Over the weekend, Alex Hirsch confirmed our worst fears: Gravity Falls will end on season 2. While there are still plenty of mysteries unsolved, and lots of character and relationship development still unresolved, it's good to know that Gravity Falls was always intended as a self-contained story. The much loved show will go out with a bang in Weirdmageddon II and Weirdmageddon III, the latter of which will be an hour long (and if that doesn't get you excited, I don't know what will).
To be honest, we probably should have seen this coming. Aside from the fact that Bill Cipher's plan to take over the world is an endgame type plot, the Gravity Falls Youtube channel has also been releasing a series of shorts based on the Mystery Shack's going out of business sale. Featuring a live action felt Stan Pines, the shorts are pretty hilarious and well worth checking out. And they also contain some pretty crucial plot hints, especially in this episode...
Obviously, the "Nacho Necklace" is some weird Bill Cipher talisman, but considering Stan still doesn't know who Bill is (apparently), he mistakes it for a simple nacho, albeit one with "Egyptian-y top hat-y craftsmanship". Bill himself then calls in to the show, dropping some significant plot hints in the process!
What's The Deal With Stan & Bill?
Despite the fact that Stan and Bill have never so much as exchanged words in the show, fans have been theorising about their connection for a very long time. The similarities between the two are really starting to stack up but on a very basic level they mirror each other - they're both wheeler dealers with a snappy dress sense (bow ties and kooky hats) and a very similar way of talking. So similar, in fact, that their dialogue frequently echoes each other...
"Eenie, meenie, miny... YOU!" - Stan, in Tourist Trapped, choosing Dipper to put up signs. Also Bill, in Sock Opera, choosing Dipper as his literal puppet.
"Sixer!" - Stan's fond nickname for Ford in A Tale Of Two Stans. Also, Bill's nickname for Ford in The Last Mabelcorn.
And let's not forget that the first time we ever encountered Bill was in Dreamscaperers (S01E19), an episode that takes place almost entirely in Stan's memories, and which was stuffed full of hints about Ford.
With this in mind, Bill Cipher's words to Stan in this new "Nacho Necklace" short are all the more intriguing...
Bill: "Well well well, Stan Pines... long time no talk!"
Stan: "Uh, do I know you?"
Bill: "I'm sure I'm in your memories somewhere!"
Bill's first line suggests that he and Stan have spoken at some point offscreen, but his comment about memories could just be a reference to the episode Dreamscaperers. Either way, Bill definitely has plans for Stan!
"How about you keep the necklace, and I take YOUR SOUL?!"
This comment alarms Stan enough to offer to give the necklace away for free to the next customer, just to get Bill off the phone. Stan "no refunds" Pines, is offering to give away something he could sell. That seems pretty out of character to me.
Stan Pines' Uncertain Future
So does Bill really want Stan's soul, or was he just messing around? It's difficult to tell with Bill Cipher - he likes to joke, but he also has a grand plot for everything he's going to do.
Bill Cipher has turned his eye on every member of the Pines family during Weirdmageddon, turning Ford to stone, burning the journals in front of Dipper, and of course imprisoning Mabel. But Stan is nowhere to be found. Although he cares dearly for the kids, he doesn't seem to be trying to find them - the last we saw of Grunkle Stan, he was facing off against that pesky goat before it turned gigantic and he fled into the woods.
Considering Stan is one of the show's leading characters, he'll definitely pop up in the finale somehow, but where and when, and what Bill wants with him, remains to be seen. Alex Hirsch does seem to want to establish a connection between the two characters: Bill also phoned in to another episode of Mr Mystery, and Hirsch drew parallels between the characters during an NYCC panel...
"If you think Stan's relationship with his family is bad, Bill's is worse."
Of course, there's Stan's heavily foreshadowed death to consider, as well as the fact that Alex Hirsch confirmed a major character death that has yet to come.
Doom and gloom aside, the Mr Mystery shorts prove one sad fact: Ford really is chucking Stan out once the kids leave, and the Mystery Shack is closing its doors forever. Here's hoping that the finale sees Ford change his mind - surely the brothers can learn to live and work together? Right?
Weirdmageddon II: Escape From Reality airs tonight at 8pm on Disney XD. Be sure to check back here for plenty of theories and clues after the episode!