Debunking the Best Movie and TV Fan Theories: Which Theories Actually Hold Water?

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When Game of Thrones was still in its early stages, fans created what was known as the “R + L = J” hypothesis. This fan theory claimed that – based on foreshadowing in the books, a few hints from George R.R. Martin himself, and Sean Bean letting slip that his character was “obviously not Jon Snow’s dad” – that the supposed illegitimate son of Lord Eddard “Ned” Stark, Jon Snow, was actually not his son, but was the child of Prince Rhaegar Targaryen and Lyanna Stark.

At the end of Season 6 in 2016, we learn that this is true when a dying Lyanna makes Ned promise to protect her son, who is revealed to be Jon Snow. A year later, in Season 7, we also learn that Rhaegar and Lyanna married, which meant that Jon is actually a legitimate son and therefore the rightful king of Westeros.

It’s supposed to be a huge surprise for the fans, but despite the TV show and books being tight-lipped about it, the fans managed to put a coherent fan theory that predicted this outcome years before this big reveal. It was more of a relief that the show finally confirmed this theory than it was a shock.

Which begs the question: is it possible for other fan theories to be true? A movie may no longer have a sequel coming or the TV show may have long ended, but these fan theories may either be the implied fates of the characters after the show ends, what could happen in the next movie, or something that was never mentioned in the film or TV show but was heavily implied because of certain actions.

There are plenty of TV and movie fan theories all over the web, so if you have a fan theory you’d like to share (or share your opinion on the fan theories listed below), leave us a comment below!

 

Avengers: Endgame – Ant-Man Can Kill Thanos By… Getting to the Bottom of Things

I feel like we really need to talk about this one because 1) Avengers: Endgame is coming out in three weeks; and 2) this fan theory is a reflection of the Marvel fanbase on the internet at the moment. Based on the memes and reddit posts about it, this fan theory states that the Avengers can easily defeat Thanos if Ant-Man shrinks to a small size, enters Thanos’ butthole, and then expands to a normal or gigantic size. The fan theory claims that the force of Ant-Man expanding inside Thanos may be enough to make Thanos explode from the inside, killing him, taking the Infinity Gauntlet, and saving the universe.

It doesn’t help that, almost a month before the movie comes out, the Russo Brothers (who are directing the film) changed their Instagram photo. With a photo like that, it’s hard to quell this theory, with people seriously considering it as the only way to kill Thanos, despite the absurdity of it all.

Avengers: Endgame is

 

Sadly though, I hardly doubt that this is what will happen in the movie three weeks from now. First of all, the official runtime of Avengers: Endgame is set at three hours and two minutes, making it the longest Marvel film ever produced. I doubt the Russo Brothers would make us sit for three hours watching the Avengers team try to pull Thanos’ pants down to give Ant-Man a straight shot to his butt.

Second, Marvel’s last film, Captain Marvel, hinted that the eponymous heroine will play an important role in taking down Thanos, which means actually defeating Thanos may be more complicated than just making sure Ant-Man ends up in the right spot.

Third, Avengers: Endgame was rated as a PG-13 movie. Similar to other Marvel movies, we may expect some mild cursing or really tame romance between two Avengers, but I doubt it will reach Deadpool’s Rated-R levels of nudity and cursing. With that being said, if Ant-Man’s Scott Lang were forced to enter Thanos’ behind, we’d get a look at what Thanos’ butt would look like and Ant-Man cursing his existence throughout most of the film.

Finally, even if the idea of making Thanos explodes holds water, it’s possible that Ant-Man wouldn’t have to expand inside Thanos to get it done. Here’s astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson’s take on whether or not the fan theory is possible.

 

Still, though, this fan theory is pretty funny. And it would have been a… buttload of fun to see the movie turn in this direction. Sadly, I don’t think the Russo Brothers intend to get this cheeky. We can only make assumptions about what to expect when the movie comes out. OK, that’s enough puns. Time to get to the bottom of other fan theories.

Scooby-Doo – Shaggy Is a Stoner

Nearly all of us have grown up watching Scooby-Doo and the rest of the Mystery Machine solve mysteries and catch bad guys in ghost masks. While no one really asks how a dog can communicate in a hoarse human voice, the real mystery lies with Scooby’s best friend, Norville “Shaggy” Rogers, and whether or not shaggy is a stoner. My thoughts? I think he is.

This must sound like a bold statement, given that the Scooby-Doo franchise is supposed to be child-friendly. But if you Google “adult jokes in kids shows,” you’ll find that a lot of kids’ show producers, writers, and artists managed to sneak in adult jokes that made your parents laugh but flew right over your innocent head as you watched it.

Now that you’re grown up and understand what a stereotypical stoner looks like, you might see why this theory isn’t entirely dubious. While Scooby-Doo’s series creators aren’t as accepting as the Russo Brothers, there are signs that point to Shaggy’s personality. Shaggy’s huge appetite despite his skinny figure is blamed on his metabolism, but it’s highly likely that his odd food cravings add any time of the day are the effects of THC, a compound found in marijuana that stimulates appetites. In some episodes of the franchise, Shaggy even admits to making Scooby Snacks himself. And in 1988, those cookies were originally called “Mellow Mutt Munchies.”

Apart from his appetite, it’s hard to deny that Shaggy is a stoner when he fits the “high hippy” stereotype of the 1970s. And in the 2002 live-action film, Scooby-Doo, Shaggy falls in love with a girl named Mary Jane, which is a slang term for marijuana. According to the director, there were scenes shot where Shaggy makes references to marijuana, but this was left on the cutting room floor to make the film PG-13. Watch the deleted scenes in the home media releases and it’s hard to deny what the franchise built Shaggy up to be.

Gravity Falls – Grunkle Stan Is Bill Cipher

A show that involves the mystical and magical, Gravity Falls is bound to have a lot of fan theories. At the series finale of the show, Bill Cipher, the demon is stopped from causing “Weirdmageddon” after being fooled by the twins Stanford and Stanley into entering the wrong person’s mind and being erased along with the rest of Grunkle Stan’s memories. However, the fact that Stan got his memories back may suggest that Bill Cipher has also returned. Possible? Highly likely.MattPat of The Film Theorists explains it very well:

The fact that everything has already been thought out by the creators – from the Cipher Statue Hunt made by the creator, the following merchandise after the series, and the show’s own intro telling the audience not to trust Grunkle Stan strongly suggests that we haven’t seen the last of Bill Cipher.

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory – Wonka Meant for Children to Get Hurt

The 1971 film Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory was a part of the childhoods of many adults today. Although watching it again makes me wonder how I wasn’t emotionally scarred as a child, it’s always fun to watch the whimsical musical set inside the chocolatey factory.

There were two theories I wanted to talk about in this film. The first was that Violet Beauregarde should have won the contest, but Tumblr-user evayna already wrote a very convincing argument supporting the fan theory. If you want to read more, you should check out her post.

But to summarize, out of the five children, Violet has everything Willy Wonka should want from an heir or heiress. She is the most knowledgeable about candy. Unlike the other children, she’s mentally fit to run a business and can pick up knowledge about business from her father, a salesman and politician (especially not like Verruca, who is more interested in what her parents’ money can buy than their actual business that makes money). She’s sympathetic to Oompa Loompas. She defies social norms the same way Willy Wonka operates his company. And compared to Charlie – a timid boy with no experience in going wild – Violet is smart, assertive, and capable of continuing Willy Wonka’s legacy.

The second theory I want to talk about is that Willy Wonka meant for children to be harmed, or at least eliminated from the competition each time they enter a new room in the factory. Just take a look at this photo for proof:

Willy Wonka

After Augustus Gloop falls into the river and his mother is guided away to find him, Willy Wonka continues the tour and takes the rest of the group to the next room via a boat along the chocolate river. Note that, as you can see in the photo, the boat only has eight seats: four for the children, and four for their parents. Had nothing happened to Augustus in the chocolate room, where were he and his mother supposed to sit? It’s almost as if the boat was made knowing very well that only eight people would remain.

Second, based on the exterior of the factory, it’s highly likely that there is so much to see in the factory. And yet, for every room that they enter, a child ends up in danger. It’s as if Willy Wonka maneuvered the tour in such a way that a child would face their biggest weakness in each room. Sure, it may be his way of seeing if the children can overcome their weakness, but if he wanted to test Verruca’s spoiled nature or Mike Teavee’s obsession with technology, he could have found a safer room to do it.

And third, in Tim Burton’s 2005 remake, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, after Augustus is sucked away and the Oompa Loompas do their song number, one scene supports this fan theory.

Willy Wonka: Bravo! Well done! Aren’t they delightful? Aren’t they charming?

Verruca’s Father: I do say that all seem rather rehearsed.

Mike Teavee: Like they knew what was going to happen.

Willy Wonka: Oh, poppycock.

The Harry Potter Series – Harry Can’t Die Anymore

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter universe is so vast and its magic so complex to totally grasp even for one wizard that it’s no surprise that people continue to draw new ideas, head canons, and fan theories about the lore. But back when the final book of the saga, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, had just come out, people had a much darker take on the implications of the prophecy meant for the Boy Who Lived.

The entire prophecy states that the person who could defeat Lord Voldemort is a child born in July whose parents have defied Voldemort and his Death Eaters thrice. The Dark Lord will see him as his equal, even if this person has a power Voldemort does not have. And finally, either Voldemort or this Chosen One must die at the hand of the other because “neither can live while the other survives.” In the first six books, Harry fulfills the prophecy because:

  • Harry Potter and Neville Longbottom fulfill the first part of the prophecy: they’re both born in July and have parents in the Order of the Phoenix. However, Voldemort chose Harry, which made him the chosen one. It’s also fitting considering both he and Harry are half-bloods and Neville is a pure-blood, and since Voldemort’s own shtick involves blood purity, he and Harry are technically equal in this sense.
  • The power Voldemort doesn’t have can either mean the Elder Wand, which became Harry’s after disarming Draco, who unknowingly became its master after disarming Dumbledore, or the power of Harry’s mother’s love that protected Harry until he came of age. I suspect it is the latter, as love has been a recurring theme in the series, something Voldemort was not capable of due to the circumstances of his birth.

It is the third part of the prophecy that leaves fans theorizing. Based on the way that part of the prophecy is phrased, one person – either Voldemort or Harry – must die because the other person killed them because either of them cannot live while the other is still alive. This means that either Harry kills Voldemort, or Voldemort kills Harry. However, since Harry has killed Voldemort, is it possible that Harry is now immortal because the only thing that could kill him is now dead, as many fans believe? That means Harry will literally becomes The Boy Who Lived. By killing Voldemort and ending his reign of terror, Harry saves wizards, witches, and Muggles deemed unworthy by Voldemort. However, in the process, Harry is unable to die and will watch his family and friends die and reunite in the afterlife, while he remains trapped in the physical world.

Is this what J.K. Rowling meant when she wrote this theory?

It’s highly unlikely, as both the film and books show that everyone dies eventually. There are only two ways mentioned in the series that a witch or wizard can become immortal: drinking from the Philosopher’s Stone and creating Horcruxes. By the end of Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, the stone had been destroyed and its main users, Nicholas Flammel and his wife, have made enough elixir to settle their accounts and eventually die after hundreds of years of immortality. On the other hand, the series highlights the depths of evil and dark magic Voldemort would go through to make a Horcrux. So, if there’s one thing J.K. Rowling would do, it would be to give Harry the gift of immortality she proved was not possible, even with magic.

Second, it’s easy to see why people would get confused with this theory, given its wording, but once you deconstruct it, it’s clear that, while Harry had to kill Voldemort to live, but it’s not necessary for Voldemort to be the reason Harry dies after doing so. Look at the word “live” in the prophecy. If we take it literally, then the prophecy is already moot. While Voldemort’s body was destroyed when he tried to kill Harry, because he had Horcrux in place, he was not technically dead. He was still alive even when Harry was. So, the fact that Harry and Voldemort were both alive for 17 years together meant that the word “live” in this sense isn’t literal, but figurative.

The word “live” doesn’t mean survive – as both were capable of doing at the same time – as the word “survive” is also mentioned. In this prophecy, living meant “living life to the fullest” or living the way each of them wanted. Voldemort cannot truly rise to power and create a new wizarding world until Harry is dead. On the other hand, Harry cannot truly live as an adult and live a normal wizarding life until he has killed Voldemort.

It does not mean Harry will need Voldemort to die and killing Voldemort has rendered him immortal. Eventually, Harry will die as it is natural in every life cycle. But the prophecy talks about him being capable of living a full life – not being immortal – once he gets Voldemort out of the picture.

Beauty and the Beast – Belle and Prince Adam Were Beheaded

Out of all the Disney princesses and their own theories, I wanted to include the 1991 film, Beauty and the Beast, though 2017 remake may also apply. I loved the older film growing up, from the dress, to the songs, to the giant library. This fan theory claims that if Beauty and the Beast was written and set in 18th-century France, and Beast – whose real name is supposed to be Prince Adam – was nobility, then Belle married into French nobility around the time of the French Revolution, where nobles were executed after the commoners had had enough with the royals’ lavish spending at a time when people were poor and starving. Therefore, despite the happy ending the films claimed she and Prince Adam had, based on history, it was highly likely that they died shortly after.

Beauty and the Beast I know it’s a fairy tale and there is obviously no record of a Prince Adam or Princess Belle in French history, but the fan theory claims that, if the story were set in French history, they would have died. This fan theory is based on history, so let’s look at the facts to prove why this is unlikely.

Beauty and the Beast was based on a French fairy tale originally written by a French novelist in 1740 and then re-written and published in 1756 by Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont. However, if this story were related to the French Revolution, then it should have been written much later, as the French Revolution did not start until 1789.

Let’s assume that Belle married Prince Adam in 1756, since it’s the version the original Disney film adapted. Belle was 17 at the events of the film, which meant that by the time the revolution started, Belle would have been 50 years old. Back in the 18th century, the conditions were still very rudimentary that people were still dying young. In the 17th century, life expectancy in Europe was 35 years; by 1820, it rose to 41. So, it’s likely she and Prince Adam, who is likely older than her, died way before the revolution began.

People also claim that Belle and Prince Adam would have died by beheading at the guillotine. This is most likely a reference to Queen Marie Antoinette. The last Queen of France, at the time of the revolution, she was known as a lavish spender who was fairly out of touch with the masses, to say the least. Eventually, she was beheaded, and the rest of the nobility were executed, though not necessarily limited to beheading.

So, based on the timetable, if Beauty and the Beast were on the same historical timeline, they would have died long before the French Revolution had started, and therefore would have not been guillotined. If they had any children who carried a royal or noble title though, that’s another can of worms altogether.

 

Whether or not the show or film’s creators also pulled an “R + L = J” and left breadcrumbs for the fans to find a trail toward these fan theories or they’re just ideas blown out of proportion, it’s really interesting to see fans try to extend the lore of their favorite shows and explore the many possibilities of that story’s universe. However, not all fan theories are totally plausible, so unless you’ve read the proof from the books, take these fan theories with a grain of salt.

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