There are few things more beautifully chaotic than the mind of a super fan. While most of us watch our favorite shows and movies, discuss certain plot points or characters, and then move on with our days, some people turn on a show or head into a theater and find something to really connect with. For these folks, it’s not enough to simply digest what’s on screen; they need to dig deep and try to figure out what’s going to happen, or what’s really lurking within the story’s beating heart. Some of these fan theories are flat out dumb, yet some are spot on in some truly surprising ways. In the combined history of on-screen entertainment, there have been too many fan theories to count. Here, for your consideration, are some of the best.
1. There’s More to Stan Lee’s Marvel Cameos Than Just a Running Gag
In fact, the iconic creator of most of Marvel’s most favorite characters is playing Uatu, the Watcher, a benevolent immortal who watches over the inhabitants of the Earth in order to insure that it’s protected from threats both extra-terrestrial and domestic. The theory goes that Stan Less is there in each film to keep an eye on Earth’s Mightiest Heroes in order to keep them on the straight and narrow.
2. Super Mario is a Communist
He’s got a working class background, he favors red, and he’s always rushing off to help the people of an idyllic kingdom that’s essentially run by a quorum of voters until it’s overrun by an evil lizard who’s trying to control the means of production.
3. Gilligan’s Island Is an Exploration of the Seven Deadly Sins
Thurston Howell is Greed. His wife is Sloth. Ginger, the movie star, is Lust. The Professor is Pride. Mary Ann is Envy. The Skipper gets saddled with two sins: Anger and Gluttony. And the person orchestrating the whole thing is Satan, aka Gilligan.
4. The Flintstones and the Jetsons Occupy the Same Time and Place
They’re not separated by millions of years, they’re simply separated by income class. The Flintstones are the people relegated to slaving away on the Earth while the high-flying Jetsons are making that sprocket money, which means they can afford something a little bit nicer, a home in the sky.
5. Like Doctor Who, James Bond Is Also a Time Lord
See, Britain’s super spy is able to regenerate, which explains why he can appear as so many different people with such different personalities and yet the people around him (like the original Q) age as normal.
6. Jack Never Existed on the Titanic
There’s a reason that there’s no mention of Leonardo DiCaprio’s character in Titanic’s ship rolls. Not because he won his ticket from someone else in a card game, but because he only existed in Rose’s imagination. Jack was the delusion she used to break free of the confines of her upright life and he was the motivation she used to overcome the sinking of the Titanic. That also explains why she never scooted over and let him share a little time on the floating door, the poor frozen figment of her imagination.
7. Sesame Street’s Count Is a Vicious Monster
You know why the location of Sesame Street is such a secret? Because the kids who wander onto the street never actually make it home to talk about their experience. Instead, they’re preyed upon by the Count, who feeds on the children. That’s why there’s always a roving assortment of kids and only a handful of repeating adults.
8. The Events of Disney’s ‘Aladdin’ Never Actually Happened
The merchant telling the tale just made the whole thing up to sell some dusty old lamp.
9. Eleven Is Really the Monster
When Eleven, the breakout character in Netflix’s Stranger Things says, “I am the monster,” she’s not being a hater, she’s telling the truth. Think about it: she first saw the creature in a sensory deprivation tank, which means the mighty telepath could have just been conjuring it up in her mind. Also, she shows up at the same time as the monster and disappears at the same time, too.
10. Doogie Howser and Dr. House Are the Same Person
In 1989, Neil Patrick Harris broke out in a big way as Doogie Howser, a super genius teen who devoted his life to saving people in an ER. Fifteen years later, Hugh Laurie was introduced to American audiences as the gruff Gregory House, a super genius who hates the people working around him. Is it too much of a stretch to suggest that Doogie got tired of the adults around him treating him like a kid an — as a result — he grew a little bit averse to the other, dumber medical professionals around him.
11. All of the Friends in ‘Friends’ Are Actually Locked in an Insane Asylum
Phoebe was locked up after her mother’s suicide. Rachel is a textbook sociopath. Monica never got over being abused in high school. Joey’s female-dominated family drove him to insanity. Chandler’s drama on the homefront drove him to an asylum. And Ross has so many anger issues it’s, well, crazy. Each member of the cast does have a pretty extreme personality. Maybe it’s just good comic fodder. Or maybe it’s a delusion shared by a group of asylum inmates yearning for another life.
12. Scully Is an Immortal
The X-Files was a huge paranormal hit for Fox in the 1990s, thanks largely to the relationship between the true believer Fox Mulder and skeptic Dana Scully. Of course, one fan theory suggests that Scully is a true believer, because she’s also immortal. Thanks to a literal brush with Death in a season 6 episode, Scully “looked away” when Death came for her. As a result, she can’t die.
13. Jon Snow Isn’t Ned’s Bastard, He’s the Rightful King of Westeros
Long before this truth was essentially revealed on Game of Thrones, people who watch the series religiously have long suspected that the upright Ned Stark would never have actually been unfaithful to his wife. In fact, people suspected that Ned simply recovered the son his sister had with Rhaegar Targaryan (aka, the King) after a night of non-consensual sex. In order to keep the boy’s secret and save his life, Ned swore to his wife that the boy, Jon Snow, was actually his bastard son.
14. The Fresh Prince is Dead
In the opening credits, Philadelphian Will Smith is beaten so severely that his mother supposedly sends him to live in the upscale suburb of Bel-Air. One theory, however, claims that the beating Smith references actually kills him, and he’s transported to a place where he’s got more money than he’s ever had, and he’s surrounded by friends and family. When his parents show up in Bel-Air, they’re actually visiting his grave.
15. The Joker in ‘The Dark Knight’ Is a Veteran
Why does the Joker have such good operations training and such extensive experience with explosives and basic weaponry (but none of the high tech stuff)? Because he was in Iraq. In The Dark Knight, the villain has a line to the effect of “a truckload of soldiers gets blown up and nobody panics because it’s all part of the plan.” The Joker was in one of those blown up trucks (that’s how he got those scars), and it pushed him over the edge of sanity to a place where the whole world needed to burn.
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