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Stannis lives, Doctor Strange time-looped the MCU's Phase Three, and more: The week's craziest fan theories
No matter what series they're into, fans tend to have two traits in common: they're extremely creative and not especially patient. Perhaps that's why there are so many fan theories, because fans can't help but try to predict what'll happen in Avengers: Endgame or explain away some obscure Game of Thrones mystery in the agonizing wait for the final season. Sometimes these theories are right on, but for every "R + L = J" there are hundreds of very, very wrong fan theories.
That's fine! It's great that fans are being creative with their favorite series. What's less great is when an entertainment news site decides to pluck one of these specious theories from the safety of a subreddit and present it to a general audience as a plausible theory in order to get your clicks.
When that happens, it's up to SYFY WIRE to debunk these crazy fan theories. We're not digging into subreddits to find outlandish theories to dunk on, we're just looking to see which news sites irresponsibly wanted to take you for a ride.
01. The entire MCU since Doctor Strange has been one of his time-loops, and that’s how they’ll beat Thanos
Remember how Doctor Strange defeated Dormammu by trapping the villainous entity in a time loop? Well, what this theory posits is that Doctor Strange is using the same tactic to beat Thanos, only this time loop begins somewhere around Doctor Strange, meaning the entire Phase Three of the MCU has just been one of many run-throughs.
“In the Age of Ultron, Banner says to Tony "this is a time loop..." which struck me as an odd statement given the context,” the theorist wrote on Reddit, perhaps looking too hard for Easter eggs and putting too much faith in them. This, they posit, is a hint about the conclusion of a movie that would come out four years later involving a magical mechanic from a hero who hadn’t made his MCU debut yet.
The poster goes on, as you can read in any number of articles aggregating the specious theory. They believe that Strange sees 14,000,604 loops until the heroes win rather than it being 1 out of 14,000,604 realities where they win, despite what Strange says in Infinity War. They also posit that the loop wouldn’t end with Strange’s death, which is true, but in Doctor Strange that’s what triggered the loop to start over, meaning the final scenes of Infinity War and Endgame shouldn’t have happened.
They also write that Ant-Man’s time vortexes will somehow break the loop, and that the Infinity War was called that because of the looping, near-infinite nature of the conflict (rather than being named for, you know, the Infinity Stones).
This theory is built on a shaky foundation from the start, and it assumes that Marvel has been tricking audiences for half a decade for the sake of a twist that would undermine the narrative importance of most of their movies. It’s already going to be a big moment to swallow when Endgame says “never mind” to all the character deaths in Infinity War — to expect it to also effectively undo Black Panther, Thor: Ragnarok, and other Phase Three films is madness.
But, if you want more evidence for a debunking beyond a reasonable understanding about how stories are told and how movies are made, consider this: Time travel of some sort will be a part of Endgame. Leaked set photos have shown that the surviving heroes will travel back to 2012 for The Avengers’ Battle of New York. That’s… before Doctor Strange’s theorized time loop would’ve begun, according to this theory.
02. Stannis Baratheon will return in Game of Thrones’ final season as a wight who was brought back to life by the Night King
Before we get to the meat of this theory, which was picked up from Reddit and aggregated by the Daily Express, a word of advice — do not read the Daily Express. It is possibly the worst offender when it comes to creating and spreading garbage fan theories just for the sake of clicks. That rehash of the “Bran is the Night King” theory we wrote about in last week’s round-up? The Daily Express wrote two other nearly identical and similarly vapid stories about the same theory in the span of two weeks. This isn’t pushing the fan conversation forward, it’s peddling garbage to game you for clicks.
Anyway, their latest theory aggregation posits that Stannis will rise from the dead as a wight in the final season of Game of Thrones.
“When we last saw Stannis, he was outside Winterfell, slain beside a tree, and as far as we know he was not burned,” the theorist wrote. “Could it be possible that he becomes part of the Army of the Dead?”
Let’s debunk this theory in two parts — in fiction and in the real world. In the world of Game of Thrones, quite some time has passed since the battle where Stannis met his end. The Starks almost certainly did something to clean up the stinking piles of bodies lying right outside their walls, meaning Stannis corpse probably isn’t still lying against that tree waiting for be revived. Also, Brienne probably cut off his head, perhaps making him unable to be effectively revived.
More than that, though, let’s think about what this would mean for the narrative. Stannis had an amazing character arc — a stern but good man who tried to do the right thing, but eventually gave in to his worst tendencies, burning his daughter alive. When he died — killed by Brienne, who had sworn vengeance against him, even Stannis knew this was a fitting end. To bring him back as a mindless, possibly headless and unrecognizable wright would add what, exactly, to the story? A complicated and empty post-mortem cameo?
Also, Stannis actor Stephen Dillane gave interviews after exiting the show that seemed to indicate that he wasn’t thrilled with his performance or HBO, and didn’t really understand what was going on. Dillane’s probably not going to come back to play a corpse, y’all.
03. An obscure Marvel comics character will be introduced and save the day in Endgame
“In the trailer, Captain America has that same object he had in the 1st cap movie, and in this movie, we can see its pointing Northeast!” this Reddit post reads. “Assuming they went back to their base in New York and they would head Northeast, if we look in the map, we can see a place called Svalbard, and who can they find there? A guy called Adam Roderick! And what are his powers? Well, he has the power to influence his surroundings as well who listens to him and he can teleport everywhere he wants! Will he be the key to save Ant-Man?”
In the comics, Adam Roderick was an Inhuman (remember, one of those heroes from the horrible ABC series that Marvel wants you to forget about, especially because they own the rights to the X-Men again). So, what this theory, which was somehow aggregated, wants you to believe, is that the already over-stuffed Endgame will introduce a character who only appeared in a 6-issue miniseries from an unpopular franchise. Who needs to introduce Captain Marvel into the present day world of the MCU when you could have Adam Roderick!