposes, then, that using the power of the artifact, Vision was able to make Thanos believe he had snuffed out half the assembled heroes when, in actuality, they were whisked off to somewhere else.
The theory points out that, when Scarlet Witch destroys the Mind Stone, effectively killing Vision, the blast resulting in the body of the synthetic hero being shattered like the artifact itself. Alternatively, when Thanos rewinds time and rips the Stone out of Vision's head, the android's body remains intact as he collapses into a gray husk. The discrepancy between Vision's deaths hints that the Avenger may have made a last-ditch effort to stop Thanos, with the Infinity Gauntlet becoming a sort of Trojan Horse for his consciousness.
There are several issues with the theory, of course. Infinity War visual effects supervisor Dan DeLeeuw previously revealed it was the Power Stone that wiped out half of all life in the universe, and not the Mind Stone. While Marvel Studios has since confirmed the Mind Stone is powerful enough to subconsciously influence even its users, its mind-altering effects are more subtle. Subverting the devastating repercussions of the snap is an exponentially larger hallucination, even with Vision's guiding hand.
The idea that Vision is secretly influencing Thanos from within the Mind Stone is a radical change to the character's established powers. While Vision and his colleagues have repeatedly observed he is evolving, the ability to transfer his consciousness into the Stone and then immediately harness its powers against its user is a steep learning curve, even for the advanced android.
But what about the change in Vision's deaths, whether through the actions of Scarlet Witch or of Thanos? One important distinction is that Wanda destroyed the Mind Stone using her famously vast, if nebulous, powers, while Thanos removed it. The Mind Stone's destruction may have consumed Vision in the ensuing blast, while its removal left the hero without a power source, like an electronic device that's been unplugged.
So how will Vision make his inevitable return in Endgame? After all, the hero wasn't dusted like many of his comrades, but rather killed, or "deactivated," by the removal of the Mind Stone. In addition to theories of the surviving heroes using time travel to save the day and reverse the effects of Thanos' genocidal snap, others have postulated that Shuri was able to at least partially transfer Vision's consciousness into Wakandan computers before being interrupted by the Black Order.
Vision is virtually guaranteed to play a pivotal role in Avengers: Endgame, but while Thanos' snap will inevitably be undone over the course of the upcoming sequel, a hallucination caused by Vision seems like a cop-out. In addition to undercutting the impact of Infinity War's ending, it would imbue Vision vast, new abilities that defy explanation (for example, why he would extend the hallucination to affect his fellow Avengers, including those on Titan, whom he doesn't know exist). Either through Wakandan technology or time travel, Vision will no doubt avoid his untimely end, but his greater salvation will not come from serving as a literal deus ex machina.
Avengers: Endgame will arrive on April 26, 2019. Directed by Joe and Anthony Russo, the film stars Robert Downey Jr., Josh Brolin, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Olsen, Chadwick Boseman, Sebastian Stan, Benedict Cumberbatch, Paul Bettany, Samuel L. Jackson, Cobie Smulders, Benedict Wong, Zoe Saldana, Karen Gillan, Vin Diesel, Dave Bautista, Pom Klementieff, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Holland and Anthony Mackie.