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A Tony Stark A.I., Loki survives, and Arya's green-eyed victim: The week in fan theories
Welcome to The Week in Fan Theories, your guide to what fan theories are taking the internet by storm!
With so many fan theories floating around the web, it can be hard to know which ones to take seriously and which ones are wildly off the mark. Some theories are brilliant breakthroughs that reveal a whole new understanding of what a work of fiction means, or they're spot-on predictions about what's going to happen in the next installment. Others are deeply flawed theories that nevertheless get traction on news sites.
Because we only have one geeky opening this week and we are very well versed in what happens in Dark Phoenix, the fan theory offerings are a bit light. Still, we've got a pretty interesting Spider-Man: Far From Home theory, an incorrect theory about Loki's Avengers: Endgame antics, and an irrelevant theory about Game of Thrones. Please note that there is also a theory making the rounds that the final episode of Game of Thrones was actually just Bran's dream, but I refuse to dignify that with an entry in this column. C'mon. A dream? Cripes.
TONY STARK WILL RETURN AS SPIDEY'S NEW A.I. HELPER
In a new trailer for Spider-Man: Far From Home, Peter Parker dons a familiar-looking pair of glasses. Even before this trailer, many fans noticed that these glasses were the same ones that Peter's mentor, the late, great Tony Stark, wore in Avengers: Infinity War. In the trailer, Peter puts on the high-tech specs and an A.I. voice says, "Hello Peter. Would you like to see what I can do?"
One theorist thinks that the A.I. voice sounds a little artificial compared to the previous Stark-created A.I.s we've heard in the series, J.A.R.V.I.S., F.R.I.D.A.Y., and Karen. Perhaps, the theorist posits, the voice in the trailer has been altered so as not to spoil something. Marvel trailers do this all the time, after all.
"I think it has been manipulated for trailer purposes, to hide the real voice of Tony's glasses A.I." the theorist writes. "The obvious choice is that Tony himself will be the A.I."
In the comics, Tony Stark goes into a coma and mentors his successor, a hero named Ironheart, via an A.I. copy of his consciousness. So it's not without precedent, especially since Peter is Tony's mentee in the MCU.
However, as the theorist notes, Robert Downey Jr. is done playing Iron Man in the MCU. That's not to say that he couldn't pop into a recording booth to provide a voice-only appearance and collect a hefty paycheck, but one wonders if even an audio cameo would lessen the impact of his heroic death in the previous movie. The theory offers a plausible way for how Tony Stark could return to the MCU, but should Tony return so soon? Maybe not. Still, let's call this one plausible.
LOKI SURVIVED BY USING THE SPACE STONE AND CONFUSING THE RULES OF TIME TRAVEL
Time travel is a storytelling nightmare. As a plot device, it opens up so many potential plot holes and opportunities for confusion. That's why it's irksome that Avengers: Endgame was almost internally consistent with how it handled time travel, only to throw a big wrench in the previously established rules at the end when Captain America appeared old in the main timeline/reality.
That's where this theory, which aims to explain what Loki's up to (and how he's going to get a Disney+ series despite being dead in the main continuity), stumbles. The theory argues that after the Loki from the timeline where the Avengers traveled back to the 2012 Battle of New York escaped with the Space Stone, he had to return the stone in order to save that timeline from certain doom. The theory argues that he sent one of his doubles back with the space stone after safely escaping himself, and that it's this double we saw in Thor: The Dark World.
Except the theory's foundation doesn't hold up. When Loki teleports away with the Space Stone, he is teleporting to another location within that timeline. He isn't removing the Stone from the timeline, just taking it to a different place. This was not what the Ancient One was warning Bruce Banner about.
There's no need for that timeline's Loki to have returned the Stone and pretend to return himself to custody. He's probably still on the lam, and the Loki from the main MCU timeline is probably still dead, as there's no indication these timelines should have any bearing on one another. However Loki manages to star in his own Disney+ series, it probably won't be because of this theory.
ARYA STARK TOTALLY KILLED SOMEONE WITH GREEN EYES (IN THE BOOKS)
Right now, most Game of Thrones fan theories are just straw-grasping attempts to explain why the final season was such a letdown. There isn't a storytelling choice bad enough or a plot hole big enough that a fan theory can't fix it, especially if the theory is extremely convoluted. This theory attempts to fix an allegedly abandoned plot thread.
"I see a darkness in you, and in that darkness, eyes staring back at me," Melisandre told Arya Stark. "Brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes, eyes you'll shut forever."
She repeated a version of this prophecy during "The Long Night," shortly before Arya killed the blue-eyed Night King. That got fans wondering who Arya killed or was going to kill who had brown and green eyes. Walder Frey had brown eyes, but what about green? For a while, fans thought it was Cersei, but she died without Arya's help, leaving Arya without a green-eyed victim.
This theory posits that Littlefinger actually counted as Arya's green-eyed kill, even though actor Aidan Gillen has blue eyes. Because, see, in the books, Littlefinger is described as having "green-grey eyes." (Never mind that Melisandre does not make this prophecy in the books.)
The theory is a stretch, and more importantly, an unnecessary one. Arya has killed lots of people during her time as an assassin-in-training, and it's quite likely that she killed some green-eyed person who wasn't a major character.
From a meta sense, Melisandre's prophecy wasn't always this important. She first said the "brown eyes, blue eyes, green eyes" bit in Season 3, and according to the Inside-the-Episode segment after "The Long Night," the showrunners didn't yet know that Arya would be the person who killed the Night King at that point. Chances are it was a pretty smart retcon rather than some grand prophetic plan from the start. There's no need to be so militant about making sure every bit of this prophecy comes true given that it wasn't even a real prophecy in the first place.