WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Avengers: Infinity War, in theaters now.
As teased in at least one of the promos for Avengers: Infinity War, at one point in the film, Doctor Strange uses the Time Stone to look ahead into the future of the Avengers and their fight against Thanos. Unfortunately, the future is bleak for everyone except the Mad Titan. Strange tells Tony that he looked into 14 million possible futures that their conflict spawns, and there is only one reality in which the heroes actually manage to defeat Thanos.
14 million to one -- those aren’t odds anyone would like. There’s no snarky comeback from Tony at this point, even he realizes the gravity of this situation.
This is prefaced by a chilling statement from Doctor Strange earlier on in the film whilst they’re aboard Ebony Maw’s ship. He explains that he’s sworn to protect the Time Stone, and he’d happily let Tony and Peter die in order to safeguard the relic. considering Doctor Strange is quite standoffish and confrontational, this remark... isn’t exactly surprising. Plus, he’d never met the pair of heroes before this event, so he has no real connection to them. But later, when Thanos is beating Tony to a bloody pulp, Doctor Strange offers the armored Avenger the Time Stone to save Tony’s life. This is an uncharacteristic turn from Stephen, to say the least.
Once Thanos gets to Earth, it’s clear he really does have every intention of wiping out half the life in the universe. He swats the Avengers off like flies, and after Thor hurls Stormbreaker into Thanos’ chest, the MCU’s baddest villain lifts his Gauntlet, and snaps his fingers.
As heroes and civilians begin to dissipate, the situation looks bleaker by the second. Strange, however, doesn't seem reluctant to die -- perhaps because this is part of his plan. But if the Avengers have already lost the battle, how can they make a comeback? It’s possible that all of these deaths have to occur in order for Tony and the rest of the surviving heroes get the push that they need to defeat Thanos once and for all.