Welcome to The Week in Fan Theories, your guide to what fan theories 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.
Right now, it's kind of the calm before the storm, as the Game of Thrones premiere is just 10 days away, and Avengers: Endgame hits theaters shortly after that. There weren't any huge new theories this week, but Redditors made a breakthrough with the new Game of Thrones teaser, an old GoT chestnut made the rounds again, and a silly Endgame theory just won't die, unlike Thanos once his bowels explode. Here's what to note this week.
REDDIT HAS A GAME OF THRONES THEORY SO GOOD IT'S A STRAIGHT-UP SPOILER
The line between theory and "spoiler" can get kinda blurry sometimes. Like, take Avengers: Endgame for example. Set photos and leaked material place the film's heroes back at the scene of the Battle of New York from the original Avengers. So, it's a "theory" that the heroes go back in time during Endgame, but that's also a pretty big spoiler, since it has essentially been confirmed.
A similar situation happened with the latest Game of Thrones teaser, so if you're trying to go into the final season unspoiled, maybe skip this section. On Monday, HBO released a new teaser titled "Together," and the 40-second clip seemed like it shouldn't have been a huge deal. Most of the footage had already been seen in the first trailer, and the new shots weren't that revealing.
But, wait, enhance!
Redditors on the spoiler-loving Thrones subreddit r/FreeFolk determined that a seemingly innocuous shot of Daenerys and Jon standing before a fireplace actually revealed quite a big deal. Redditor Spiral66 looked at the rock formations behind Daenerys and determined that we had seen this location before — it's Dragonstone.
What does this mean? Well, here's where the very convincing theorizing comes in. We know that Jon and Dany are headed to Winterfell, and that they're preparing for the big battle against the Night King's army that's confirmed to take place in the third episode. Why would Jon and Dany be back at Dragonstone unless they… lost the battle? They're alive, presumably having retreated to Dragonstone, but does this mean that Winterfell falls? Who died during the battle? Jon and Dany seem pretty glum.
There are still a lot of unknowns, despite this discovery, but it's pretty strong evidence that "Winterfell falls" is an unimpeachable fan theory at this point.
THE SECOND SECRET TARGARYEN IS… [SPINS WHEEL] MEERA REED
Unlike the previous entry, this Game of Thrones fan theory is not a spoiler, because it's a pretty old, pretty suspect theory that popped up again over the past week. The theory posits that there is a second secret Targaryen, because Jon Snow has a secret twin: Meera Reed.
The theory that Jon and Meera are twins is a pretty old one, so what's new with this theory is the focus on Meera's supposed Targaryen heritage. But, this theory has always been dubious. The main bit of evidence for the theory is that Kit Harington and Meera's actress, Ellie Kendrick, look similar. In the books, Meera is not described as looking especially like Jon Snow, and is noted to be fairly typical-looking for people from the Neck region of Westeros.
There's some circumstantial evidence backing this theory up. Meera's father, Howland Reed, is Ned Stark's best friend, and the only other survivor of the Tower of Joy incident (he's the dude to stabbed Arthur Dayne in the back of the neck). This theory speculates that Ned raised Jon as his son, and gave Lyanna's other child to Howland to raise.
It doesn't add up though. So much of Ned's character centered around his honor and the promise he made to his sister as she lay dying. If Ned wanted to ensure that Lyanna's children were safe and their secret was never revealed, why would he just adopt one of them?
Furthermore, where is there any evidence that Lyanna had a second child? Think about the flashback scenes at the Tower of Joy, where Ned and a dying Lyanna huddled around the infant Jon Snow. This theory would have you believe that there was a second baby, just off screen, that nobody ever mentioned. It would be a comical retcon if we got another flashback to the moment, only this time the camera panned slightly to the right so we could see another baby that was totally there the whole time. It's all too contrived, not to mention how there's no real narrative payoff for making Meera, a minor character at best, another Targaryen.
ANTHONY RUSSO CRAPS ON THE "ANT-MAN EXPLODES THANOS' BUTT" THEORY
It's understandable that fans are still talking about the fan theory that Ant-Man will defeat Thanos in Endgame by shrinking, crawling up his butt, and then growing huge, fatally bursting the Mad Titan's rectum. Again, there was never a chance that Disney was actually going to make their flagship movie end the way this nasty theory predicted, but it's still fun to think about.
In the interest of keeping y'all updated on the latest news about Thanos' anus (Thanus?), here's co-director Anthony Russo, speaking to Fandango, saying he and Joe Russo hadn't considered going with the Ant-Man butt-expansion ending.
"I wish we had," Russo says, after first noting that he hadn't heard to the theory before Fandango asked him about it. The then launched into a big non-answer about fan enthusiasm and participation, moving on from the fanny talk.
Now, is it possible that Russo is just lying about not considering ending the movie with an anal rupture because that's exactly how Thanos died in Endgame? No, honestly, but it's still pretty fun that everyone at Disney, the House of Mouse, has to talk about this.
JOE RUSSO CALLS OUT REDDIT'S KOOKY FAN THEORIES
At a press event in India, meanwhile, Joe Russo debunked a couple of out-there fan theories by gently calling them crazy. When asked if it meant anything that a few of the characters in the new posters were looking directly at the camera, Russo is tactful in his dismissal.
"You know, look, one thing we love about Marvel fans is that they read something into everything," Russo said. "They do our job for us, right. No, I wouldn't put much stock into that theory."
Then, another questioner asks if the presence of the number "1604" in the trailer is a hint that the multiverse exists (because in one issue of Avengers from 1963, that number represents a parallel universe).
"Uh... Are you on Reddit a lot?" Russo responds, bemused. "Is that where you are getting these? Are you the guy on Reddit that's writing these theories?"
"I'm not going to confirm or deny any of this," he continues, before denying it. "No. It's not implying the multiverse. Sorry."