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Stranger Things meets Chernobyl? A playable Zelda? The week in fan theories
Welcome to The Week in Fan Theories, your guide to the fan theories that 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.
This week, we’ve got a pretty wide swath of theories. There’s speculation about The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild sequel, a convoluted Black Widow solo movie theory, an outlandish link between Stranger Things Season 3 and Chernobyl, and an overly ambitious addition to the theory connecting Frozen and Tarzan.
ZELDA (COULD BE) PLAYABLE IN BREATH OF THE WILD 2
Nintendo ended its E3 presentation with news that it is making a sequel to The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild, widely considered to be one of the greatest games of all time. The trailer didn’t give too much away, though it showed Link and Zelda (who sports a new haircut) exploring ruins underneath Hyrule Castle. Given that Link freed Zelda at the end of the first game, there’s speculation that Zelda will be a playable character in the sequel.
It would make sense, as fans have wanted a chance to play as Zelda in the core game series, and what little we know of the plot suggests that there will be an opportunity for her to be more than a damsel in distress. It’s a good theory, but at this early, early stage, it’s just that: a theory. It could happen, but news outlets have so little to go on that you should be wary of any site that presents a playable Zelda as a given, rather than just a possibility. (For what it’s worth, Kotaku asked the series producer, Eiji Aonuma, about whether or not Zelda would be playable, and he would neither confirm nor deny it).
Meanwhile, there are also a bunch of theories unpacking what could be happening in the plot, and how the new game will tie into the Zelda franchise’s very malleable and complicated timeline... err, timelines. There are some interesting theories — like possible links between the magic in the trailer and the Twili race from Twilight Princess, and similarities between a missing barbarian people from the first BotW — but it’s important to remember just how early in the process we are. Speculate away, but don’t take any theories as gospel yet.
BLACK WIDOW IS ALIVE, WILL TRAVEL THROUGH TIME LOOKING FOR HER DAD
This theory, which apparently merited aggregation despite being nine days old with zero upvotes on Reddit, posits that Black Widow’s upcoming solo movie will be about Natasha Romanoff searching for her father, whose name she learned from Red Skull during Avengers: Endgame. The theorist believes that David Harbour, whose casting was announced in April, will play Ivan, her dad.
But, wait — didn’t Black Widow die in Endgame? Yes, and there’s the rub with this theory. As with the upcoming Loki and Vision Disney+ shows, there’s a big question about how a character who is canonically dead in the MCU can go on to have other adventures. Will the Black Widow film be a prequel? Possibly, but this latest theory argues that she came back to life after Captain America returned the Soul Stone at the end of Endgame — though there’s no hard evidence that returning the stone undoes the sacrifice required to obtain it. Alternatively, the theorist posits that Tony Stark could have opted to kill Gamora, who he never met, and bring back Natasha when he snapped his fingers to eliminate Thanos’ army to save the day.
That’s an even more wild theory, especially because Endgame makes it clear that the Hulk couldn’t use the Stones to bring back Natasha. Still, there’s a larger problem with this theory, and it’s one of scale; Black Widow is one of the more grounded heroes in the entire MCU. She has no superpowers, she’s just a spy, and her movie will likely be about spycraft. It would not make sense, thematically, for a movie about espionage to rely so heavily on the grand cosmic forces that made Infinity War and Endgame so massive.
THE CHERNOBYL DISASTER HAD SOMETHING TO DO WITH THE UPSIDE DOWN
This theory is not as insane as it first appears, because it’s not suggesting that Netflix’s Stranger Things will crossover with HBO’s haunting historical drama, Chernobyl. That would never ever happen. Instead, this theory posits that Stranger Things 3 might somehow touch on the events of the Chernobyl disaster.
Season 3 of the Netflix show takes place in 1985, which a Redditor noted is just one year before the Chernobyl disaster took place. Plus, IMDb (which is not always correct) once reportedly listed characters named “Russian Soldier” and “Russian Guard” as appearing in Season 3. Could Chernobyl be the site of a lab studying the Upside Down, just like the one in Hawkins, Indiana?
It’s possible, sure, but still feels farfetched. Why bring in Chernobyl, and all the baggage that comes with making fiction about a real, tragic historical event, if the actual infamous disaster doesn’t even happen until a year later? HBO’s Chernobyl showed just how horrible the disaster was, and it doesn’t seem like it’s the right time for Stranger Things to throw some Indiana teens and a Demogorgon into the mix.
TARZAN IS ELSA’S BROTHER, AND HE HAS THE POWER OF SPRING
There’s an old, popular theory connecting Frozen and Tarzan that argues that Elsa and Anna’s parents weren’t lost at sea, they were stranded in the jungles of Africa with their son, Tarzan. It’s a fun little headcanon that doesn’t have any actual bearing on the events of either movie. This theory about the sequel, however, takes the connection too far.
Essentially, it suggests that the water-horse seen in the latest Frozen II trailer, The Nokk, was responsible for making Elsa and Anna’s parents’ ship go so far off course (they were headed to Rapunzel’s wedding, allegedly, because Tangled is also a part of this theory). The theory goes on to speculate that the sequel will introduce us to characters who have powers that are similar to Elsa’s wintery abilities. Might Tarzan have “Spring” powers?
This is all insanity. The initial Frozen-Tarzan theory was little more than an Easter egg, but this is suggesting that Tarzan will actually be part of the Frozen sequel? Frozen was one of Disney’s biggest hits in recent memory, and there’s no incentive for them to make it a convoluted magical crossover with the Disney Renaissance’s last gasp. Disney would also have to get the rights to use Tarzan from Edgar Rice Burroughs’ estate again. The estate wouldn’t give Square Enix the rights to use the character again after the first Kingdom Hearts, so it’s not like it’s a guarantee that Tarzan could come back to be a bit player in another Disney film.
Just let Frozen II be Frozen, and not some retroactive entry in an imaginary cinematic universe.