No matter what series they're into, fans tend to have two traits in common: They're extremely creative and not especially patient. Perhaps that's why there are so many fan theories, because fans can't help but try to predict what'll happen in Avengers 4 or explain away some obscure Game of Thrones mystery in the agonizing wait for the final season. Sometimes these theories are right on, but for every "R + L = J" there are hundreds of very, very bad fan theories.
That’s fine! It’s great that fans are being creative with their favorite series. What’s less great is when an entertainment news site decides to pluck one of these specious theories from the safety of a subreddit and present it to a general audience as a plausible theory in order to get your clicks. When that happens, it’s up to SYFY WIRE to debunk these crazy fan theories. We’re not digging into subreddits to find outlandish theories to dunk on, we’re just looking to see which news sites irresponsibly wanted to take you for a ride.
Only, the thing is, there aren’t any bad fan theories this week, at least none that were aggregated and lifted out of the depths of Reddit. Sure, chances are most of these theories aren’t going to end up being true, but they’re at least based on some logical assumptions. My guess is that we’re enjoying a rare break from the horrors of the Fan Theory Industrial Complex because the first trailers for Game of Thrones Season 8 and Avengers: Endgame dropped last week. Those two franchises are probably the most theorized series out there, but the new trailers gave fans (and aggregators) real material to work off of. Instead of throwing insane, unfounded spaghetti at the wall, theorists had fresh visuals to speculate about.
This is probably a temporary reprieve — by next week, theorists and content-hungry websites will have exhausted the reasonable theories and instead find specious conclusions they can inexplicably draw from the trailers or whatnot. For now, though, let’s take a moment to highlight a couple of these theories and briefly explain why they’re not bad, even if they might not be likely.
Game of Thrones will end with the creation of a second wall
The first Game of Thrones teaser didn’t reveal any actual footage from the upcoming final season of HBO’s mega-hit, but it was quite intriguing all the same. It’s a battle between ice and fire, played out across the carved Westeros-shaped table Daenerys has at Dragonstone. Wolf, dragon, and lion figurines make appearances as ice and fire clash in the middle of Westeros, creating a wall made out of dragonglass.
Is this literally how Thrones is going to end, with the creation of a second wall, one that would essentially have the living cede control of the North in exchange for a permanent barrier against the Night King?
You can’t blame any theorist for taking the trailer literally, even if it doesn't seem unlikely that Thrones will end in this exact way. HBO has been keeping a very, very tight lid on Season 8, so it would be strange if they straight-up spoiled the ending of the show in a teaser trailer. Perhaps there’s some metaphorical truth to this theory, but don’t count on this being the actual way Game of Thrones ends. Still, not a bad theory, given the teaser trailer.
Thor will travel to Alfheim, the last of the Nine Realms, in Avengers: Endgame
This theory doesn’t actually draw much from the first Avengers: Endgame trailer, but it’s still worth talking about if only to try to clarify the difference between an unlikely theory and a bad theory. This theory, which first appeared on Reddit and was picked up by a couple news outlets, notes that previous Thor and Avengers movies have featured visits to eight of the Nine Realms of Norse mythology. The missing one, Alfheim, could appear in Endgame. Perhaps, the theory states, Thor will go to Alfheim, the home of the Light Elves, to rebuild with the surviving Asgardians, or maybe he’ll raise an army to fight Thanos.
Especially considering that the past two Avengers movies have sent Thor on little sidequests to one of the realms (like going to Nidavellir to forge Stormbreaker in Infinity War), it’s possible. But, what makes this theory okay isn’t just that it documents Alfheim’s absence in past movies and makes a case that it’s due in the spotlight. This theory works because it’s grounded in precedent and doesn’t try to take over the entire plot of the film. It’s not a deus ex machina, it’s not a huge, complicated plot twist, it’s just a thing that could happen, decently argued. To use a term from fandom, this fan theory isn’t a Mary Sue, it’s just a solid guess.
Actually, none of the characters Thanos dusted with the snap died
This fan theory got a lot of play this week, and while it’s probably the closest to being a “bad fan theory” by the traditional standards of this column, it’s mostly fine. Though they surely weren’t the first to suggest this idea, a Redditor theorized that Thanos actually sent all the “dead” characters to a parallel universe in Infinity War.
“What if the snap killed none of them," they wrote. "Its possible. We have all been making fun of Thanos by saying that death wasn't necessary with the near infinite power of the gauntlet, What if it simply split the reality in two taking half of everyone into each version missing the other half but retaining the same resources.”
The theory goes on to speculate that Ant-Man, by virtue of having access to the Quantum Realm, will be able to jump back and forth between the two universes.
While this theory is possible (Marvel is going to undo these deaths for sure, so why not do it from the beginning with a huge, alternate universe technicality?), it seems unlikely. It would even further cheapen the ending of Infinity War while complicating it a bit (Spider-Man’s death scene very much read as a death scene, not a whisking away to another realm. Dude left ashes on the ground behind him.) Also, if Endgame is going to be the final hurrah for the original Avengers, why split the focus of the movie into a clear A and B team of heroes as they both try to save the day and reunite?
Even though this theory has problems, it’s not fatally flawed from the start. Don’t bet on this happening, but don’t feel bad for entertaining the possibility, however briefly.
Anyway, that’s it for this week’s weird installment of The Week’s Worst Fan Theories, Except They Weren’t Actually That Bad This Week. Things will probably be back to normal next week.