Welcome to Fan Theory Madness, or as it was previously known, The Week in Fan Theories. Regardless of the name, consider this 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, the new Black Widow trailer seems to have debunked a popular fan theory, there’s a theory about the next Thor movie’s plot that’s too speculative but hits on a legitimately intriguing point, and then we’ll wrap up with some theories about You Season 3. And, sure, Netflix’s stalker-drama isn’t quite as genre as most of what we cover in this column, but it’s got fans talking and theorizing. Ultimately, isn’t that the point? Don’t answer that, we’ve already started.
TASKMASTER PROBABLY ISN’T THIS BLACK WIDOW CHARACTER
Natasha Romanoff will confront her past in the upcoming Black Widow movie, but she’ll also come face to face with an infamous Marvel Comics villain — Taskmaster. Fans had speculated that Taskmaster, who is a man with photographic reflexes allowing him to instantly copy anybody’s fighting style, might instead be played by Rachel Weisz in the movie, since Weisz is confirmed to play Melina, another Red Room trainee and Natasha’s former comrade.
It could have made for a good twist, but the second trailer, which came out earlier this week, featured scenes that appear to be set in the same location where both Taskmaster and Weisz’s Melina can be seen fighting. This would appear to rule out any hopes that they’re the same person, but you never know with trailers — especially MCU trailers, which are known for misleading fans.
The other big contender for Taskmaster’s identity is an as-yet-unknown character played by The Handmaid’s Tale’s O-T Fagbenle, who is confirmed to appear in the movie but who hasn’t been seen in a trailer yet (that we know of).
WHERE’S MJOLNIR IN THOR: LOVE AND THUNDER?
This fan theory is really a full-on guess about the entire plot for the next Thor movie, which is the kind of theory I typically avoid covering in this column. With not much information to go on, there’s too much room for rampant speculation, and the result is a house of cards plot that’s just a bunch of flimsy conjecture supporting other assumptions. So I’m not getting too into the weeds about the full details of this theory, which you can check out in full here if you’re interested.
However, it does note how, since we know that Natalie Portman’s Jane Foster will become Thor in Love and Thunder, she’ll probably need to wield the hammer Mjolnir to do so. However, Mjolnir was destroyed in Thor: Ragnarok, and Captain America returned the alternate-timeline hammer to its rightful place after Thor (and Cap himself) was done wielding it in Avengers: Endgame. Where will Jane get her hammer?
The theory posits that Doctor Strange might pave the way for another alternate-reality version of the hammer to enter the main MCU universe in Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness. A plot description for the film, which comes out before Love and Thunder, indicates that Doctor Strange will be dealing with the Time Stone, even though it was destroyed in the main universe during the events of Endgame. So, there’s a hint of possible precedent for destroyed objects to return to the MCU.
Whether or not Doctor Strange’s next movie is responsible for Jane getting Mjolnir is still unclear, but the theory is certainly right to wonder how she’ll get her hands on the iconic hammer. Of course, Jane could just get a new hammer of her own, which would also be kinda neat.
LOVE IS NOT PREGNANT WITH JOE’S KID IN YOU’S SEASON 2 FINALE
You’s sophomore season ended with the tables getting turned on the stalker protagonist Joe Goldberg, with the reveal that his current obsession, Love Quinn, was just as unhinged as he was. Love is also an obsessive killer, and while Joe was initially freaked out by this, he agreed to stay with Love and maintain the lie because she revealed that she’s pregnant with his kid. And, Joe’s fondness for children is probably the closest thing he has to a redeeming quality.
But, this theory posits that Love is actually lying about the baby, and that it’s actually Milo’s baby, from when the two briefly got back together. When Love, under threat, first tells Joe she’s pregnant, she says that Milo used a condom and that she has a feeling it’s a girl, but she’s not quite looking at Joe and it all seems… suspicious.
Lying in her own self-interest to maintain a relationship with Joe certainly is on-brand for Love, and if nothing else, the theory is an interesting potential time bomb for Season 3. When and if Joe finds out he’s been lied to, he’ll likely turn against Love, blowing up their suburban bliss in a dramatic way You lives for.
By the way, You star Penn Badgley did debunk another popular fan theory, the one speculating that the woman he’s eyeing at the end of the Season 2 finale is actually his long-lost mother.
“She's definitely not his mom. I can say that,” Badgely told Bustle.
So, You isn’t getting that Oedipal. At least not yet.