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 is surprisingly light on any new fan theories of note, perhaps because people are just getting around to seeing Spider-Man: Far From Home or bingeing Stranger Things Season 3. There will probably be more Stranger Things theories once folks finish the season (that ending is just begging for theories), but in the meantime, we’ve got some updates on past MCU theories, and a wildly dumb theory about Rey.
NICK FURY AND MARIA HILL ARE SKRULLS
The second of Spider-Man: Far From Home’s two post-credits scenes confirmed what many MCU fans had suspected for a long time: Some major characters are secretly Skrulls. The scene reveals that the “Nick Fury” and “Maria Hill” that viewers had followed all through Far From Home were actually Talos and Soren, with actors Ben Mendelsohn and Sharon Blynn reprising their Captain Marvel roles. The real Nick Fury is in space, somewhere, possibly on vacation, or possibly hard at work on some interstellar project.
It’s a fun twist, and it helps explain why Fury was so easily fooled by Mysterio’s load of bull. However, the reveal notably does not square with past theories about secret Skrulls. It appears from Talos’ conversations with Soren and the real Fury that this is a temporary substitution — meaning that theories that Fury had secretly been a Skrull in past movies are probably still wrong. Only the Far From Home Fury was a Skrull.
Still, the Skrull reveal, although limited in scope, will probably spark a whole new wave of theories, with many on Reddit speculating that literally every character in literally every MCU movie is secretly a Skrull. Take all of these theories with a huge grain of salt, remembering that the only confirmed Skrull reveal, the one in Far From Home, was done with purpose, and was more of a joke than some sort of grand conspiracy.
THE “I LOVE YOU 3,000” RUNTIME EASTER EGG WAS A COINCIDENCE
An MCU fan who essentially guessed how long Spider-Man: Far From Home would be was basically proven right when the film’s final runtime meant that all 23 MCU movies added up to 3,000 minutes in length. Was this called shot an easter egg referencing the “I love you 3,000” line Tony Stark’s daughter says in Avengers: Endgame?
“We worked really hard to make sure. We’ve been planning that since Winter Soldier,” Joe Russo joked when Deco Drive asked him and Endgame’s co-director Anthony Russo about the runtime. “No, that is absolutely coincidental. We’re not that smart,” he quickly clarified.
“It’s hard enough to make these movies,” Anthony Russo added. “Trying to hit a minute count like that seems off the mark.”
If you want to call a neat coincidence an easter egg, live your truth, but officially, it was an accident.
REY IS ANAKIN SKYWALKER’S MOM
Mercifully, December’s release of Star Wars: Rise of Skywalker should put an end to all the theorizing about who Rey’s parents are. Even though The Last Jedi seemed to confirm that her parents were nobodies, rather than a well-known Skywalker or Solo, many fans seemed not to love this result — including, perhaps, J.J. Abrams. Daisy Ridley, who plays Rey, recently said that the question “will be answered” in Rise of Skywalker, so there’s going to be more information about her mom and dad, at the very least.
That information can’t come soon enough, because, in the meantime, we’re dealing with theories like this one, which posits that Rey is actually Shmi Skywalker, Anakin Skywalker’s mother, thanks to time travel. It’s “Bran is the Night King” all over again.
The gist of this theory, which even the aggregator described as “probably wrong,” is that Emperor Palpatine learns how to travel through time. He kidnaps Rey, taking her 75 years into the past, and plops her on Tattooine. Rey then cuts herself off from the Force and gives birth to Anakin.
It’s wildly complicated, and it would mean that Rey’s story ends with her getting enslaved and then kidnapped and killed by Tusken Raiders. Cool story arc.
Granted, there is a precedent for time travel in the Star Wars universe; it occurred in the Star Wars Rebels TV show. But that alone should be a warning flag — when it comes to franchises that are so big, important, and lucrative, TV almost never influences the movies.