Because there’s no limit to the human imagination (or the human having way too much time on its hands) the internet is full of outlandish fan theories concerning our favorite movies and TV shows. While some amateur speculations may seem wildly off-base, others are oddly convincing. So unless we get a signed letter from the President of Hollywood stating otherwise, we’re ready to believe that …

Top Gun: Maverick – Maverick Died 10 Minutes Into The Movie

Other than whatever black magic resulted in the sequel to a 35-year-old propaganda film becoming the number one movie at the summer box office in the 21st century, there don’t seem to be a lot of supernatural elements at play in Top Gun: Maverick. But according to one popular theory, the film may have been secretly harboring a Sixth Sense-esque twist …

The film opens with Pete “Maverick” Mitchell attempting to go faster than Mach 10 – which, judging from men’s razor commercials, seems like a lot. Maverick breaks the record, but pushes himself way too hard and crashes offscreen. The movie cuts to black and the next time we see Maverick he’s strolling into a roadside diner like a ghost.

One popular theory posits that Maverick actually did perish in the crash – which to be honest makes way more sense than him walking away completely unscathed. This also explains the rest of the movie, which functions as a sort of “death dream.” How else do you explain this convergence of events; Maverick is reassigned, and somehow able to tie-up a lot of unfinished emotional business; making peace with his dead friend’s son, reconciling with the ex-girlfriend he left behind, seeing Iceman one last time. It’s basically the finale of Lost, but with more beach athletics. 

This would also explain the confoundingly mysterious unnamed “enemy” the military is fighting– and also why events happening in Maverick’s late fifties are eerily reminiscent of his formative years in the 1980s. And for all we know, the ER doctors were cranking a Kenny Loggins CD as Maverick’s soul departed our mortal realm. 

Stranger Things – Suzie’s Kid-Filled House Foreshadowed The Finale

Stranger Things is obviously the kind of show that lends itself to outlandish fan theories; from the entire series being one particularly long Dungeons & Dragons game, to how a temporal anomaly could be prematurely aging residents of Hawkins, to the random six-year-old theory that ended up predicting season four’s biggest twist

One viewer also noticed that Vecna’s demise in the recent season finale, may have been telegraphed by an earlier, entirely unrelated scene. When Mike, Will and the gang visit Suzie in Salt Lake City, they find that she’s living in a chaotic kid-filled house, not unlike in that movie where Steve Martin refuses to wear a condom for his entire life for non-Mormon reasons. But this chance encounter with a bunch of random children may have subtly foreshadowed how our heroes eventually battle Vecna …

First of all, two of Suzie’s siblings are seen pretending to swordfight – hinting at how Hopper wields a sword to take down the Demogorgon at the Russian Gulag/future Airbnb. And some of them are making a movie in which one of them is dying from some kind of bite – hinting at Eddie’s death at the hands (wings?) of the Upside Down bats. 

Also a flaming meal anticipates how Nancy uses Molotov Cocktails on Vecna and most pointedly, Suzie’s plan to distract her unfriendly dad in order to sneak into his office on the upper floor mirrors the later plan to let Max distract Vecna in order to sneak into his attic lair. Thus underscoring that the real monster is being stuck at home with your creepy family.

Rick and Morty – The Meaning Of Life Is … Ice Cream?

It turns out that popular animated comedy/Szechuan sauce hype machine Rick and Morty may have been – between jokes about pickle transmogrification and devouring poop – quietly hinting at the meaning of life itself. At least that’s according to one theory which points out that ice cream is often depicted as a “sacred food” within the world of the show. Which could just be unsubtle marketing for the show’s real life ice cream tie-ins – likely the best ice cream ever to be made with the words “Poopy Butthole” in the name of the flavor.

But the series features repeated references to ice cream, which often they come at moments of intense emotional importance – 

– perhaps hinting at a greater cosmic significance for these frozen desserts, the one reliably enjoyable constant in an otherwise chaotic universe. 

Severance – The Goats Are The Mysterious Board Members

Apple’s acclaimed series Severance tells the story of the worst office to work in that doesn’t rhyme with “Schlacktivision Flizzard.” In the world of the show, certain employees of the biotechnology company Lumon are “severed” from their outside consciousness while working – kind of like how many of us are severed from our “New Year’s Eve after 6 PM” selves. One of the most confusing moments in the show involves the discovery of a random office space filled with baby goats.

What’s the deal with the department of farm animals? According to one fan, the goats may be the mysterious unseen board members who only communicate through an intercom, Charlie’s Angels-style. Which sounds ridiculous, if not for the fact that another prominent theory is that Lumon is secretly developing a way to implant someone’s consciousness into a host body. So it could very well be that living inside baby goats is the beta phase of this tech, and the board members are remaining out of sight until they can migrate into human bodies. Which would sound ridiculous, if we were talking about literally any show other than this one.  

The Batman – The Riddler Was Working With Gotham’s New Mayor

Since it’s roughly 700 hours long, there are a ton of minute details in The Batman for fans to overanalyze. While no one’s found any treasure maps hidden in the contours of Bruce Wayne’s goth-kid eyeliner, one theory implicates a seemingly innocent character in the Riddler’s dastardly plan. Remember Bella Reál, Gotham’s promising young Mayoral candidate running on a platform of “change.”

Is it possible that Reál was working with Riddler the entire time? After all, both parties ultimately had the same goal; to rid Gotham of its corrupt political infrastructure. And Reál targeting the Gotham Renewal program might indicate that she was aware that it had been co-opted to fund a sprawling underworld conspiracy, something even Batman didn’t know at first. 

Not to mention that Reál’s choice of a venue for her election night celebration was a perfect spot for Riddler’s plan, as if they had coordinated it together. And while she gets shot in the end, it’s in a “non-lethal manner” seemingly absolving her of any potential connection to Riddler. But, to be honest, even if she was caught, being a criminal isn’t exactly a deal-breaker for Gotham mayoral elections …

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