Now, I’m as much a fan of parsing through the latest blockbuster offerings from Marvel, Star Wars and James Bond as the next guy. I even love doing that with the DCEU, and that sprawling, unwieldly franchise has produced exactly one good movie and doesn’t look like it’s due for another until after they nuke the entire series with Flashpoint. I love parsing out minor details and extrapolating theories that, if true, are unquestionably game-changing from them. It’s a lot of fun, it brings you into the larger conversation surrounding said movie or franchise and, at this point, it’s basically my job.
As of late, however, I feel as if the general fandom surrounding these movies has taken this practice to its most illogical extreme. Rather than examining the evidence present in the films themselves (or, at a stretch, what we know about their production) and extrapolating reasonable, predictable and generally logical theories based on what we knew or can presume to be happening, many involved are making larger and larger leaps on thinner and thinner foundations.
I have seen so many batshit, unfounded and downright comical fan theories near-baselessly posited about the future of the Disney’s Marvel, Fox’s X-Men, Warner Bros’ DCEU and other franchises in recent weeks. It’s less an exercise in general love or fascination with the material as much as it is an over-the-top game of one-ups-man-ship: desperately trying to see who can come up with the craziest, most outlandish story for what can or should happen divorced from any sort of rhyme, reason or love of fandom that usually encompasses these sorts of intellectual exercises.
Yes, the theory that Loki somehow used his illusory magic to swap places with Hulk so that Heimdall sent him to Earth instead of the Hulk is pretty fun, for instance, but it does serve a purpose. It potentially explains why Hulk had some… ahem… “performance issues” when trying to transform into the Avengers’ big green tank and why he ultimately was forced to ditch his neon fleshsuit for Tony’s iconic Hulkbuster armor. It places an interesting, yet logical, twist on the events that we saw transpire in the beginning of the film and raises a lot of understandable questions about how such an event might shake up what we understand about the post-Infinity War status quo.
And then there’s something like Deadpool 2’s Cable somehow being Wolverine, despite there being all of zero evidence to support that theory which seemingly only exists for the shock value of it all). And that’s only the first of many similar theories that have taken the internet fandoms by storm in recent weeks. They are lazy, unfounded and unproductive when actually discussing these series because they don’t actually add anything of substance or value to the conversation.
When swapping fan theories with your buddies, just keep it to the facts. Stick to what we know about these characters, their worlds and the movies that they appear in. Ground them in fact and logic. Don’t just spitball any odd idea that comes into your head without first thinking if it even makes sense in the first place.