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.
With both Spider-Man: Far From Home and Season 3 of Stranger Things premiering next week, we’ve got two Spidey theories and one from the Upside Down. The Stranger Things theory is good; the Spider-Man ones, not so much. Plus there’s also a Game of Thrones theory — because what’s dead may never die. Let’s get started.
THE MCU’S TOTAL RUNTIME IS AN EASTER EGG (DEPENDING ON YOUR NUMBERS)
There’s a viral tweet from May that’s making the rounds now suggesting that the total runtime of all the movies in the first three phases of the MCU — That’s 2008’s Iron Man through 2019’s Spider-Man: Far From Home, aka the Infinity Saga — have a runtime of exactly 3,000 minutes.
According to the Twitter user, this is an Easter egg referencing how Tony Stark’s daughter told him "I love you 3,000" in Avengers: Endgame.
The reason why this tweet is making news now is because The British Board of Film Certification has seemingly confirmed that Far From Home will have a 129-minute runtime, as predicted in the original tweet, which was written before the number was out. That 129-minute runtime is exactly what would be needed to make the total runtime of all 23 movies add up to 3,000.
You can find different runtimes for most of these movies if you look, so this is a bit of cherry picking. AMC’s website, for instance, lists Far From Home’s runtime as 130 minutes, and wouldn’t the upcoming re-release of Endgame with added scenes change that film’s runtime? There’s a lot of room for error in a theory that, because it’s based on math, should be error-proof.
That important caveat aside, this theory seems to be, improbably, truer than not. What does that mean, though?
The “I love you 3,000” was Robert Downey Jr.’s suggestion because it was something his own kids said to him. It was not the key to the MCU’s Da Vinci code. Chances are it was a coincidence, or maybe somebody in the editing bay realized if they could just cut out one scene, they could make the movie be the right length to make the math fit. Ultimately it doesn’t matter if the runtime is coincidence or an Easter egg because it’s content that’s destined to be an urban legend, regardless of what the math really says.
A DOOMED DOCTOR DOOM THEORY ABOUT FAR FROM HOME
What if, this theory posits, Mysterio isn’t who he says he is in Spider-Man: Far From Home? Actually, that seems like it’s going to be a given. Mysterio is portrayed as a hero in the trailer, even though his whole comics M.O. is that he’s a supervillain who relies on deception. He's a lying liar who lies. Chances are he’s lying about his motives, or maybe even the film’s rumored secondary, the Chameleon, will be involved.
Whatever the big reveal ends up being, it certainly won’t be what this theory predicts, which is that Mysterio is actually the Fantastic Four villain Doctor Doom. Specifically, the theory suggests that Mysterio is Doctor Doom from another dimension, posing as Mysterio.
This is madness. Mysterio is a fairly iconic villain in his own right, but more importantly, Doctor Doom is arguably one of the best villains from all of Marvel Comics. Why on Earth would Marvel introduce him in such a confusing, backward way, in a movie that doesn’t even feature the Fantastic Four? Actually, why would Sony do this? Far From Home is technically a Sony production, and even if the Disney/Fox deal had been done in time for a formerly Fox-owned villain to be included (which would be a huge stretch), it’s unlikely that Sony would have wanted to wade into the complicated rights waters.
Doctor Doom is not in Spider-Man: Far From Home, I am 3,000 percent sure.
BILLY BECOMES THE MONSTER IN SEASON 3 OF STRANGER THINGS
This is a pretty good, plausible theory, because unlike some of the other theories that are featured in this column, it’s based on clues and evidence rather than wild, fan-fiction-esque speculation. Many Stranger Things fans are convinced that Billy will be the villain of the upcoming third season and that he might even transform into the gloopy, toothy monster who appeared in one of the trailers.
There are good reasons to think this is the case. Billy appeared in the Upside Down section of a poster; a shot in the trailer showed that he gets an infected-looking wound on his arm; he’s hiding that arm in another poster; a Season 3 episode is titled "The Case for the Missing Lifeguard"; and there’s some indication that mutating body-horror is going to feature heavily in the season.
Regardless of exactly how much of the theory is accurate, this is good, predictive theorizing. It’s based on plausible, concrete evidence, rather than just a crazy idea.
THE FACELESS MEN WERE ALWAYS TRAINING ARYA TO KILL THE NIGHT KING
Did you hate the fan theory that Jon Snow was shouting at the zombie dragon to give Arya the cover she needed to kill the Night King? Well, if you thought that theory was an example of a man stealing Arya’s agency, get a load of this one, which states that the Faceless Men were behind all of Arya’s actions because they knew she would be the one to defeat the Night King.
The theory has some shaky foundations. To start with, it assumes that a fairly popular theory, that Syrio Forrel was a Faceless Man (or even Jaqen H'ghar himself), was true. Beyond that, the theory claims that the Faceless Men have "collective hive-minds" and are somehow aware of the Night King’s existence, are in opposition to him despite serving the God of Death, and know that Arya is prophesied to end the Long Night.
There’s really no evidence of this in the show, making this an overly complicated theory that gives the Faceless Men too much credit and Arya not much agency, all while failing to really correct one of the perceived problems of the final season, which was that the White Walkers were an underdeveloped letdown.