Week in Fan Theories
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Credit: Warner Bros./Netflix/Marvel Studios

The week in fan theories: Joker's impact on DCEU, Deadpool time travels, and Stranger Things 4

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Sep 12, 2019, 11:47 AM EDT (Updated)

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, we've got a Joker theory about what sort of cinematic universe society he lives in, a Deadpool take involving time travel, and some Stranger Things bogus. Let's get movin' and groovin'.

Joker TIFF

Source: Warner Bros.


The discourse around the Joker movie already seems like it's going to be insufferable, what with dueling claims that it's either a serious Best Picture contender or a misguided bit of incel incitement. In light of that, it's almost a relief to have familiar theories about how it will or will not fit into the larger DC cinematic universe. One theory, in particular, posits that Joaquin Phoenix doesn't play the iconic supervillain who dukes it out with Batman, but rather someone who will inspire the real Joker later on. As evidence, the theorist notes that Phoenix's Joker seems too old to fight with the Dark Knight, and that the late-'70s setting doesn't line up with a modern version of Batman.

I haven't seen Joker yet, so I can't confirm or deny anything, but early buzz seems to indicate that it's essentially a standalone film. It takes place in Gotham and the Wayne family is part of the plot, but it's not a Batman story. So, sure, Joker could be less of a supervillain origin story and more of an inspiration story (this exact scenario, for what it's worth, happened in the TV show Gotham). But, the DC movies have recently been playing pretty fast and loose when it comes to continuity after the disaster that was Justice League, and it seems to be working for them. Joker's connections to Batman just don't matter to Joker, and they probably shouldn't matter too much to you either.

Deadpool 2, Domino and Cable

Credit: 20th Century Fox


Even though Disney managed to get one step further towards totally monopolizing all culture by acquiring Fox, there's no official word on when the X-Men will join the Marvel Cinematic Universe, now that the rights are all back under one roof. Deadpool, one of the more popular Mutants, will be especially tricky to fit into the MCU because of how meta and R-rated he is (that last bit is a problem for the family-friendly House of Mouse).

What this theory proposes is that Deadpool can't join the MCU because time travel doesn't work in the Merc With a Mouth's world the same way as it does in the MCU. As far as semi-serious theories that are just-for-fun go, I don't hate it — provided everyone understands that "time travel rules" do not factor into Disney's decision making in the slightest.

However… If the problem with Deadpool joining the MCU is that his time travel rules aren't consistent with the MCU's — as established in Avengers: Endgame which explained that time travel created multiple timelines rather than changing the current one — then it's important to note that the time travel rules in Endgame aren't even internally consistent. How did Captain America show up as old Steve Rogers in the main timeline if he traveled to an alternate timeline? It doesn't follow, so if we're already playing Calvinball with this stuff, sure, whatever — bring on Deadpool.

Stranger Things D&D

Credit: Netflix


Netflix has not officially renewed Stranger Things for a fourth season yet, and there is no indication that they are currently shooting the next season. There probably will be a fourth season, but there isn't one yet, and it certainly doesn't have a release date.

And yet, this theory speculates that Season 4 will premiere on April 3, 2020. The evidence? Well, in a set tour Netflix posted to YouTube, some of Will's Dungeons & Dragons drawings have the number "403" on them. And, since there are lots of totally unsubstantiated rumors that the next season will involve the April 1986 Chernobyl disaster, wouldn't it make sense to have the premiere in April, even though the real disaster happened 23 days later?

No! None of it makes sense! TV premieres aren't Da Vinci Code-esque mysteries that can be unlocked by looking at a random number in a random YouTube video. There probably isn't even enough time between now and April of next year to make the next season of Stranger Things. Ay yi yi.

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