Fan theories, love them or hate them, they’re everywhere and show no sign of going away. Some of them are godawful, some pretty interesting, and others are just stupid. Some seem to be unkillable, like the fan theory that James Bond is a title given to agents instead of the character’s name, a theory which seems to just exist because people find recasting scary, and remerges every couple of months or so. There are others that are quite fun and well thought out, unfortunately these are in the minority. For Star Wars week we’ve compiled some of the many, many Star Wars fan theories to show you some of the good, the bad, and the ugly of those times when fans think they’ve worked something out:
The Theory: R2-D2 is the True Hero of the Star Wars Movies
R2 appears in all of the Star Wars movies so far and interacts with pretty much every major character. He is present during briefings, battles, and banter. He is also incomprehensible to most of the characters as he communicates in beeps and whistles. He is the character with the most drive, constantly going off to do his own thing and protecting himself with his cattle prod and fuck you attitude. His quick thinking of guiding C-3PO to the escape pod and making a run for it in A New Hope is the first action in a chain of events that leads to the destruction of the Empire. Before the prequels this could come down to coincidence, but after watching the prequel trilogy we know that R2 knows all about Tattooine and who lives there. He knows that Anakin Skywalker is Darth Vader and where Obi-Wan is and where Obi-Wan hid Luke and so on and so on as at the end of Episode III his memory is not wiped. Why wasn’t it wiped? Because, unlike chatty-ass 3PO, R2 knows how to keep his mouth shut, a great trait for a secret agent. As a fan theory this is a good one because it doesn’t require too many illogical leaps and is simply a fun way to look at the movies if we imagine that the little droid who beeps and boops is actually the guy running the show.
The Theory: Qui-Gon Jinn is Secretly a Sith Lord
This theory comes about because The Phantom Menace took an awesome actor, Liam Neeson, and gave him a boring character in Qui-Gon Jinn. Rather than simply accept that George Lucas isn’t a great writer, a corner of the internet put together the idea that Qui-Gon is actually a villainous Sith in disguise, pulling the strings to get Anakin to turn to the Dark Side. The theory takes the single interesting part of Qui-Gon’s personality: his rebelliousness and tries to instead imbue it with an evil agenda that makes no sense. The theory states that because Qui-Gon knew that Anakin was headstrong, afraid, and not ready to train to be a Jedi, then the boy would obviously turn dark and eventually help kill the Jedi. There is nothing in the movies that backs this up save for Qui-Gon being Count Dooku’s apprentice and something from the extended universe which obviously doesn’t count. Alas, if Qui-Gon had been a better character in a better movie then theories like this wouldn’t need to exist.
The Also Bad
The Theory: Boba Fett Killed Owen and Beru Lars
There’s circumstantial ‘evidence’ for this one but really this one comes down to a simple thing: Boba Fett looks cool but never does anything. He just stands around looking all menacing but other than shooting his laser a few times he never really does anything. The prequels try to make up for this by having a character in similar armour actually do things but it’s not enough. Fans want Boba Fett to have done something so much so that they give him credit for stuff he definitely didn’t do. There’s no reason why he would kill the Lars, and the scene preceding their discovery is a scene featuring the aftermath of a stormtrooper attack of a Jawa sandcrawler, showing that it’s the stormtroopers who are the ones dewbacking around the desert getting up to no good. Much like the Qui-Gon theory this is wishful thinking by fans wanting more from a character who shows promise but nothing else.
The Theory: Jar Jar Binks is the Big Villain
Unlike the previous two theories this one isn’t a character people like being given attributes to make him cooler, this is a character everyone hates being given a plot that tries to make sense of his inexplicable existence. With the upcoming release of The Force Awakens a lot of fans have begun to try and justify the prequels and their existence. It might be a hipster thing or some other thing kids are doing today that my ancient mind cannot get itself wrapped around, but Twitter is full of young fans trying to defend the prequels. This theory, which goes to great lengths to justify Jar Jar’s annoying quirks as a façade for his actual awesomeness, is a by-product of that. It is fans not being able to understand that the same man who created Han Solo could, decades later, create one of the most annoying characters in cinema. The Jar Jar as secret evil genius theory is fascinating to behold as the creators of the theory try to explain how Jar Jar is actually a drunken fist boxing master, how continuity errors are actually him using the Force, how, because he speaks with his hands, he must be using Jedi mind tricks, how he was probably meant to be the Dark Side’s equivalent of Yoda until Lucas changed his mind, and so on and so on. It’s like watching someone try to defend an embarrassing spouse. The theory just stops shy of saying, ‘Oh, you’d like him, if you just got to know him’. The issue with this theory is that it buys into the all or nothing problem with modern fandom. You either like all of Star Wars or you like none of it. There’s no space to like bits and pieces so if you don’t like Jar Jar it’s not because he’s an annoying racial stereotype, it’s because you don’t understand the deeper intent of the writer. I can’t speak for George Lucas, but I’m a million percent sure that he didn’t intend for Jar Jar to be anything other than a funny character for kids to like, and he just failed to make that character funny so he removed him from serving a larger role in the later movies. The theory would have you believe that the prequels were building to a lightsaber battle between Yoda and Jar Jar and if that doesn’t make you want to never read a fan theory again then nothing will.