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.
This week, we've got Harrison Ford dismissing a Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker fan theory — literally dismissing it, rather than confirming or denying it — followed up with another theory about Force ghosts. Then we'll finish with Stranger Things. Let's go.
HARRISON FORD HAS "NO IDEA WHAT A FORCE GHOST IS"
One of the most surprising parts of The Rise of Skywalker was when Han Solo appeared before his son, Ben Solo, after Kylo Ren's duel with Rey on the wreckage of the second Death Star. Han died in Star Wars: The Force Awakens, so it was a mystery how he was able to appear before Ben — especially since Han hadn't shown signs of being Force-sensitive in life and because he wasn't translucent the way Obi-Wan and Yoda were. Was Han a Force ghost or something else? Just a memory, perhaps?
Harrison Ford, speaking to USA Today, revealed that he does not know and truly does not care.
"A Force ghost? I don't know what a Force ghost is," the 77-year-old actor said. "I have no [expletive] idea what a Force ghost is. And I don't care!"
Ford, who famously has not given a crap for decades now, is an inspiration. Han Solo came back in The Rise of Skywalker because, idk, man. He just came back. Let him live (or be a Force ghost or whatever).
ANAKIN DIDN'T APPEAR AS A FORCE GHOST BECAUSE HE WOULD'VE BEEN EMBARRASSED
One of the many, many MacGuffins in The Rise of Skywalker was a Sith Wayfinder, a Dark side map that would reveal a path to the Sith planet Exegol. We learn that Luke Skywalker searched for a Sith Wayfinder, but was unable to track one down. Some supplementary material reveals that one of the two Wayfinders — the one that Kylo Ren gets at the start of the movie — was on Mustafar near Darth Vader's castle. Anakin Skywalker's Force ghost would probably know about it, right? Why didn't he appear to tell Luke? Is this why Anakin's ghost doesn't actually appear in The Rise of Skywalker?
"Maybe that's why Anakin's ghost didn't appear at the end," the theorist writes. "He was too embarrassed to show up because he forgot to tell his son where they Wayfinders were. Whoops, uh ... awkward. I'm not gonna show up for the final shot. You got this, kids!"
It's certainly an interesting plot hole in a movie that, frankly, had a lot of them. Granted, it's unclear exactly how Force ghosts work, so maybe Anakin wouldn't have been able to just pop up whenever and convey helpful information. Still, it is an interesting oversight in The Rise of Skywalker's plot. It is probably not, however, an explanation for why Hayden Christensen didn't appear in the movie. Not every plot hole or potential plot hole needs a fan theory to fill it in. Most don't, in fact.
HOPPER HAS BEEN BRAINWASHED BY THE RUSSIANS
The first Stranger Things Season 4 trailer confirmed a widely believed fan theory: Chief Hopper didn't die in the Season 3 finale, but instead is "the American" mentioned in the Soviet prison during the post-credits scene. That's a pretty big deal, even if it's not the most shocking confirmation we've ever seen. The exact details of his survival and imprisonment are still a mystery, however, but that hasn't stopped folks from (poorly) speculating about them.
Like, for instance, my hated foe The Daily Express, which made an entire article out of a couple of random tweets from people noting that Hopper's head has been shaved. Does this mean that he's been brainwashed, and they shaved his head in order to access his brain? Or, you know, does it mean that the guards shaved his head because he's a prisoner in a Russian gulag?
While it's certainly possible that brainwashing will be a factor in Season 3, the trailer does not give nearly enough information to make a guess about when or how it will come into play.