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9 Outrageous Movie Theories You Didn’t See Coming

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There are a lot of fan theories out there that explain questionable character motivations or gaping plot holes in movies. While some theories are too outlandish to believe, others seem fairly reasonable—at least if you use your imagination. We’ve shared some outrageous movie theories in the past (and then a few more). Here are nine more of them.

1. THE THEORY: DOROTHY IS THE WICKED WITCH OF THE EAST

In The Wizard of Oz, Dorothy wakes up from a dream, but is convinced Oz is a real place. She explains how her aunt’s farmhands were also there, but in the form of The Scarecrow, The Tin Man, and The Cowardly Lion. There are alternative versions of Professor Marvel and Miss Gulch in Oz, too—as The Wizard of Oz and The Wicked Witch of the West, respectively. There is, however, no alternative version of Dorothy; but there’s a fan theory that suggests she’s The Wicked Witch of the East.

When Dorothy arrives in Oz, her house lands on top of the Wicked Witch of the East and crushes her under its weight, so we never see her face. We only see her Ruby Slippers, which fit perfectly on Dorothy’s feet. Dorothy accidently kills the Wicked Witch of the East and takes her place in Oz.

2. THE THEORY: JAR JAR BINKS IS A SITH LORD

Jar Jar Binks is probably the most hated character in the entire Star Wars universe. It seems that George Lucas had bigger plans for the Gungan: at one time, the filmmaker said that Jar Jar was a key to the Star Wars story, yet his appearances in the prequel trilogy were dramatically reduced after The Phantom Menace, due to fan backlash. Some fans believe that Lucas’ plan was to turn Jar Jar into an evil Sith Lord.

At the end of The Phantom Menace, Jar Jar seems to be stumbling around, as he inadvertently takes out a number of droid troopers. Though most viewers attributed it to dumb luck, if you look closely, his fighting style resembles a style of martial arts known as “drunken master.

Jar Jar also seems to be secretly using the Jedi mind trick to influence the characters around him during key story points throughout the prequel trilogy. Jar Jar is even the lead senator who calls for emergency and absolute power to be transferred to Emperor Palpatine in Attack of the Clones, which leads to the Dark Lord’s rise and ultimate control of the Galactic Republic.

3. THE THEORY: LOKI LOST TO THE AVENGERS ON PURPOSE

Loki is much smarter than anyone in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The god of mischief has repeatedly established that he’s a master manipulator. There’s a fan theory that suggests that Loki lost to The Avengers on purpose, as part of his bigger plan to rule Asgard and bring the blue Mind Stone to Thanos.

At the end of Thor, Loki falls into deep space after battling his brother on Bifröst Bridge. We soon find out that he made a deal with Thanos to get the Tesseract and rule Earth—but Loki wants to rule Asgard. Once the Avengers “defeat” him, he’s returned to Asgard with the Tesseract. Loki later makes a play for the throne and by the end of Thor: The Dark World, he is the ruler of the realm after he disguises himself as his father, Odin.

As for Thanos: the Infinity Gauntlet is on Asgard, in Odin’s throne room, and now so is one of the Infinity Stones. All thanks to “losing” to the Avengers.

4. THE THEORY: THE TERMINATOR’S SKYNET KEEPS HUMANS ALIVE TO GIVE ITSELF A PURPOSE

In the Terminator film series, Skynet is an all-powerful supercomputer that sets off every nuclear bomb in the world to kill off a majority of humanity in an event known as “Judgment Day.” However, a small handful of humans survive to fight against Skynet to regain control of the planet. To stop the human resistance, Skynet sends a Terminator back in time to kill the mother of their future leader—only to inadvertently create its human resistance leader, John Connor, when Sarah Connor gets pregnant from her time traveling protector Kyle Reese in a time paradox.

Over the course of the series, Skynet and the many Terminators they send back in time fail again and again because, as one theory suggests, the all-powerful supercomputer allows it to happen. Skynet knows if it completely wipes out humanity then it would have no purpose to exist. Skynet needs the humans to fight back, so it can stay alive and be of use.

5. THE THEORY: SID SAVES ALL THE TOYS IN TOY STORY

Sid from the original Toy Story is often seen as the villain, when he’s actually just a little boy with an active imagination. At the end of Toy Story, Woody comes alive in front of Sid to show him that toys were meant to be played with nicely, which scares the little boy. We don’t see Sid again until the end of Toy Story 3, where he’s all grown up and working as a garbage collector. While that might not be seen as a glamorous job, a theory suggests that Sid chose that profession in order to save discarded and forgotten toys.

As Reddit user londongarbageman states, "Now, let's imagine you're a guy who just learned that inanimate objects are alive. What job would you get?" he asked. "Sid isn't f*cked up and working a crappy job. He's trying to save them. He is trying to save the toys. He picked the one kind of job where you can rescue those things. And Sid is uniquely equipped to fix those toys that he finds that are broken. He's pretty damn creative."

6. THE THEORY: AQUAMAN IS IN MAN OF STEEL

In Man of Steel, Clark Kent saves a group of oil workers on a fiery oil rig in the middle of the ocean. Once he gets all the men to safety, the rig explodes and Clark Kent is submerged underwater. There are many movie theorists who believe that Aquaman saved Kent’s life by sending a herd of humpback whales to get him to safety on land.

7. THE THEORY: NEO IS NOT "THE ONE" IN THE MATRIX

As one fan theory goes, Neo is not “The One” in The Matrix film trilogy, but rather it’s Agent Smith. Here’s why: The Oracle describes “The One” as a man born inside the Matrix, while in the sequel, the Architect states that their job is to return to the Source and reload the Matrix. Neo was born an incubator in the real world, while Agent Smith was actually born in the Matrix.

At the end of The Matrix trilogy, Neo and Agent Smith fuse together, while Neo is still plugged in from the Source in the real world. However, Agent Smith is actually the one who resets the Matrix, while Neo brings him the Source.

8. THE THEORY: JURASSIC WORLD'S OWEN GRADY IS THE YOUNG VOLUNTEER FROM JURASSIC PARK

During the dinosaur dig in Jurassic Park, when Dr. Alan Grant describes how the freshly unearthed dinosaur might be more closely related to a bird than a reptile or lizard, a young boy comments that a Velociraptor “doesn’t look very scary” and looks “more like a six-foot turkey.” Grant explains to the boy that Velociraptors are very dangerous and tells him to “show a little respect.” At the end of the scene, the boy is visibly shaken.

A fan theory posits that young boy grew up to be Raptor trainer Owen Grady, Chris Pratt's character in Jurassic World, which takes place 22 years after the events of the original movie, after Dr. Grant changed his life and view on dinosaurs. In fact, Grady describes his relationship with the Raptors as “a relationship based on respect.”

9. THE THEORY: JAKE SULLY WAS BRAINWASHED IN AVATAR

In Avatar, Jake Sully is a former Marine who volunteers for an experiment to become a member of the Na’vi to help colonize the planet of Pandora. Throughout the film, he’s a good soldier who follows orders until he falls in love with Na’vi princess Neytiri and later helps her alien race regain control of their home planet.

There’s a fan theory that says that Jake Sully didn’t actually fall in love with Neytiri; rather, he was brainwashed into submission after connecting into Eywa. Sully becomes just like the dragon-like Mountain banshees, a species that hates the Na’vi but are under the submission of their warriors. The Na’vi became the dominant species on Pandora after they learned how to manipulate the planet through neural queue contact.

All images via YouTube.

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The 10 Best Sci-Fi Movies on Netflix Right Now
Disney/Marvel
Disney/Marvel

If you’re in the mood for some speculative fiction and your pile of Arthur C. Clarke books has been exhausted, you could do worse than to tune in to Netflix. The streaming service is constantly acquiring new films in the sci-fi and fantasy genres that should satisfy most fans of alternative futures. Here are five of the best sci-fi movies on Netflix right now.

1. CUBE (1997)

This low-budget independent film may have helped inspire the current "escape room" attraction fad. Six strangers wake up in a strange room that leads only to other rooms—all of them equipped with increasingly sadistic ways of murdering occupants.

2. METROPOLIS (1927)

Inspiring everything from Star Wars to Lady Gaga, Fritz Lang’s silent epic about a revolt among the oppressed people who help power an upper-class city remains just as visually impressive today as it did nearly 100 years ago.

3. TROLL HUNTER (2010)

A Norwegian fairy tale with bite, Troll Hunter follows college-aged filmmakers who convince a bear trapper to take them along on his exploits. But the trapper fails to disclose one crucial detail: He hunts towering, aggressive trolls.

4. NEXT (2007)

Nic Cage stars a a magician who can see a few minutes into the future. He's looking to profit with the skill: the FBI and others are looking to exploit it.

5. THE HOST (2006)

A slow-burn monster movie from South Korea, The Host has plenty of tense scenes coupled with a message about environmental action: The river-dwelling beast who stalks a waterfront town is the product of chemical dumping.  

6. GUARDIANS OF THE GALAXY VOLUME 2 (2017)

Marvel's tale of a misfit band of space jockeys was a surprise hit in 2014. The sequel offers more Groot, more Rocket Raccoon, and the addition of Kurt Russell as a human manifestation of an entire sentient planet.

7. STARDUST (2007)

Director Matthew Vaughn's adaptation of the Neil Gaiman novel features Michelle Pfeiffer and Robert De Niro as supporting players in the tale of a man (a pre-Daredevil Charlie Cox) in search of a fallen star to gift to his love.

8. KING KONG (2005)

Director Peter Jackson (The Lord of the Rings) set his considerable sights on a remake of the 1933 classic, with the title gorilla pestered and exploited by opportunistic humans.

9. DONNIE DARKO (2001)

What will a teenage mope do when a giant rabbit tells him the world is about to end? The answer comes in this critical and cult hit, which drew attention for its moody cinematography and an arresting performance by a then-unknown Jake Gyllenhaal.  

10. ROGUE ONE: A STAR WARS STORY (2016)

Soon we'll have a movie for every single major or minor incident ever depicted in the Star Wars universe. For now, we'll have to settle for this one-off that explains how the Rebel Alliance got their hands on the plans for the Death Star.

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9 False Rumors With Real-Life Consequences
King Louis XV of France
King Louis XV of France
Library and Archives Canada, Wikimedia // Public Domain

Don’t believe everything you read—or everything you hear. Unverified but plausible-sounding rumors have been the basis for violent death and destruction throughout history, whether or not the stories had anything to do with the truth.

In their book A Colorful History of Popular Delusions, Robert Bartholomew and Peter Hassall describe rumors as “stories of perceived importance that lack substantiating evidence.” They also note that the sociologist Tamotsu Shibutani describes rumors as “improvised news,” which tends to spread when the demand for information exceeds supply. Such an information deficit most often occurs during wars and other crises, which might explain why some rumors have had such dramatic results. Here’s a selection of some of the most interesting rumors with real-life results collected in Bartholomew and Hassall’s book.

1. KING LOUIS XV WAS KIDNAPPING CHILDREN.

In 1750, children began disappearing from the streets of Paris. No one seemed to know why, and worried parents began rioting in the streets. In the midst of the panic, a rumor broke out that King Louis XV had become a leper and was kidnapping children so that he could bathe in their blood (at the time, bathing in the blood of children was thought by some to be an effective leprosy cure).

The rumor did have a tiny kernel of truth: Authorities were taking children away, but not to the king’s palace. A recently enacted series of ordinances designed to clear the streets of “undesirables” had led some policemen—who were paid per arrest—to overstep their authority and take any children they found on the streets to houses of detention. Fortunately, most were eventually reunited with their parents, and rumors of the king’s gruesome bathing rituals were put to rest.

2. LONDON WAS GOING TO BE DESTROYED BY AN EARTHQUAKE.

Two small earthquakes struck London at the beginning of 1761, leading to rumors that the city was due for “the big one” on April 5, 1761. Supposedly, a psychic had predicted the catastrophe. Much of the populace grew so panicked that they fled town for the day, with those who couldn’t afford fancier lodgings camping out in the fields. One soldier was so convinced of the impending doom that he ran through the streets shouting news of London’s imminent destruction; sadly, he ended up in an insane asylum a few months later.

3. JEWS WERE POISONING WELLS.

A deep well
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Reports that Jews ritually sacrificed Christian children were not uncommon during the Middle Ages, but things took a particularly terrible turn during the spread of the Black Plague. In the 14th century, thousands of Jews were killed in response to rumors that Satan was protecting them from the plague in exchange for poisoning the wells of Christians. In 1321 in Guienne, France alone, an estimated 5000 Jews were burned alive for supposedly poisoning wells. Other communities expelled the Jews, or burned entire settlements to the ground. Brandenburg, Germany, even passed a law denouncing Jews for poisoning wells—which of course they weren't.

4. BRIGANDS WERE TERRORIZING THE FRENCH COUNTRYSIDE.

In July 1789, amid the widespread fear and instability on the eve of the French revolution, rumors spread that the anti-revolutionary nobility had planted brigands (robbers) to terrorize the peasants and steal their stores of food. Lights from furnaces, bonfires, and even the reflection of the setting sun were sometimes taken to be signs of brigands, with panic as the predictable result. Provincial towns and villages formed militias in response to the rumors, even though, as historian Georges Lefebvre put it, “the populace scared themselves.” In one typical incident, near Troyes on July 24, 1789, a group of brigands were supposedly spotted heading into some woods; an alarm was sounded and 3000 men gave chase. The “brigands” turned out to be a herd of cattle.

5. GERMAN-AMERICANS WERE PLOTTING SNEAK ATTACKS ON CANADA.

Officers of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police marching in a Canada Day parade
iStock

Canada entered World War I in 1914, three years before the United States did. During the gap period, rumors circulated that German-Americans sympathetic to their country of origin were planning surprise attacks on Canada. One of the worst offenders of such rumor-mongering, according to authors Bartholomew and Hassall, was British consul-general Sir Courtenay Bennett, then stationed in New York. In the early months of 1915, Bennett made “several sensational claims about a plan in which as many as 80,000 well-armed, highly trained Germans who had been drilling in Niagara Falls and Buffalo, New York, were planning to invade Canada from northwestern New York state.” Bizarre as it may sound, there was so much anxiety and suspicion during the period that Canadian Prime Minister Sir Robert Borden requested a report on the story, which the Canadian police commissioner determined to be without any foundation whatsoever.

6. THE INDONESIAN GOVERNMENT WAS HUNTING HEADS FOR CONSTRUCTION PROJECTS.

In certain parts of Indonesia, locals reportedly believe—or once did—that large-scale construction projects require human heads to keep the structures from crumbling. In 1937, one island was home to a spate of rumors saying that a tjoelik (government-sanctioned headhunter) was looking for a head to place near a local jetty construction project. Locals reported strange noises and sights, houses pelted with stones, and attacks from tjoelik wielding nooses or cowboy lassos. Similar rumors surfaced in 1979 in Indonesian Borneo, when government agents were supposedly seeking a head for a new bridge project, and in 1981 in Southern Borneo, when the government headhunters supposedly needed heads to stabilize malfunctioning equipment in nearby oil fields. Terrified townspeople began curtailing their activities so as not to be in public any longer than necessary, although the rumors eventually died down.

7. POWERFUL APHRODISIAC GUM WENT ON SALE IN THE MIDDLE EAST.

An assortment of sticks of pink bubble gum
iStock

In the mid-1990s, the Middle East was home to some alarming rumors about aphrodisiacal gum. In 1996 in Mansoura, Egypt, stories began spreading that students at the town’s university had purchased gum deliberately spiked with an aphrodisiac and were having orgies as a result. One local member of parliament said the gum had been distributed by the Israeli government as part of a plot to corrupt Egyptian youth. Mosque loudspeakers began warning people to avoid the gum, which was supposedly sold under the names “Aroma” or “Splay.” Authorities closed down some shops and made arrests, but never did find any tainted gum. Similar rumors cropped up the following year in the Gaza Strip, this time featuring a strawberry gum that turned women into prostitutes—supposedly, the better to convince them to become Shin Bet informants for the Israeli military.

8. SORCERERS WERE PLAGUING INDONESIA.

In the fall of 1998, a sorcerer scare in East Java, Indonesia, resulted in the deaths of several villagers. The country was in crisis, and while protests raged in major cities, some in the rural area of Banyuwangi began agitating for restitution for past wrongs allegedly committed by sorcerers. The head of the local district ordered authorities to move the suspected sorcerers to a safe location, a process that included a check-in at the local police station. Unfortunately, villagers took the suspects’ visits to police stations as proof of their sorcery and began killing them. Anthropologists who studied the incident said the stories of supposed sorcery—making neighbors fall sick, etc.—were based entirely on rumor and gossip.

9. OBAMA WAS INJURED BY A WHITE HOUSE EXPLOSION.

These days, rumors have advanced technology to help them travel. On April 23, 2013, a fake tweet from a hacked Associated Press account claimed that explosions at the White House had injured Barack Obama. That lone tweet caused instability on world financial markets, and the Standard and Poor’s 500 Index lost $130 billion in a short period. Fortunately, it quickly recovered. (Eagle-eyed journalists were suspicious of the tweet from the beginning, since it didn’t follow AP style of referring to the president with his title and capitalizing the word breaking.)

An earlier version of this story ran in 2015.

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