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'll briefly touch on an issue that's not so much a fan theory as it is evidence of a toxic culture war, and then we'll move on to a fun, semi-official Star Wars theory and some totally absurd Doctor Strange theorizing. Come with me, won't you?
THE J.J. CUT CONSPIRACY
Many Star Wars fans did not enjoy Episode IX: The Rise of Skywalker. In an effort to explain why a movie did not live up to their dreams, they've generated a growing, completely baseless conspiracy theory alleging that director J.J. Abrams actually made a much better movie, but Disney changed it against his wishes.
This theory was sparked by a lengthy post on the anti-Disney Star Wars subreddit r/saltierthancrait, alleging that Disney cut down Abram's supposed 3-hour initial vision for the film. Why did Disney alter Abrams' vision? Well, according to the post, it's partially because the studio was bowing to fan wishes (which is apparently sometimes good but sometimes bad) and that Disney was intentionally trying to tank the movie to make Abrams look bad for working with Warner Bros., which owns DC, Marvel's (owned by Disney) rival.
Again, there is absolutely no evidence for this, nor is there any reason to believe that the poster, egoshoppe, has any credibility. It's illogical, as well — why would Disney want to kneecap its own movie?
It's not a fan theory so much as it's a conspiracy theory, and evidence that culture at large is increasingly becoming a sort of "choose your own reality." Don't like a movie? Well, you can just buy into a baseless conspiracy alleging that larger forces intentionally made it bad. Even if there are deleted scenes from Rise of Skywalker, which seems likely (because pretty much every movie ever made has deleted scenes), they're not the same as the mythical #JJCut some fans are clamoring for.
CHEWIE GOT HAN'S MEDAL
In better Star Wars news, Joonas Suotamo, who plays Chewbacca in the new movies, has given his stamp of approval to a nice little theory. At the end of The Rise of Skywalker, Maz Kanata (Lupita Nyong'o) gives Chewie a Medal of Bravery — the same sort of medal that he was infamously not given in A New Hope, even though Leia gave Luke Skywalker and Han Solo similar medals for their role in destroying the Death Star. Fans have wondered if the medal Chewie gets in The Rise of Skywalker is actually Han's old medal, and Suotamo likes the idea.
"It would make sense, yeah," the actor told The Hollywood Reporter. "Nobody told me whose medal it was, but I'm thinking it was Han's."
Look at that! A nice theory that has some authenticity behind it, isn't too high-stakes, and doesn't involve a totally fictitious IRL conspiracy. We love to see it.
DOCTOR STRANGE ORCHESTRATED ENDGAME TO KILL SOME AVENGERS
This theory, which is bad and wrong, posits that Doctor Strange orchestrated the events of Infinity War and Endgame because he wanted to kill a bunch of Avengers in addition to stopping Thanos. Essentially, it argues that the Sorcerer Supreme thought that Tony Stark, Vision, and other heroes posed a threat to reality, so out of the 14 million futures he viewed, Strange chose the one that also took a bunch of Avengers off of the board. The theory also argues that he wanted to get rid of Scarlet Witch, too, but couldn't, and this is why the upcoming Disney+ series WandaVision will tie-in to the Doctor Strange sequel.
Look, I could find in-universe evidence that disproves this theory (in what world is any plan that results in the "death" of half of all life for five years worth killing Iron Man?), but it's just absurd. There is no real indication that Doctor Strange had it out for the Avengers, and Disney isn't about to make one of their big heroes have exactly the same motivation as the villains in Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Ay yi yi.