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Some are ridiculously far-fetched, some might be on to something, and some are just plain fun. One such theory (that the little boy in a scene from 2010’s Iron Man 2 was actually a young Peter Parker) was, in fact, confirmed by Homecoming director Jon Watts a few weeks ago. As you get ready to dissect and theorize Homecoming, here are five more of our favorite MCU theories.
1. Stan Lee is a Watcher
Stan Lee shows up in every live-action Marvel movie. His cameos predate the creation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe; in a 1965 Fantastic Four comic, Lee and artist Jack Kirby tried to crash the wedding of Reed Richards and Sue Storm. As the cameos have piled up (ranging from a FedEx delivery guy in Captain America: Civil War to one-half of a scared couple in X-Men: Apocalypse), fans have come up with a fun theory to explain how Lee could possibly play so many characters in the same universe: He’s a Watcher.
The Watchers are a race of hyper-intelligent aliens who mostly stay out of mortal affairs except to observe moments of great importance, usually around superheroes (which would explain why Lee is always spotted in the background of superhero action). Lee’s post-credits scene in Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 was an explicit nod to this theory, though; as EW’s Darren Franich explained, “You can read this scene as proof that Lee is a Watcher (albeit some kind of renegade) or proof that he definitely isn’t a Watcher (because he isn’t giant and bald, and the other Watchers don’t seem to like him very much).” The nature of his cameo in Spider-Man: Homecoming could further muddle that, but as Lee himself might say, the truth is yours to decide, True Believer.
2. Heimdall has the Soul Stone
It was a bit of a shock to make it all the way through Guardians 2 and not see a sign of the Soul Stone. Avengers: Infinity War gets closer by the day, but we’re still missing the last of the six Infinity Stones that power the Infinity Gauntlet (that golden glove Thanos grabbed in the post-credits scene of Avengers: Age of Ultron). So where is it? Some fans think it’s been hidden in plain sight this entire time – namely, in the possession of Heimdall (Idris Elba), the watchman of Asgard. In Thor: The Dark World, Heimdall is seen with a small amber gem in his armor breastplate, the same color as his eyes, and he mentions that he can see “10 trillion souls.” This would also serve as the final proof for a related fan theory, that the location of the Infinity Stones will eventually spell out the name of their pursuer: If the Space Stone is the Tesseract, the Soul Stone is in Heimdall’s possession, the Reality Stone is the Aether, the Time Stone is in Dr. Strange’s Nexus of all realities, the Power Stone is the Orb, and the Mind Stone was originally in Loki’s Scepter, that spells out T.H.A.N.O.S. Heimdall losing the Stone in Thor: Ragnarok (possibly hinted at by his blank eyes in Thor’s Age of Ultron vision) would also provide a great final jumping-off point for next year’s Infinity War.
3. Obadiah Stane was in Hydra
Captain America: The Winter Soldier remains one of the most acclaimed MCU movies partly because it dropped a whopper of a plot twist that changed the franchise forever: S.H.I.E.L.D. had been infiltrated by Hydra. Hydra agent Jasper Sitwell (Maximiliano Hernández) revealed that Hydra was keeping track of powerful individuals, even “Stephen Strange” years before he became the Sorcerer Supreme. Some fans have extrapolated that backward to theorize that Obadiah Stane (Jeff Bridges), Tony Stark’s original nemesis, was a member of Hydra. After all, we know by now that Hydra used Winter Soldier to assassinate Howard Stark, so it would seem natural for them to send in one of their own to maintain control over Stark Industries.
4. Elektra the Vampire Queen
Thanks to the official trailer, we now know The Defenders will feature the return of Elektra (Elodie Young). But many details of The Hand’s plans for her remain shrouded in mystery. Why do they call her “Black Sky”? Why do they need to drain so much blood from people? The answer, some fans think, is vampires. “Black Sky” is certainly a vampire’s favorite kind of weather condition. The Hand has been shown to bring people back to the dead in a blood-fueled, vampiric way, and it’s also been established the only way to re-kill those people is to cut off their heads — one of the traditional folkloric methods for finishing off vampires. It could also point to a new direction for the Netflix Marvel shows after The Defenders: Maybe we’ll see Blade again soon.
5. Baron Mordo has the key to beating Thanos
Once Thanos assembles all the Infinity Stones to make the all-powerful Infinity Gauntlet, he’ll be pretty hard to beat. But maybe his Achilles heel has already been revealed. When Baron Mordo (Chiwetel Ejiofor) is explaining the powers of magic “relics” in Doctor Strange, he refers to his own as the Staff of the Living Tribunal. That right there is not a name you throw around lightly in the Marvel Universe. The Living Tribunal is a three-faced god of judgment, one of the most powerful forces in the entire Marvel Universe, whose explicit duty is to protect the balance of powers in said universe; this usually means regulating the Infinity Gauntlet, which is so powerful it can throw the entire cosmos out of whack. In fact, the Tribunal is one of the only beings whose power has been shown to supersede that of the Infinity Gems/Stones. Mordo is still at large and out for blood after the end of Doctor Strange, but if he possesses even a fragment of the Living Tribunal’s power, he could end up causing trouble for Thanos’ plans.