Every once in a while a fan theory comes along that's so outrageously 'out there,' so mind-bendingly unexpected, so seemingly inconceivable...that it might just make sense.
Reddit user ThePurpleGhost has one such theory, linking two totally antithetical franchises I doubt you'll ever have heard mentioned in the same breath: The Lion King and Dead Space.
What the Heck Is Dead Space?
If you're unsure what The Lion King is then we have a bigger problem on our hands, the scope of which this article cannot possibly hope to address. However, I'm gonna guess a fair few people aren't too familiar with the sphincter-shrinking horror game franchise, Dead Space.
I won't get too deep into the nitty gritty details, but the truly terrifying series tells the story of an ancient alien artifact called the Black Marker, discovered on Earth in 2214. The Marker has a number of weird and gruesome effects on those around it, causing people to do a number of inconceivably horrific things, like willingly inserting giant hypodermic needles in their own eyes. Case in point:
Human exposure to the Marker also has the rather inconvenient side effect of transforming people into these petrifying beasts called Necromorphs:
So, in summary, these Markers are bad news. But what in the world does any of this have to do with Disney's animated African adventure, you might ask...
The Lion King and Dead Space take place in the same universe
That's right - ThePurpleGhost's weird and wonderful theory is that:
There is a black marker deep underground near pride rock and it explains everything in the first two movies.
As this rather imaginative Reddit user rightly asks, if this is true then where are all of the Necromorphs and why haven't they overrun Mufasa's animal kingdom? Well, within Dead Space's fiction, the Markers have an ulterior motive other than spawning these hellish monsters, and that motive is reproduction.
A Marker needs to breed more Markers in order to trigger something called a convergence event - the artifact's end goal, which pretty much involves the annihilation of an entire planet, the forming of a giant sentient moon, and all kinds of other crazy shit you can check out below:
In Dead Space, Markers mess with all living creatures in their vicinity, manipulating them into building more Markers and changing a species' evolutionary path to achieve its own goals. ThePurpleGhost argues that you can see the effects of this strange artifact at work in Disney's musical, changing the animals' behavior and evolutionary process because...
"There is a clear social structure"
I guess this is also true for normal lions, but the cross-species society seen in the movie is certainly unorthodox, possibly prompted by the Marker's strange influence.
"The animals have made a language that allows them to communicate in between species"
Well, there's certainly something otherworldly about animals who can talk...
"They can use basic tools - two outcast lions use sticks to move fire from one place to another in the second movie"
However, they are also affected by the negative elements of being near the Marker, namely:
"Attraction/obsessions to tall structures/spires - Pride Rock, Scar and the hyena's volcanic hangout, Zira's pride living in a huge termite nest"
Worshiping spires is classic Marker-induced behavior.
"Hallucinations. Jeez everyone hallucinates in the movies, especially in the second one. Faces in clouds, reflections changing or seeming 'incomplete,' both Rafiki's song about love and the exile song in the second movie"
It is important to note that the Red Marker in Dead Space also induces hallucinations and visions of the dead: Dr. Kyne often conversed with his dead wife, Kendra Daniels saw her dead brother, and Isaac Clarke was haunted by his deceased girlfriend.
So far, so good. But there are, as ThePurpleGhost acknowledges, a few shortcomings to this theory which prevent it from being totally watertight:
For one, the Marker in Dead Space is eventually dug up by humans in Mexico, not in Africa where The Lion King takes place. However, although we know the Marker was found in 2214, we don't know exactly when Disney's tale takes place. Considering South America and Africa were at one point landlocked, this theory could still hold true, with the artifact wreaking havoc on the African plains before the earth split and it found itself moved to what is now Mexico.
There's one other aspect to this theory I take issue with - if these two franchises do take place in the same universe, then where are all the references to these hyper intelligent talking lions in Dead Space's fiction?
One explanation could be that they were wiped out long ago by humans, but here's another: what if Simba and his tribe eventually fell at the hands of the Necromorphs? It's a little insane, but it would make some logical sense in the context of this joint universe...
So, what do you think of this mind bending fan theory? Pure genius or just plain crazy?
Could The Lion King and Dead Space take place in the same universe?