It really is a great time to be a superhero fan! Marvel and DC have captured the hearts of many with their respective film universes. The Marvel Cinematic Universe is currently entering its third phase, while the DC Expanded Universe (or Cinematic, depending on who you ask) is setting up to give us an explosive phase 1!
As expected, old fans and new fans alike are extremely pumped to see their favorite heroes on screen- and we're all expressing our excitement in different ways. Some of us are sharing anything and everything related to the movies, promoting them as much as they can. Others are reporting on the films, making sure fans are kept up to date with everything there is to know.
Then are those, like me, who express their love for an upcoming film in a creative kind of way: fan theories. Fan theories are articles where a writer- usually a fan- focuses on a certain film (or films) and theorizes about a certain aspect of it.
For example, there's a theory going around that Jared Leto's Joker from the upcoming Suicide Squad film is actually a deranged Jason Todd. Unfortunately, this and other theories aren't always well received. Truth is, not too many people enjoy fan theories that much. Recently, there's been a surge of negativity directed towards Moviepilot (the very site you're currently on) because of the theories that it shares on its various media pages.
This picture shows some of the theories commonly seen on Moviepilot, and the headline pretty much sums up the negativity towards them. Because of this post and other posts and comments like it, there's been a lot of debate in both the MP writers and MP readers community. Some are against these theories, call them a waste of time, idiotic, or nonsensical. Others are fine with them, describing them as harmless and a matter of one's own opinion.
As a person who's definitely dabbled in the world of fan theories, I thought I'd put my two cents in and address this issue. I do agree that fan theories, most of the time, are harmless, and that seeing one shouldn't cause anyone to get so upset as to attack the creator of the theory. But fan theories are more than just harmless articles, they're important articles.
Yes, I believe fan theories are important, and that they shouldn't disappear off the face of the earth- as some would like to happen. Before I explain exactly why I feel this way, there's a few things I feel I really have to talk about:
Moviepilot Did Not Invent Fan Theories
I know this is obvious, but Moviepilot didn't invent fan theories. More specifically, it didn't invent the theories so many people have a problem with. One of the biggest theories right now, that Joker is Jason Todd in Suicide Squad, was actually created by a user on reddit.
Let me be clear, I'm not saying go over there and insult the maker of the theory. All I'm saying is that theories are everywhere. You can find them on reddit, Cracked, Cinema Blend, Variety, basically any media news site. But along with those theories are other kinds of articles, ones that deserve to be recognized as well. Saying Moviepilot- or any site for that matter- sucks because they only share fan theories is just not true.
There are plenty of other articles for you to check out, so before you attack a website that happens to have fan theories, check out those other kinds of articles and see if you can find one to your liking.
Moviepilot Is For EVERYONE
Moviepilot is a community, it's an open forum that anyone can join. That means you, your neighbor and your neighbor's dog can all be a part of the MP community- assuming your neighbors super-dog with the ability to type has time to write articles in-between solving the world's problems!
When you're looking at a theory, or any kind of article, chances are that that's a real and regular person who wrote it. All of these fan theories were written by fans of whatever the theory is about. That's who MP is for, the fans. You'll get professional writers and staff members as well, but even they could be fans of the material they're writing.
The point is, while you may not like that theory, and while it might not make sense to you, the person who wrote that wrote it because they liked it, and they found sense in it. Personally, I don't think that Ben Affleck is playing Deathstroke in the new Batman v. Superman movie, but that doesn't mean I'm going to trash the theory. The writer wrote it because they liked it. He wanted to share it among a community of nerds, geeks and super-fans so they could all discuss—not so they could attack him for it.
So Why Are Fan Theories Important?
Like I said, if you don't like fan theories, Moviepilot and any other site you read on has other kinds of articles- all you have to do is find the ones you like. Unless you're on a website specifically for fan theories, in which case, I don't know why you'd be on such a site if you don't like them...
Anyway, it's true that you don't have to read these theories, but that doesn't mean that fan theories should go away or be ignored. Fan theories are more important to geek culture than we realize. Sure, a lot of them don't go anywhere, they often swing and miss, but some have turned out to be true.
Fans theorized that for the longest time that the island on Lost was actually purgatory, or that Korra and Asami from Legend of Korra were going to become romantically involved. Both of these theories had huge followings, and both turned out to be true. But a theory doesn't have to be true to have a huge impact on a fan community- just look at the Pixar Theory.
Considered one of the biggest and well-known theories out there, the Pixar Theory insists that every single Pixar movie (yes, even Cars 2) exists in the same universe. The theory's never officially been proved right or wrong, but that doesn't matter because it's already got such a huge following. Ever since that theory, so many people (myself included) started looking at Pixar movies differently. They weren't just films anymore, they were easter egg hunts- everyone looked at every frame of each movie to try and find anything they could to prove or disprove the theory!
And that's just it; fan theories, true or not, sensible or not, are there for one thing and one thing only: discussion. People write and spread these theories to keep discussion on the material going. The Jason Todd is Joker theory may be hated by a ton, but the fact is that whether you hate it or not, you're talking about it. And as an extent, you're talking about Suicide Squad.
Think of it this way. Without these theories, all we would have to support the movie until its release is the fact that it's coming out and some reported news. Some say they're fine with just getting the news, the straight facts, about the film.; but think about that. When's the last time you heard anything 100% true about Suicide Squad? The truth is, concrete facts and news about films don't come around as often as you'd think.
Studios aren't going to reveal everything there is to know about a film before it even comes out. Remember all of those reports that Hulk was going to be in Thor: Ragnarok that were circling around the web for a good week and a half? That wasn't even officially confirmed until about a day ago, when Mark Ruffalo himself confirmed it. Before that, technically, it was only a theory, a speculation.
Look, I'm not saying you should enjoy these fan theories even if you don't want to. There are a lot of fan theories that I don't like, or that I think make zero sense. But there's an easy and non-trashing way to discuss them and debate what makes them plausible and/or implausible.
Fan theories provide us all a way to add discussion and thought to our favorite movies, shows, characters and comics. Just imagine a world without them, where no one speculated on anything about anything. Just waiting for the movie to come out is something we fans simply cannot do. If you're a fan of something, you've probably had some thoughts on it.
All of those thoughts, those questions and those speculations forming in your head are the start of some possibly intriguing theories— even if you don't actually write them up! So whether you like them or you hate them, fan theories are important! If there's one you disagree with, either close that window, or add to the conversation. But there's no need to trash someone's opinion because it's different from yours.