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 debunking of a Pixar fan theory that actually has a pretty interesting explanation, an admittedly "paper-thin" theory about Captain America's super-soldier formula that nevertheless became content, and a Doctor Strange and Scarlet Witch theory that unwittingly puts a lot of faith in Disney+. Let's commence.
REMY THE RAT DID NOT GROW UP IN ANTON'S HOUSE IN RATATOUILLE
A lot of Pixar theories are overly complicated, but there was actually some pretty clear evidence backing this one up. In Ratatouille, there are several similarities between the house where Remy lives at the start of the movie and the house where Anton the food critic grew up, as seen in a brief flashback. A lot of the furniture and appliances are identical, as this viral tweet pointed out.
The similarities inspired a theory — what if Anton felt such a strong connection to his childhood when he tasted Remy's ratatouille because Remy actually grew up in Anton's house, learning how to cook from watching Anton's mom? Not a bad theory, but Ratatouille's director Brad Bird chimed in on Twitter to explain that there's another explanation for why the two houses looked so similar: Frugality.
"I'd love to confirm that we were ultra-deep thinkers and that there was a narrative behind the narrative," Bird wrote. "But… When I took over the film we had a hellacious deadline and only two of the films many sets were built. Truth is we were just trying to reuse props where we could."
So, the reason why the houses looked similar is because the filmmakers reused the same digital props, not because Anton and Remy share this connection. And you know what? It's better that way. Props to the folks who noticed the similarities, but it feels more in the spirit of the film's "anyone can cook" message for Remy not to have a secret personal connection to Anton. His skills aren't from some sneaky coincidence — he's just a good cook (who happens to be a rat).
THE SUPER SOLDIER SERUM WAS CHEMICAL "WORTHINESS," À LA THOR
This theory posits that Captain America and Thor are connected in an unexpected way, as it argues that Dr. Erskine's super-soldier formula is chemical "worthiness" — that same quality that allows Thor to wield Mjolnir.
In the first Thor, the God of Thunder compares Asgard's magic to advanced science. The theory invokes this idea to suppose that Erskine, while working with the Norse mythology-obsessed Red Skull to create the serum, somehow discovered the formula to worthiness. That's why he's so adamant that it's the man that's important, rather than just the serum. Steve Rogers was worthy, while the Red Skull was not.
The original theorist admits that the theory is paper-thin, and if taken literally, they're definitely right about that. The idea that Dr. Erskine harnessed some intangible quality and took it from the realm of mythology to chemistry isn't supported by what we see in the films. But, thematically? Sure. Steve Rogers proved himself worthy, wielding a shield and a super-soldier serum rather than a hammer. It's a metaphor, not a science.
SCARLET WITCH WILL BE THE VILLAIN OF THE DOCTOR STRANGE SEQUEL AND BEYOND
In the comics, Scarlet Witch was a lot more unstable than she is in the MCU, and she infamously used her reality-warping powers to change the world into a Mutant-led dystopia, and then later depowered almost the entire Mutant population. She's a heck of a wild card, in other words.
This theory posits that she will go down a similar path in the next phase of the MCU, and that, still distraught over Vision's death, will do something terrible to reality in order to bring her back. This theory is supported by the upcoming Disney+ series WandaVision, which sure seems like it will involve some sort of warped reality, though the exact specifics aren't clear yet.
While it seems pretty likely that Scarlet Witch is going to do something reality-altering, the theory goes further in stating that she'll be Marvel's next big bad, or at least will feature in the Doctor Strange sequel, perhaps with Strange needing to track Wanda through the multiverse of madness in order to put a stop to her destructive abilities.
It's certainly possible (the Doctor Strange sequel will take place after WandaVision, and will feature Elizabeth Olsen as Wanda), but I'm skeptical about how important Wanda's role will be. So far, Marvel's TV shows have had essentially no impact on what happens in the movies, which makes sense — the movies are huge blockbusters, and it would be risky to make enjoying them dependent on having watched a comparatively much less popular show. For that reason, it would be quite unusual if Scarlet Witch's actions in WandaVision actually had a big impact on the plot of Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness.
However, there are indications that the Disney+ shows — which are going to be from Marvel Studios proper rather than Marvel TV as past series were — will be more directly connected with the films. And, if Disney really wants to make its new streaming service feel essential, it wouldn't be too crazy to put integral MCU content on the small screen, blurring the line between the two mediums. In other words, the strength of this theory depends on how much faith Disney has in Disney+, which we'll have to wait to find out.