The 5 Best Fan Theories in the Marvel Cinematic Universe

From the highly plausible to the batshit crazy, these five theories will change the way you watch Marvel movies.

The internet can often feel like a dark and desolate wasteland, devoid of anything remotely positive. But if you can get past the angry YouTube comments and cruel memes, the world wide web actually has some pretty awesome stuff, including fan theories that are equal parts entertaining, plausible, and, of course, batshit crazy. And given the ever-increasing popularity of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, it should come as no surprise that there are thousands of fan theories about Iron Man, Black Panther, and the rest of these loveable demi-gods. But instead of having to waste your time searching every corner of the internet to find them, we’ve compiled seven of the best MCU fan theories that currently exist online. Check them out.

Captain Marvel is the Key to Everything (With Some Help from Ant-Man and the Wasp)

We all know Infinity War ended on an extremely grim note, as half of the population of the universe (including many of our favorite heroes) ceased to exist when Thanos activated the completed Infinity Gauntlet. Of course, most fans have already assumed that the remaining heroes will figure out a way to reverse this devastation and bring everyone back but the question is how exactly will that happen?

There are plenty of theories floating around online but the most logical revolves around Captain Marvel, who Nick Fury appeared to be attempting to contact before he disintegrated. The exact logistics of the theory can vary a bit depending on which corner of the internet you explore but the basic idea is that Captain Marvel will use her extensive powers, including “enhanced durability, speed, flight, [and] inhuman strength”, to enter the quantum realm (which was recently discovered in Ant-Man and the Wasp) in order to travel back in time and undo Thanos’ merciless form of population control.

But this is all speculation, so is there really any reason to believe Captain Marvel will play such a pivotal role in perhaps the biggest movie in the entire Marvel canon? Only if you trust the word of Paul Feige, the man in charge of the entire MCU, who has already said that Captain Marvel will “prove to be a very important character in the MCU for all the movies.” And considering that a Captain Marvel origin film (set in the ’90s) is heading to theaters in March 2019 (just one month before the Infinity War sequel) it seems logical that she would play an essential role in saving the Avengers and the universe from annihilation.

Did the Winter Soldier Kill Spidey’s Parents?

One of the biggest reveals of the entire Marvel Cinematic Universe is the fact that Captain America’s former BFF Bucky Barnes aka the Winter Soldier was actually the assassin who killed Tony Stark’s mom and dad. Of course, it is also revealed that Barnes only did that because he had been turned into a brainwashed supersoldier who performed countless assassinations and murders over the decades most assumed he was dead. Naturally, this has led to many wondering if Barnes may have been responsible for other mysterious deaths, including Peter Parker’s parents, who are dead when we first meet the teen web-slinger.

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For now, we know almost nothing about Parker’s parents but in several iterations of the comics, Parkers parents are shown to be scientists working closely with S.H.I.E.L.D., making them an obvious target for Hydra, the organization in charge of the Winter Soldier. In fact, in some comic timelines, his parents were actually murdered by Hydra. If the MCU decides to follow this timeline as they explore Parker’s backstory, it might make sense to reveal that Parker’s family were killed by Bucky, who is no longer under Hydra’s control.

Is Nick Fury Secretly Jules Winnfield?

Usually, the idea that two characters in seemingly completely separate realities are secretly the same person is supported solely by the fact that they have been played by the same actor, like Nick Fury and Jules Winnfield, who are both famously played by Samuel L. Jackson. However, in this case, there’s a bit more to it than that.

Some will try to argue that the briefcase Jules and Vincent (John Travolta) obtained in Pulp Fiction secretly held one of the Infinity Stones but that is flimsy, at best. The real connection can be found when we visit Fury’s (fake) tombstone in Winter Soldier. It’s only shown briefly but the tombstone clearly reads: “The Path of the Righteous Man…” Ezekiel 25:17.

For those not aware, this is not just a random Bible verse. It’s the same verse Jules quotes just before he shoots the shit out of poor Brett. In fact, Jules’ entire character arc revolves around his determination to discover “The Path of the Righteous Man.” What really makes this theory plausible is the fact that, in the Bible, Ezekiel 25:17 doesn’t even feature the phrase “the path of the righteous man.” It’s a phrase that appears to have been made up entirely by Jules.

Sure, it could just be written off as a coincidence but isn’t it possible that when Jules heads off to walk the earth to meet people and get in adventures, he might have ended up taking on a new identity to escape his criminal past and eventually found that “the path of the righteous man” involved him assembling all of the world’s superheroes to fight against the destruction of planet earth? We’re not saying Nick Fury is definitely Jules Winnfield but we’re also not saying he’s not.

Stan Lee is the Watcher

Everyone knows that Stan Lee, the brilliant mind behind basically every superhero in the MCU, makes a cameo in every single one of the movies, from Iron Man to Ant-Man and the Wasp. This is usually seen as a fun way to pay tribute to Lee but everything changed when he appeared in Guardians of the Galaxy: Vol. 2 with a group of the Watchers, telling them about the time he pretended to be a Fed-Ex driver, which is a reference to his cameo in Civil War.

This is probably just a clever Easter Egg but fans began to wonder if this background detail is suggesting that Stan Lee is secretly a Watcher in the universe. By now, many of you may be wondering what the hell is a Watcher anyway. Basically, the Watchers are an ancient god-like race of aliens who passively observe everything that happens in the Universe. So perhaps, over time, it will be revealed that Lee has secretly been in charge of witnessing all the actions of the Avengers.

Peggy Carter is Iron Man’s Real Mom

There are few things the internet loves to speculate about more than the lineage of fictional characters so it should come as no surprise that many have wondered if Tony Stark’s mom, Maria, isn’t actually his biological mother. After all, Maria is barely even featured in the movies, while Tony’s father Howard is prominently featured throughout the MCU, including his role in Agent Carter. But Howard isn’t just in Agent Carter, he’s shown to have an extremely flirtatious, borderline will-they-won’t-they relationship with the titular Carter.

Given the connectivity and elaborate planning of every aspect of Marvel, isn’t it possible that Howard and Carter had a secret love affair that resulted in the birth of Tony, which they then kept under wraps? Admittedly, there is not a ton of concrete evidence to support this theory and the timeline gets a little murky but what better way to further the bizarre bond between Tony Stark, Steve Rogers, and Bucky Barnes than to prove Rogers’ previous flame turned out to be Stark’s mother?