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If the Myth is Interesting, Print it! - A Few of My Favorite Fan Theories

  • Dec 15, 2012

There are times when the guy telling a story just pisses people off. Maybe the ending wasn't satisfying, maybe he thought the protagonist should have gotten together with a different lover, or that the good guy was the scum of the Earth while the bad guy was just too gosh darn lovable to bite the dust in the end. We've all read books or seen movies, TV shows, or video games like that. 


Most fans suck it up and move on. Some, though, take their obsession to a whole new level by creating a convoluted theory about why what the story just presented wasn't what was actually going on. Sometimes, these fans can actually get it right: Director Ridley Scott admitted that yes, Harrison Ford's character in his classic movie Blade Runner WAS really a replicant! But the vast majority of these alternate presentation theories are complete bullshit. 


Bullshit or not - hell, pertinent or not - it certainly doesn't mean a few of these alternative theories aren't entertaining or thoughtful or interesting. Here are a few of my favorites, some of which I like so much that I've subscribed to them, no matter how much sense it may make. 

James Bond

The world's most suave British secret agent, James Bond, has saved the world and gotten the girl countless times. Busy man, that Bond. 


According to this theory, he may not be as busy as we think he is. James Bond has had six very different appearances, evolving moral standards through decades, differing personalities for every new look, and his bosses and gadget guy seem to age while Bond remains trapped in his various eras. The Bond theory presents us with the idea that James Bond, like his identification number 007, is a code name given to any MI6 agent who comes along while it's lying around in the MI6 offices. It makes a bit of sense; not every Bond movie has ended well for Bond. On Her Majesty's Secret Service ends with Bond's wife being killed, so perhaps he quit out of grief. Die Another Day ends Bond being abandoned by MI6. The 2005 version of Casino Royale begins with Bond having just earned his 00 classification, his license to kill. 


Of course, the Bond diehards notice a few continuity flaws. Roger Moore visiting the grave of George Lazenby's wife is tricky to ignore. There were also two Bond movies released in 1983 with different actors playing 007. And in Goldeneye, there's a nine-year lapse in events which, in canon, takes the Brosnan edition of Bond back to Dalton's years. Now, those could easily be explained away by suggesting that maybe there was more than one James Bond running concurrently with the others. In any case, this is one I've subscribed to, just because I think it's cool and adds to the mystique of the ever-ubiquitous idea of any secret agent, no matter what name he's using.

Super Mario Bros. 3

Bowser is a tortoise insane. He kidnaps Princess Peach many times, with the same result: Mario comes to the rescue and stomps on his ass. Super Mario Bros. 3 is considered by many gamers to be the grand pinnacle of his adventures. It is arguably the Citizen Kane of video games. It was the first game to fully realize the potential of video games as entertainment art. This theory, however, suggests it may have realized gaming's potential as a medium for allegorical depth and twists as well. 


Here is the idea of Super Mario Bros. 3 being nothing but a play Mario is using to tell the story of the first time he rescued Peach and defeated Bowser. The title screen even presents itself like a play, and the exit screen of every level is the clear ending of a background screen, which cuts off to a black background. Exit stage right. It goes even further than that, too: Did you ever notice that the blocks and ledges are bolted to the background somehow, and that foreground platforms always seem to be hanging either from rods or ziplines? Or that foreground objects cast a lot of shadows, even when there's supposedly nothing behind them? Yeah, Mario isn't really saving Peach this time. He's just telling a story through a one-man theater show. 


As for the differences between Super Mario Bros. 3 and the first Super Mario Bros., no one ever said Mario isn't privy to a little bit of dramatic embellishment. 

Star Wars

The prequel trilogy pissed off a lot of fans. Although the campiness and myth which people love about the original trilogy is still in the prequels, it's easy to understand what people have against them: Where George Lucas should have used them as an outlet to tell the story of the friendship between Obi-Wan Kenobi and Anakin Skywalker, he kept trying to work in convoluted twists which created the rest of the Star Wars universe as well, and the way he told the story creates a small handful of inconsistencies which pissed off Star Wars diehards. I personally loved the prequels, but my opinion isn't universal. A lot of fans were put off by them, and they believed George Lucas lost a lot of his artistic integrity.


Some fans who were particularly put off by the prequels found an interpretation of the Star Wars movie universe which would restore Lucas's dignity. At the end of Revenge of the Sith, Lucas tries to cover a massive plot hole in A New Hope by having Wedge Antilles wipe the mind of C-3PO, which is why 3PO begins A New Hope in blissful ignorance of the fact that he was a firsthand witness to the rise of the Galactic Empire. Why would the Rebel Alliance delete his memory?


According to one very detailed theory, it's because R2-D2 and Chewbacca have been the Rebellion's eyes and ears on Tatooine. Chewie was a great, ranked warrior in his home world, and a friend of Yoda, so the Alliance trusted him to keep tabs on the development of their developing Sith killer by befriending smuggler Han and talking him into working with Jabba so he could regularly visit Tatooine. The theory is very detailed, but that's the crux of it, and it helps restore a bit of artistic dignity to Lucas's original vision.

See the full review, "Episode IV: The Non-Yoda One".

Has anyone else wondered why, upon being freed by Aladdin at the end of the movie, Genie didn't immediately lose his magic powers? On the other hand, who's to say he didn't eventually lose them? Nowhere in the movie does it mention that Genie got to keep his powers after being freed. It's possible his powers could have gradually faded over time, or that the wish just took a few minutes to really take hold. In the meantime, after Aladdin frees him, he shakes Aladdin's hands, taking the lamp from him. That's the last we ever see of the lamp. 


If you remember back to the beginning of the movie, you'll consider it began with a nameless merchant wandering through the desert. He's sporting some very familiar fashion choices: He has Genie's curly goatee, blue dress, red sash.... And he and Genie are the only characters in the movie with four fingers. Plus he just happens to have the lamp Genie took from Aladdin. I prefer to believe there's more than plain coincidence to that.


I love that theory, but you would have to ignore the sequels and TV series for it to work. There's another theory suggesting the movie takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland 10,000 years in the future which has to do with Genie's remark about 10,000 years giving him a crick in the neck, but I don't find that one nearly as good.

The Office

The Scranton Strangler is a serial killer who has claimed eight victims in the unassuming city of Scranton, Pennsylvania. He is not an actual character on the show, although the show has alluded to him many times. Dwight even dressed up as him for Halloween one year. 


There are various theories about the identity of The Scranton Strangler being an employee of Dunder Mifflin. Fan speculation is certainly out there, and the suspect who gets cited most often is Creed, for so many reasons that it's pointless to even try listing them. Creed, after all, has a sketchy past and a moral ambiguity so frightening that, when he asked Ryan to set up a blog for him, Ryan faked it because he believed the world wasn't ready for the inner workings of Creed's head. Ryan also said he read a few of Creed's "entries," and they were about as horrifying as he expected. Notably, this horror is being related by Ryan, another popular suspect. points the finger at Roy, Pam's ex, because he showed in the past that he's unhinged enough to try to kill Jim and wipe out a bar. Greg Daniels says we'll be getting the answer to this one this season, the last for The Office.

See the full review, "An American Office".

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December 17, 2012
Thanks for sharing!
About the list creator
Nicholas Croston ()
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Hi! I'm here in part to plug my writing and let everyone know that I'm trying to take my work commercial.      Now, what about me? Well, obviously I like to write. I'm … more
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