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The Week in Fan Theories: Mysterio lives! Plus Kylo's kintsugi and Frozen meets Tarzan
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.
New York Comic Con kicks off today, and the various panels, screenings, and interviews will almost certainly spark new fan theories in the coming weeks. Before we get to those, though, let's tackle a couple theories that made the rounds pre-convention, like a Spider-Man: Far From Home theory about a tricky villain. After that comes a debunking of a very popular Frozen theory. Then, there's a bit of Rise of Skywalker news that really isn't even a theory in the first place, but is still being called that. Tally-ho!
MYSTERIO DIDN'T DIE AT THE END OF SPIDER-MAN: FAR FROM HOME
Spider-Man might have put a stop to Mysterio's evil plan, but Quentin Beck got the last laugh. Even as he was trying to take over the world's flow of information, he apparently pre-recorded a video as a contingency plan in which he blamed Spider-Man for all the chaos and revealed Peter Parker's secret identity to the world. J. Jonah Jameson's Daily Bugle was happy to broadcast Beck's video, meaning that the villain is going to be a thorn in Spidey's side even though he's deceased.
Or is he? A fan theory posits that Mysterio isn't actually dead, and that he recorded the video after his confrontation with Spider-Man. The evidence being that the injuries on Beck's face in the video exactly match the actual injuries he got in his fight with Spidey.
Mysterio was a good villain, and it's certainly not impossible that he's not really dead or will otherwise return for the next Spider-Man movie. However, it seems like a stretch to point to his matching bruises as "proof" that he faked his death. Mysterio's whole shtick was that he and his team could fake anything, so it's certainly possible that the wounds and other matching details were added to his pre-recorded video after the fact. When your whole superpower is illusions, anything's possible.
TARZAN'S PARENTS ARE NOT ELSA AND ANNA'S MOM AND DAD
There's a very popular fan theory that connects Disney's Tarzan and Frozen. Essentially, it argues that Elsa and Anna's now-deceased parents were lost at sea, only to survive the wreck with their newborn baby boy. Stranded in the jungle, the royal couple made a tree fort before they were killed by a leopard, and gorillas adopted their son, Tarzan.
In an interview with Digital Spy, though, Peter Del Vecho — who produced both the first Frozen and the upcoming sequel — squashed the theory.
"I can clearly, unequivocally state that Tarzan is not involved in the lineage of Anna and Elsa," he said.
Given that Rapunzel and Flynn from Tangled made a cameo appearance in Frozen, it's understandable that fans would be interested in connecting the film to other Disney films. This theory didn't really have an impact on the plot of either film, so it was really for fun more than anything, even if it is a symptom of fandom's increasingly manic attempt to find Easter eggs everywhere and make everything a shared universe. In any case, the theory has been officially debunked.
Or has it? Technically, it isn't even a fan theory, as the Tarzan/Frozen connection originated with Chris Buck, who directed both films. In 2015, he revealed that his own personal headcanon connected the two films. Now, in 2019, we've got another person involved with the film stating that it's not the case, so ultimately you can choose who to believe. It's all make-believe anyway.
YES, KYLO REN'S HELMET IS INSPIRED BY KINTSUGI
Trailers for Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker that Kylo Ren has apparently rebuilt the helmet that he smashed in anger during The Last Jedi. Notably, there were red fissures along the cracks where it had been broken and then reassembled. Viewers who are familiar with Japanese art likely noticed that the helmet was reminiscent of kintsugi, a Japanese style of pottery where broken vessels are rebuilt with gold or silver glue marking the breaks.
In an interview with Empire Magazine, director J.J. Abrams confirmed that the helmet prop was made with kintsugi in mind.
"Having [Kylo Ren] be masked, but also fractured, is a very intentional thing. Like that classic Japanese process of taking ceramics and repairing them, and how the breaks in a way define the beauty of the piece as much as the original itself," Abrams said. "As fractured as Ren is, the mask becomes a visual representation of that. There's something about this that tells his history. His mask doesn't ultimately hide him and his behavior is revealed."
This quote is, strangely, being written about as though Abrams confirmed a fan theory. What exactly the theory was is unclear. Is it that the obvious visual allusion to kintsugi was indeed a visual allusion to kintsugi? That's not really a theory. Is it the idea that the broken mask implies that Kylo Ren is still a complex and fractured character? Again, that's not really a theory so much as it's "predicting" that Kylo Ren will continue to have character development in the next Star Wars movie. The only true theory that's being tested here is the idea that people google for "fan theories," so framing this story as one is mighty good SEO.