At some point, we've all seen the finale of a TV show or movie and thought, "I could have written a better ending than that." (We're still bitter about 24 not ending with Jack Bauer exploding from all the accumulated urine in his body, like our write-in campaign suggested.) That's why there is a thriving culture of fan theories that flood the Internet in anticipation of every show, movie or book.
Though these theories turn out to be wrong approximately 100% of the time, we like to point out the ones that really do seem to improve on what the actual writers came up with. Tell us the below movies or series wouldn't be improved if it turned out...
(To watch Cracked improve Star Wars, click here.)
5Harry Potter Isn't the Chosen One; His Inept Classmate Is
In the world of Harry Potter, Neville Longbottom is the resident doofus. He's not really good at magic, he constantly forgets stuff -- even Rowling hates him, as evidenced by the fact that she included a synonym for "ass" in his name. Neville only seems to be there so that readers who aren't smart, capable or attractive will have someone to identify with.
Also to make Harry Potter look like less of a dork in comparison.
However, just like that shy kid from your school who went on to become a porn actor, later books seem to hint that there might be something more to Neville than meets the eye ...
The Awesome Fan Theory:
Basically, that Harry Potter dude was just a distraction. The "chosen one" was Neville all along.
See, the plot of all seven books revolves around the idea that Harry's life fulfills this prophecy:
"The one with the power to vanquish the Dark Lord [Voldemort] approaches ... born to those who have thrice defied him, born as the seventh month dies ... and the Dark Lord will mark him as his equal, but he will have power the Dark Lord knows not ... ".
"Also, he'll have a goddamn sword."
The thing is, all that stuff applies to Neville, too. His parents had thrice defied Voldemort, and he was born on July 30, one day before Harry. So what power does Neville know that Voldemort doesn't? According to the theory, that could be either "the power of love" (as in Harry's case) or "herbology."
Or both, considering the way he looks at those plants.
The "Voldemort will mark him as his equal" part was a little trickier, but then again it wasn't clear how it related to Harry, either. Neville had a messed up relationship with his parents, mainly due to the fact that Voldemort had them tortured into insanity. Voldemort had some serious mommy issues, too, so in that sense Voldemort made him his equal.
But the best part of the theory, the part that makes it all come together, is the idea that Dumbledore, the principal of Wizard High, was intentionally allowing Voldemort to think Harry was the chosen one just to protect Neville. While we're not saying they should have just ditched Harry in the last book and turned the other kid into the protagonist, it would have been pretty cool to have Harry find out he wasn't the center of the universe after all, if only because it would have made the character slightly less insufferable.
"Now that I know I'm not the chosen one, I can finally get my dick tattooed."
The later books do flirt with the idea, however briefly. And it would have fit right in with Rowling's habit of pillaging the first three books to turn all the one-off magic items and half-serious gags into game-changing MacGuffins.
What We Got Instead:
Potter fans of the world were treated to a stunning twist ending in which (spoiler!) Harry kills Voldemort, and then a bunch of random stuff happens because ... you know ... wizards. But even before the last book came out, Rowling actually went on the record specifically shooting the fan theory down, perhaps realizing the ending she had already written wasn't as awesome as the one fans imagined and trying to keep them from getting their hopes up.
4The Matrix: Neo is a Machine
You probably remember the end of the first Matrix movie, in which Keanu Reeves learns that he can change reality with his mind because he's actually living in a giant computer simulation. Later, in The Matrix Reloaded, he kills several sentinel robots with his new mental god-powers --- but he's not inside the Matrix anymore. He's in the real world.
More specifically, in the land of oddly elaborate hairdos and rave sex.
So what gives? Also at the end of Matrix Reloaded, one of the evil computer programs makes its way into the real world by "possessing" the body of a human, which ... doesn't make a lot of sense, when you think about it. What's going on?
The Awesome Fan Theory:
We've previously told you about a popular interpretation which holds that the "real" world of Zion is still part of the Matrix; Keanu had just moved up to another level of simulation, like in Inception. But before the third movie was released, when Matrix fans were still in the denial stage of sequel grief, there was another, more elaborate theory: Zion is a Matrix-like simulation, but one made by humans for the purpose of creating better machines.
The previous generation left something to be desired.
In this scenario, Neo and his "enlightened" fellow humans were actually machines all along, and the baffling, recursive fight scenes they experienced in Matrix Reloaded were software implanted by the humans designed to teach them to understand human pain.
"I understand now ... it sucks ass!"
These dreaming machines would presumably be discouraged from ever declaring war and killing humans in the real world, and everyone would finally be free of the conflict that has plagued futuristic mankind since they decided that a personality was an important thing to have in their coffee machines.
The reason we like this theory is that it would have been a clever play on the old "machines revolt " trope -- instead of humans letting robots take over the world again (apparently nobody in this universe paid any attention to the Terminator movies), the fact that they actually took steps to prevent that sort of shit from happening would have turned the cliche on its head and provided a Matrix-like twist ending for the trilogy.
In addition to giving an in-story excuse for Keanu's acting.
What We Got Instead:
As anyone who watched The Matrix Revolutions knows, the official explanation was that Neo had powers in the real world because fuck you, dear viewer, that's why. At one point someone says something about Neo's powers coming from "The Source," without actually bothering to explain what "The Source" is, which is probably the result of the Wachowskis saying "Don't worry, we'll figure something out in the next movie" while forgetting that this was the final film.
Above: The "Source."