D.C. comics began in the 1930s, and over the last century, has grown into an entertainment empire that spans comics, television, animation, movies, and oh-so-much merchandise. It has built a vast and fervent fan base who tend to be both heavily invested and outspoken. As a result, D.C. fans created a veritable anthology of fan theories designed to explain and connect every single facet of D.C. continuity, no matter how small or otherwise easily explainable.
As true as this is for the comics and animated shows, it is especially true for the movies. Because the D.C.E.U. has brought some of the world’s most popular characters to the big screen in a… less than consistent way, fans have taken it upon themselves to fill in Warner Brothers’ gaps and build their bridges for them. Here are ten D.C. fan theories/conspiracies that, whether true or not, are worth reading.
10 Wonder Woman and the Native American God
In Wonder Woman, the titular Amazonian assembles a ragtag crew of soldiers and spies to help her navigate through war-stricken Europe, mainly because Captain America had already done that, and it seemed kinda fun. One of the colorful characters she collects is a Native American nicknamed Chief. Chief later reveals his real name is Napi.
Napi is a god in Blackfoot mythology who shaped the entire world. A demiurge. That makes him in one sense analogous to what the Christians would call God with a capital G. As the film’s antagonist is the Greek god of war Ares, gods are not off the table, and Napi’s actor Eugene Brave Rock has confirmed he is indeed the Blackfoot god.
9 Lois Lane has Psychic Powers
Some fan theories, though clever and comprehensive, are essentially just fan apologies for filmmakers’ mistakes. These big tentpole movies are made by committees overseeing more committees, so it’s natural that some continuity is lost and some disbelief fails to be suspended. One such theory is that which posits that Lois Lane is herself a metahuman.
The theory states that in “Batman Vs. Superman” (BvS), Lois Lane has superpowers of her own, most notably psychic powers. It’s the only way to explain, for example, Superman saving her from the terrorists, from being pushed off the skyscraper, and from drowning (boy, she really is pigeon-holed) despite not being aware of any of these situations. She had to have psychically alerted him to her distress. That, and she heard a dying Superman whisper to Batman to save Martha, even though she wasn’t in the room. Plus, she knew about the kryptonite spear and how to use it despite no one explaining it to her. She may be a two-dimensional plot device, but at least her mind-powers can explain it.
8 Aquaman Used Whales to Save Superman
In “Man of Steel,” while Clark Kent is out traveling the globe to grow the perfect grief beard, he is forced to save the crew of an offshore oil rig after it catches fire and collapses. After Clark holds up a portion of the rig so the workers can escape, he falls in the ocean below, unconscious. The sequence, by the way, includes a close-up on his sweaty abs but not a shot of him ever going in the water because… Zack Snyder.
Clark awakens in the water and sees two whales float towards him. The next we know, he emerges onshore. Again, no explanation. Naturally, due to, well just the presence of water, fans think of Aquaman. They theorize that he was watching and used his whale friends to give Clark a ride to shore. Aquaman himself, i.e., Jason Momoa, has confirmed that this theory is true.
7 Watchmen is DCEU Canon
The 2019 conclusion of D.C. Comics’ “Doomsday Clock” series canonically connects the D.C. Universe and the Watchmen universe. In the D.C.E.U. movies, the two worlds are at least spiritually connected as the architect of both is the same person, Zack Snyder. And Snyder has been sure to include easter eggs in the films that hint at the two worlds being connected. As a result, several fan theories have arisen to officially establish a canon connection.
For one, many have pointed to the anti-metahuman populace in the D.C.E.U. movies being potentially caused by the actions of earlier heroes who were darker, more flawed, and failed to prevent catastrophe, i.e., the Watchmen. Another hypothesis is that the Watchmen’s omnipotent Dr. Manhattan is pulling the D.C.E.U.’s strings,-resetting canon and establishing/curating the multiverse. The theories are more plausible than ever, thanks to their source material backing.
6 Marvel Bribed Rotten Tomatoes
Instead of canon and lore, this conspiracy is about real-world critical reactions. When “BvS” came out, its review scores on aggregate sites like Rotten Tomatoes quickly plummeted. Many fans expressed their belief that Marvel parent company Disney paid off critics to give the competing “BvS” a low score. This was a widely circulated news story and trended on Twitter for a bit.
The problem is that the trend was most vocally started by screenwriter Max Landis, notable controversy-magnet and purveyor of poorly-written sensationalism. When critics confronted Landis, he quickly backtracked, but the damage was done. D.C.’s fanbase, which at times can be a tad bit *ahem* Ayn-Rand-ish, seized on the idea as a way to explain why their movie wasn’t universally adored. After all, that is easier than acknowledging its glaring problems with writing, directing, acting, editing, tone, structure, internal logic, pacing, and consistency.
5 Alfred Only Dreamt that Bruce Survived
Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy ended with Batman seemingly dying in a sacrificial explosion. He is mourned and commemorated, and Gotham moves on, presumably with a spandex-clad Joseph Gordon Levitt prowling its rooftops. But we’re left with a treat. When a grieving Alfred visits his favorite cafe in Florence, Italy, he sees Bruce Wayne alive and well, having a nice day out with his partner-in-brooding Selena Kyle, aka Catwoman.
However, many fans think this is just Alfred dreaming as a way to cope with the trauma of Bruce’s death. Earlier in the movie, Alfred indeed said that he had a fantasy of finding Bruce there, and in addition, never told Bruce which cafe it was. Christopher Nolan has said that the sequence is not a dream. I posit here that Nolan saying that was part of the dream, too. That could theoretically mean we’re all a part of Alfred’s dream, and I, for one, am okay with that.
4 The Joker is a Robin
At one point in “BvS,” we see an empty, vandalized Robin suit and are left to assume that the Joker murdered Robin. For comic fans, that naturally brings up Jason Todd, the second Robin, who the Joker indeed murdered back in the 80s due to a reader poll. But director Zack Snyder said that the dead Robin was “Richard,” meaning the first Robin, Dick Grayson.
This led many to question if the Joker, the Jared Leto version, was himself, Jason Todd. It would explain some of the Joker’s tattoos, which appear to be feathers and birds; the ‘J’ tattoo under his eye, which would stand for ‘Jason’ instead of ‘Joker’; Batman’s extreme cynicism and world-weariness; and Batman’s line “20 years in Gotham. How many good guys are left? How many stayed that way?”
3 Future Injustice
In both “BvS” and “Justice League,” we see visions of the future, dubbed by fans as “Knightmares,” which is a pretty cool name. They are bleak and show a dystopian hellscape in which Superman has turned evil, and Batman has to collect metahumans to stand against him. Fans have wondered if this is a possible setup for the popular Injustice storyline.
In that comic series, the Joker tricks Superman into killing Lois Lane, which causes Supes to spiral into evil and totalitarianism. That does seem pretty close to the visions. Zack Snyder has said coyly that the Joker is in some way responsible for the Knightmare future, which lends support to the idea that the Knightmare future is the Injustice future. We may still be able to see it play out if the #Snyderverse is ever #restored.
2 WWII Never Happened
“Wonder Woman” is odd in that, despite its protagonist and antagonist being characters from Greek myth, its setting is very real—the front lines of World War One—and some of its characters very real. For this theory, the character that matters most is Erich Ludendorff, a very real German general from that era. In the movie, Wonder Woman stabs Ludendorff and kills him, but in real life, Ludendorff survived World War One and went on to play a major role in turning Germany into a fascist empire. He took part in two attempted coups of the German government (called putsches), worked with the Nazi party, and helped perpetuate anti-Semitic ideologies.
The theory, which is a logical assumption, says that because Wonder Woman killed off Ludendorff in WWI, it prevented him from exerting his influence on German society in the 20 and 30s, thereby weakening the Nazi cause. Removing this gear from the Nazi machine may have caused it to lose enough steam to never initiate World War II.
1 Batman is in Arkham
This is one of the oldest comic book theories there is, and though it almost certainly not true, it makes for a fun discussion. It states that Bruce Wayne, not his villains, is a prisoner in Arkham Asylum. His inability to cope with the trauma of his parent’s death drove him insane, and he ended up a permanent inmate at Arkham.
The Batman persona is just one of Wayne’s psychoses, and his villains really just his doctors. Adding to the theory is the fact that many of Batman’s rogues are, in fact, doctors. Further, the villain Scarecrow, who is able to provoke the most fear in Wayne with his chemical injections, is an actual psychiatrist. It is funny to imagine the Batman comic ending at some point with him waking up in a straitjacket and realizing it was all a hallucination. Naturally, there would be riots in the streets.