For better or worse, the internet is rife with theories – conspiracy theories, political theories, scientific theories, and some downright bonkers theories about popular movies and television series. While many theories floating around cyberspace are nothing but baseless speculation and hokum, some actually turn out to be true. In fact, some of the most outrageous and seemingly far-fetched fan theories have been proven to be right over the years. What started out as speculation was actually found to not only have merit, but to eventually become canon. This just goes to show that you should write anything off when it comes to movie and TV fan theories. Here are 10 seemingly wild fan theories that turned out to be spot on.
10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
If any film franchise was rife with crazy fan theories, it was the Harry Potter series. During its run of eight different films, Harry Potter enjoyed its fair share of insane fan theories, especially during the lead-up to the two-part final installment, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. From speculation that “Dumbledore is Ron from the future” to “Dumbledore is actually Death,” the nonsense got pretty intense and strange over the years. However, one popular theory turned out to be true. It stated that Harry Potter himself was actually one of Lord Voldemort’s various horcruxes. The final story explicitly spells out how Voldemort accidentally transferred a part of his soul into Harry when he failed to kill him as a baby, creating a powerful bond between the two of them that could only be broken by the other’s death. This plot twist explains the mental connection the two wizards had, as well as solidifying Professor Trelawney’s prophecy. In the end, Harry has to die so that all of the horcruxes can be destroyed. Naturally, his death wasn’t permanent. And of course, book readers knew all of this years prior to be final movies hitting theaters.
Aladdin is one of the most successful in the Disney animated library. The 1992 film that starred the late Robin Williams as the mystical Genie broke box office records and set a new benchmark for animated movies. However, did you ever notice something familiar about the narrator who begins the story? The peddler’s voice sounds strangely similar to the Genie’s. And, if you look closely, he also has four fingers on his hands, just like the Genie. These similarities spurred theories that the peddler actually was the Genie in disguise. While initially dismissed, the films directors, Ron Clements and Jon Musker, recently confirmed that this fan theory is true. Apparently, the original intention with the peddler was to have him appear several times throughout the movie, and then, at the end, to actually reveal himself to be the Genie. For this reason, they had Robin Williams voice both the peddler and the Genie. Time constraints led the directors to eventually remove the narrator subplot from the film, and all that remained was the introduction.
8. Blade Runner
One of the craziest fan theories ever to be proven true was the revelation that Blade Runner‘s Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford) is himself a replicant (the movie’s name for an android). When first proposed in the mid-1980s, this theory was widely dismissed. But in 1992, director Ridley Scott re-cut the movie and added in additional sequences that proved the fan theory correct. Deckard is indeed an android – just like the ones he was hunting. Observant moviegoers will note that there are clues sprinkled throughout the film that seem to indicate this fact, but it was not until Scott added the now-famous unicorn scene that the theory was proven correct.
Speaking of Ridley Scott films and bizarre (but correct) fan theories, how about the movie Prometheus? Rather than being the straightforward Alien prequel that most people expected, Prometheus chose to be something quite unusual. It was a big, messy, convoluted (but ambitious) sci-fi film that attempted to tackle the notions of creation, religion, worship, and destiny itself. After its release, some internet fans posed a theory that “God” was actually one of the alien “engineers” from Prometheus, an uber-powerful race of aliens who can manipulate life itself. This seemed ludicrous at first, until fans started gathering the evidence. During intense debates, fans suggested that these engineers had created mankind, and then, when they saw us devolving into war and chaos, they sent a messenger down to set us straight in the form of Jesus. And what did mankind do? We crucified him, of course. This enraged the engineers and lead them to abandon us. It’s a seemingly bizarre theory, right? But Scott came forward to declare that this was, in fact, the original idea of the movie. However, at the last minute, they decided it was too “on the nose” and chose to be more ambiguous about the Jesus connection.
6. Star Trek
If there’s going to be a fan theory involving Star Trek, it should involve the Klingons, right? Fans of the show have noticed over the years that the look of the Klingons changes dramatically across various TV series and movies. The practical reason is simply that the production budget has greatly increased as the franchise grew more popular over the years, meaning that the makeup department could produce more elaborate Klingon designs than they were able to in the early days of the original 1960s series. At first, the change was not acknowledged, so fans were left speculating. Trekkies came up with several theories as to why the foreheads of the Klingons transformed over time. The most popular theory was that the Klingons had experimented with genetic mutation, and the experimentation produced the iconic forehead ridges seen in the later movies and television series. This theory seemed ludicrous at first until it was worked into the canon of the show in a Season Four episode of Star Trek: Enterprise, thereby vindicating fans who supported this theory.
5. Game of Thrones
There are many fan theories related to Game of Thrones. One of the most popular fan theories was that R+L=J. This theory proposed that Jon Snow is not actually the bastard son of Ned Stark, but is actually the child of Lyanna Stark (Ned’s sister) and Prince Rhaegar Targaryen. Fans have been speculating about this theory since the books were released. And in 2016, the question was finally put to rest. In “The Winds of Winter,” the tenth episode of the sixth season of Game of Thrones, Jon Snow’s parentage was finally confirmed with a scene from the Tower of Joy. Bran, peering into the past, watches a younger version of his father enter the Tower of Joy and find his sister after giving birth. With her last breath, she asks him to watch over her son. The image of the child then cuts to an adult Jon Snow. With that one scene, showrunners David Benioff and D.B. Weiss settled one of the longest standing mysteries surrounding the Song of Ice and Fire book series, revealing the secret even before author George R.R. Martin could get the sixth written installment into stores. Fans had predicted it all along, but that did not diminish the excitement and satisfaction of realizing the Bastard of Winterfell now has a rightful claim to the Iron Throne.
4. Doctor Who
The sci-fi show Doctor Who has been around so long, and has involved so many strange episodes, that it is rife for weird fan theories. In the early 1990s, a Doctor Who superfan took to an online message board and put forth a theory that since “Doctor” was actually the character’s name, and not his title, and since he spent his life bouncing around space and time, acting as a helper and a healer, that human beings were actually inspired to name our own helpers and healers after him. Basically, humanity got the word “doctor” from the Doctor himself? The superfan who put forward this outlandish claim turned out to be none other than Steven Moffat himself – the acclaimed writer, producer, and showrunner who would end up in charge of the new Doctor Who series. That’s right. In this instance, a Doctor Who superfan grew up to be a Doctor Who showrunner. How bizarre is that? And, in conclusion, he used his position as showrunner to canonize his pet theory about the Doctor. In the 2011 episode, “A Good Man Goes to War,” Moffat had the characters explicitly state that humanity got the word “doctor” from the Doctor. Weird, but cool too.
RoboCop as a Christ story? That was the theory circulating after the movie was released in 1987. Many fans speculated about the film’s hidden themes of Christianity and Jesus Christ, seeing the character of Murphy (Peter Weller) as a modern day Christ figure. After all, the sci-fi movie follows a man who is brutally executed, then comes back from the dead to save the City of Detroit from evil forces. This theory circulated for decades, and in 2010, director Paul Verhoeven confirmed the RoboCop as Jesus Christ theory: “The point of RoboCop, of course, is it is a Christ story,” Verhoeven told reporters. “It is about a guy who gets crucified in the first 50 minutes, and then is resurrected in the next 50 minutes, and then is like the super cop of the world, but is also a Jesus figure as he walks over water at the end.” Interesting to say the least.
Frozen is another of the big Disney hits. And it turns out that the movie has an interesting tie-in with another popular animated Disney film – namely Tarzan. A fan suggested that Tarzan is strongly linked to Anna and Elsa. The theory goes that the princesses’ parents, who supposedly dies in a ship wreck, were the same couple who were washed up on a jungle island at the beginning of Tarzan. This would make the King of the Jungle the baby brother of Anna and Elsa. Strange, right? However, during a Reddit AMA, Frozen co-directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, who conveniently also directed Tarzan, jokingly added fuel to the fire and confirmed the fan theory. A year after appearing on Reddit, Buck double-downed on the theory in an interview with MTV News, saying “I said, ‘Of course Anna and Elsa’s parents didn’t die. Yes, there was a shipwreck, but they were at sea a little bit longer than we think they were because the mother was pregnant, and she gave birth on the boat, to a little boy. So in my head, Anna and Elsa’s brother is Tarzan, but on the other side of that island are surfing penguins, to tie in a non-Disney movie, Surf’s Up. That’s my fun little world.” So this one is kind of confirmed, but maybe not official Disney canon.
1. Spirited Away
The Oscar winning animated movie Spirited Away is, on the surface, a children’s movie about a young girl who learns to embrace the spirit world to return to her parents. However, some fans view Japanese director Hayao Miyazaki’s film as an allegory for prostitution during the 19th century. The film’s protagonist, Chihiro, is forced to work in a bathhouse for an evil witch after her parents foolishly ate food that was meant for the Gods, which turned them into pigs. Chihiro works as a “Yuna,” which is Japanese for “a woman who works with bathers,” or a bathhouse prostitute. According to Miyazaki, “I think the most appropriate way to symbolize the modern world is the sex industry. Hasn’t Japanese society become like the sex industry?” Studio Ghibli, which produced the movie, wrote one Spirited Away fan a lengthy letter explaining why Chihiro’s parents turned into pigs and what their transformation represents, which was a metaphor for greed and materialism, according to the director. Clearly, Spirited Away has darker and deeper tones than we realized.