Actually, a better title might be "Has Stan already died?" or "which Stan is which?" or "should a kids' cartoon show really contain so many conspiracies?" To which the answer is definitely yes. Conspiracies are awesome.
Gravity Falls has been baffling viewers for 3 years now, hiding its complex plot and subtle Easter eggs under an apparent fun and lighthearted tale of two kids on their summer holiday. After a thrilling and emotional pre-hiatus episode, the Disney show will be returning to our screens next Monday (the 13th, naturally)! So just in case you missed them, here's all the hints we've had about just who Stan's brother / the Author is, and what this means for the future of Gravity Falls!
"Every mystery has a beginning..."
This plot is insanely complex, so bear with me while I break it down into bitesize chunks. After Dipper and Mabel spent months chasing the mystery of the journals' author, last episode revealed that this person was indeed their Grunkle Stan's long lost twin brother (as many fans already deduced). Stan may have assumed his brother's identity after a car accident that apparently left his twin dead...
This is not nearly as clear cut as it appears though, as both twins have the name Stan: one is Stanford, and one is Stanley. But which is which is definitely difficult to deduce, as Grunkle Stan has answered to both names within the show.
Wait, slow down, Stan has a twin??
Ok, let's recap this plot a little bit. Stan's brother has been hinted at since the very first episode of Gravity Falls, but here are the main clues that have been hidden throughout the show...
- Were you watching closely? Creator Alex Hirsch puts codes at the end of each episode, and posts the ciphers online so that fans can get extra hints! The code at the beginning of the first episode warned of Stan's mysterious past, saying "Stan is not what he seems." At the end of the episode he disappeared into the hidden room behind the vending machine which, as we discovered in season 2, houses the Universe Portal that could end the world.
- In episode 3, Headhunters, Stan reacts badly to the "murder" of his wax effigy, hinting that he might have suffered the loss of someone who looks a lot like him.
- Speaking of the wax double, every incarnation of Stan has been burned, much like the car that presumably killed his brother.
- In episode 16, Carpet Diem, Stan finds a pair of glasses similar to his own (but with black frames only on top of the lenses), and is later shown cradling them sadly. Earlier, in episode 9, a Stan-like figure wearing these alternate glasses was shown in a flashback...
- Although Grunkle Stan was called Stanford by many characters, his license plate spelled STNLYMBL (Stanley mobile), hinting that there may be another Stan.
- In the season 2 episode Dreamscapers, the double swingset was revealed as Stan remembered his childhood. Both he and his brother were there, and later on he recalled a much more miserable scene...
There were far more clues scattered through the show, but these hit the major points. To sum up - Stan has a twin brother, there was a car accident that presumably killed him, Stan then may have assumed his brother's identity. At the very end of the latest episode, Grunkle Stan revealed his brother and the Author of the mysterious journals were one and the same person. And now this enigmatic figure has returned.
So what lies in store next episode? If you thought the mystery was finally solved, then you've got another think coming. Alex Hirsch, creator (and voice of Stan) has been quick to assure fans that there's far more to this story, and we've barely scratched the surface.
Next episode will give us the origins of the brothers Stan, and hopefully answer questions such as: what's the deal with the fingers? (The children have 3, while adults and Gideon have 4, and the Author has 5...) The episode may also see the death of one of the brothers: after the Stan effigies' destruction, and the car crash, does this mean one of the Stans will die, or is one of them already dead?
As for the future of Gravity Falls, Hirsch has promised that in this episode "everything changes". The people of the town can no longer turn a blind eye to the supernatural events going on around them, and who knows what devastation the Universe Portal may have caused in this, or other realities?
One thing's for certain. We'd better have our tissues ready for next episode: it's going to be an emotional rollercoaster!
Who is the real villain of Gravity Falls?
Have your own theory, or did you notice more Easter eggs? Tell us in the comments or write your own post about Gravity Falls!