Around the twists and turns of comic book plot structure, comic book universes hold a unique goal that no other media dare try adhere too. In particular, as much as DC likes to take their characters crazy places and write scenarios never before imagined, they still want to fit it all into a single narrative. The goal is that one could, technically, tell the whole story of their universe, giving equal weight to every issue ever published as a sequence of connected, causal events. The task for the comic book publisher is to keep the show going in order to keep telling the story of the character. If there aren’t protections and definitions of the lines properties won’t cross, they become fragmented. Already frustrating “Not my Batman” arguments could devolve further into musings on the level of personality imbued to Mickey Mouse.
This is where the fans come in. They make it all work together with their love that these characters hold up. If there are no fans to pressure the creators to preserve and uphold their creations, they will dissolve into fragments. Here are some examples of that compromise between fans in action. All in the name of comics; 16 DC Fan Theories That Ended Up Coming True.
16 THE LEGION OF SUPERHEROES COMES TO SUPERGIRL
When Mon-El crash landed in National City to join the cast of Supergirl, fans recognized the character instantly as the hard luck hero from the 31st century with all the powers of Superman, but a few more character flaws. Chris Wood’s version of the Daxamite covered Mon-El’s origins, telling the story of his immigration to Earth and how Supergirl taught him everything he knows about using his powers and being a citizen of this planet.
At the end of last season, Kara sent Mon-El into a wormhole and broke both of their hearts to save the planet.
Now he has arrived from the future, along with some friends and the Legion of Superheroes, rings and all, have officially been name dropped on the show. It’s not clear how many more members will appear on the show, but there are definitely fans who called this one as soon as Mon-El debuted.
15 MULTIPLE JOKERS
Fans have long been hypothesizing about how a villain, so seemingly insane as the Joker, could endure all these years and not wind up dead, or completely unhinged and ineffective. Batman had a similar question when he asked the Mobius Chair about the Joker’s real name, near the end of the New 52 Justice League run
At the time, fans didn’t know what to make of the claim that there were a handful of Jokers transitioning throughout the canon, but in the DC Rebirth one-shot, Batman is still asking this question. Three different renderings are displayed on-screen: the New 52 version, the Killing Joke version, and an even older design. Aside from those clues to begin to block out the different phases of the Joker’s years of villainy, fans have been teased that a Geoff Johns explainer for the evolution will come to them in the eventual future.
14 ADRIAN CHASE IS PROMETHEUS
Almost all of season five was consumed with the mysterious identity of Prometheus, a dark archer terrorizing the city and making personal attacks on Oliver Queen’s character. At the same time, this season, in particular, saw a huge expansion in the show’s ambition.
Oliver became the mayor of Star City and Team Arrow expanded its ranks with several new vigilantes.
Clever fans noticed immediately that another new character for this season, Adrian Chase, played by Josh Seggara, played Oliver’s political aide, but also hid a dark secret. Arrow came full circle, concluding its flashback structure and bringing the entire cast to the island where it all started for the final showdown with Chase. Prometheus got under Oliver’s skin like no other villain could, with a coldness that was truly scary. By now, fans are getting pretty good at guessing villains’ identities in the Arrowverse.
13 DR MANHATTAN CREATED NEW 52
With the Rebirth rollout, DC had the option of shedding the New 52 phase of the comics as a completely separate timeline, ignoring its connection to the main universe completely. Instead, DC have decided to push the bounds of narrative even further to explain away their several years in a creative sandbox.
When he convinces Barry Allen to manipulate the speed force to merge timelines from imprints around the DC line, including Wildstorm, and Vertigo, Dr. Manhattan is acting as the commercial tool as well, unifying the vision in the hopes of increasing customer loyalty and buy-in. Some fans knew that only Manhattan would be powerful and perverse enough to attempt such a combination of narrative power and nefarious intent, but until Doomsday Clock concludes, the New 52 will still be an unresolved corner of the DC Multiverse.
12 GREEN LANTERN CAMEO IN JUSTICE LEAGUE
After the ill fated Ryan Reynolds version of Green Lantern (2011), fans knew that reintroducing the Corps into the cinematic universe would be difficult. They were rewarded in the first act of Justice League, during the scene detailing Steppenwolf’s past invasion and hunt for the Mother Boxes.
Every kind of ancient DC being clashes in this Lord of the Rings-esque battle sequence.
Then, out of nowhere, in the rhythm of the montage, a lime green construct appears in the shape of a hammer and an alien Green Lantern joined the battle, just as a quick nod to the fans. There could have been a larger easter egg or story tie-in, Corps fans will have to wait a few more years for their own movie, but the will-empowered space cops are slowly growing their presence in the DCEU.
11 LEGENDS IS THE HOME FOR MISFIT CW CHARACTERS
Wally West, Constantine, and Vixen, have all been drafted onto the Legends of Tomorrow team in the show’s three seasons so far. Since it’s a show where almost anything can happen, and the showrunners have made it clear that they’re not afraid to push boundaries, Legends has become the nucleus of a lot of fan theories in the Arrowverse.
Fans knew those three characters mentioned earlier were too good to just throw away from the continuity, even if they didn’t necessarily work on their previous shows. The only true team show in the TV universe offers an opportunity to dive into the personalities of each hero and mix them with the others in different cliques to see which matchups pop and which fizzle. The question now is who’s next to join the team: Deadshot, Jesse Quick, Huntress, another shot at Firestorm?
10 MXYZPTLK IS CLARK KENT
With the DC Comics universe reboot in 2016, Superman began to grapple with a split character problem. In the main title, a mature husband and wife version of Lois and Clark were raising their son Jon on the Smallville farm. Back in Action Comics, another version of Clark was running around Metropolis, but this one was completely powerless, bewildered by the people who knew him as the Man of Steel.
When Mr. Mxyzptlk was revealed as the powerless Clark, it was one of the more radical fan theories, but surely there was someone who suspected the interdimensional imp of this impersonation.
After wrapping up a delicate Superman transition, and with the introduction of the multiverse into this new age of DC, the trickster villain is a useful plot device to develop for future hijinx. Now, the next theory can try and deduce where he’ll pop up next.
9 THE FLASH DOES FLASHPOINT
At the end of the sophomore season of The Flash, Barry zoomed off in a blaze of red lightning to travel back in time to stop his mother’s murder. Fans of the comic book character recognized this motivation from the Geoff Johns comic, Flashpoint. The season ended with Barry thinking he was going to right the biggest injustice in his life, but readers knew that he was creating a dangerous new world.
When season three premiered with its “Flashpoint” episode, it wasn’t the same as the comic, but the episode still made a clear nod to the source material and cleverly illustrated the folly of twisting time. The event was far too ambitious for a series to pull off at that stage anyway, but the crew behind The Flash wanted to tell a story like Flashpoint, so they did, even though a dozen different directions would have been better for television.
8 AQUAMAN AND SUPERMAN’S FIRST DCEU MEETING
Months after the tepid release of the Justice League (2017), information is still leaking out about Zack Snyder’s interconnected film trilogy. Near the end of last year, when the world was being introduced to the super team, Jason Momoa gave an interview confirming a long standing fan theory about Superman and Aquaman.
In Man of Steel, the story of Clark developing his powers and becoming an adult is an extended portion of the film.
At one point, when Clark is serving some time on a fishing boat, disaster strikes and he’s forced to rescue his shipmates. Clark floats to shore safely, but fans had always wondered if perhaps Aquaman played a role in his rescue. Momoa confirmed Snyder had told him this was part of the story. Aquaman and Superman have never been close, but this early encounter adds another layer between the on-screen heroes.
7 ARTEMIS CAMEO IN WONDER WOMAN
Since 2017’s Wonder Woman was the first movie for the Amazonian heroine, the biggest question was what would fit from the characters 50-plus year publication history. Fan favorite Themysciran warrior, Artemis, was one supplemental hero that the message boards really hoped made it into the movie, and they were delighted when Patty Jenkins cast Anne Wolfe to play everyone’s second favorite Amazon.
She didn’t have a lot of minutes in the movie, but Wolfe, actor as well as professional boxer, featured prominently in Diana’s training montage. The other rendition of Artemis in the canon right now is a regular on the team from the Red Hood and the Outlaws comic, alongside Jason Todd and Bizarro. It’s unclear if fans will see Artemis in future Wonder Woman movies, but it would be nice, since her personality differs from Diana so much, in order to round out the Themysciran civilization.
6 SUPERMAN’S BLACK SUIT
In one of Zack Snyder’s recent twitter interactions, he agreed with one fan who drew a connection through Superman’s arc all the way from Man of Steel into a deleted scene in Justice League. In the deleted scene, immediately after Superman’s resurrection, he’s faced with a choice of two suits to put on, one red and blue, the other, solid black. The savvy fan in question, connected this scene to an earlier monologue by Jonathan Kent (Kevin Costner) from Man of Steel, telling Clark that one day he’d have to choose how to live on this world with his powers.
Snyder went on to call Kent’s return a second birth, this time on the planet Earth instead of Krypton.
This shows that while many have criticized Snyder’s treatment of Superman, he really did have a full idea of the character in mind. Thanks to this fan for connecting the dots.
5 BLACKFOOT DEMIGOD CAMEO IN WONDER WOMAN
As Wonder Woman opened up the world of DC’s Greek gods and demigods, Patty Jenkins’ movie decided to add a glimpse of another world of deities as well. Chief, played by Eugene Brave Rock, joins Diana’s band of World War I heroes, but at their introduction, he speaks to her in a line of the Blackfoot language that only she understands and takes as a sign of trust and companionship.
Those fans who spoke Blackfoot picked up on the easter egg instantly as it revealed that Chief was actually a human form of Napi, the trickster god of Blackfoot tradition. The inclusion is a graceful support to the movie’s overall message of hope, love and unity, and it reiterates representation, expanding audience’s ideas of where heroes come from.
4 ENCHANTRESS IS THE SUICIDE SQUAD BIG BAD
In the build up to the release of Suicide Squad, in 2016, there was some difficulty predicting the direction of the struggle between good and evil in the movie. The ethically dubious super team does lead to some gray area in the construction of a morality tale, but astute fans correctly guessed that the Enchantress would emerge as the main conflict of the movie.
June Moone was arguably a victim, and the Enchantress merely a vehicle for a far more powerful demon.
She also shared a lot of the antagonistic duties of the film with Jared Leto’s crazy Joker and Viola Davis’ cruel Amanda Waller, but the ensemble nature of the movie left an overall feeling of a squishy story of misfits, rather than one filled with tense conflict.
3 TOMMY MERLYN IS PROMETHEUS
Colin Donnell’s Tommy Merlyn was a great friend to Oliver in the early seasons, and embodied the elite lifestyle the Queens came from. When he died, a big part of Oliver’s youth did too, and fans began to miss the goofy, less successful best friend a little bit more than they thought they would. When a masked archer appeared out of nowhere, who seemingly knew Oliver intimately, the younger Merlyn’s return was floated by the more optimistic fans out there.
Adrian Chase was the man behind that mask, but when Oliver and Team Arrow traveled to Earth-X in this season’s crossover event, the parallel reality granted fans their wish with Tommy Merlyn’s return as this version of Prometheus. The CW dropped a classic call back, showing once again, that they know how to marry fan service with fun storytelling.
2 SUPERGIRL ALLUSION IN MAN OF STEEL
When the Kryptonian ship is discovered in Man of Steel, crashed into a glacier, Clark is on the scene to inspect the craft for signs of his home world. While Clark tries to gather clues from the ship, he realizes that a group of cryogenic pods have malfunctioned and killed their occupants. All of them malfunctioned except for one, lid ajar, apparently vacant. The accompanying comic, released to promote the movie, names the ship as the one that brought Kara Zor-El.
This means that pod formerly housed the girl would would become Supergirl.
Screenwriter David S. Goyer and Zack Snyder have acknowledged this open story thread, and they added that the ship itself becomes the first building block of the Fortress of Solitude. While this loose thread may not ever go anywhere, fans can appreciate the desire to pack in as many story opportunities as possible.
1 DOOMSDAY CLOCK’S RORSCHACH REVEALED
For most fans this was a total head fake; there was a new Rorschach established in the seven years after Watchmen, when Doomsday Clock takes place, but at first, the only clue to his identity was dark skin. Between the two black characters in the original miniseries: the comic book reading kid, and Rorschach’s court appointed psychiatrist, the team of Geoff Johns and Gary Frank found a new way to refresh the story for a new generation. They named the psychiatrist’s son as the hard-line detective vigilante.
This explains the shift from Kovac’s poetic growl, but this new Rorschach still fills much the same role as the previous one in the story. As the new look Watchmen team muddle their way through the prime universe’s Gotham City, Rorschach is still violently arguing for truth through the madness of transdimensional travel.