Once upon a time, stories were living, breathing narratives that changed a little with each retelling. Every person who relayed a story was free to embellish or interpret it any way they pleased, making for stories that were ever-shifting, inconstant things that were free for anyone to put their own spin on.
As humans learned to better capture the details of their stories, this tradition all but died out, and the rise of cinema put the final nail in that proverbial coffin. With the stories films tell us displayed so plainly before us, it’s no longer possible for those in the audience to put their own spin on the narrative. At least, that’s almost the idea.
Some fans refuse to accept films’ stories as they’re presented, leading to the advent of the fan theory: those interesting interpretations of events or perceived meanings behind a film’s events. While many of these theories read like bad fan fiction, there are an occasional few that are simply too plausible or interesting to ignore.
Some have been all but confirmed by their respective films’ writers, and others have been summarily dismissed. Some seem quite a stretch, and others seem all too obvious. However, what these wild fan theories all have in common, though, is that they’re all so crazy they just might be true.
10. Pulp Fiction (1994) – The Briefcase Contains Marcellus Wallace’s Soul
Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction is one of the most beloved films of all time, and it also purposely leaves one major question unanswered: what was in the briefcase?
Guesses range from Elvis’ golden suit to an Oscar, but by far the most prevalent (and genuinely convincing) theory is that the film’s MacGuffin actually contains nothing less than the soul of Marcellus Wallace (Ving Rhames).
As well as the Bible verses quoted throughout the film by Samuel L. Jackson’s Jules and the uncanny luck of the two gangsters retrieving the briefcase, there’s a scene in which Marcellus attempts to talk boxer Butch (Bruce Willis) into throwing a fight. Throughout the scene, the camera seemingly focused on the back of Wallace’s neck, where he has covered an injury with a small band-aid. The theory claims that this is where the Devil took Marcellus’ soul, which he traded for his powerful stature and success in his criminal enterprises.
There’s a wealth of “evidence” to support this theory, and while it may not entirely fit with the narrative, it certainly does work within a certain context. Regardless of whether or not the briefcase actually contains Marcellus Wallace’s soul remains to be seen, but rewatching Pulp Fiction with this theory in mind is an interesting experience.