Theoretically Fascinating: A Look At Interesting Fan Theories

Shown here is a simulation of my brain after finishing research on this article.

Fan theories are, at least from my end, a welcome addition to storytelling narratives. It lets the audience speculate and imagine, letting them feel as if they are contributing something to the story. Basically, it more deeply engages the viewer or reader while forcing them to think about something they care about in a new light.

Since one of the goals of this page is to facilitate thought (even if it is on such a geeky topic), I thought it would be good to talk about some of the theories I’ve heard that have sparked my interest and helped to change the way we look at our favorite stories.

DISCLAIMER: None of the following have been confirmed as canonical; it is merely speculation by fans. If something offends you DO NOT complain to the writers. Instead, respectfully debate the possibility of these theories being true and/or share your own theories in the comments.

Disney’s Aladdin Is A Phony Sales Pitch… Or Is It?

“If I tell you a fantastical story, will you please buy my crap?”
Source: Disney Wiki

The tale of Aladdin is a well-loved Middle Eastern tale (well, a Chinese tale actually) that has enchanted many a person over the years. But fans of the Disney interpretation have raised an interesting thought: what if the whole story was an elaborate lie from an Agrabah snake oil salesman?

In the opening moments of the film, we are introduced to a shady peddler  wandering the dark nighttime alleys of Agrabah. After addressing the audience directly and after a few failed attempts to sell a broken hookah pipe/coffee maker and a box he markets as ‘Dead Sea Tupperware’, he presents us with the magic lamp that will drive the plot.

However, certain facts don’t mesh well. If this lamp is such an amazing historical artifact, how did a common merchant come across it? Why push worthless junk first if you have something that is of true value to sell first? Why, if it’s so valuable, is it not a treasure of the royal family or in a museum? It’s more likely that this man is just making up a magnificent story in order to sell you a worthless trinket.

An alternate theory suggests, however, that the peddler is telling the truth and that he knows Aladdin’s story because he is in fact the Genie of the Lamp himself in magical disguise.

This makes some sense; The peddler’s clothes match the color scheme of the genie – a running theme in his human forms, they share similar facial features, they have identical bombastic personalities, they are the only characters with four fingers on each hand, and both are voiced by Robin Williams.

Also, watch the final scene of the movie when Aladdin wishes for the Genie’s freedom more closely. The lamp disappears from Aladdin’s hands when Genie shakes them. Could he have palmed the lamp without anyone noticing?

Sadly, we’ll never know which, if either, of these stories is true until we hear it from the creators themselves.

Majora’s Mask Is A Eulogy To Navi (And Possibly Link)

Rest in peace, mute elf boy and loudmouth lightning bug.
Source: Man vs. Game

The Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask is easily one of the darkest entries in the series (yes, even more so than Twilight Princess). But just how dark did it get without us knowing?

Many believe that the locales that make up the land of Termina – Clock Town, Woodfall, Snowhead, Great Bay, and Ikana Canyon – and the order you are forced to visit them in are symbolic of the Kübler-Ross Stages of Grief – grief that Link feels after losing his fairy companion Navi in the previous game, Ocarina of Time.

The areas visited, and thusly the stages of grief, go as such. In Clock Town, the citizens are in denial of the moon clearly falling on their city. In Woodfall, the king takes his undue anger for his missing daughter out on a helpless monkey. In Snowhead, the ghost of the goron hero Darmani bargains with Link to use his magic to either resurrect him or give his soul peace. At Great Bay, the zora lady Lulu is in a deep depression over the loss of her eggs. It is only after confronting denial, anger, bargaining, and depression that Link scales the tower at Ikana Canyon and claims the Light Arrow – a light symbolic of the mental enlightenment that comes with the acceptance of the nature of his struggle.

Some fans have taken this theory further and suggest that Link’s grief is towards his own mortality. This makes sense according to the official timeline. In the next game, Twilight Princess, Link confronts a skeletal specter called the Hero’s Spirit who is the undead incarnation of the previous Link from Ocarina of Time and Majora’s Mask and bares a strong resemblance to villains known as stalfos.

Majora’s Mask opens and closes with Link searching for Navi in the Lost Woods that, according to legends spoken of in Ocarina of Time, will turn any lost soul unfortunate enough to die there into a stalfos. Could Link have died in the search for Navi and returned as a stalfos in Twilight Princess to pass on the, “…lessons of his life to those who came after him?” We may never know.

James Bond Is Many Men With No Name

“Doe… John Doe.”
Source: Movie Roar

James Bond, for all of his many flaws, is a great character. He isn’t a perfect godsend like some more poorly written heroes. He’s clearly flawed and human… but why do those flaws seem to change with the actors portraying him?

The easy answer is differences in creative vision, but that isn’t the answer for those who don’t want to lose their sense of immersion in the story. Instead, fans have formed a brilliant explanation for these changes in personality as well as physical appearance: James Bond isn’t a real person; it’s a code name.

Seems to be a legitimate answer, right? After all, when you’re a member of a top secret government organization, you don’t want to be easily traced back to your employer if captured or killed. So you would naturally use an alias. Perhaps MI6 created the moniker of James Bond to be used by Agent 007 and continue to use it for all of his successors.

Not only is this reasonable from a practical standpoint, it also works from a storytelling view as well. So called ‘legacy heroes’ are nothing new in fiction. To use comic books as an example of this, there have been five Robins, four Flashes, three Blue Beetles, and lord-knows-how-many Green Lanterns (okay, it’s six if you only count the ones from Earth, but there’s a whole corps of them around the galaxy at any given moment).

Making a character a legacy hero allows him or her to reflect on or react to the identity of the previous mantle-holders and gives them another outlet to expand and build their own identity. Perhaps the makers of the Bond films considered this as a storytelling tool. If not, it’s not to late to consider it retroactively.

Why Spend So Much Time On Fan Theories?

As stated, part of my goal is to make people think about things in a new light and fan theories do just that. They make you reconsider the world of an author’s creation through a new contextual lens and view the characters, their struggles, and their final resolution with deeper meaning.

On top of that, it’s just a lot of fun and good for making you think! It’s almost a sport to see what hidden stories the author may have left for your imagination to work out. It’s good mental exercise to ask, “what if?”

What if Ferris Bueller was just an imaginary facet of Cameron’s personality? What if ‘The Bride’ Beatrix Kiddo didn’t actually kill Bill? What if the entirety of all stories on television took place in a daydream in an autistic child’s mind? These are puzzles of our own creation and new ones will come to forever perplex and intrigue as long as there are storytellers to leave them for us to discover.