Love 'em or hate 'em, fan theories have history, and back in the day, predictions were ... well, impressive, to say the least.
Today, Kinja's lightninglouie reported on an out-of-this world fan theory by Bill Hays in a 1980's fan magazine, so I dove into a few of my own. Below, you'll find highlights and weirdness from the yesteryears of Star Wars lore.
Everybody and their Mother is Luke's Father
While the long-running theory that Artoo is force-sensitive is still going strong, this particular rumor was blown into oblivion thanks to Empire Strikes Back. Fans believed that the enthusiastic little R2 unit was actually a host for the brain of Anakin Skywalker and had a life support system built in to keep Anakin alive.
According to this theory, Luke is not half as powerful as we think he is - it's Anakin, through the former Jedi's droid friend R2-D2, who looks after Luke and contributes to his Jedi powers. One of the arguments for this was based on the fact that any time Luke ever used the Force, R2-D2 was present. Granted, on Hoth, the droid is nowhere near Luke as the young Jedi uses the force to retrieve his lightsaber and escape the Wampa.
In a far-too-basic theory, Obi-Wan Kenobi was rumored to have been Luke's real father. Aside from hanging out on the deserted planet where he left Luke, Obi-Wan was also responsible for giving Luke his first lightsaber. Fans figured that Vader was faking it the whole time, using the lie to convince Luke to turn to the Dark Side and knowing that the boy knew nothing of his father.
This would have been a little too predictable, so I'm glad it's not true.
Boba Fett was also rumored to be the war-torn Anakin Skywalker, quietly stalking his kids under the guise of a bounty hunter and waiting for Luke to become a Jedi (or something?) so that they could bring down the Empire together. If that wasn't disproven by the second and third movies of the original trilogy, the prequels elaborate thoroughly on Boba Fett's heartbreaking origins. (Confession: Boba and Jango were the reasons I held on to those movies, man.)
On top of this, Fett was originally rumored to be a woman in disguise who seduced and killed Anakin Skywalker, leading to the following theory that...
Vader is a Clone of Anakin Skywalker
Easily one of the most popular vintage theories (and one that still holds ground with some fans today) is that Anakin Skywalker was killed in some way or another, then cloned by the Empire in order to retain his Jedi powers and harness them for evil. Seems like nobody back then wanted to accept the fact that bad parents could spawn great kids, but this, along with the Boba Fett and R2 theories, does make for an interesting idea.
I Got Clones in Different Area Codes
Much like fans think everyone is going to be a cyborg in Episode VII, fans speculated a ton about Clones back in the 80's. Unfortunately, what they got were not exactly the clones they were looking for: Jango Fett copies in shiny white armor. But before the time of the Clone Wars' more canon storyline, it was believed that the Clone Wars were an attempt to clone Jedi instead of Imperial Cronies.
Instead of cloning Jango Fett (a great fighter, but certainly not a Jedi) the clones were speculated to have been a last-ditch effort for the Old Republic. Cloning masses of Jedi, though, would have probably resulted in a war won for the Republic, and we can't have any of that.
This, of course, spawned the extremely popular OB-1 theory that runs rampant throughout the Kinja piece linked above. Obi-Wan Kenobi is the final surviving clone of the Jedi, and has stayed alive in an attempt to find new Jedi to train.
If we're going by the Expanded Universe, the theory has a little more strength: the controversial dark Jedi Jorus C'Boath had a deranged clone by the name of Joruus, who was part of one major headache for the New Republic known as The Thrawn Trilogy (among other messes) and could use the Force without any trouble. Granted, the EU has been pulled from canon in order to create a new expanded Star Wars universe, so the actual science that goes into cloning a Jedi is a little up in the air at the moment.
Han Solo is Force-Sensitive
Alongside being rumored to be Luke's brother (as opposed to Leia being Luke's sister) fans felt that something was a little too on-point with Han's dexterity, piloting skills and hunches. Han contributes most of his success to his own great luck (something he actually doesn't seem to have, given how much trouble he tends to get in) to which Obi-Wan almost immediately responds to, almost matter-of-factly, stating that there is no such thing as luck. He was far from being a Jedi, but fans tend to argue the following (fairly valid) points:
Imperial fighters are among the greatest pilots in the galaxy. They can pilot massive star destroyers, planet-sized weapons, AT-ATs and their walker cousins, and the iconic TIE fighter - and Han Solo outruns them with ease. This may just be because he's an incredible pilot, but let's take into account the odds that Threepio gave him before entering that asteroid field: "Sir, the possibility of successfully navigating an asteroid field is approximately 3,720 to 1." What's more, all of the pilots chasing down the Falcon are in much, much smaller and maneuverable ships in comparison, but none of them survive while Han navigates the field -- almost with ease.
In A New Hope, Han manages to take down Darth Vader's ship, and let me remind you, Anakin Skywalker was hailed as the great pilot of all time at more points in Star Wars lore than I'd care to remember. The Chosen One couldn't sense a giant ship coming in behind him, and you expect me to believe a normal person was flying it?
But there's more: blasters in the Star Wars universe kind of have a history of being inaccurate, yet Han is a perfect shot. This part of the theory doesn't have much fiber outside of "hey, this dude shoots better than a Stormtrooper," but it is worth noting that Han rarely ever misses his target, save for when they happen to be a Jedi who deflects it after having been shot down by the smuggler beforehand.
Han also stays alive in carbonite for almost a year, with almost no side effects outside of the temporary loss of his eyesight. The process itself was untested, and once again, droid statistics weren't on Han's side. According to C-3PO: "Artoo says that the chances of survival are 725 to 1. ... actually, R2 has been known to make mistakes ... from time to time."
This theory probably also gives Vader reason to be mindful of Han and even keep him out of the picture, away from the Skywalker kids, and even as a failsafe to get Luke (and Leia) to come to his rescue. Vader also somehow seemed to know that Han would survive the freezing process, and I'd also contribute Han's force sensitivity to Obi-Wan's decision in hiring him as a pilot.
Now, all of these theories were about 4-5 years ahead of my time, so here's my challenge to those of us Pilots who were around: Recap some of the most ridiculous theories you encountered below in the comments. Let's get nostalgic and learn about fandom before the internet!