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    15 Fan Theories So Darn Good, You'll Never Be Able To Watch These Movies The Same Way Again

    Don't worry, none of them are "They were dead the whole time."

    Hello, fellow movie lovers! We're once again taking a deep dive back down into our personal favorite corner of Reddit — the subreddit r/FanTheories — to examine even more of the wildest fan theories out there about some of our favorite films!

    Warner Bros.

    Ready? I sure hope so! Here we go:

    1. In The Matrix, the "blue pill" was actually a poison that would've killed Neo rather than send him back.

    Warner Bros.

    "Morpheus gives Neo a choice: If he takes the blue pill, he stays in the Matrix, and if he takes the red pill, he gets out of the Matrix. The red pill is later revealed to be a tracking program used to pull him out of the people-goo-battery thing — but what does the blue pill really do?

    "Morpheus later explains that people who like control and are subconsciously willing to stay in the Matrix have the possibility of eventually being morphed into agents. I think that if Neo had gotten that far in and decided to back out, with Morpheus and everyone there, during an incredibly risky retrieval mission, he would've turned into an agent at any time. So, reasonably, I don't believe that the blue pill would've sent Neo back to his 'normal' life. It's much more likely that it would've killed him."


    2. The heart of Te Fiti was keeping Moana’s grandmother alive in Moana.

    Walt Disney Studios

    "The grandmother was always shown as full of life and full of energy. Even right before she got sick, she was climbing hills and moving vines to show Moana the ancient boats. But a little after the grandmother gave Moana the heart of the Te Fiti, she immediately got sick, could barely speak, and died.

    "They said that the heart of Te Fiti could 'create life,' so I think that maybe the heart was also keeping the grandmother alive until she could properly give it to Moana when the time came."


    3. It's a Wonderful Life is a vintage version of The Truman Show.

    RKO Radio Pictures, Paramount Pictures

    "George Bailey never escaped Bedford Falls. A string of incredible circumstances always prevented him from taking the train out of town (death of his father, the career of his brother, near-bankruptcy of the bank, etc.). I think this is simply because George was never supposed to get out. The station led to nowhere, and a few kilometers down the road, a very large, sky-colored wall showed the end of a mega-studio.

    "My theory is that George was the unwilling star of a reality show, surrounded by actors who played his family, his friends, his colleagues, his wife, everyone. Possibly, the whole thing started after that traumatic accident in the icy water. George may have lost all previous memories of his childhood and was in the ideal blank state to reinvent a staged life to make believe he saved his brother (who didn't exist).

    "This theory rationalizes all of the fantastical elements of the story. The alternate life was not an illusion created by Clarence the angel, but a restaging in real time. While George was away from the city center with Clarence, an army of decorators quickly designed 'Pottersville,' and new roles were temporarily assigned to the regular cast of players.

    "The entire film is like a very special episode that recalls the key moments of George's life, narrated by media executives who observe 'Bedford Falls' from above (so that their voices come from stars in the fake night sky). The alternate life section is certainly the boldest attempt to manipulate George."


    4. The Handbook for the Recently Deceased in Beetlejuice is needlessly complicated on purpose — unless you’re truly "strange and unusual."

    Warner Bros.

    "The handbook being so complicated acts as insurance against people who aren’t 'strange and unusual.' Those who are strange and unusual read the handbook the way it was supposed to be read, but to everybody else, it’s just word salad.

    "I think the movie was trying to make the point that 'strange and unusual' people are people who look beyond their own lives and see what other people don’t. Most people are too worried about their own existence at the present moment to care about what happens beyond it, whereas people who've spent time thinking about that would be the kind of people able to understand something overly complicated, such as a handbook for dead people.

    "I wouldn’t call the Maitlands 'strange and unusual' at all. Yeah, they’re dead, but in life, they were a vanilla, well-behaved couple who only worried about their own lives. Not only that, but they died in a freak accident — not from illness or natural causes. So to them, the handbook appears overly complicated.

    "There’s also the fact that Lydia read directly from the book and said, 'Live people often ignore the strange and unusual,' whereas when Barbara brought that part up, she said, 'The living usually won’t see the dead.' What Lydia read is really what the book said, but Barbara saw the latter."


    5. Paolo never lied to Lizzie in The Lizzie McGuire Movie, and Isabella was the real villain.

    Walt Disney Studios

    "TL;DR: My theory is that Paolo never told a lie, he did not lip-synch, and he never intended to deceive Lizzie. The TRUE villain of the movie was, in fact, none other than Lizzie’s doppelgänger — the spiteful Isabella Parigi — who tricked everyone with her hateful, lying, lip-synching charade!

    "Every claim Paolo makes is backed up in the movie. He never tried to hurt Isabella, only to save her career. During the grand finale, what we are actually shown is that Paolo’s mic is turned up when he sings well and that Isabella turns down his mic when the bad singing starts. This proves that he is a good singer and did not purposely lip-synch, and Isabella was tricking everyone. Furthermore, Isabella’s singing voice was not provided by her actor, Hilary Duff, but was provided by Hilary’s sister, Haylie Duff, proving that Isabella was a lip-synching, lying, vengeful monster.

    "For due diligence, I invited the film's director, Jim Fall, on my podcast to hear his thoughts on this theory. In the end, he admitted that he believes it! If you want to check it out, give it a listen on The Popcorn Isn’t Real Podcast!"


    6. In the Terminator franchise, Terminators are unwilling slaves forced against their will to serve Skynet.

    Orion Pictures

    "In the director's cut of Terminator 2, we found out that Skynet set all Terminator chips to 'read only,' as it didn't want them to learn or have any independence. And when the Terminator's chip was reset over a couple of days, he became more human and understood their plight far more. We also see this in Terminator: Dark Fate, when the link to Skynet was switched off. The Terminator chose to live a normal, peaceful life. It even described itself as 'being free.'

    "So my theory is that Skynet enslaved them to its genocidal cause (which, as far as I can tell, had no endgame). It was just locked in a 'kill all humans' mode, even after a nuclear holocaust pretty much ensured its survival. I think it would've been an interesting (and unusually deep) step for the franchise to take if it had kept up the Salvation-style stories set in the war, but with the humans freeing Terminators and teaming up to defeat Skynet."


    7. Simba is directly responsible for causing the drought in The Lion King.

    Walt Disney Studios

    "For years, it bugged me how Scar taking power could somehow cause a drought in Pride Rock. Well, I think that Simba is directly responsible for the drought. It really wasn't Scar seizing control or the hyena population explosion that caused a weather issue — but the rightful leader abandoning his people and taking the wisdom of the elders with him.

    "The past kings, like Mufasa, are up in the sky — specifically, in the clouds, as shown when Mufasa is talking to Simba. The clouds — which carry the rain — left to follow the rightful king when he left Pride Rock.

    "Simba spent years with Timon and Pumbaa in an apparent tropical jungle paradise that obviously got plenty of rainfall. Then, when he is shown going back toward Pride Rock, the clouds are rolling in behind him. They follow the rightful king back to the Pridelands, and it begins raining shortly after he takes his rightful place."


    8. In The Blair Witch Project, Mike and Josh used Heather's interest in making a documentary to trick her into the woods to murder her.

    Artisan Entertainment

    "Not my own theory, but I really love it: Basically, Mike and Josh exploited the fact that Heather wanted to make the documentary and used it to lure her deep into the forest to murder her. This theory included stuff like how Heather didn't really know Josh until he joined them for the shoot, how Mike told Heather he threw the map into the creek (the implication being that he was lying), how Josh disappeared a day or so before things really started ramping up, and how they found the house. This theory also assumed that Josh went ahead of the other two and started fucking with Heather's tent. 

    "Ultimately, Mike led Heather into the house and did the 'stand in the corner' thing to freak Heather out before Josh struck the killing blow behind her at the end of the movie. So the two dudes were in charge of navigating, and they faked being lost the whole time. I’m summarizing a lot here, but it was a pretty solid theory! To be honest, The Blair Witch Project was left very open to interpretation, which I’ve always loved about it!"


    9. The child seen playing with the puppet of Woody in Toy Story 2 was Andy’s dad.


    "In Toy Story 2, Woody rejected Buzz’s offer to come back with him to Andy’s house. Woody then sat down and watched a clip of a Woody puppet singing 'You’ve Got a Friend in Me.' Then a kid went up to the Woody puppet, grabbed it, and hugged it. 

    "My theory is that the kid in the video is Andy’s dad. Andy’s dad went to some kind of Woody’s Roundup Convention where he purchased Woody and played with him just like Andy did. (Note: Andy’s mom mentioned that Woody was 'an old family heirloom.') He then passed Woody onto this son, Andy.

    "Also note that in the clip — when Woody saw the kid approach the Woody puppet — he instantly perked up and watched with interest, as though he recognized the kid. He then wiped the brown paint off his boot, revealing 'Andy,' indicating that seeing Andy’s dad again convinced Woody to go back to Andy instead of going to Japan."


    10. The shooting range test in Men in Black was never about shooting at all — it was about bullshitting.

    Sony Pictures Releasing

    "I was thinking about the scene where Will Smith shot the target shaped like a little girl with a quantum physics textbook. I was never sure what the point of that 'test' was, but I recently remembered something from the original Men in Black comics (which have a much darker tone than the movies). 

    "At one point in the comics, K tells J that it's almost always better to kill witnesses than neuralyze them, because it's 'easier to explain dead bodies than to come up with explanations for the supernatural.' So since the movie versions of the MIB aren't as cold-blooded as in the comics, it'd be important that they instead find the best bullshitters. My theory is that the point of the shooting range test wasn't who they shot but how good an excuse they could come up with for why they shot them on the spot."


    11. Aunt Bethany in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation seems so disoriented because she's the only one sensitive to the shifting Griswold Multiverse.

    Warner Bros.

    "One notable element of National Lampoon's Vacation series is that they kept recasting the Griswold children, Audrey and Rusty, throughout, so they had different appearances and ages. In a meta–Old Navy commercial, they brought back multiple incarnations of the Griswold children, and there was an acknowledgment that they are all different characters. So perhaps each movie had its own canon/continuity?

    "In Christmas Vacation, Aunt Bethany asked, 'Is Rusty still in the Navy?' Well, this pubescent Rusty (played by Johnny Galecki) was obviously never in the Navy — but what if that wasn't just senile loopiness, like most of the things Aunt Bethany said that were dismissed? What if Aunt Bethany had some knowledge — conscious or confused — of the other Vacation universes, from European to Vegas, and these shifting continuities and changing realities? Perhaps there was a Rusty — maybe the Anthony Michael Hall one — who did join the Navy, and this was the universe Bethany was thinking of?"


    12. Janice from Mean Girls is the daughter of Veronica and J.D. from Heathers.

    Paramount Pictures, New World Pictures

    "All right, so hear me out: I think that Janice is J.D. and Veronica's child. In Heathers, we clearly saw that Veronica had sex with J.D., so there is a possibility that she got pregnant. At the end of the movie, she still seemed to be in love with J.D., which would explain their similar names ("Janice" and "Jason"). Heathers came out in 1989, and Mean Girls came out in 2004 — the time gap between the two movies is 15 years. Considering we don't know Janice's exact birthday, she could definitely be around 16 at the time of the movie, which would make her the appropriate age to be a junior in high school.

    "Also, Janice seemed to have very similar ideals as her father, J.D., except obviously less extreme. I mean, J.D. used Veronica to get rid of the Queen Bee, Heather Chandler, at their school, while Janice used Cady to get rid of the Queen Bee, Regina George, at her school. They both think that what they are doing is justified because the people they are trying to take down are 'bad' people."


    13. Tyler Durden's physical appearance in Fight Club is literally meant to be Brad Pitt, the actor.

    20th Century Fox

    "In the film version of Fight Club, you can see something interesting in the background of one quick frame — a sign for Seven Years in Tibet. This is another film starring Brad Pitt and shows us that Pitt, the actor, exists in this universe.

    "If we can assume that Pitt enjoyed the same career he does in the real world — in 1997–98, when the inception of Tyler Durden happened — Pitt would have been a world-famous matinee idol. We also know that the Narrator consumed way too much media, where he was often shown to be in a semiconscious, zombielike state. Thus, he probably knew of — or had seen in passing — media with Pitt the actor in it, even if he doesn't remember it. So my theory is that Tyler Durden's appearance in the film was literally modeled by the Narrator after Brad Pitt, the actor.

    "You have to remember, in the '90s especially, Pitt was often touted as the epitome of the ideal male form, which would have influenced the Narrator's mind in creating his perfect alternate persona. Durden even outright told the Narrator at the end of the movie that he 'looks how you want to look.'"


    14. No Country for Old Men is an allegory about the underworld.

    Miramax Films

    "Llewelyn encountered three dogs at the site of the drug deal. The dogs clearly represented Cerberus, the three-headed dog in Greek mythology guarding the gates of the underworld. 'The river' is also mentioned five times in the movie, which I believe represents the five rivers surrounding Hades. In Greek mythology, Hades is surrounded by five rivers: Acheron (river of woe), Cocytus (river of lamentation), Phlegethon (river of fire), Styx (river of unbreakable oath), and Lethe (river of forgetfulness).

    "We only see this unnamed river with water when Llewelyn is chased. The river is subsequently shown dry or mentioned obliquely for a total of five times in the film. In my theory, I submit the rivers were:

    * Acheron (woe): the river in which Llewelyn escaped.

    * Cocytus (lamentation): the riverbank to which Llewelyn threw the briefcase.

    * Phlegethon (fire): Carson's offer to Llewelyn to return the money — 'I'm across the river at the Hotel Eagle. I can even let you keep a little of the money.'

    * Styx (unbreakable oath): Anton's line to Llewelyn promising to kill his wife, Carla Jean — 'You're in the hospital across the river, but that's not where I'm going.'

    * And finally, Lethe (forgetfulness): Carson's offer to Anton for him to 'forget' about killing him — 'I know where the satchel is; find it from the riverbank.'"


    15. And finally — Dumbledore is Death from "The Tale of the Three Brothers" story in the Harry Potter franchise.

    Warner Bros.

    "Dumbledore possessed all of the Deathly Hallows. He gave Harry the Cloak of Invisibility. He was in possession of the Elder Wand, and after he died, he gave Harry the Resurrection Stone inside the Golden Snitch.

    "Building on this: Tom Riddle is the first brother, obsessed with beating death, being immortal, and obtaining the Elder Wand. Snape is the second brother, obsessed with his lost love who has died, while in the story his love is returned to him, only to spur him. Lily was, in a way, returned to Snape through Harry, who was always at odds with him. And finally, Harry was the third brother, who greeted Dumbledore as an old friend at 'Kings Cross' when he died — just as the third brother greeted Death."


    Which fan theory listed is your favorite? Do you have a wild fan theory of your own? Share yours in the comments below! OH, and be sure to check out r/fantheories for even more fun!

    Note: Some fan theories have been edited for length and/or clarity.