The Aladdin Future Theory
And while we’re visiting the Mouse House, here’s a fascinating take on Aladdin, provided by Tumblr user silentcommentary. Based on its setting and the folk history story, one would assume that Disney’s 1992 hit Aladdin took place in the distant past. But the mysterious theorizer notes that Genie calls Aladdin’s clothes “so third century.” But if the Genie had been in the lamp for 10,000 years, he’d have no way of knowing what people were wearing in the third century — thus, if he went into the lamp during said century, he was released from it in the year 10,300 AD, and Aladdin takes place in “a post-apocalyptic world where only Arabic (and some Greek) culture survived,” along with such highly evolved artifacts as flying carpets and intelligent, conversational parrots. The best proof of the theory? The Genie’s impressions of “ancient, long-dead celebrities like Groucho Marx, Jack Nicholson, etc.” (Another alternate theory holds that the entire story is made up by the vendor in the film’s prologue, as an elaborate backstory to sell an otherwise worthless lamp.)
The James Bond Cloning Theory
The character of James Bond, secret agent 007, has been played by six different actors (seven, if you count the non-canon original 1967 Casino Royale). The reason is simple: those actors have either aged out of the role, grown tired of it, or the series’ producers grew tired of them. But an explanation is never given on-screen (as it isn’t for Batman or the Hulk or anyone else) for the change in personnel, even when other supporting characters (like Judi Dench’s M or Desmond Llewlyn’s Q) remain the same. In recent years, a theory has popped up to explain it: that not only is 007 is a code number, but James Bond is a code name, and when one James Bond is killed, the name and number are reassigned to his successor. (The fact that such a hand-off would actually make for compelling cinema has apparently not occurred to the theory’s disseminators.) And what about the shared memories and backstory of the character? Even better: part of the Bond-to-Bond changeover includes the implantation of his memories, which (as Open Culture’s Davey Peppers notes) sounds more like Moon than Moonraker.
The Fight Club/Calvin and Hobbes Theory
The name of Edward Norton’s character in the 1999 cult phenomenon Fight Club is never revealed. He’s credited only as “Narrator,” presumably to preserve the surprise when (14-YEAR-OLD-SPOILER ALERT) it is revealed that he and Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) are the same person — or, more accurately, that Tyler is a figment of our man’s imagination. Galvin P. Chow takes that idea a step further, positing that the Narrator’s actual name is Calvin, and he is the grown-up version of another young man with a fictional sidekick: the young hero of Calvin and Hobbes. The theory is, it must be said, exhaustive, drawing a parallel beween C&H’s G.R.O.S.S. and Tyler’s Fight Club, noting the homophonic similarities between “Tyler” and “tiger,” and asking important questions like, “Tyler wears a fur coat near the end of the movie. What is the significance of this garment, given his past incarnation as a jungle animal?” (Another good Fight Club-related theory: that Tyler is to Narrator as Ferris Bueller is to Cameron, who imagines his extroverted best friend as a way to deal with his own insecurities and depression.)
The Willy Wonka Secret Ingredient Theory
Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory is a mini-masterpiece. It is also, it must be noted, a creepy goddamn movie — and here’s a theory that makes it even creepier. When the film comes to a conclusion, we only see Charlie, the sole “survivor” (and recipient of the factory). What happens to the other children? Presumably, they go back out into the world, hopefully a little wiser from the experience. Or maybe they’re turned into candy. Augustus Gloop is sucked into a tube that’s far bigger than it needs to be to transport chocolate — and when the boat to terror appears afterwards, there are no empty seats left for Augustus and his mother, because Wonka knew he’d succumb to his chocolate river. (Reddit user “neverbinkles” also notes that the cream car only has four seats, for the two remaining kids and guardians.) Veruca, meanwhile, is sucked down a garbage chute, while Violet is transformed into a giant blueberry and Mike Teevee is shrunk down to (dare we say?) bite size. Why are they dispatched in such a grisly fashion? The answer is found in the story of Miranda Piker, a sixth Golden Ticket recipient who appeared in an early draft of the book but was cut from the final draft. At the conclusion of her chapter, “Spotty Powder,” the girl and her father take a tumble down a chute to a powder-grinding machine. Her mother accuses Wonka of trying to kill them:
“In two minutes my darling Miranda will come pouring out of one of those dreadful pipes, and so will my husband!” “Of course,” said Mr Wonka. “That’s part of the recipe.”
The Poltergeist Curse Theory
Tobe Hooper’s 1982 horror hit Poltergeist told the story of the Freelings, a seemingly perfect family who are nearly destroyed by ghosts from an Indian burial ground that their suburban home was (unknowingly to them) built atop. But in the years after the release of the film and its two sequels, a similarly spooky cloud was said to have formed over those involved in their production, with a “Poltergeist curse” taking the lives of four actors in the films: Heather O’Rourke (who played little Carol Ann, of “they’re here” fame), Dominique Dunne (older sister Dana), Will Sampson (who played the good spirit Taylor in Poltergeist II), and Julian Beck (who played his evil counterpart Kane). The exact reason for the curse was never properly explained (real ghosts who though the films were bad PR?), but it didn’t matter, because the whole thing was utterly silly. Sampson and Beck were both actors over 50 who died following long illnesses. Dunne was brutally killed by a mentally unstable ex-boyfriend shortly after the release of the first film, while O’Rourke (who died between production and release of Poltergeist III) died of septic shock caused by complications due to an undiagnosed case of Crohn’s Disease. The fact that the two actress both died so young was less a matter of a curse than of coincidence.
The “Suicidal Doc” Theory
Plenty of fan theories, urban legends, and irritating Facebook photos (for God’s sakes, the day in the future that Doc and Marty travel to won’t arrive until 2015, so quit it) have attached themselves to Robert Zemeckis’ 1985 sci-fi/comedy classic, but here’s one of the more intriguing ones: Another Reddit user (man, it’s like that place breeds this stuff), “mcjesse,” posits that on the night of the time machine test, Doc Brown was borderline suicidal. Libyans were after him, his only friend was a teenage kid, and by his own admission, most of his inventions had been miserable failures. “So during the moment when he’s about to find out if his life’s work was a huge success, or a complete waste, he not only drives the DeLorean towards himself, but grabs onto Marty when he tries to run away. If that first time travel test was a failure, they both would have been killed. Which is exactly what Doc wanted had the experiment been a failure.” And that’s all good and well for him — but taking Marty with him? Not cool, Brown. Not cool.