1. THE GENIE AND THE PEDDLER ARE THE SAME CHARACTER IN ALADDIN.
Since the release of Disney’s Aladdin in 1992, there’s been a very popular fan theory that suggests the Peddler who opens the film and the Genie are the same character. There are a number of clues that support this fan theory, namely that both characters are voiced by the late Robin Williams and are the only ones who address the audience directly. In an interview in 2015, co-directors Ron Clements and John Musker confirmed the truth about the Peddler and the Genie.
“I saw something that speculates that the peddler at the beginning of Aladdin is the Genie. That’s true,” Clements revealed. “That was the whole intention, originally. We even had that at the end of the movie, where he would reveal himself to be the Genie, and of course Robin did the voice of the peddler. Just through story changes and some editing, we lost the reveal at the end. So, that’s an urban legend that actually is true.”
The original workprint ending of Aladdin (above) included an additional scene of the Peddler revealing his true identity.
2. ROBOCOP IS A CHRIST STORY.
After the release of RoboCop in 1987, many fans speculated about the film’s hidden themes of Christianity and Jesus Christ. After all, the sci-fi movie follows a man who is brutally executed, then comes back from the dead to save the city of Detroit from evil. In 2010, director Paul Verhoeven confirmed the RoboCop as Jesus Christ theory.
“The point of RoboCop, of course, is it is a Christ story," Verhoeven said. "It is about a guy who gets crucified in the first 50 minutes, and then is resurrected in the next 50 minutes, and then is like the supercop of the world, but is also a Jesus figure as he walks over water at the end."
3. DUMBLEDORE IS DEATH IN THE HARRY POTTER SERIES.
In Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Hermoine tells Harry "The Tale of the Three Brothers," a fable that explains the origins of the Deathly Hallows. The story follows three brothers who come across Death while trying to cross a river. Death felt cheated that the brothers used magic to cross because people would normally drown in the water instead, so he congratulated them for tricking him and gave them gifts for their cunning.
The oldest brother asked for a powerful wand, which he was murdered for once he reached town. The next brother asked for a stone that gave him the ability to bring back his dead lover, whose ghost disappeared as soon as she was brought back from the dead. This led the second brother to kill himself to join her in the afterlife. The youngest brother, who was humble, asked Death for an invisibility cloak to hide from him until it was time to die as an old man. Once it was time, the youngest brother revealed himself to Death and willingly went with him as an old friend.
A theory emerged that the three brothers represented characters in the Harry Potter series: Voldemort is the first brother, who died for power; Severus Snape is the second, who died for his long lost love; and Harry Potter is the third, who "greeted death like an old friend" later in The Deathly Hallows. So who is Death? One fan theory suggested that Dumbledore Is Death, because he ends up meeting Harry in the afterlife and possessed the Elder Wand, the Resurrection Stone, and the Invisibility Cloak throughout the series.
Eventually, Harry Potter creatorJ.K. Rowling chimed in:
4. DECKARD IS A REPLICANT IN BLADE RUNNER.
For more than 30 years, fans argued about whether Deckard (Harrison Ford) from 1982's Blade Runner was a Replicant or not. There are a number of clues that support both arguments, but director Ridley Scott confirmed the truth for fans: Deckard is, indeed, a Replicant. In the interview above, from 2002, Scott revealed the truth about Deckard’s origins.
5. JESUS CHRIST WAS AN ENGINEER FROM PROMETHEUS.
Ridley Scott’s vision for Prometheus was something much more than a prequel to Alien. Scott conceived the idea that the Engineers created humanity on Earth and when mankind devolved into endless war and chaos, they sent another Engineer, Jesus Christ, to make things right again. However, instead of making a better world, humanity crucified him.
But as it turned out, the fan theory—which started on LiveJournal—is true. Scott just opted to make the Christ analogy more ambiguous than originally conceived because he believed it was “a little too on the nose.”
“If you look at it as an ‘our children are misbehaving down there’ scenario, there are moments where it looks like we've gone out of control, running around with armor and skirts, which of course would be the Roman Empire," Scott told Movies.com. "And they were given a long run. A thousand years before their disintegration actually started to happen. And you can say, 'Let's send down one more of our emissaries to see if he can stop it.' Guess what? They crucified him.”
TAKE PLACE IN THE SAME UNIVERSE.
While Rapunzel and Flynn from Disney’s Tangled appear briefly in Frozen, there is a rumor that suggests Disney’s Tarzan is also linked to Anna and Elsa. As the fan theory goes, the princesses' parents were the same two people who were shipwrecked on a jungle island at the beginning of Tarzan. This would make the King of the Jungle the baby brother of Anna and Elsa.
During a Reddit AMA, Frozen co-directors Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck (Buck also directed Tarzan), jokingly added fuel to the fire and confirmed the fan theory. “According to Chris, they didn’t die on the boat. They got washed up on a shore in a jungle island. The queen gave birth to a baby boy. They build a treehouse. They get eaten by a leopard,” said Lee.
A year after appearing on Reddit, Buck double-downed on the theory in an interview with MTV News. “I said, 'Of course Anna and Elsa's parents didn't die,'" he continued. "Yes, there was a shipwreck, but they were at sea a little bit longer than we think they were because the mother was pregnant, and she gave birth on the boat, to a little boy. They get shipwrecked, and somehow they really washed way far away from the Scandinavian waters, and they end up in the jungle. They end up building a tree house and a leopard kills them, so their baby boy is raised by gorillas. So in my little head, Anna and Elsa's brother is Tarzan—but on the other side of that island are surfing penguins, to tie in a non-Disney movie, Surf's Up. That's my fun little world."
7. SPIRITED AWAY IS AN ALLEGORY FOR THE SEX INDUSTRY.
While many people see Spirited Away as a children’s movie about a young girl who learns to embrace the spirit world to return to her parents, some fans view Hayao Miyazaki’s Academy Award-winning film as an allegory for prostitution in Japanese society during the 19th century. The film’s protagonist, Chihiro, is forced to work in a bathhouse for an evil witch after her parents foolishly ate food that was meant for the gods, which turned her mother and father into pigs. Chihiro works as a “yuna,” which is Japanese for “a woman who works with bathers,” or a bathhouse prostitute. According to Miyazaki, “I think the most appropriate way to symbolize the modern world is the sex industry. Hasn’t Japanese society become like the sex industry?”
Studio Ghibli also wrote one Spirited Away fan a lengthy letter explaining why Chihiro’s parents turned into pigs and what their transformation represents which, according to Miyazaki, is a metaphor for greed and materialism.
IS ABOUT LEPROSY.
There is a longstanding urban legend in Princess Mononoke (1997) that suggests the workers covered with bloody bandages at the factory in Irontown have leprosy (or Hansen’s disease). In its original Japanese version, the characters are described as “gyobyo,” which means “incurable disease” or “suffering the consequences” in English. The word “leprosy” doesn’t appear anywhere in the original Japanese version, but the fan theory grew in popularity.
“While making Princess Mononoke, I thought I had to depict people who are ill with what’s clearly called an incurable disease, but who are living as best they can,” Hayao Miyazaki said during a conference for World Leprosy Day. He also met with patients at a hospital in Tokyo that treated people with Hansen’s disease during the film’s production.
9. ALL QUENTIN TARANTINO MOVIES TAKE PLACE IN THE SAME UNIVERSE.
For years, fans would speculate about how Quentin Tarantino movies were connected. Aside from Red Apple Cigarettes appearing in almost all of the director’s movies, several of his characters share the same last names and traits: Sergeant Donny Donowitz (Eli Roth) from Inglourious Basterds and Lee Donowitz (Saul Rubinek) from True Romance are related, while Pete Hicox (Tim Roth) from The Hateful Eight and Lt. Archie Hicox (Michael Fassbender) from Inglourious Basterds are also related.
In an interview on Australian TV, Tarantino admitted that all of his movies belong in a shared universe, but in a different way than you’d expect. “There are actually two separate universes," Tarantino said. "There’s the realer than real universe, and all the characters inhabit that one. Then there’s this 'movie' universe, so From Dusk Till Dawn and Kill Bill take place in this special movie universe. Basically, when the characters from Reservoir Dogs or Pulp Fiction go to the movies, Kill Bill and From Dusk Till Dawn is what they go see.”