Some of the most memorable moments in pop culture history were built upon surprise twists. Soylent Green was made from people. Maggie shot Mr. Burns. Aerith dies at the end. These are things we know happened (especially once they’re explained) and it's reassuring to tap into that part of your brain that goes “Yeah, of course Bruce Willis was dead the entire time. It was so obvious.”
For most of us, these surprise plot elements are enough to make a movie (or television show, or video game) satisfying enough. Not so for the good people of Reddit. Usually, close-reading the pop culture canon is an exercise in deep nerdery and straight-up overthinking.
Every so often, though, you come across a fan theory that gels so nicely with the official story, that it’s too good not to take into consideration.
These are the five Reddit fan theories I vote we mark down as official:
Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi did an awful job at hiding Luke Skywalker because he was meant to be a decoy.
In the original Star Wars trilogy, we meet a young Luke Skywalker, who’s prophesied to be the chosen one meant to overthrow the Galactic Empire and restore balance to the Force. Eventually, we learn that he’s (spoiler) Darth Vader’s son, and was put into hiding by Obi-Wan Kenobi.
Here’s the thing though: when you really think about it, Kenobi didn’t try all that hard to hide Luke.
Not only was Luke “hidden” on Darth Vader’s homeworld Tattooine, Kenobi left him with Vader’s stepbrother Owen and let him use Vader’s original last name. If anyone was looking for Vader’s child(ren,) they wouldn’t have had to try all that hard to find Luke.
Leia, on the other hand, was hidden away ridiculously well.
“With Leia, [Kenobi] placed her FAR off, gave her a new identity, etc,” Reddit user DarthTallahassee reasons. “Vader was supposed to find and kill Luke, and believe that was his only threat, where Leia would have taken him by surprise. Luke was a decoy fall guy the whole time.”
The guys over at the Plumbing The Deathstar podcast get into this in depth.
Pokémon: There are basically no adults in the Pokémon universe because they’re recovering from an epic war.
In fact nearly every adult that you see, aside from the Officers Jenny and the Nurses Joy are elderly people or twenty-somethings participating in the Pokémon world’s organized crime underbelly. It’d be easy to write this off as a mere coincidence — it is a kid’s game—but maybe, just maybe, there’s more to the story.
“Fans theorize the reason for the strange lack of adults is a war in the Kanto region, where the first games take place,” notnowgodfrey explains. “Lt. Surge, the gym leader in Vermilion City, describes how electric-type Pokémon saved him during "the war." Since the games take place in a fictional universe, Lt. Surge is not referring to any historical conflicts.”
“Some speculate there was a war in Kanto with massive casualties, causing a gap in generations. This explains why Professor Oak gives a Pokédex to every new trainer who ventures out into the world. This would be an effective way to either collect or verify information lost during the war, and to determine which species of Pokémon survived the conflict.”
Signs: The aliens in Signs aren't aliens. They're demons.
In M. Night Shyamalan’s Signs, mysterious creatures terrorize a priest and his family on their secluded Pennsylvania farm before the family discovers the creatures’ one weakness: water.
The film flirts with certain elements of extraterrestrial iconography (lights in the sky, crop circles,) but there’s no clear definition of what they are. As Reddit user adamreddy argues, the so-so invasion flick becomes 100x more interesting when you think of it at a family’s first encounter with demons instead.
“This view of the movie also explains the creature’s actions: They act like superior tricksters, are not able to break in through closed doors, can be trapped behind simple wooden latches – all mythological elements of demons and vampire-like creatures of lore,” they elaborate. “It also explains the news over the radio at the end of the movie that an ancient method of killing the creatures has been found 'in three small cities in the Middle East' –one would suspect the religious “hubs” of the three main Abrahamic traditions, each discovering the 'mystic methods” of protection-and-dispatch.'"
Game of Thrones: R + L = J
Strictly speaking, we don’t know who Jon Snow’s parents really are. We’ve been told that he’s Ned Stark son but…well. See for yourself. Warning: potential spoilers.
Jurassic World: Was Owen Grady that rude kid in Jurassic Park?
Chris Pratt’s Owen Grady took over the internet with his raptor-taming skills, but we never really learn all that much about him during Jurassic World. We know that he used to be in the Navy and that he’s got an uncanny affinity for his pack of dinosaurs, but there’s no solid explanation of just why the raptors respond so well to him or how he ended up working at Jurassic Park.
But what if he’d been to Jurassic Park before? What if as a young kid Owen had a
traumatic life-defining experience involving a raptor’s claw that forever changed him? That probably didn’t happen. But then again, maybe it did: