The Bizarre Fan Theories of the Film World


Is Sean Connery actually James Bond in Michael Bay’s The Rock? What was in that suitcase in Pulp Fiction?

Along with devoted fanbases, some films have found themselves an avid squad of theorists who’ve posited some crazy ideas about movies ranging from The Flintstones to Star Wars: Episode I – The Phantom Menace. 

Could some of these bizarre fan theories be true? See for yourself below.


The Briefcase in Pulp Fiction
Almost everyone who saw Pulp Fiction in theaters talked about the film’s one enduring mystery: “What was the deal with that briefcase?” The most prevalent theory was that it somehow contained Marcellus Wallace’s soul, and that Jules and Vincent were tasked with getting it back from thieving subordinates. One key factor supporting this is the long close-up on the back of Wallace’s head when we first meet him – he’d placed a band-aid there. Lucifer, a popular, unrelated theory goes, steals your soul from the back of the head.

While this is an entirely plausible explanation, director Quentin Tarantino has definitively stated that audiences are wrong about what’s in the briefcase – although he hasn’t said what is in there either.

Scale: 3 tinfoil hats (out of 10)



James Bond Undercover (The Rock)
One popular idea states that Sean Connery’s character in The Rock is actually working under a code name… and is really James Bond, which, you know, is also a code name. That would explain why he’s able to escape from Alcatraz (apparently Bond was committing espionage.) Supposedly, he absconded to the U.K., just in time to play out Connery’s career as Bond, beginning with 1962’s Dr. No and ending with Diamonds Are Forever nine years later. The strongest evidence for this theory is, as Yahoo! U.K. points out, the fact that Connery has some similar lines of dialogue in Diamonds and The Rock.

British agents don’t commit espionage on American soil, since we’re allies and often share information, so that pretty much takes care of that theory before we even get started.

Scale: 7 tinfoil hats



Lou In Purgatory (Hot Tub Time Machine)
Did Rob Corddry’s character actually succeed in killing himself? Lou attempts suicide early in the film, fails, and supposedly returns to the past – but in this theory, he’s returned to the past as a kind of purgatory, where he will have to fix his past mistakes, as Crave Online suggests.

We’re probably giving this inherently silly film too much credit instead of just enjoying it. After all, if this theory were true, how is there a sequel?

Scale: 8 tinfoil hats



Darth Jar Jar (The Phantom Menace)
In 2015, Reddit user Lumpawarroo introduced a theory to the Star Wars subreddit that freaked people the hell out.

“Jar Jar Binks has undoubtedly become the face of everything that is “wrong” with the prequels- he was too silly, too unbelievable, seemingly pointless. If you are able to somehow change the nature of Jar Jar from embarrassing idiot to jaw-dropping villain, suddenly the entire prequel trilogy must be seen in a new light, because it becomes the setup for the most astounding reveal in film history: Jar Jar Binks is Supreme Leader Snoke!”

The redditor tried to back up his assertions by suggesting Jar Jar was some sort of spy in the prequels – working the long con for Emperor Palpatine and actually a great warrior. It’s too ridiculous – even for the man who came up with the character of Jar Jar Binks – to imagine that every single misstep of Jar Jar’s was a big setup in the middle of so much exposition, lunk-headed dialogue and obvious character arcs like that of Anakin Skywalker’s.

Scale: 10 tinfoil hats



Totoro = Death (My Neighbor Totoro)
The two main characters in the 1988 Japanime classic are sisters who are befriended by a friendly “spirit” shortly after WWII. The theory goes that the spirit, Totoro, is an angel of death, ushering the sisters into the afterlife, and that the girls are in fact both dead – at least by the end of the film, at which point they appear to no longer cast earthly shadows. It’s an entirely plausible bit of storytelling – after all, it fits the narrative perfectly and explains why the film is set after the devastation of World War II.

Unfortunately, one of the producers put the kibosh on this idea back in 2015, calling it “absolutely not true,” according to Rocket News in Japan.

Scale: 4 tinfoil hats



The Flintstones Movie Timeline
What if The Flintstones (and accompanying live-action adaptation starring  John Goodman and Halle Berry) was actually set in a wasteland future and not the distant Stone Age? (It would explain, as The Nerdist and Cracked both pointed out, why The Jetsons could air right after it and be set in a city in the clouds, where the rich live carefree lives designed to disguise the cesspool of a culture below.)

It’s an amusing theory, but the characters themselves never even remotely suggest this as a possibility. There’s no hint that pedal cars and the rest aren’t part of anything but a parody of our present.

Scale: 9 tinfoil hats



Jack Is A Figment of Rose’s Imagination (Titanic)
Did Jack save Rose from jumping overboard… because Rose conveniently made him up? His being her imaginary friend gets her out of an (in)convenient marriage, helps her handle the sinking of the Titanic and gives her the strength to survive in the frigid waters. Of course, other people see Jack on board… don’t they?

Even crazier: Jack is a time traveler, suggests Bustle.

Scale: 6 tinfoil hats



The Great Cover-Up (Jaws)
This one is a great combination of “totally plausible in real life” and “going way overboard with the conspiracy element.” The theory goes that Amity, the fictional Massachusetts town clearly standing in for Martha’s Vineyard, has seen shark attacks before (backed up by the throwaway line “it’s happened before” after the plot gets underway), and that they weren’t as deadly or the need for tourist dollars was so overpowering, they were successfully hushed up as part of a vast conspiracy of silence.

It makes no sense that the new police chief wouldn’t know or figure this out on his own, given the number of complicit townspeople he’d have to come across, but as a concept that isn’t actually explored in the movie, it’s true-to-life enough that it could’ve fit neatly into the film… if there had only been mention of it in the script.

Scale: 3 tinfoil hats



Activating Government Agents (The Dark Knight Rises)
We’re not talking about the Aurora shootings – those conspiracy theories are surprisingly unrelated – but one Easter egg apparently contained in the movie itself. During a scene in which Commissioner Gordon tries to play catch-up on the growing Bane crisis, there’s an insert shot of a map and other gear on a table – the map seems to be open to a section of Gotham called “Sandy Hook.” Did this bit of subliminal messaging trigger the Sandy Hook school shooting? Well, besides the fact that no evidence exists of Adam Lanza being triggered by the movie, it wasn’t clearly anyone, director Christopher Nolan included, even noticed the “Sandy Hook” label on the map until the internet brought it up years later.

Scale: 9 tinfoil hats



Sub-Matrix (The Matrix)
The Matrix-within-a-matrix fan theory is so popular, it even has its own acronym: MIAM. If that were true, it would mean the entire trilogy is a victim of “it was all just a dream storytelling,” but it would make sense given the tone, message and plot of The Matrix series – especially the first film. Dissected, it really doesn’t seem that crazy that a world in which people are living in a simulation inside the “real world” would itself be a computer simulation.

You know… like an inception of inception of Inception.

Scale: 1 tinfoil hat



Bill Isn’t Dead (Kill Bill Vol. 2)
Here’s a longstanding hypothesis about another Tarantino movie, one that is as wild as it gets. The theory is simple: Beatrix doesn’t kill Bill – and Bill doesn’t die – in the second of the two Kill Bill films. Basically, the suggestion is that since Beatrix confirms that she never learned the 5-Point Palm Exploding Heart Technique, but is then shown using it to “kill” Bill, Bill can’t actually be dead.

Man, haven’t you people heard of character arcs?

(Also, this is a bit like saying Orson Welles doesn’t die in the opening scene from Citizen Kane, since that entire movie is dependent on it.)

Scale: 9 tinfoil hats


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