Most fan-made theories can be aptly categorised in one of the following ways - 'fever dream lunacy', 'honking stupidity', 'desperate self-projection', 'Wash might've survived' and, of course 'unexpected flips in sexual orientation'. Fortunately, there are some interpretations worth bearing in mind - some ideas that are so out of the box, so revelatory and so downright brilliant that they alone solve many of a movie's issues, wrapping up nagging questions and presenting the piece in a new and utterly intriguing light.
This list looks at 50 of the very best fan-made theories, from the 'so mad it just might work' to the 'dude must've stolen a script'. Prepare to look at the likes of Harry Potter, James Bond and the world of Quentin Tarantino in a whole new light. Begin!
50. Batman (1989)
The Fan Theory: The Joker didnt kill Bruces parents. Bruce simply projects that onto every criminal he faces.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: It adds a nice layer to Bruces damaged psyche. We prefer that to a blatant divergence from comic-book lore.
49. Scream (1996)
The Fan Theory: There was a third killer involved in the Woodsboro murders and it was Dewey!
Why Its Mind-Blowing: Because if you buy into it (and admittedly, Dewey does seem like a bit of a nut-case), then he gets away with the whole thing! Creepy
47. Batman & Robin (1997)
The Fan Theory: Both Batman & Robin and Batman Forever are movies within the Batman universe, in which Bruce has lost his fortune and decided to cash in on his secret identity.
Hence all that Bat-credit card nonsense.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: The film actually represents Bruce at his lowest ebb, having sold out in the worst possible way. So in a way, its far darker than anything Nolan came up with
48. Radio Flyer (1992)
The Fan Theory: Rather than riding his radio flyer off to salvation from his brutal father, the younger brother in Radio Flyer actually kills himself. Bummer.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: Too obvious for you? Then perhaps the younger brother is a product of Elijah Woods imagination, and the escape is a desperate way to con himself that he himself might one day be free of his father. Equally depressing, mind
46. The Thing (1982)
The Fan Theory: The bottle that Kurt Russell offers Keith David towards the end of The Thing is actually one of the Molotov cocktails they were chucking around earlier.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: Davids character would obviously recognise that he was chugging down a bottle of gasoline. But the Thing wouldnt
45. Minority Report (2002)
The Fan Theory: The ending of the film is a fantasy created by Tom Cruises character while he languishes in captivity.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: It would explain the rather jarring shift in tone after Cruises imprisonment in the futuristic jail. Remember, the inmates brains are said to be free to dream, which is why none of them make any attempt to escape
44. Aladdin #1 (1992)
The Fan Theory: The story of Aladdin is actually a load of old cobblers dreamed up by the merchant at the beginning of the movie. Hes just trying to sell some old tat by writing it an interesting history
Why Its Mind-Blowing: Because we truly believed that a carpet could fly
43. Aladdin #2 (1992)
The Fan Theory: Due to a slip of the tongue by the Genie, we know that Aladdin is set some time in the future, where Arabia is the dominant global power.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: The Genie refers to Aladdins clothes as so third century, but since hes been cooped up in his lamp for the last 10,000 years, how would he know what third century looked like? Unless of course the year is actually 10,300 AD! It also explains why the Genie does so many impressions of modern day pop culture icons. Looks like he had a telly in that lamp!
42. The Rock (1996)
The Fan Theory: Sean Connerys character is actually James Bond (more on him later). Caught spying in America, he has spent the rest of his life banged up in various prisons
Why Its Mind-Blowing: As FBI Director Womack later professes, This man does not exist not in the United States or Great Britain. Thats because James Bond isnt a a person its a code name!
41. Harry Potter (2001-2011)
The Fan Theory: Harrys life as a wizard is actually an elaborate fantasy, dreamed up by our young protagonist as a means of passing the time under the Dursleys stairs.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: The Potter Saga is basically a twist on Pans Labyrinth.
40. The Flintstones Movie (1994)
The Fan Theory: The Flintstones is actually set in the future, a post-apocalyptic vision of Earth in which humanity has attempted to rebuild itself by employing genetically-engineered dinosaurs to do their manual labour.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: Thatll be why they have so many approximations of modern gadgets they just cant let go of the past.
39. Jetsons: The Movie (1990)
The Fan Theory: The Jetsons also live in the future the same future as the Flintstones. They just live in the posh bit, where flying cars are all the rage.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: The whole saga has been building towards a future crossover movie which will be a commentary on class systems in modern society.
38. Its A Wonderful Life (1946)
The Fan Theory: Its A Wonderful Life is actually a tragedy, with the happy ending seeing George Bailey forced to return to a job he hates because thats the bed hes made, and he must damn well lie in it.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: Instead of a message of Christmas cheer, what the film is really saying is that the practicalities of life will usually force you to abandon your dreams. Ho ho ho!
37. The Dark Knight Rises (2012)
The Fan Theory: Bruce never did get that autopilot fixed, and really does die at the end of the film. Alfreds vision in the caf is simply the projection of a heartbroken old man.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: Could Bruce ever really turn his back on being Batman? Only by choosing death
36. Titanic (1997)
The Fan Theory: Jack never existed. He was a product of Rose's broken psyche who emerges just when she is at her lowest ebb, thanks to the cruel treatment from her fianc.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: Jack represents Roses ideal of what a man should be, and helps her cultivate the confidence to stand up to her repressive fianc.
35. Indiana Jones And The Kingdom Of The Crystal Skull (2005)
The Fan Theory: Indy spends the entire film trapped in that fridge, slowly losing his mind on account of radiation poisoning, and imagining everything else that follows. Including the aliens.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: A tip of the hat to the folks at Cracked for coming up with this one. Wishful thinking it might be, but amusing all the same.
34. Back To The Future (1985)
The Fan Theory: Doc Brown is attempting to commit suicide when he tests out the DeLorean. He states that all his previous experiments have been failures, then proceeds to stand directly in front of the speeding car, guaranteeing his own death if his latest attempt stays true to form.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: Not only does the Doc invent time travel, but he realises life is worth living after all. Hooray!
33. RoboCop (1987)
The Fan Theory: RoboCop is Jesus. Albeit an extremely violent one, with a very firm idea of right and wrong.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: Paul Verhoeven has actually come out and confirmed this one! It is about a guy who gets crucified in the first 50 minutes, he says, and then is resurrected in the next 50 minutes, and then is like the supercop of the world.
32. Willy Wonka & The Chocolate Factory (1971)
The Fan Theory: Wonka was a deranged, child-hating killer who staged the industrial accidents that took place in his factory. Charlie was carefully selected on account of his vulnerability, with Wonka grooming him to continue his evil legacy.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: How else would the Oompa-Loompas have known to prepare song and dance routines based around the names of the victims?
31. Bruce Almighty (2003)
The Fan Theory: Bruce isnt God hes having a breakdown brought on by missing out on promotion.
The outlandish events that happen around him are partly imagined, and those that are real arent actually caused by him.
Eventually he gets the medical treatment he needs and the God delusion passes.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: While we thought we were watching some more of Carreys patented comedy mugging, we were actually being treated to a very moving portrayal of mental decay. Bravo!
30. Hot-Tub Time Machine (2010)
The Fan Theory: The characters dont travel back in time theyre actually in limbo, with Lou having successfully killed himself before the trip.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: There arent actually four characters at all the four protagonists represent four aspects of Lous personality, who eventually find their own versions of heaven by the end. Yeah, this one is quite in-depth for a comedy
29. Ghostbusters (1984)
The Fan Theory: Crossing the streams causes the Ghostbusters to die, with the citys celebration of their achievements turning out to be a posthumous affair.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: The theory also posits that the sequel finds the Ghostbusters in purgatory, which is why no-one seems to recall the Stay-Puft attack on Manhattan!
28. Jaws (1975)
The Fan Theory: The town of Amity had been covering up its shark attacks for years, with the tiger shark being planted by the Mayor in order to distract attention from the real culprit
Why Its Mind-Blowing: It does seem a little coincidental that the attacks should start at the exact same time as the new police chief starts work. And then theres that comment regarding the first attack that, its happened before That dastardly mayor!
27. Drag Me To Hell (2009)
The Fan Theory: Much of what we are seeing can be explained away as the hallucinations of a bulimic. An old photo reveals a younger Christine to be a bit fat, we never see her eating, and many of the nasty things that happen to her are related to eating (a corpse vomming down her throat, for example!). Case closed.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: It arguably makes the film seem even more disturbing, although admittedly, the final reel doesnt quite fit in with the rest of the theory
26. Inception (2010)
The Fan Theory: Cobbs totem isnt actually his spinning top, but his wedding ring. In the real world he takes it off, but in the dream world, hes always wearing it
Why Its Mind-Blowing: Because if you subscribe to this theory, it clears up the ending once and for all, as you get a brief glimpse of Cobbs hand and no ring.
25. Labyrinth (1986)
The Fan Theory: Labyrinth is a metaphor for a girl struggling with the onset of puberty.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: Think about it the whole thing is about a young girl taking responsibility and going in search of a child. The labyrinth around her is constantly changing, and challenging her along the way, a la a teenage body. And then theres the involvement of Jareth, with his extremely pronounced codpiece
24. Spider-Man (2002)
The Fan Theory: Spider-Man is also about Peter Parkers attempts to cope with the stresses and strains of teenage life.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: Overnight Peters body takes a drastic change for the adult, while he starts spurting sticky white fluid all over his wrists.
Sorry to put it bluntly, but its a bit obvious
23. Prometheus (2012)
The Fan Theory: The film is set some time before Blade Runner, with the room in which the Hologram Weyland has recorded his message in turning out to be the same as one that appeared in the earlier film.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: The tall buildings that can be seen in the backdrop of the Blade Runner scene are under construction in Prometheus.
Now thats attention to detail
22. Fight Club (1999)
The Fan Theory: The narrator and Tyler are a distorted version of Calvin and Hobbes.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: Having been forced to suppress his imaginary childhood friend by the necessities of growing up, Calvins overactive imagination comes back into play in big way when he finds himself stuck in a rut in adult life. Its a stretch, but we like it all the same.
21. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
The Fan Theory: The bank heist takes place on the same day that Jules and Vincent play out their story in Pulp Fiction.
Why Its Mind Blowing: It would explain why the hitmen are able to drive a blood-soaked car through a busy city without encountering any police-based trouble. The boys in blue are clearly busy elsewhere
20. Toy Story (1995)
The Fan Theory: Andys parents are in the middle of a divorce when the film is taking place.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: It actually makes a lot of sense, since we never see hide nore hair of Andys dad, and the whole story is driven by his mums need to downsize to a smaller house. Then theres the fact that Andy is an extremely introverted kid. It all adds up!
19. Blade Runner (1982)
The Fan Theory: Not only is Deckard a Replicant, but he is a Replicant implanted with the memories of a former Blade Runner. Detective Gaff to be precise.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: It would explain the weird connection that exists between the two, but also Gaffs obvious resentment of Deckard. Could it be that his limp put him out of service, only for Deckard to step in as his replacement? Its possible
18. Twilight (2008 2012)
The Fan Theory: Bella isnt actually human at all shes part werewolf.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: It would be a much neater way of explaining why none of the other vampires are capable of reading her mind or why Edward was capable of getting her pregnant, when vampires and humans are seemingly unable to procreate. Werewolves throw vampire powers out of whack, remember?
17. The Matrix (1999 - 2003)
The Fan Theory: Neo is actually a machine, with the real world of Zion actually turning out to be just another level of human-created simulation, designed to keep technological advances in check.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: It would have resulted in the big reveal that the Matrix was actually a human-created way of keeping advancing technology under control. Whoa, dude!
16. No Country For Old Men (2007)
The Fan Theory: Anton Chigurh is the Angel of Death, sent by an angry, Old Testament God to wreak vengeance upon the drug trade.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: It would explain Chigurhs total indifference to the fate of his prey.
Although not why he takes such pleasure in messing with that gas station attendant
15. Inglourious Basterds (2008)
The Fan Theory: The rest of Tarantinos films follow on from this alternate version of history. Having WW2 ended in a movie theatre explains why all his characters are so pop-culture savvy.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: We already know Tarantino likes to link all his movies together this just expands that way of thinking a little further!
14. Inglourious Basterds #2 (2008)
The Fan Theory: Inglourious Basterds is actually a movie-verse film directed by Lee Donowitz (a distant relative of the Bear Jew), lionizing the involvement of his forebear.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: It would make sense given Donowitzs success as a war-movie auteur with Coming Home In A Bodybag.
13. Kill Bill Vol. 1 (2003)
The Fan Theory: Kill Bill is a movie within the Tarantino world, as is From Dusk Till Dawn, which would explain their hyper-violent aesthetic, even by Tarantinos standards.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: Tarantino himself has said that this is as true. Extrapolating things further, one could read Kill Bill as Fox Force Five: The Movie with Mia Wallace in the leading role.
12. Taxi Driver (1976)
The Fan Theory: Travis Bickle dies at the end of the film, and that weirdly optimistic final reel is actually taking place in the mind of a dying man.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: It goes a long way to explaining the unusually happy ending provided by such an unremittingly bleak film.
11. Kill Bill Vol. 2 (2004)
The Fan Theory: When the end credits roll, all the characters whom we know to be dead have their names crossed out. Darryl Hannah merely had her eye plucked out, so she gets a question mark. But Bill? Nothing at all. Ipso facto, the Bride doesnt actually kill him.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: It would suggest that Bill was playing dead. After all, its made clear on several occasions that only Pai Mei has successfully mastered the five point palm exploding heart technique
10. Signs (2002)
The Fan Theory: Those marauding creatures arent aliens at all. Theyre demons! So now you know
Why Its Mind-Blowing: It takes what was a slightly laughable ending, and makes it far more credible. The reason the water from a priests house stops them dead in their tracks? Its holy water!
9. The Avengers (2012)
The Fan Theory: The entire outcome of the film follows Lokis plan to the letter, with securing a return to Asgard proving to be his goal all along.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: It could be an excellently subtle set-up for Thor 2. Why would Loki be so keen to return to his homeland in the first place? Could it possibly have anything to do with the Infinity Gauntlet we caught a glimpse of in the first film?
8. Forrest Gump (1994)
The Fan Theory: Jennys son, who is presented to Forrest as his own offspring at the films conclusion, isnt really his son at all.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: It tallies with what we know about Jenny (she gets around a bit), and adds a more bittersweet sheen to the films conventionally happy ending.
7. My Neighbour Totoro (1988)
The Fan Theory: Cuddly woodland guardian Totoro is not the loveable critter you thought he was hes actually the God of Death.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: Satsukis search for her sister Mei is actually fruitless the fact that both of them encounter Totoro means that actually, both of them are dead.
Makes you want to put that Totoro cuddly toy at the back of the cupboard, doesn't it?
6. Pulp Fiction (1994)
The Fan Theory: The briefcase contains Marsellus Wallaces soul.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: Legend has it that the Devil removes a persons soul through the back of their head, where Marsellus has a plaster. The combination to the briefcase is 666. The contents glow with ethereal beauty. How obvious do you want to make it?
5. The Shining #1 (1980)
The Fan Theory: Jack Torrance represents white oppression of the Native Americans. And the location of the hotel is just the start of it
Why Its Mind-Blowing: Not only does the hotel have a Navajo wall hanging (that Jack repeatedly throws a ball at), his wife can be seen wearing a tepee jacket, Jack starts banging on about white mans burden and the date of that creepy photograph is July 4th
4. The Shining #2 (1980)
The Fan Theory: Stanley Kubrick helped fake the moon landings, and The Shining contains several coded admissions. Didnt you notice Dannys jumper? Keep up, keep up
Why Its Mind-Blowing: As fan-theories go, its pretty out there. Although when it comes to The Shining, people dont tend to hold back on their theorising. Check out Room 237 for further details!
3. Ferris Buellers Day Off (1986)
The Fan Theory: The entire film takes place in Camerons head, with Ferris created by his buddy as the polar opposite of his own depressive personality.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: It explains some of the films more fantastical elements (the whole city of Chicago rallying around Ferris) and fits in nicely with the films ending, in which Cameron decides he must stand up for himself more and finally has no further use for Ferris.
2. Star Wars (1977 2005)
The Fan Theory: Chewbacca and R2-D2 are secret Rebel agents, using their knowledge of Anakins transformation and the rise of the Galactic Empire, rather than inexplicably forgetting it.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: It sorts out some of the plot holes established by the creation of the prequel series, while also adding some welcome gravitas to the two fan favourites. We much prefer this to C3P0 getting a convenient memory wipe
1. Skyfall (2012)
The Fan Theory: James Bond isnt a man but rather a codename, passed on from one MI6 agent after the other over the years.
Why Its Mind-Blowing: It neatly explains away why various different Bonds look and behave differently, while supporting characters (M, for example) continue to age before the audiences eyes.