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9 Unbelievable Movie Fan Theories That Turned Out to Be True

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While most movie fan theories are outrageous and unbelievably bizarre, there are a few that have turned out to be true. Here are nine of them.

1. THE GENIE AND THE PEDDLER ARE THE SAME CHARACTER IN ALADDIN.

Since the release of Disney’s Aladdin in 1992, there’s been a very popular fan theory that suggests the Peddler who opens the film and the Genie are the same character. There are a number of clues that support this fan theory, namely that both characters are voiced by the late Robin Williams and are the only ones who address the audience directly. In an interview in 2015, co-directors Ron Clements and John Musker confirmed the truth about the Peddler and the Genie.

“I saw something that speculates that the peddler at the beginning of Aladdin is the Genie. That’s true,” Clements revealed. “That was the whole intention, originally. We even had that at the end of the movie, where he would reveal himself to be the Genie, and of course Robin did the voice of the peddler. Just through story changes and some editing, we lost the reveal at the end. So, that’s an urban legend that actually is true.”

The original workprint ending of Aladdin (above) included an additional scene of the Peddler revealing his true identity.

2. ROBOCOP IS A CHRIST STORY.

After the release of RoboCop in 1987, many fans speculated about the film’s hidden themes of Christianity and Jesus Christ. After all, the sci-fi movie follows a man who is brutally executed, then comes back from the dead to save the city of Detroit from evil. In 2010, director Paul Verhoeven confirmed the RoboCop as Jesus Christ theory.

“The point of RoboCop, of course, is it is a Christ story," Verhoeven said. "It is about a guy who gets crucified in the first 50 minutes, and then is resurrected in the next 50 minutes, and then is like the supercop of the world, but is also a Jesus figure as he walks over water at the end."

3. DUMBLEDORE IS DEATH IN THE HARRY POTTER SERIES.

In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Hermoine tells Harry "The Tale of the Three Brothers," a fable that explains the origins of the Deathly Hallows. The story follows three brothers who come across Death while trying to cross a river. Death felt cheated that the brothers used magic to cross because people would normally drown in the water instead, so he congratulated them for tricking him and gave them gifts for their cunning.

The oldest brother asked for a powerful wand, which he was murdered for once he reached town. The next brother asked for a stone that gave him the ability to bring back his dead lover, whose ghost disappeared as soon as she was brought back from the dead. This led the second brother to kill himself to join her in the afterlife. The youngest brother, who was humble, asked Death for an invisibility cloak to hide from him until it was time to die as an old man. Once it was time, the youngest brother revealed himself to Death and willingly went with him as an old friend.

A theory emerged that the three brothers represented characters in the Harry Potter series: Voldemort is the first brother, who died for power; Severus Snape is the second, who died for his long lost love; and Harry Potter is the third, who "greeted death like an old friend" later in The Deathly Hallows. So who is Death? One fan theory suggested that Dumbledore Is Death, because he ends up meeting Harry in the afterlife and possessed the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone, and the Invisibility Cloak throughout the series.

Eventually, Harry Potter creatorJ.K. Rowling chimed in:

4. DECKARD IS A REPLICANT IN BLADE RUNNER.

For more than 30 years, fans argued about whether Deckard (Harrison Ford) from 1982's Blade Runner was a Replicant or not. There are a number of clues that support both arguments, but director Ridley Scott confirmed the truth for fans: Deckard is, indeed, a Replicant. In the interview above, from 2002, Scott revealed the truth about Deckard’s origins.

5. JESUS CHRIST WAS AN ENGINEER FROM PROMETHEUS.

Ridley Scott’s vision for Prometheus was something much more than a prequel to Alien. Scott conceived the idea that the Engineers created humanity on Earth and when mankind devolved into endless war and chaos, they sent another Engineer, Jesus Christ, to make things right again. However, instead of making a better world, humanity crucified him.

But as it turned out, the fan theory—which started on LiveJournal—is true. Scott just opted to make the Christ analogy more ambiguous than originally conceived because he believed it was “a little too on the nose.”

“If you look at it as an ‘our children are misbehaving down there’ scenario, there are moments where it looks like we've gone out of control, running around with armor and skirts, which of course would be the Roman Empire," Scott told Movies.com. "And they were given a long run. A thousand years before their disintegration actually started to happen. And you can say, 'Let's send down one more of our emissaries to see if he can stop it.' Guess what? They crucified him.”

6. FROZEN AND TARZAN TAKE PLACE IN THE SAME UNIVERSE.

While Rapunzel and Flynn from Disney’s Tangled appear briefly in Frozen, there is a rumor that suggests Disney’s Tarzan is also linked to Anna and Elsa. As the fan theory goes, the princesses' parents were the same two people who were shipwrecked on a jungle island at the beginning of Tarzan. This would make the King of the Jungle the baby brother of Anna and Elsa.

During a Reddit AMA, Frozen co-directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck (Buck also directed Tarzan), jokingly added fuel to the fire and confirmed the fan theory. “According to Chris, they didn’t die on the boat. They got washed up on a shore in a jungle island. The queen gave birth to a baby boy. They build a treehouse. They get eaten by a leopard,” said Lee.

A year after appearing on Reddit, Buck double-downed on the theory in an interview with MTV News. “I said, 'Of course Anna and Elsa's parents didn't die,'" he continued. "Yes, there was a shipwreck, but they were at sea a little bit longer than we think they were because the mother was pregnant, and she gave birth on the boat, to a little boy. They get shipwrecked, and somehow they really washed way far away from the Scandinavian waters, and they end up in the jungle. They end up building a tree house and a leopard kills them, so their baby boy is raised by gorillas. So in my little head, Anna and Elsa's brother is Tarzan—but on the other side of that island are surfing penguins, to tie in a non-Disney movie, Surf's Up. That's my fun little world."

7. SPIRITED AWAY IS AN ALLEGORY FOR THE SEX INDUSTRY.

While many people see Spirited Away as a children’s movie about a young girl who learns to embrace the spirit world to return to her parents, some fans view Hayao Miyazaki’s Academy Award-winning film as an allegory for prostitution in Japanese society during the 19th century. The film’s protagonist, Chihiro, is forced to work in a bathhouse for an evil witch after her parents foolishly ate food that was meant for the gods, which turned her mother and father into pigs. Chihiro works as a “yuna,” which is Japanese for “a woman who works with bathers,” or a bathhouse prostitute. According to Miyazaki, “I think the most appropriate way to symbolize the modern world is the sex industry. Hasn’t Japanese society become like the sex industry?”

Studio Ghibli also wrote one Spirited Away fan a lengthy letter explaining why Chihiro’s parents turned into pigs and what their transformation represents which, according to Miyazaki, is a metaphor for greed and materialism.

8. PRINCESS MONONOKE IS ABOUT LEPROSY.

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There is a longstanding urban legend in Princess Mononoke (1997) that suggests the workers covered with bloody bandages at the factory in Irontown have leprosy (or Hansen’s disease). In its original Japanese version, the characters are described as “gyobyo,” which means “incurable disease” or “suffering the consequences” in English. The word “leprosy” doesn’t appear anywhere in the original Japanese version, but the fan theory grew in popularity.

“While making Princess Mononoke, I thought I had to depict people who are ill with what’s clearly called an incurable disease, but who are living as best they can,” Hayao Miyazaki said during a conference for World Leprosy Day. He also met with patients at a hospital in Tokyo that treated people with Hansen’s disease during the film’s production.

9. ALL QUENTIN TARANTINO MOVIES TAKE PLACE IN THE SAME UNIVERSE.

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For years, fans would speculate about how Quentin Tarantino movies were connected. Aside from Red Apple Cigarettes appearing in almost all of the director’s movies, several of his characters share the same last names and traits: Sergeant Donny Donowitz (Eli Roth) from Inglourious Basterds and Lee Donowitz (Saul Rubinek) from True Romance are related, while Pete Hicox (Tim Roth) from The Hateful Eight and Lt. Archie Hicox (Michael Fassbender) from Inglourious Basterds are also related.

In an interview on Australian TV, Tarantino admitted that all of his movies belong in a shared universe, but in a different way than you’d expect. “There are actually two separate universes," Tarantino said. "There’s the realer than real universe, and all the characters inhabit that one. Then there’s this 'movie' universe, so From Dusk Till Dawn and Kill Bill take place in this special movie universe. Basically, when the characters from Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction go to the movies, Kill Bill and From Dusk Till Dawn is what they go see.”

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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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