WARNING: This article contains spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War, in theaters now.
The odds are pretty good that fans will pore over every single frame of Avengers: Infinity War in the months ahead, hoping to find hidden Easter eggs or possible clues as to the story of the untitled Avengers 4. While many hidden references and Easter eggs have already been discovered, we thing that maybe, just maybe, we have stumbled onto something new.
It may simply be a coincidence, but we think we've unearthed a Fantastic Four-themed Easter egg hidden in one of Doctor Strange's biggest scenes.
During the scene on Titans which found Tony Stark attempting to devise a plan of attack to take on Thanos, Guardians of the Galaxy leader Star-Lord is quick to come up with a plan of his own. Spider-Man and the other Guardians listen as the two bicker, but Doctor Strange is off to the side, levitating and meditating. Before long, we it's explained that he was using the power of the Eye of Agamotto (the Time Stone) to examine all possible outcomes of their confrontation with Thanos. When he comes to, he says that he examined 14,000,605 futures, and that they lost in all of them -- save for one.
At first, that number of outcomes, ranging in the millions, seems arbitrary, a random number thrown at audiences to get across the sheer impossibility of what these heroes are about to face. But what if it isn't? What if the number was specifically chosen for a reason? 14 million 605. Why 605, exactly?
This... got us thinking.
Marvel Comics has been around for a long time, and many of its ongoing series have reached the 600th issue milestone, but one series in particular is potentially relevant to Strange's number. In 2012 Fantastic Four hit #605, an issue by writer Jonathan Hickman and artist Ron Garney. In that issue, Reed Richards and his father Nathaniel build a device that allows them to see the future. The issue sees them travel to New York City in the year 3012 A.D. first, then in 4012 and finally 5012, three leaps forward in time, made in order to chronicle the fate of a dear friend.
In Avengers: Infinity War, Doctor Strange also examines the future extensively. In his case, he is checking in on the status of the universe itself rather than that of a single person, but it's still a strange (pun intended) similitude. What's more, the issue was written by Hickman, whose 2013 comic book event Infinity served in part as inspiration for the film's story. Since the writers and directors of the film were already looking to Hickman's work when crafting Infinity War, could they have snuck in a little Fantastic Four reference?
14,000,605. FOURteen million 605. It might be a stretch (pun once again intended), but it sure is intriguing. Of course, it may very well be a mere coincidence -- but we prefer the idea that it's a well hidden Easter egg referencing Marvel's first family of heroes.
In theaters now, Avengers: Infinity War stars Robert Downey Jr., Josh Brolin, Mark Ruffalo, Tom Hiddleston, Chris Evans, Chris Hemsworth, Jeremy Renner, Chris Pratt, Elizabeth Olsen, 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.