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The Us twist debunked, a deleted Cersei scene, and some Rey madness: The week in fan theories
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.
This week, we've got a debunking of a popular theory about Jordan Peele's horror movie Us, a deleted scene from Game of Thrones that complicates a couple of theories, and two theories about Rey's past. One is absurd, and while the other one sounds absurd, it's at least got some precedent in Star Wars canon.
JASON WAS NOT SECRETLY A TETHERED THE WHOLE TIME
Jordan Peele's follow up to Get Out ended with a big twist — our heroine, Adelaide (Lupita Nyong'o), had actually been one of the evil doppelgangers known as "the Tethered" the whole time. However, a popular fan theory argued that she wasn't the only member of the family who had switched places with the real person. Was her son Jason (Evan Alex) also secretly a Tethered, having been replaced when they visited the house the previous summer?
It was an interesting theory that explained some perceived inconsistencies and suspicious behavior on Jason's part, even if it also introduced a whole bunch of new inconsistencies and possible plot holes. Now, though, Peele has seemingly debunked the theory.
Speaking to The Hollywood Reporter ahead of the film's Blu-ray release, Peele explained that he had a different explanation in mind for Jason's odd behavior, rather than conceiving of him as a second, secret Tethered.
"I have this kinda concept of Jason that he can sorta see through the veil," Peele said. "You can see these moments where he's observing his mother and he's meant to be a little step ahead of us, the most clever of us that's sorta figuring out there's something more to Adelaide's story than we see."
The Us fan theories always occupied an interesting space in the pop culture landscape. Most theories are about big genre properties like Game of Thrones or the MCU, and the theories tend to be predicting what's going to happen. Us isn't that type of art, though, and it invites multiple interpretations while resisting clean explanations. Still, Peele's clarification is welcome.
CERSEI WAS PREGNANT BUT MISCARRIED, WHICH HAS ALL SORTS OF IMPLICATIONS
Lena Heady appeared at the German Comic Con and revealed that she shot a scene that was ultimately cut from Season 7 in which Cersei Lannister had a miscarriage. This deleted scene would have impacted a few fan theories and plot holes, and likely would have had other implications for Season 8.
Perhaps the biggest takeaway is that the deleted scene is further proof against a popular theory that she was never pregnant. Fans argue that she could not have been pregnant because of Maggy the Frog's prophecy that she would only have three children. How could that be true is she's pregnant a fourth time? Well, the show was already playing a little fast and loose with this prophecy — Cersei mentions having a black-haired baby with Robert who didn't survive infancy, which already violates the prophecy.
Plus, there's evidence from the Season 7 scripts that seem to confirm that Cersei really was pregnant, and not just faking it for Jaime and Tyrion. If she miscarried in the deleted scene, then it follows that she would have had to have been pregnant.
Since the scene was cut, we can assume that Cersei did not have a miscarriage in Game of Thrones canon as it stands. But, it does lend some credence to a few theories that argue she wasn't really pregnant in Season 8. We see Cersei drink wine, and she has a reason to lie to Euron, tricking him into thinking he's fathered a future king. Also, Cersei losing the baby would explain why she does not appear to be visibly pregnant at all over the course of Season 8, even though it sure seems like a lot of time should have passed.
Ultimately, as with most post-Season 8 theories, we're dealing with retroactive attempts to explain away bad writing, which is never going to be fulfilling.
REY WAS ACTUALLY THERE WHEN LUKE ATTACKED KYLO IN THE FLASHBACK?
This theory, which is getting a lot of pickup around the web despite being totally, back-bendingly impossible, posits that Rey was actually in the hut with Kylo Ren/Ben Solo when Luke Skywalker almost attacked him, as seen in the Star Wars: The Last Jedi flashbacks. The evidence for this is nonexistent, relying on a very specious claim that you can hear Rey shouting "No" in the third flashback.
The specifics of the theory are, honestly, not worth getting too deep into. Essentially it's arguing that Rashomon-style storytelling is the key to Star Wars, and that Luke erased Rey and Kylo's memory of the event. It's all a lot to take in. The evidence is scant, the motivation is convoluted, the timelines don't add up, and it's overly complicated. Perhaps the most compelling reason (among many) not to buy into this theory, is that you have to think about what it would mean for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.
If this theory is true, then The Rise of Skywalker is going to have to spend a lot of its runtime explaining how what we saw in the first two movies didn't actually happen, revisiting a lot of the same ground in a complicated way in service of a twist that isn't there. It's a much more involved twist than just saying "I am your father," and it would take so much effort to pull off that there would hardly be room in the film for any new plot developments. As Kylo Ren said, let the past die.
REY IS A CLONE OF LUKE SKYWALKER (WHERE MY LUUKE HEADS AT?)
You'd think that after taking Emperor Palpatine's advice and letting the hate flow through me with that last theory, that I would also be against a theory that argues that Rey is actually Luke Skywalker's clone. This is not an especially new theory, but it's making the rounds again today, and while I don't know if I think it's going to be true, I don't hate it.
There are a couple of reasons why this theory is plausible (if not necessarily likely) while the previous theory isn't. The first is that this wouldn't be that difficult of a reveal to pull off. It wouldn't involve a retcon or two movies worth of characters keeping secrets from each other. No, all you would need is some line about "a secret cloning project" and maybe a mention of a time that someone gathered a strand of Luke's hair. The rest of the backstory could work its way into the plot as new information, rather than as a retroactive storytelling cancer that infects and changes what we saw in the previous movie.
The other reason why the cloning theory is not insane is because Star Wars has done stuff like this before, most famously in The Thrawn Trilogy. Written by author Timothy Zahn, the books were one of the earliest and most influential entries in Star Wars' Expanded Universe, a continuity that has since been replaced by the new films, starting with Star Wars: The Force Awakens. The books are pretty fun, and they also introduce two new Force-using villains. One is Joruus C'baoth, an insane clone of a Jedi, and the other is Luuke Skywalker, an evil clone of Luke. (Cloning adds an extra "U" to a person's name in the Star Wars universe, apparently).
Neither character is canon anymore, but still, it's some precedent. I personally don't think this theory will be proven true, but if J.J. Abrams is determined on undermining The Last Jedi's reveal that Rey is just a nobody and instead give her some overt connection to the Skywalkers, secret cloning makes more sense than Luke or Leia having a secret child they just forgot about.