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The Week in Fan Theories: Nebula and the Soul Stone, the Fantastic Four's MCU debut, and more
Welcome to The Week in Fan Theories, your guide to what fan theories, good and bad, 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 specious bunk, deeply flawed theories that nevertheless get aggregated by some of the less scrupulous news sites.
It’s a bit of a slow week for the Fan Theory Industrial Complex, but there are still a handful of theories that are worth addressing. First, an official debunking of an Avengers: Endgame theory. Then, there’s yet another guess for how the Fantastic Four will enter the MCU. And we’ll end with a wild theory connecting Alien, Blade Runner, The Man in the High Castle, and Firefly that’s really not so much of a theory as it is an exercise in creative thinking.
NEBULA DIDN’T KNOW HAWKEYE OR BLACK WIDOW HAD TO DIE TO GET THE SOUL STONE
After Avengers: Endgame came out, there was some speculation about what, exactly, Nebula knew about the Soul Stone. Perhaps, some theorists posited, Nebula knew that her fellow time-traveling Avengers would have to sacrifice someone dear to them in order to get the stone, and so she ensured that Black Widow and Hawkeye would fetch the stone together. Natasha and Clint have a strong bond, so it would make sense for Nebula to pull some strings without their knowledge to ensure that they recovered the Soul Stone — even if it’s a little morally dubious on Nebula’s part.
However, Endgame’s co-writer Stephen McFeely shot down this theory in a commentary featured on the film’s digital release.
"Nebula doesn't know about the exchange that's required at Vormir," McFeely explains. "No one knows.”
McFeely adds that Nebula only knows that Gamora did not return from Thanos’ trip to get the Soul Stone, but she does not know that her sister died because daddy sacrificed her.
Essentially, McFeely’s confirmation makes Nebula a little bit less of a morally grey Chessmaster, which is nice. On the other hand, it does mean that it was sheer coincidence that Natasha and Clint went to Vorimir together. Can you imagine if it had been, like, Ant-Man and Rocket Raccoon? They barely have a relationship, so I don’t think either sacrifice would’ve been worthy of the Soul Stone.
THE MCU’S FANTASTIC FOUR WILL WORK FOR NICK FURY’S NEW SPACE TEAM, S.W.O.R.D.
The Fantastic Four are officially joining the MCU... eventually. At San Diego Comic-Con 2019, Marvel indicated that Reed, Sue, Johnny, and Ben would make their debut in the MCU’s Phase 5, most likely. Naturally, there are lots of theories for how Marvel’s “First Family” will enter the film continuity this late in the game. None of these theories have much to go on, including this one, which builds off of the Spider-Man: Far From Home post-credits scene.
The reveal that the real Nick Fury is off doing something in space has Marvel fans wondering if he’s starting up S.W.O.R.D., a space-based offshoot of S.H.I.E.L.D. from the comics. The Fantastic Four originally got their powers in space, so perhaps the MCU will introduce the foursome as agents or scientists working for Fury’s S.W.O.R.D.
It’s a good enough theory, but I’d caution against putting too much stock in it. S.W.O.R.D. being part of the Fantastic Four’s MCU origin is certainly a possibility, but we don’t even know if that was a S.W.O.R.D. base Fury was chilling on. It’s just too early and there are too many variables for there to be anything resembling a rock-solid theory. Phase 4 needs to get started before we get any real clues about what to expect from Phase 5.
THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE, BLADE RUNNER, ALIEN, AND FIREFLY ARE A SHARED UNIVERSE. SURE, WHY NOT?
Okay, this isn’t even a theory, really. Or at least, it’s not a theory in the way that the first two entries this week were, in that they were attempting to explain or predict something about a fictional universe. Instead, this is just a totally impossible, largely irrelevant, and very fun mock-explanation for how The Man in the High Castle, Blade Runner, Alien, and Firefly could all be in the same continuity. (It's also three years old, so why it was recently aggregated is a mystery.)
The theorists dub the shared universe the “Ridley K. Whedon Universe,” named for the creators behind the franchises — Ridley Scott, Phillip K. Dick, and Joss Whedon.
The theory begins with Man in the High Castle, which is set in a world where the Axis won World War II, so Imperial Japan and Nazi Germany control the United States. The Nazis focused on technological advances, and Japan controlled the West Coast… which might explain why Los Angeles in Blade Runner has such an Asian influence and why there are high-tech robots everywhere.
Following so far? Okay, then the theorists note that Michael Fassbender’s android David in Prometheus (the first film chronologically in the Alien franchise) certainly looks Aryan — perhaps as a result of Nazi influence? And, there actually is an Easter egg in Prometheus linking the film to Blade Runner, via an archived message implying that Alien’s Weyland Corporation reached out to Blade Runner’s Tyrell Corporation.
Finally, centuries later, Firefly enters the picture. In the series’ first episode, there’s a brief glimpse of the Weyland Corporation logo on a gun turret that Mal uses, meaning that Alien is canon.
Of course, this is all ridiculous. The connections are Easter eggs at best and very suspect similarities at worst. The films aren’t actually connected, and if you looked hard enough, you could find evidence within the films that disproves the connection as much as the Easter eggs “prove” it.
Proof isn’t really the point of this theory though. It’s just for fun, which is all good — so long as you’re not letting your understanding or enjoyment of any of the movies or shows be seriously influenced by the others. It’s okay for things to exist on their own.