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Erik Selvig's chalkboard, Sam the Night King slayer, and more: The week's craziest fan theories

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Dec 7, 2018, 12:01 PM EST (Updated)

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.

Spider-Man fight

Captain America knew about Spider-Man already because of power levels

In Captain America: Civil War, Tony Stark makes a pit stop in Queens to recruit Spider-Man as his surprise ace in the hole for the looming airport showdown. Spider-Man gets the drop on Captain America, webbing up his shield, but a new theory, one that got aggregated quite a bit, posits that Cap already knew about Spidey. The evidence? How else would Captain America have known that dropping a sky bridge down on Spider-Man wouldn't kill him?

Commenters on the original Reddit post noted that there had been plenty of instances earlier in the fight where Cap might have reasonably inferred that the new hero had super-strength, but that's really necessary logic. As it is, the scene reads as though Captain America is legitimately surprised by this mystery spider hero, but he adapts quickly — bigger fish to fry. A kinda cool moment in a cool fight scene does not require a secret backstory.

Erik Selvig's bad theory

Erik Selvig's crazy whiteboard predicted Avengers 4

The most implausible thing about this theory, which was aggregated by several news outlets, is that it assumes that Thor: The Dark World will be of any importance to Avengers 4. Like, c'mon. Thor 2 is widely regarded as one of the worst, most forgettable films in the MCU. A side character's crazy scribblings aren't going to be the lynchpin in the franchise's biggest movie yet.

Anyway, this theory is about as complicated as the very chalkboard ramblings its based on, but the tl;dr is that Erik Selvig saw what would happen in Avengers: Infinity War while infected with by mind stone in the first Avengers. In The Dark World, he wrote a bunch of stuff that, according to this theory, predicted that Thanos' actions would create a faultline in the universe, and that cosmic entities would become involved, somehow. It's significantly too complicated and obscure for it to be the fulcrum on which Avengers 4 actually operates around, and it's unclear if actor Stellan Skarsgård is even going to be in the movie at all. (He reportedly has one movie left in his deal with Marvel, but even so, it seems unlikely that he'll be elevated to main character in Avengers 4).

Also, that chalkboard — which does contain legitimate Easter eggs like the "616" universe shout-out — is an Easter egg in a Thor movie. These are explicitly not canon. Remember the Infinity Gauntlet in Thor and the reveal that it was "fake" in Ragnarok? Easter eggs, especially in the Thor movies, are fun nods to comics lore, not an encoded blueprint for a future movie. Heck, The Dark World came out in theaters almost a full year before Marvel even announced Avengers 3 and 4.

Samwell Tarly

Samwell Tarly will kill the Night King

"When King Robert and Ser Barristan Selmy are talking about their first kill Robert says his first was a Tarly boy who thought he could end the rebellion with a single swing of his sword," this theory states, recalling a scene from the first season of Game of Thrones. "I think there's a chance Sam, the last living Tarly, will use Heartsbane to kill the Night King with a single swing of his sword and bring an end to the Great War."

Glossing over that calling Sam the last living Tarly ignores the continued survival of Melessa and Talla Tarly (if Arya and Sansa are Starks, then Talla's a Tarly), this theory has some thematic holes. Those holes didn't stop it from getting aggregated, but here we are.

Robert Baratheon did unknowingly predict several events in Thrones' future, but while there's no reason that Sam couldn't be the one to kill the Night King, this theory is trying to draw a thematic link where there isn't one. There isn't any meaningful connection between Robert's dead Tarly not ending a war and Sam ending one. Think of all the thematic, generational parallels in Thrones that would be far more suited to ending the Great War. Jon Snow is like his father(s), Daenerys the second coming of Aegon the Conqueror. The legendary Long Night that ended with the House Stark ruling the north and the foundation of the Night's Watch. The rebirth of Azor Ahai and Melisandre's interest in Jon.

These story threads are all significantly more substantial than tying Samwell Tarly's fate to an offhand comment Robert Baratheon made in Season 1. Don't count on this one happening.