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Not all fan theories are created equal. Some are brilliant breakthroughs that unlock a whole new understanding of a popular show or movie. Others are... totally off the mark. That's okay, because part of being a fan is interacting with what you love! There are bad fan theories, but no bad fan theorists, in other words.
The problem arises when a legitimate entertainment news source spreads around one of these theories, milking it for your hard-earned click rather than actually engaging with the theory on its merits and contributing to the discourse. When that happens, SYFY WIRE will let you know which viral fan theories should be dismissed.
This week, unscrupulous aggregators wrote up stories about Captain Marvel, Avengers: Infinity War, and Game of Thrones theories that are all quite complicated at the expense of narrative. Let’s get started.
01. Captain Marvel got sent back in time by the Snap
Essentially, it argues that Carol Danvers, her pilot friend Maria Rambeau, and the Skrull villain Talon were actually all originally from the present day, not the '90s setting of the upcoming Captain Marvel film. The three were all supposedly victims of Thanos' snap in Infinity War, but rather than getting turned to dust, the three were sent back in time — unbeknownst to them. The theory goes on to argue that Nick Fury will help Carol figure this out, and that, due to a time loop paradox of sorts, that’s why he only pages Captain Marvel after Thanos does his snap.
This all makes no sense. Why would Thanos’ snap randomly send these three characters into the past? If Nick Fury knew that Thanos' snap was going to occur, why didn't he do anything about it or tell anyone? Why would Marvel undermine the origin story of its first leading female superhero by making it a weird predetermined time-loop spin-off of Infinity War? Why are news publications writing entire articles about YouTube comments?
02. Thanos let Loki live
As he prepares his failed assassination attempt at the beginning of Infinity War, Loki pledges his "undying fidelity" to Thanos. Thanos stops the blade and taunts Loki before killing him, saying "Undying? You should choose your words more carefully."
"Perhaps he saw Loki's 'last words' as a challenge,” the theorist writes. "To keep him alive and make him wish he were dead. 'Undying,' if you will."
No, I will not. While there’s a chance that Loki will escape death once more (he does have that upcoming Disney+ TV series, after all), Thanos is clearly just making a morbid joke about how Loki is literally about to die right after saying "undying." It's not some hint of an eternal "I have no mouth and I must scream" eldritch punishment. He just suffocated the dude, and it's hard to see how strangulation before leaving a corpse on a ship that’s about to explode in the vacuum of space is a fate worse than death. That's just… death.
03. Varys is a secret Targaryen
The Daily Express continues to be just awful when it comes to writing about fan theories, as this week it wrote up a brand-new article about a Reddit post that is a full five years old. It's not especially relevant right now, but hey — maybe you'll click on it.
Anyway, the theory itself is actually fairly well argued, using histories and dates from the A Song of Ice and Fire books that Game of Thrones is based on to establish a timeline that could possibly position Varys as a grandson to Aerion "Brightflame" Targaryen, who was exiled to Lys, Varys' birthplace. We know Aerion sired at least one child before killing himself by drinking wildfire. The theorist bolsters the timeline with speculation that Varys shaves his head to hide the trademark Targaryen silver hair, that his castration was part of a ritual that required royal blood, and that his name appears to be a bastardization of a traditional Targaryen name.
This is all fun and interesting, but making Varys a secret Targaryen does nothing but complicate the story at this point. Again, the entire series was building up to the reveal that Jon Snow is a secret Targaryen, and that twist has huge implications for the plot going forward. A reveal that Varys is one too would feel like an afterthought, managing to have far less of an impact while simultaneously cheapening the Jon reveal.
Now, the theorist posited this well-argued theory five years ago in the A Song of Ice and Fire subreddit. It was the right place and the right time for such a theory. It is not, as The Daily Express claimed half a decade later, "Season 8 spoilers."