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.
It’s a new decade and 2020 already has plenty of fan theories that need addressing. We'll start off the year with an official debunking of a Star Wars theory that pretty much everyone assumed was basically canon until now, then tackle a Doctor Strange timeline theory, and finish with a bit of Stranger Things nonsense. Allons y!
PALPATINE DIDN’T FORCE-IMPREGNATE SHMI SKYWALKER
There were plenty of reasons not to love Kylo Ren and Rey's kiss at the end of The Rise of Skywalker, and one of those reasons was that Kylo and Rey were related — or so we thought.
The family connection came from the 2017 Marvel Comic Darth Vader #25, which features the Sith Lord going on a spiritual journey. One of the visions he sees appears to be Palpatine's form lurking behind a pregnant Shmi Skywalker, implying that Palpatine had used Darth Plagueis' "unnatural" powers to use the Force to create life itself, meaning he was responsible for Anakin Skywalker's virgin conception and was essentially his father.
However, shortly before Christmas, Lucasfilm Story Group member Matt Martin debunked the theory on Twitter. The scene was taking place in Vader's head, and was meant to be his suspicion rather than actual canon.
"It's part of my job to ensure the stories are aligned with the overall vision of Star Wars," Martin tweeted. "If the intention was to make a direct connection between Palps and Anakin's birth, I would have had it removed."
The panel does indeed seem like it's making a direct connection between Palpatine and Anakin's birth, but by debunking this fan theory, at least The Rise of Skywalker isn't adding incestuous kisses to the long list of things it straight-up repeated from the original trilogy.
DOCTOR STRANGE IN THE MULTIVERSE OF MADNESS ALREADY HAPPENED
This fan theory, which was originally posted on Reddit but has since been deleted and now only lives on via aggregators, posits that Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness will see the Sorcerer Supreme going back in time and visiting the alternate timelines created by the "Time Heist" in Avengers: Endgame. Technically, this could mean that the events of the film already happened, as Doctor Strange would be dealing with keeping order in these new branched timelines.
The Loki series on Disney+ will be about the Loki who made off with the Space Stone in one of these alternate timelines, so it's not crazy to think that these parallel timelines will play a part in the future of the MCU and the Doctor Strange sequel. However, it seems a little backward for the MCU to set the bulk of another movie — one that in theory should be helping to set up the next big overarching saga — in the franchise's past. The MCU has to move forward, and this theory, which is pretty speculative, doesn't seem to be doing that.
STRANGER THINGS STAR ENDORSES RUSSIAN AGENT FAN THEORY
Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin on Netflix's Stranger Things, told Variety his favorite Stranger Things fan theory.
"They're all interesting," he said. "My favorite theory is that Suzie's actually a Russian mastermind and spy working with the Russian government. I think it's so stupid and so funny. I hope that doesn't play out because that would be weird."
Suzie, if you don't remember, was Dustin’s love interest in Season 3, and the two sang the theme song from The Neverending Story together. Matarazzo is correct in thinking that the theory is stupid, funny, and that it would be weird if it played out.