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The week in fan theories: Loki's Infinity Stone quest, Spider-Man portals out, and dead Arya
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 theory that makes Loki more complicit in the MCU's biggest tragedy, a fiction-breaking way for Doctor Strange to give Spider-Man back to Sony, and a Game of Thrones theory that is, inexplicably, making the rounds again. We are the damned.
LOKI GAVE THANOS THE IDEA TO USE THE INFINITY STONES
By the time he died in Avengers: Infinity War, Loki was more of a good guy than a bad guy. But, this theory posits that he's the one responsible for giving Thanos the idea to collect the Infinity Stones and use them to erase half of all life in the first place. Even though the Stones existed since the Universe began, and even though Thanos has apparently been on his genocidal quest to balance the universe for a while, it doesn't appear that he was actively collecting the stones until fairly recently in the MCU's history. Might that be because he didn't know that the Stones — which can be deadly individually — could be used together until Loki told him?
After all, even though the Infinity Gauntlet in Thor: Ragnarok was a fake, the replica's presence in Odin's treasure vault suggests that Loki could have been aware that the Stones could be used together. Perhaps, after flying off into space at the end of Thor and ending up before Thanos ahead of The Avengers, Loki saw that Thanos had one Infinity Stone in the scepter and bargained with him, offering the truth about the stones' combined power? This would mean that Loki is responsible for The Snap, in a way.
It's plausible, sure. Some bits of the timeline are fuzzy. Like, we know Thanos had Gamora looking for the Soul Stone, but it's unclear when exactly that took place. If it was before Loki supposedly told Thanos about the appeal of collecting all the Stones, then why was Thanos looking for them already? Still, it could have happened, and the theory does somewhat explain why everyone was so loosey-goosey about the Infinity Stones until Phase 2 and Phase 3. Don't expect to see this one confirmed, though, unless the Disney+ Loki series gets real weird. This is just one of those theories that's not half bad, but ultimately not likely to ever be important.
DOCTOR STRANGE WILL OPEN A PORTAL FOR SPIDER-MAN TO LEAVE THE MCU
Because Disney's monopoly is not quite absolute, Spider-Man seems poised to leave the MCU once more. Disney and Sony, which owns Spidey's film rights and had previously been sharing him with Marvel Studios, can't agree on terms to continue the deal, and so Tom Holland's Spider-Man may have swung his last web in the MCU. If Spider-Man is truly gone, how will the MCU explain his absence from future films, especially after Far From Home's cliffhanger ending?
This theory posits that Sony and Marvel will agree to let the MCU use Spider-Man for one final scene, which would appear in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. In the proposed scene, Peter and Aunt May would reach out to Doctor Strange for help, following Mysterio's reveal of Spider-Man's true identity. Strange would then explain that he's found a universe that's almost like the MCU, except it doesn't have the Avengers or any other heroes — you know, Sony's universe. Peter and May would then step through a portal, leave the MCU behind, and go hang out with their new best friend Venom.
The problem with this theory is that it depends on Sony and Disney playing nice, and then Disney making a scene that's essentially a commercial for their now-rival superhero franchise. Disney is not going to write Spider-Man out in any way that explicitly encourages moviegoers to go see Sony's Spidey films. The House of Mouse wants Spider-Man, and if it can't have it, chances are Mickey Mouse isn't going to be overly gracious about losing. Superheroes are a cutthroat business.
THE WAIF KILLED ARYA AND REPLACED HER, WHY ARE WE STILL TALKING ABOUT THIS?
I wrote about this theory back in April, and Game of Thrones aired its final episode in May, and yet here we are again because the Fan Theory Industrial Complex must go on. As before, this theory argues that Arya Stark actually died back in Season 6 when the Waif stabbed her, and the Waif was secretly wearing her face and taking her place for the rest of the series. It's a preposterous theory. What's the point of replacing a main character if nothing comes of it? Why would The Waif care about the Starks and be doing things that Arya would be doing?
Anyway, the theory got re-aggregated by quite a few outlets, all of which have pretty low standards when it comes to writing about fan theories. It's back in the news because of a Reddit post which notes that Arya mostly gave up on killing everyone on her list after she got back from Braavos. The Redditor argues that she abandoned the list because she isn't actually Arya, she's the Waif. In other words, this theory thinks that character development is unrealistic, and it's more likely that the character was secretly replaced entirely. Woof.