Welcome to Fan Theory Madness, 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.
JARED HARRIS IS NOT PLAYING DOCTOR OCTOPUS IN MORBIUS
Personally, I find the existence of Morbius — a movie starring Jared Leto as a vampiric, second-tier Spider-Man character — somewhat unbelievable, but now one fairly believable fan theory about the film has been officially debunked. Jared Harris of Chernobyl and The Terror fame appears in the first trailer as an as-yet-unknown character. Many fans suspected that Harris could be playing a new version of Doctor Octopus, especially because Michael Keaton's presence implies that he’s returning as the Vulture. Perhaps the presence of these two iconic Spidey villains could be setting the stage for a Sinister Six team-up?
"No," Harris said when Variety asked him on the red carpet for the Screen Actors Guild Awards. "I love the imagination that the fans have, it’s exciting for me to think about the imagination that fans have. But yeah no, it’s not."
Assuming Harris isn’t just lying to avoid spoiling the movie’s big reveal (a possibility but one that doesn’t feel super likely), that’s probably fine. The continuity of Sony’s Spider-Man movies, like Venom before this, is already confusing enough without introducing even more classic Spidey villains.
FINN USED THE FORCE TO MOVE ROCKS IN LAST JEDI?
Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker implied that Finn is Force-sensitive, and director J.J. Abrams has confirmed that Finn's near-confession to Rey in the movie's first act would have been him telling her about his connection to the Force. (Never mind that it definitely seemed like Finn was about to confess his feelings, turns out he actually wanted to talk about the Force.)
Anyway, this theory posits that Finn actually displayed Force abilities earlier, at the end of Star Wars: The Last Jedi. When Rey uses her Force abilities to lift away the rocks that had trapped the remaining members of the Resistance in a cave on Crait, Finn rushes toward her as they reunite. When he does so, the rocks move out of his way. Was this because Finn was subconsciously moving them as Rey levitated them?
No. Intentionally or not, this theory falls into the "Rey's a Mary Sue for being too good at the Force" line of thinking, as it implies that she couldn't be moving the rocks with such ease herself. The real reason the rocks move as Finn runs through them is that it made for a cooler visual than to just have Finn run through a group of static levitating rocks. Finn's latent Force abilities didn't manifest just so he could clear a path for himself and create a nice aesthetic.
BLACK WIDOW DIDN’T DIE IN ENDGAME, SOME RANDO DID INSTEAD???
Black Widow sacrificed herself in Avengers: Endgame in order to recover the Soul Stone, but what this truly misguided fan theory presupposes is, what if she didn't? The theory notes how in Captain America: The Winter Soldier, Natasha wore a hologram-like mask that allowed her to sneak into Alexander Pierce's meeting and help foil his evil plan. What if, the theory argues, it wasn't actually Natasha who died in Endgame but someone else who was wearing a similar mask in order to look like Natasha?
Why are we doing this?! This is a terrible theory! Who was the other person? Where was the real Natasha? What possible reason would there be for someone who wasn't Natasha to go undercover on the Avengers' "time heist" mission and then sacrifice herself in order to save Clint? (Also, if it wasn't Natasha, would the sacrifice even be worthy of the Soul Stone, since Clint wouldn't actually have a deep connection with the deceased?) There isn't a shred of evidence suggesting that this theory is remotely true, and from a narrative level, it makes no sense. It totally and awkwardly undermines any sense of stakes that Endgame had.
This theory should not be aggregated. Yes, I'm partially complicit because I'm writing about it, but please know it's only so that I can rail on it, and to shame any outlet who did write this up without that intention.
"We acquiesce, there is very little proof for this theory actually being tenable," one aggregation wrote. "However, if Marvel threw the rule book entirely out of the window, it is technically possible."
This is incredibly cynical — a naked attempt to wring traffic out of a story that everyone involved knows is a baseless waste of time. Even if it's just about a fictional character from a movie, to write about this is to encourage both content for content's sake and to promote a flawed understanding of how to engage with art.