Week in Fan Theories
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Credit: Sony/Netflix/Marvel/PBS

The week in fan theories: Shang-Chi's Eternal rings and Mr. Steve Roger's neighborhood

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Sep 26, 2019, 1:40 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, we’ve got an easter egg that doesn’t actually mean much for Daredevil and Spider-Man’s shared universe, a decent (if premature) prediction about some Phase 4 Marvel movies, and a theory about Captain America and Mr. Rogers that makes me want to walk, while looking unblinkingly at the horizon, into the sea. 


If you really paid attention to all the tiniest details of the Netflix Daredevil series, you might notice that a familiar face appears toward the end of Spider-Man: Far From Home. The news anchor who breaks the news of Mysterio’s falsified video blaming Peter Parker is the same anchor who appears in Daredevil. The continuity between the Netflix Marvel shows and the main MCU has always been loose at best, but this fan theory argues that the shared anchor means that Daredevil and Spider-Man certainly exist in the same continuity.

However, the news anchor might also be a familiar face if you live in the New York City area, because he’s actually a real-life anchor for the news channel NY1. Journalist Pat Kiernan has made quite a few little appearances in MCU films and shows set in the Big Apple, including The Avengers, Doctor Strange, The Punisher, and The Defenders (as well as the non-MCU Amazing Spider-Man 2). Since he is a real anchor, though, Kiernan's presence both in the MCU and on Netflix is less of an indicator of shared continuity and more of a nod to reality (although he appears to be playing a fictional newscaster, rather than himself). IMDb lists 65 acting credits for Larry King, but it’s not like all of those films share an extended universe.

Even so, Kiernan’s repeat cameos are a nice little bit of consistency, but they’re hardly the nail in the coffin when it comes to finally figuring out the exact continuity between Netflix and the MCU.


Credit: Marvel


Casual superhero fans probably don’t know much about the heroes at the center of some of the MCU’s upcoming films, but this theory proposes that the titular jewelry in Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings will derive their powers from The Eternals

The specifics of the theory get a little in the weeds, but the short version is that there are likely going to be 10 Eternals in the Eternals movie, and these godlike beings from outer space possess abilities that aren’t too dissimilar from the abilities of the 10 rings. In the comics, Iron Man villain The Mandarin gained his power when he got ahold of 10 powerful rings from a downed alien spacecraft.

The MCU has already introduced The Mandarin, sort of, as it turned out that Ben Kingsley’s Mandarin in Iron Man 3 was a well-executed hoax. But Shang-Chi promises to introduce the real one. Given that the MCU is mixing things up and has a history of tweaking backstories from the comics as needed — especially when it links new heroes together — it’s not unreasonable that Marvel might want to make Eternals and Shang-Chi relate to one another. The shared aspect of the shared universe was a big part of what made the MCU work in the first place, after all.

That said, while this is plausible, it’s still only a guess at this point. Don’t put too much faith in this theory. There have just been worse shots in the dark, is all.

mr rogers but old

Credit: Marvel


Man, I don’t even know what to do here. This theory argues that Steve Rogers, after going back in time, lived the rest of his life as Mr. Rogers of Neighborhood fame. They have the same last name, see?

This theory is nothing. I could get into all the ways in which, technically, it would be impossible for Steve Rogers to be Mr. Rogers (Mr. Rogers was not married to Peggy Carter, wasn’t a buff super-soldier, and was also a real person, for example). But the theory isn’t actually arguing that. Not seriously, at least. It’s just a fun lark online, but because the Fan Theory Industrial Complex needs a nonstop stream of content, other sites wrote about it while at least entertaining its plausibility. When you’re in some online neighborhoods, it’s never a beautiful day.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are the author's, and do not necessarily reflect those of SYFY WIRE, SYFY, or NBC Universal.