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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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Universal Pictures Home Entertainment
The 10 Wildest Movie Plot Twists
Laura Harring in Mulholland Drive (2001)
Laura Harring in Mulholland Drive (2001)
Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

An ending often makes or breaks a movie. There’s nothing quite as satisfying as having the rug pulled out from under you, particularly in a thriller. But too many flicks that try to shock can’t stick the landing—they’re outlandish and illogical, or signal where the plot is headed. Not all of these films are entirely successful, but they have one important attribute in common: From the classic to the cultishly beloved, they involve hard-to-predict twists that really do blow viewers’ minds, then linger there for days, if not life. (Warning: Massive spoilers below.)

1. PSYCHO (1960)

Alfred Hitchcock often constructed his movies like neat games that manipulated the audience. The Master of Suspense delved headfirst into horror with Psycho, which follows a secretary (Janet Leigh) who sneaks off with $40,000 and hides in a motel. The ensuing jolt depends on Leigh’s fame at the time: No one expected the ostensible star and protagonist to die in a gory (for the time) shower butchering only a third of the way into the running time. Hitchcock outdid that feat with the last-act revelation that Anthony Perkins’s supremely creepy Norman Bates is embodying his dead mother.

2. PLANET OF THE APES (1968)

No, not the botched Tim Burton remake that tweaked the original movie’s famous reveal in a way that left everyone scratching their heads. The Charlton Heston-starring sci-fi gem continues to stupefy anyone who comes into its orbit. Heston, of course, plays an astronaut who travels to a strange land where advanced apes lord over human slaves. It becomes clear once he finds the decrepit remains of the Statue of Liberty that he’s in fact on a future Earth. The anti-violence message, especially during the political tumult of 1968, shook people up as much as the time warp.

3. DEEP RED (1975)

It’s not rare for a horror movie to flip the script when it comes to unmasking its killer, but it’s much rarer that such a film causes a viewer to question their own perception of the world around them. Such is the case for Deep Red, Italian director Dario Argento’s (Suspiria) slasher masterpiece. A pianist living in Rome (David Hemmings) comes upon the murder of a woman in her apartment and teams up with a female reporter to find the person responsible. Argento’s whodunit is filled to the brim with gorgeous photography, ghastly sights, and delirious twists. But best of all is the final sequence, in which the pianist retraces his steps to discover that the killer had been hiding in plain sight all along. Rewind to the beginning and you’ll discover that you caught an unknowing glimpse, too.

4. SLEEPAWAY CAMP (1983)

Sleepaway Camp is notorious among horror fans for a number of reasons: the bizarre, stilted acting and dialogue; hilariously amateurish special effects; and ‘80s-to-their-core fashions. But it’s best known for the mind-bending ending, which—full disclosure—reads as possibly transphobic today, though it’s really hard to say what writer-director Robert Hiltzik had in mind. Years after a boating accident that leaves one of two siblings dead, Angela is raised by her aunt and sent to a summer camp with her cousin, where a killer wreaks havoc. In the lurid climax, we see that moody Angela is not only the murderer—she’s actually a boy. Her aunt, who always wanted a daughter, raised her as if she were her late brother. The final animalistic shot prompts as many gasps as cackles.

5. THE USUAL SUSPECTS (1995)

The Usual Suspects has left everyone who watches it breathless by the time they get to the fakeout conclusion. Roger "Verbal" Kint (Kevin Spacey), a criminal with cerebral palsy, regales an interrogator in the stories of his exploits with a band of fellow crooks, seen in flashback. Hovering over this is the mysterious villainous figure Keyser Söze. It’s not until Verbal leaves and jumps into a car that customs agent David Kujan realizes that the man fabricated details, tricking the law and the viewer into his fake reality, and is in fact the fabled Söze.

6. PRIMAL FEAR (1996)

No courtroom movie can surpass Primal Fear’s discombobulating effect. Richard Gere’s defense attorney becomes strongly convinced that his altar boy client Aaron (Edward Norton) didn’t commit the murder of an archbishop with which he’s charged. The meek, stuttering Aaron has sudden violent outbursts in which he becomes "Roy" and is diagnosed with dissociative identity disorder, leading to a not guilty ruling. Gere’s lawyer visits Aaron about the news, and as he’s leaving, a wonderfully maniacal Norton reveals that he faked the multiple personalities.

7. FIGHT CLUB (1999)

Edward Norton is no stranger to taking on extremely disparate personalities in his roles, from Primal Fear to American History X. The unassuming actor can quickly turn vicious, which led to ideal casting for Fight Club, director David Fincher’s adaptation of the Chuck Palahniuk novel. Fincher cleverly keeps the audience in the dark about the connections between Norton’s timid, unnamed narrator and Brad Pitt’s hunky, aggressive Tyler Durden. After the two start the titular bruising group, the plot significantly increases the stakes, with the club turning into a sort of anarchist terrorist organization. The narrator eventually comes to grips with the fact that he is Tyler and has caused all the destruction around him.

8. THE SIXTH SENSE (1999)

Early in his career, M. Night Shyamalan was frequently (perhaps a little too frequently) compared to Hitchcock for his ability to ratchet up tension while misdirecting his audience. He hasn’t always earned stellar reviews since, but The Sixth Sense remains deservedly legendary for its final twist. At the end of the ghost story, in which little Haley Joel Osment can see dead people, it turns out that the psychologist (Bruce Willis) who’s been working with the boy is no longer living himself, the result of a gunshot wound witnessed in the opening sequence.

9. THE OTHERS (2001)

The Sixth Sense’s climax was spooky, but not nearly as unnerving as Nicole Kidman’s similarly themed ghost movie The Others, released just a couple years later. Kidman gives a superb performance in the elegantly styled film from the Spanish writer-director Alejandro Amenábar, playing a mother in a country house after World War II protecting her photosensitive children from light and, eventually, dead spirits occupying the place. Only by the end does it become clear that she’s in denial about the fact that she’s a ghost, having killed her children in a psychotic break before committing suicide. It’s a bleak capper to a genuinely haunting yarn.

10. MULHOLLAND DRIVE (2001)

David Lynch’s surrealist movies may follow dream logic, but that doesn’t mean their plots can’t be readily discerned. Mulholland Drive is his most striking work precisely because, in spite of its more wacko moments, it adds up to a coherent, tragic story. The mystery starts innocently enough with the dark-haired Rita (Laura Elena Harring) waking up with amnesia from a car accident in Los Angeles and piecing together her identity alongside the plucky aspiring actress Betty (Naomi Watts). It takes a blue box to unlock the secret that Betty is in fact Diane, who is in love with and envious of Camilla (also played by Harring) and has concocted a fantasy version of their lives. The real Diane arranges for Camilla to be killed, leading to her intense guilt and suicide. Only Lynch can go from Nancy Drew to nihilism so swiftly and deftly.

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Jesse Grant, Getty Images for AMC
5 Bizarre Comic-Con News Stories from Years Past
Jesse Grant, Getty Images for AMC
Jesse Grant, Getty Images for AMC

At its best, San Diego Comic-Con is a friendly place where like-minded people can celebrate their pop culture obsessions, and each other. And no one can make fun of you, no matter how lazy your cosplaying might be. You might think that at its worst, it’s just a series of long lines of costumed fans and small stores crammed into a convention center. But sometimes, throwing together 100,000-plus people from around the world in what feels like a carnival-type atmosphere where anything goes can have less than stellar results. Here are some highlights from past Comic-Con-tastrophes.

1. MAN IN HARRY POTTER T-SHIRT STABS ANOTHER MAN IN THE FACE—WITH A PEN

In 2010, two men waiting for a Comic-Con screening of the Seth Rogen alien comedy Paul got into a very adult argument about whether one of them was sitting too close to the other. Unable to come to a satisfactory conclusion with words, one man stabbed the other in the face with a pen. According to CNN, the attacker was led away wearing handcuffs and a Harry Potter T-shirt. In the aftermath, some Comic-Con attendees dealt with the attack in an oddly fitting way: They cosplayed as the victim, with pens protruding from bloody eye sockets.

2. MEMORABILIA THIEVES INVADE NEW YORK

Since its founding in 2006, New York Comic Con has attracted a few sticky-fingered attendees. In 2010, a man stole several rare comics from vendor Matt Nelson, co-founder of Texas’s Worldwide Comics. Just one of those, Whiz Comics No. 1, was worth $11,000, according to the New York Post. A few years later, in 2014, someone stole a $2000 “Dunny” action figure, which artist Jon-Paul Kaiser had painted during the event for Clutter magazine. And those are just the incidents that involved police; lower-scale cases of toys and comics disappearing from booths are an increasingly frustrating epidemic, according to some. “Comic Con theft is an issue we all sort of ignore,” collector Tracy Isenhour wrote on the blog of his company, Needless Essentials, in 2015. “I am here to tell you no more. It’s time for this garbage to stop."

3. CATWOMAN SAVES THE DAY


John Sciulli/Getty Images for Xbox

Adrianne Curry, winner of the first cycle of America’s Next Top Model, has made a career of chasing viral fame. Ironically, it was at Comic-Con in 2014 that Curry did something truly worthy of attention—though there wasn’t a camera in sight. Dressed as Catwoman, she was posing with fans alongside her friend Alicia Marie, who was dressed as Tigra. According to a Facebook post Marie wrote at the time, a fan tried to shove his hands into her bikini bottoms. She screamed, the man ran off, and Curry jumped to action. She “literally took off after dude WITH her Catwoman whip and chased him down, beat his a**,” Marie wrote. “Punched him across the face with the butt of her whip—he had zombie blood on his face—got on her costume.”

4. MAN POSES AS FUGITIVE-SEEKING INVESTIGATOR TO GET INTO VIP ROOM

The lines at Comic-Con are legendary, so one Utah man came up with a novel way to try and skip them altogether. In 2015, Jonathon M. Wall tried to get into Salt Lake Comic Con’s exclusive VIP enclave (normally a $10,000 ticket) by claiming he was an agent with the Air Force Office of Special Investigations, and needed to get into the VIP room “to catch a fugitive,” according to The San Diego Union Tribune. Not only does that story not even come close to making sense, it also adds up to impersonating a federal agent, a crime to which Wall pleaded guilty in April of 2016 and which carried a sentence of up to three years in prison and a $250,000 fine. Just a few months later, prosecutors announced that they were planning to reduce his crime from a felony to a misdemeanor.

5. MAN WALKS 645 MILES TO COMIC-CON, DRESSED AS A STORMTROOPER, TO HONOR HIS LATE WIFE


Michael Buckner/Getty Images for Disney

In 2015, Kevin Doyle walked 645 miles along the California coast to honor his late wife, Eileen. Doyle had met Eileen relatively late in life, when he was in his 50s, and they bonded over their shared love of Star Wars (he even proposed to her while dressed as Darth Vader). However, she died of cancer barely a year after they were married. Adrift and lonely, Doyle decided to honor her memory and their love of Star Wars by walking to Comic-Con—from San Francisco. “I feel like I’m so much better in the healing process than if I’d stayed home,” he told The San Diego Union Tribune.

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