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.
This week we've got some MCU death confirmation, and two theories about Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker sparked by the new trailer, and both of them are actually supported by some pretty convincing evidence. I know, I'm shocked too. Tally-ho!
BLACK WIDOW IS SUPER DEAD, SCARJO SAYS
Nobody ever really stays dead in superhero comics, so you could forgive fans for wondering if we haven't really seen the last of heroes who died on the big screen. There are theories that Robert Downey Jr.'s Tony Stark lives on as an A.I. copy of his intelligence (something that happened in Iron Man comics), and there are those that wonder if we haven't seen the last of Black Widow — and not just because she has a solo prequel movie coming up. Did Natasha Romanoff really die in Avengers: Endgame?
Yes, says Scarlett Johansson. In an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, Johansson dashed any would-be fan theorists' hopes that Black Widow will appear in future MCU continuity (the upcoming solo film is, again, set before the events of Endgame.)
"There's very few certain things, but definitely death's pretty certain, right? Yeah, definitely, for sure," Johansson said during the interview. "But, people… they definitely don't believe it and have tried to convince me that my character did not actually die, but that maybe my character exists in an alternate universe — but no, I think death is a pretty final thing."
Johansson also said that the upcoming movie offered her some "closure" on the character, which makes sense since Black Widow kind of got thrown under the bus in Endgame, and by "thrown under a bus," I mean "jumped off a cliff." In any case, any theorists speculating about her continued future in the MCU should probably pump the breaks.
C-3PO IS SAYING GOODBYE BECAUSE HE'S BEING REPROGRAMMED
The last trailer for The Rise of Skywalker got some fans worried that C-3PO would turn evil, on account of the droid's ominous red eyes in one shot. Now, the newest and final trailer for the film adds a potentially tear-jerking twist to Threepio's possible fate. In the trailer, everyone's favorite protocol droid says he's "taking one last look… at [his] friends."
This has prompted worried fans to theorize that Threepio is going to die in The Rise of Skywalker — or, more likely, that he'll be reprogrammed. Threepio seems to be saying goodbye as Babu Frik, a new character who is an accomplished droidsmith, is tinkering with him. Perhaps the droid needs his mind wiped in order to restore his memories from the prequel trilogy, as he got reformatted at the end of Revenge of the Sith. Does he know something important from Anakin's childhood? Or, is there something that Threepio, a protocol droid, needs to translate? He is fluent in over 6 million forms of communication, but what if understanding the all-important 6,000,001st form requires some serious reprogramming?
Without relying on dubious leaks of varying quality, it's hard to make too many assumptions about Threepio's fate, though it certainly seems likely that there's a reason why he would need to say goodbye.
REY IS WIELDING THE DAGGER OF MORTIS, AS SEEN IN THE CLONE WARS SERIES
I'll eat a little bit of crow on this one, as it certainly seems like there's some validity to this theory. Generally, TV shows and comics do not inform big-screen blockbusters — Marvel isn't going to make a plot point from a hugely expensive movie with a massive audience dependent on having seen a TV show which nets only a fraction as many viewers, for instance. But, it sure does look like Rey is wielding an important weapon which made its debut in the Clone Wars TV show.
In the shot in the trailer where Rey and Kylo Ren appear to be taking down some altar to Darth Vader, Rey is holding a dagger in one of her hands. The weapon bears a remarkable resemblance to the Dagger of Mortis, a weapon from the three-part episode "Altar of Mortis." In the episode, Anakin, Obi-Wan, and the show-only character Ahsoka venture into a strange realm and find a blade made of pure force — the Dagger of Mortis. Supposedly, the weapon can even kill immortal beings, which seems like it might come in handy if Rey needs to finally put an end to Palpatine's reign of terror.
How exactly The Rise of Skywalker will introduce or explain the blade remains a mystery, although it would probably be fairly easy for someone to drop a little exposition about the blade rather than bringing the movie to a halt while recapping the entirety of the Clone Wars TV show.
Still, it's kinda neat that the movies are making a nod to the TV shows. I still wouldn't bet on any fan theory that requires a deep, deep understanding of an ancillary or side story, however.