Week in Fan Theories oct 17
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Credit: Lucasfilm/Warner Bros./Fox

The Week in Fan Theories: Joker time theory killed, Palpatine's daughter, and more

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Oct 17, 2019, 12:40 PM EDT

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, Joker director Todd Phillips has debunked another fan theory, and then we’re gonna scrape the bottom of the barrel by taking a look at two embarrassing fan theories that one of the worst news sites around decided were worth aggregating. Hop aboard the dumpster express and let’s get movin’.

Credit: Warner Bros.


Joker’s director Todd Phillips and star Joaquin Phoenix have put their feet in their mouths on a couple occasions during the movie’s press cycle, but they’ve actually been pretty helpful when it comes to putting fan theories in their place. Last week, Phillips implied one theory was possible, but in an interview with CinemaBlend, he and Phoenix put the kibosh on another one. 

The theory argued that Arthur Fleck’s transformation into the Joker is signaled by the time “11:11.” That time — which according to some superstitions is spiritually significant —  appears twice during the movie (and it’s possible that a violent, climactic moment might also occur at that time). Is 11:11 when Arthur’s soul transforms?

“It’s a coincidence,” Phillips said. “No, I mean, I don’t know. I think it’s a coincidence.”

Phoenix, as he is wont to do, was a little more peculiar in his debunking. 

“Paul is dead. Paul is Dead. [inaudible] The Beatles,” he said, laughing. “What I'm saying is, I do know that there are some of those things that we put in, whatever the f**k you call them... I mean, I think some of them you might read into. That's the ‘Paul is Dead’ joke that I’m making. But no, 11:11 didn't mean anything to me personally.”

So, there you have it. A stopped clock might be right twice a day, but this clock-based theory is officially dead wrong. 

Credit: Lucasfilm


This fan theory comes via The Daily Express, which should be all you really need to know in order to summarily dismiss it. But in case you're morbidly curious... Essentially, the theory argues that Rey is Luke’s daughter, but she has some Dark Side heritage too because her mother was Emperor Palpatine’s daughter — a character that the series has never, ever implied exists. What is her backstory? Who did Palpatine have her with, and where have either of the women in his life been? How did she hook up with Luke, even though they are sworn enemies? Why did she leave Rey on Jakku?

These are all questions that Rise of Skywalker will not take the time to answer, because it’s a movie and not the Reddit equivalent of a board covered with thumbtacks and strings. Seriously, so many of these theories would require the movie to come to a full stop and instead spend a good chunk of the runtime in flashbacks retconning huge swaths of established lore in order to make sense, and even then they wouldn’t really be satisfying. Palpatine’s secret daughter? C’mon. 

Credit: Fox


The Daily Express makes its second appearance in this week’s column for an article with a headline reading: “Marvel fan theory: Will Deadpool 3 age rating RUIN new movie?”

This… this isn’t a fan theory. This is just an aggregation of Reddit posts complaining that if Disney, which now owns Fox and by extension the Merc With a Mouth, makes a more family-friendly PG-13 rated Deadpool movie, it won’t be as good as the R-rated ones. Which, like, maybe that’s true, but complaints aren’t a fan theory. Daily Express just knows that if they slap “Marvel fan theory” to the front of some piece of mediocre content, it’ll have better odds to appear when people Google for it. My own personal “fan theory” is that online content’s race to the bottom is bad.