Have you ever watched a film, a TV show or a cartoon and felt that either one or all of the characters did not actually exist? There might have been something slightly off about the character or characters; something that just did not add up. Yet you couldn’t exactly place what was wrong.
If you’ve ever felt like that, don’t worry – you’re not alone. Countless other people are in the same boat as you. But instead of keeping these doubts to themselves, these people, known as fans, have come up with elaborate and sometimes creepy fan theories.
These theories explain how some of the characters from famous films, TV shows, and cartoons are not actually alive – they are either dead or in a coma and the whole plot of the film or TV show is simply taking place in their imagination. Here are 15 fan theories that claim a character wasn't real the whole time!
15 Ferris Bueller’s Day Off: Ferris Bueller Doesn't Exist
Who hasn’t seen Ferris Bueller’s Day Off? It has by now become a classic. However, recently a shocking fan theory has emerged which suggests that Ferris Bueller, the main character in the iconic film, doesn’t actually exist.
According to the theory, Ferris Bueller is simply a figment of someone's imagination. But in whose head, you might ask? His best friend’s Cameron’s head! Fans say that sick, friendless Cameron is so lonely that the only way he can cope with his life is by inventing a friend like Ferris.
Ferris is the exact opposite of Cameron. While Cameron is shy and lonely, Ferris is popular and full of life. As Cameron’s imagination runs wild, he ends up spacing out and crashes the car which leads to him confronting his father.
14 Ed, Edd And Eddy: All Children Are In Purgatory
While the creator of Ed, Edd, and Eddy has already debunked this theory, it’s nonetheless too fun not to share. According to the theory, all children in Ed, Edd, and Eddy are actually dead and live in purgatory.
If you think about it, the theory makes perfect sense: the children’s tongues are blue and green (and we all know that the tongue becomes slightly blue when we die), there are never any adults around and summers never end. In addition, the children live in a small, cul-de-sac bubble that basically makes up their whole world.
The theory also says that all the children come from different time periods, beginning in the early 1900s and ending in the early 2000’s and this is reflected in their apparel.
13 Breaking Bad: Walter White Is Dead
Breaking Bad is one of those amazing TV shows that has ended but that doesn’t mean that fans have stopped talking about it. Recently, a weird theory has been proposed which says that Walter White was dead all the time.
According to this theory, Walter died at the very start of the series and everything we see is just what he wishes he had got around to doing.
The New Yorker couldn’t resist offering its own theory which also says that Walter died, but in the finale rather than at the start of the season. In the scene where Walter is in the frozen car, he apparently dies. As he is dying, he fantasizes about saying goodbye to all the people he cares about. The theory has a good point – how else could Walter have said goodbye to everyone he wanted to see with the FBI looking for him and him being the most wanted man in America?
12 Titanic: Jack Doesn't Exist
Titanic was released more than 20 years ago yet fans still debate whether Rose could have saved Jack. However, recently a mind-boggling theory was proposed on Reddit which suggests that Jack never actually existed.
According to the theory, Jack was nothing more than a figment of Rose’s imagination. It kind of makes sense when you think about it: Rose is forced to marry a man she neither likes nor respects. As a result, Rose plunges into depression and attempts to commit suicide. And this is where Jack Dawson shows up and saves her.
According to the theory, Jack represents Rose’s inner strength and it is his presence that allows Rose to break free from her mundane life.
In addition, remember how at the end of the film the treasure hunter tells Rose that they couldn’t find any trace of Jack? She replies with – “No, there wouldn’t be, would there? He exists now only in my memory.”
11 Friends: Only Phoebe Exists
Friends is a TV show about six friends who always hang out together, right? But what if it isn’t? A few years ago Friends fans were shocked when a bizarre Friends theory was proposed. Twitter user Xenophon Moscrop came up with an alternate ending in which we learn that five of the friends – Rachel, Monica, Joey, Chandler, and Ross – do not exist.
Instead, according to the theory, the entire plot was played out in Phoebe’s head who is a homeless meth addict. The characters and the places – such as Central Perk – from the show are simply altered versions of people that Phoebe has met and the places she’s been to – “the final scene would be Phoebe walking away from Central Perk, with the Ross, Rachel, Joey, Chandler and Monica characters making a reference to “the crazy lady who always stares at us.” They all have different names and personalities.”
10 Beauty And The Beast: Beast Doesn’t Exist
Recently a strange Beauty and the Beast theory has emerged which claims that the Beast doesn’t exist – “After watching Beauty and the Beast for the millionth time with my 3-year-old, I’ve come to the conclusion that there is no Beast.”
According to the theory, the Beast and Gaston share similar characteristics: both are violent and ill-mannered. Belle’s father, Maurice, marries Belle off to Gaston and Belle immediately starts fantasizing about reforming her husband – “Belle and Gaston are married immediately, and the entire rest of the film is Belle’s fantasy of reforming her violent, tempestuous husband into a well-mannered Prince. [...] The violence that happens to Maurice is a result of Belle’s mixed feelings toward him for marrying her off.”
9 13 Reasons Why: Tony Is A Ghost
The TV show 13 Reasons Why has resulted in millions of fan theories. However, there is one theory that stands out from the rest – the theory that Tony is a ghost, or more specifically, a guardian angel.
So what evidence is there that Tony is a guardian angel? Well, first of all, he dresses like a teenager from the 1950’s and thus some fans now believe that Tony is a ghost of a student who died in 1955 and is, for some reason, stuck roaming the halls of Liberty High School forever.
Secondly, and probably most importantly, Tony’s role in the show resembles that of a guardian angel: he keeps Hannah’s tapes and then distributes them after she dies, fulfilling her last wish in the process.
8 Friends: The Gang Was Just Rachel’s Imagination
The TV show Friends has resulted in countless fan theories. The most famous is probably the theory that suggests that Phoebe is a homeless meth addict and simply imagined the whole thing. However, recently another theory has been proposed which suggests that none of the Friends exist except for Rachel.
According to the theory, the five friends – Chandler, Monica, Ross, Phoebe, and Joey – and the plot of the show are simply a figment of Rachel’s imagination. Rachel has created this fantasy world in her head to escape her loveless life with Barry.
This theory would explain why Rachel is the only one of the six friends who has her eyes open in fourth season's picture art.
7 The Big Lebowski: Donny Is A Figment Of Walter’s Imagination
Most The Big Lebowski fans believe that one interesting theory really ties the movie together. What is that theory you might ask? Well, the theory is that the character named Donny doesn’t actually exist and is simply a figment of Walter’s – The Dude’s – imagination.
Those who believe in this theory claim that Donny doesn’t actually interact with Walter and that it is possible that Walter is just remembering his good friend who has died in the Vietnam War.
Interestingly, once upon a time Steve Buscemi, the actor who played Donny, appeared to confirm the theory during The Big Lebowski reunion – “Donny is just a figment of Walter’s imagination” to which the actor John Goodman, who played Walter, replied – “Shut the fuck up, Donny!”
6 Lost: Everyone Is Dead
Throughout the series Lost the biggest fan theory that everyone talked about was slightly strange. How so, you might ask? Well, the theory proposed that none of the characters were alive. According to the theory, the plane crashed killing everyone aboard and that the plot of the series was actually taking place in the afterlife or, to be more specific, in purgatory.
Thus, all the characters were in Limbo and were being judged for the lives they had led in the world of the living. To be more specific, they were being judged for their sins. In fact, according to the theory, all the flashback scenes were what the characters were being judged on.
5 Iron Man: Tony Stark Is Dead
According to one popular fan theory, Tony Stark from 2008 Iron Man film dies at the very start of the movie and then ends up imagining the Marvel universe. This theory, as shocking as it may sound, does make sense if you look back on the opening scene of the film: Tony Stark and military personnel are traveling in the Middle East when they are attacked.
The military personnel who wear bulletproof vests and helmets die. Tony Stark on the other hand, who is donned in only a dashing suit, ends up surviving. That doesn’t seem very possible. According to the theory, Tony is hit by terrorists and is dying. However, as he is dying he imagines the whole Marvel Universe.
4 Pokemon: Ash Is In A Coma
Have you ever found it strange that Ash never ages? That may be because he is in a coma, as one fan theory proposes – “The accident with the bike put Ash into a coma. Days later, he was found and hurried to the hospital and treated with heavy medication. This is why Team Rocket became less menacing. The medication took effect and stabilized his coma dreams so that, instead of being terrifying they became idyllic. They allowed him to live out his Pokemon Master fantasies.”
The theory explains how Ash never really changes physically, as well as worldwide socialism – “he thought up a safe system of government that would run smoothly and keep the world going, allowing his adventures to work like they do.”
3 Winnie The Pooh: All Characters Are Figments Of Christopher Robin’s Imagination
Most of us have grown up reading and watching Winnie the Pooh. It’s a magical, heart-warming story perfect for kids. However, recently a sinister fan theory has been proposed which suggests that Winnie the Pooh doesn’t actually exist.
But it’s not just Winnie the Pooh that doesn’t exist. According to the theory, none of the characters that Christopher Robin meets are real. They’re all a figment of his imagination.
What’s more, all the characters also represent different types of mental illness – “Winnie the Pooh: eating disorder; Piglet: anxiety; Tiger: ADHD; Owl: narcissism; Rabbit: OCD; Eeyore: depression; Christopher Robin: schizophrenia.”
2 Fight Club: Marla Is A Figment Of The Narrator’s Imagination
We know that Tyler is a figment of the insomniac narrator’s imagination in Fight Club. But is he the only character that does not actually exist in the movie? Some fans think that Marla doesn’t exist either and that just like Tyler, she is just a figment of the narrator’s imagination.
No one in the movie ever addresses Tyler directly (except for the narrator of course). And, similarly, no one ever acknowledges Marla directly either (although there are a few exceptions). Thus, some fans believe that Marla is the female counterpart to Tyler, a mother figure if you wish.
According to this theory, Marla symbolizes guilt and remorse – “She is his remorse. His guilt. His lies – not only from posing in these Sickness Circles, but also the lie that is his life. He felt relief from his guilt and remorse for a bit, but his psyche mounted a counter-attack, in the form of Marla Singer.”
1 The Simpsons: Homer Is In A Coma
A few years ago, Reddit user Hardtopickaname came up with an interesting Simpsons theory. The user suggested that Homer is a vegetable in a coma and has been like that for over 20 years – “So It’s Come To This: A Simpson Clip Show airs and involves Bart’s April Fools prank inadvertently putting Homer into the hospital, where he is then crushed by a vending machine and put in a coma. Now the episode end with Homer waking up, but it seems to be too convenient and sudden.”
Thus, the user proposes that Homer didn’t actually wake and that he is still in a coma. Everything that happens on the show is simply happening in Homer’s imagination. This would explain why the characters don’t age and why the plot lines after Homer goes in a coma get more and more bizarre.
For example, plot lines before Homer went into a coma included Bart cheating on a test and Homer trying to give up drinking. Plot lines after Homer’s coma include Homer going into outer space and Homer working for a villain.