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Marvel Fans and the Curious Case of Mephisto: How the Pandemic Mutated Fan Theories

Marvel’s newest highly anticipated release in its series of phase four films, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings, make existing on the internet as a Marvel fan (albeit, a fairly casual one, comparatively) unbearable in more ways than one.

It seems as though this era of superhero films is defined by fan theories on top of fan theories, each one mutating into something more fantastical than the previous one. 

Starting with the whispers of Mephisto’s alleged appearance in the Disney+ limited series WandaVision, which centers on the Scarlet antihero’s new reality built on the disillusions of her grief.

Every week, fans would speculate if the next episode was “The One,” specifically, The One with Mephisto. With the introduction of Evan Peters’ Quicksilver in the latter half of the series, came even more speculation- is this finally the MCU’s tie-in to X-Men and the Fantastic Four? Will John Krasinski make a dramatic entrance? Will Aaron Taylor Johnson’s Pietro ever meet his replacement?

Once WandaVision closed its run with an emotionally charged finale, fans were left with all of these theories and nowhere to apply them.

Perhaps it’s caused by the deliriousness of the pandemic and multiple lockdowns, maybe it’s the boredom that comes with online work. One thing is for certain- I am tired.

I can’t keep up anymore- I don’t know who the general Marvel population is talking about anymore. Will I ever enjoy a Marvel product without overanalyzing it to the point of ruining it for everyone? Who knows.

Hayden Korr is a fourth year English Education student at USF. She enjoys writing, painting, and overwatering her plants in her free time. She's the former art teacher at a children's arts and crafts studio and the current unofficial decorator of her apartment.
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