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.
Even though last week’s theory that Frozen is part of the Marvel Universe because Elsa has X-Men powers made me fully embrace nihilism, I’ve returned for more theories this week. Please note that my return is not like that of a phoenix, rising mightily from the ashes, but instead of a remnant — lifeless flesh in the shape of a man carrying out a simulacrum of a task it knew in life. This week we’ve got James Gunn officially debunking a Guardians of the Galaxy theory, a Thanos theory that does not need to exist, and some Boba Fett speculation. It’s time to begin. We don’t have a choice.
JAMES GUNN DEBUNKS THEORY THAT STEVE ROGERS IS PETER QUILL’S GRANDPA
There have been theories that Steve Rogers is somehow related to the Guardians of the Galaxy’s Peter Quill for years now, all because the actress who plays Peter’s mom also briefly appeared in Captain America: The First Avenger. The actress, Laura Haddock, can’t be playing the same character due to the four-plus decades between the settings of the two movies, but some fans speculated that she could have been her Guardians’ character’s mother, making her Peter’s grandmother.
Might Steve Rogers have had a fling with her, making him Meredith Quill’s mother and Peter’s grandfather? Either before he was frozen or after he traveled back in time in Avengers: Endgame (that would mean he would have cheated on Peggy Carter, hmm)?
Thankfully, Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn squashed this theory on Twitter by pointing out that, uh, Peter Quill’s grandfather appears in the Guardians of the Galaxy movies, and he’s not Chris Evans or Steve Rogers. Actor Gregg Henry plays Peter’s grandpa, as seen in the first movie’s opening moments when Meredith is dying of cancer. Not quite sure why James Gunn needed to step in and point out this obvious bit of evidence debunking this popular theory, but I’m glad he did.
Also — a quick note on Peter’s actual grandpa? That dude has the saddest story in the entire MCU, in my opinion. His daughter dies of cancer and then his grandson goes missing forever after running off that very same night? Honestly, soul-crushingly tragic.
THANOS CHOSE NOT TO TURN NEBULA TO DUST IN THE SNAP
“Nebula mentions in Endgame how he always said that when the snap happened, the sisters and Thanos would retire to a quaint little planet and live peacefully forever,” the theorist writes.
“Subconsciously the Snap was affected by that principle. He already lost most of his kids that day.”
The theorist is correct that Thanos does have an earnest (if truly warped) love of his “children,” but it’s trying to explain something that doesn’t need an explanation. There’s no indication that Thanos chose who to save or not save when he snapped his fingers. Randomness was part of his plan.
He didn’t, for instance, choose to make Thor turn into dust even though Thor had just driven an axe into his chest. There’s no indication that Thanos was playing favorites one way or another, so while the motivations behind this theory are sound, there’s no real place for it.
THOSE WERE BOBA FETT’S BOBA FEET
We’ll tackle this last one quickly because I don’t really have a strong sense about whether or not it’s a good theory, and also because this column comes out on Thursday and new episodes of The Mandalorian come out on Friday, so it’s maybe a moot point.
There’s some theorizing that the mystery character who walks toward Fennec Shand’s corpse at the end of Episode 5, "The Gunslinger," is Boba Fett — the iconic, armor-clad bounty hunter who was last seen getting swallowed by a Sarlaac on Tatooine in Return of the Jedi.
As the figure appears, there’s a noise that sounds like spurs — something some fans associate with Boba Fett.
Is it Boba? Or is it just someone else entirely? Regardless of whether or not Friday’s episode reveals it to be Boba, his shadow looms large over the entire show. If Boba Fett does not make an appearance in The Mandalorian, I will be pleasantly surprised by the series’ restraint.