Photo credit: NETFLIX

7 fun fan theories about popular films and TV series

These might change the way you view your favourite characters!

Matthaeus Choo
Matthaeus Choo

Published: 17 November 2021, 1:42 PM

Experiencing a fantastic film or television series always feels great but what might be even more exciting is talking about them with friends afterwards. 

For ongoing series, it’s always fun to come up with fan theories to predict what will happen next. For everything else, fan theories can offer creative — albeit outlandish — explanations to what happened and give a new layer of appreciation to your favourite shows and films.

Here are seven fun fan theories to share with your friends! 

(PS. Spoilers ahead for Squid Game and Harry Potter!)

Courage the Cowardly Dog — Courage is just a regular dog paranoid about protecting his masters

With all its genuinely terrifying monsters and bone-chilling music, it can be crazy to think that Courage the Cowardly Dog is a children’s show. However, a theory has emerged that has given the series a rather wholesome perspective. It suggests that Courage is actually just a regular dog, and all the ‘monsters’ he protects his masters, Muriel and Eustace, from are regular people seen through his overprotective instincts. 

This could be why the elderly couple are usually none too concerned even when an evil moon spirit or an ancient pharaoh comes knocking on their door. The theory also suggests that Courage and his family only seem to live in the middle of nowhere when perhaps the elderly couple are too old to take their dog out often. 

Pokemon (animated series) — Team Rocket’s boss is Ash’s father



Throughout the massive Pokemon anime franchise, two things have remained consistent: Ash Ketchum is 10 years old and the fan theory that Giovanni, Team Rocket’s evil mastermind, is actually Ash’s never-talked-about father. 

So, imagine you’re a mother whose 10-year-old just left home to embark on a perilous journey filled with dangerous monsters — you would probably be very worried. Perhaps you might call up the child’s father to keep an eye on him, especially when he just so happens to be a crime boss with an army of goons. This could explain why Jesse, James and Meowth are so incompetent at capturing Pikachu; they were just training Ash to prepare him for any greater threat.

Finding Nemo — Nemo is no longer around



Despite being beloved family classics, Pixar animated films tend to take disarmingly dark turns (see: the incinerator scene in Toy Story 3). It might be why a grim theory about Nemo’s fate in Finding Nemo has been widely accepted amongst fans. 

At the beginning of the film, a barracuda kills most of Marlin’s family, with Nemo being the sole survivor. The event, understandably, leads Marlin to be overprotective of his only son, pushing him to travel half the world away to find him. 

A fan theory, stemming from how Nemo means “nobody” in Latin, suggests that the kid clownfish didn’t survive the attack, with the film’s events being imagined by Marlin — his search for “nobody” is a way for him to work through his trauma. 

Spongebob Squarepants — The characters of Bikini Bottom are radioactive mutants



Ever wondered how the show’s talking sponge and aquatic sea life with legs came to be? One fan theory suggests that Spongebob Squarepants takes place below the Bikini Atoll (thus, Bikini Bottom) which, in our world, was used extensively for nuclear weapons testing — footage of these tests are frequently used in the show.

Seeping into the waters below, the radiation transformed aquatic lifeforms into hideous fish-animal hybrids; even sponges are not spared. Chipmunks were onboard naval vessels during these tests, which could also explain why Sandy Cheeks, a Texan chipmunk wearing a protective suit, found herself in Bikini Bottom.

Squid Game — Il-Nam Is Gi-Hun’s father



The Netflix series is filled with countless twists and turns with perhaps the most unexpected being the revelation of Il-Nam being behind the twisted Squid Games

A fan theory proposes that Il-Nam is actually Gi-Hun’s father, supported by how both seemingly recall living in the same neighbourhood and how Gi-Hun remembers being spanked as a child, with Il-Nam sharing that he did the same with his child. 

It’s a fan theory that might have fascinating implications for what is to come. Perhaps Il-Nam, knowing his son’s impulsive and double-or-nothing tendencies, cooked up a plan to bring Gi-Hun back to the Squid Games to take over him after his death. Perhaps the Squid Games is Gi-Hun’s punishment for their family’s fallout. There will be a lot to think about as we await the series’ anticipated second season.

The James Bond franchise — James Bond is a code name and not a person



With No Time to Die being Daniel Craig’s last stint as James Bond, a new actor will soon have to take up the mantle of being the world-famous spy. One fan theory attempts to reconcile why James Bond tends to shapeshift after a few adventures. 

Similar to the 007 designation, James Bond might be a code name more so than a person. It would explain why so many have ‘become’ Bond over the years, and why they are so eager to share their names despite being a secret agent. Being James Bond might mean being the best, and just hearing his name alone might be enough of a signal for villains to reconsider their schemes.

2012’s Skyfall does poke holes in this accepted theory with a brief scene that reveals the names of Bond’s parents — although this could still be explained away as a coincidence. 

The Harry Potter franchise — Dumbledore is Death

Within the books, The Tale of the Three Brothers is a popular children’s tale that is eventually revealed to explain the origins of the Deathly Hallows, three powerful artefacts created by Death itself. 

Three brothers cross a treacherous river and Death, frustrated that they have escaped its grasp, decides to trick them. Each was given powerful magical items that eventually led to their own demise. The youngest brother, who was gifted the invisibility cloak to always escape Death, passed it down to his son before greeting Death “like an old friend.”  

The theory largely hinges on how Harry Potter greets Dumbledore in a similar manner during his ‘death’, how Voldemort, Snape and Harry’s journeys mirror the Tale, and how the headmaster was at one point in possession of all three artefacts. It’s a fan theory that J.K Rowling has acknowledged as her favourite, and may change the way you view Dumbledore the next time you revisit Hogwarts.

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