Adventure Time is best described to those unfamiliar with it as a children's cartoon with a cult following among teenagers and adults. The show follows the adventures of a human, his super-stretchy dog, and his other friends in a post-apocalyptic world. Adventure Time is often described as a surreal comedy, but to stop at that would be an understatement. The show is known for being completely crazy and off-the-wall abstract. In fact, the only thing crazier than Adventure Time itself is the fan theories that surround it.
The show’s cult following of adults are constantly seeking to make some sense of Adventure Time’s madness, but they often only succeed in producing insane theories that make the show seem even stranger. Some of the theories are actually quite sweet, but others are oddly sinister. Most of them however are simply trying to make sense of something nonsensical. All in all, these theories are some of the most interesting reads on the web and, if nothing else, they allow you to see the show from fresh angles.
So, Adventure Time fans beware, you're about to read some next-level weirdness. Seriously, if you thought regular conspiracy theories were strange then you haven't seen these. Without further ado, here are the 15 Craziest Adventure Time Fan Theories.
15 Ooo is Post-Apocalyptic California
Adventure Time is set in a part of Earth called Ooo, thought to be in existence around 1000 years after the nuclear apocalypse. There has been much speculation as to what part of post-apocalyptic Earth Ooo is, but one of the biggest theories is that it’s actually California. Given that the majority of characters speak predominantly English and in an American accent, it would be logical to assume that Ooo is based somewhere in post-apocalyptic America. But there are two widely noted pieces of evidence that have caused fans to speculate that Ooo was once the Golden State.
The first hint that fans noticed came when a license plate on the Clambulance food truck looked like an old California license plate. The second hint is that there are street signs featured in the show reading 101, which people have assumed is a nod to the 101 freeway in California. However, others have attempted to disprove the theory with what appears to be the ruins of the Statue of Liberty in one episode. Ultimately, the theories about Ooo all remain unresolved and will perhaps remain that way.
14 Princess Bubblegum is a Sociopath
Princess Bubblegum is a fan favourite character, but she is also arguably a very flawed character. In this theory, Princess Bubblegum is labelled as being a highly functioning sociopath and apparently possesses all the typical traits to prove it. These traits include having no guilt about lying to others; a trait which she exhibits when she claims she is going to be beheaded. In addition, she is extremely intelligent and good at hiding her emotions, like many sociopaths. She also likes isolating herself, as she displayed when she stayed in her lab alone for weeks. This theory also claims that while she appears nice to others she is more than capable of being cruel just for the fun of it; a key trait of a sociopath.
The theory suggests that the writers deliberately wrote Princess Bubblegum to be a sociopath and have tried to make it obvious on certain occasions throughout the series. This was further supported when one of the writers said that although she seems nice, Princess Bubblegum is a sociopath. So, maybe this one belongs in the “confirmed” pile?
13 Princess Bubblegum and Marceline Are a Couple
The interesting thing about this theory is, although being widespread, it was heavily dismissed as being crazy to begin with. However, like the best fan theories, it is now accepted as canon by the writers and the majority of the Adventure Time audience.
Okay, so maybe we haven't had a Marceline and Princess Bubblegum wedding (yet) or anything quite that obvious, but all the evidence is there. One piece of evidence that was seen as confirming this theory as true was one of the writers posting a fan-made photo of the pair holding hands in a romantic pose. The actress of Marceline also announced it was canon and that the creator had told her that this was a fact.
But if you're looking for evidence from the show itself, then you don't have to look far. There is an episode where Princess Bubblegum wakes up and is sleeping in Marceline's shirt. She then goes on to deeply sniff the shirt to smell Marceline. There was also the occasion where Marceline sang "I want to suck the red from your pretty pink face," to Princess Bubblegum. This is definitely many fans’ favourite theory, and we're glad it's implied to be true.
12 Susan is Finn's Mother
Many fan theories in Adventure Time seek the origin stories of characters or try to explain unknown relationships between them. One very popular theory states that Susan is Finn's birth mother, although there are several different ways of explaining it to be true.
The general backstory states that she became lost at sea in an accident and was presumed dead, when in reality she was really saved by the fish people. The brain implant she received in the episode "Deep Purple" after a head trauma has been speculated to be a possible cause of lost memory. Some also claim that Martin knows the details of her disappearance and his guilt over it caused him to become reluctant to tell Finn about it. The theory goes on to suggest that Finn's fear of the ocean comes from some repressed memories of the accident that separated him and his mother.
But since this theory is not without its doubters, some have even claimed that Finn's mother has appeared as a ghost in the show before. Furthermore, some have even argued that Susan Strong is Finn's sister, thus complicating the family dynamic that Adventure Time seems to go out of its way to hide.
11 Princess Bubblegum and Marceline Are Sisters
This theory was all fun and games until Princess Bubblegum and Marceline were canonically proven as a couple-- ultimately disproving this theory… We certainly hope. The theory suggested that the two characters were sisters prior to the Great Mushroom War and were both granted immortality, however they both suffered some memory loss as a result. Allegedly, Marceline still remembers much of what happened, but Princess Bubblegum remembers nothing of their past sibling-status. For evidence, fan theorists cite that in the first few episodes Marceline teasingly calls Princess Bubblegum the name "Bonnibelle," which they explain could be a childhood nickname or her actual birth name.
Although the theory is one of the few to be completely debunked, it did previously fit with other theories about both the characters previous existence. If those theories were all combined, it would have implied they were both Simon's children and that Princess Bubblegum was scientifically altered to survive while Marceline was bitten by a vampire to aid her survival. Now that would have been one hell of a backstory.
10 Adventure Time and The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack Crossover Theory
It’s rare that a theory about two shows being linked makes as much sense as this one does. Here, the theory implies that Adventure Time and The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack exist in different parts of the same world and at the same time, both taking place after the Great Mushroom War.
It states that the area in which The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack takes place was not as badly damaged and so remained more technologically advanced than Ooo in Adventure Time. It also claims that the Candied Island they try to reach in The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack was in fact Candy Kingdom. From here, we can link Peppermint Larry (who had been to Candied Island before) to Princess Bubblegum, citing her as a possible muse to construct his Candy Wife from. It also claims Phil from Adventure Time is originally from Stormalong Harbor. And although many more possible connections are prevented due to Finn's fear of the ocean, perhaps this theory doesn’t need any more credibility than the fact that some of the same people have worked on both shows.
9 Simon is Marceline's Father
There are so many different theories about Simon being Marceline's father that the only thing really up for debate is the story surrounding it, for which there are multiple different suggestions. Many of the ideas centring around the theory are based on the episode in which Marceline had invited Simon to hang out with her and the others. In this episode, when questioned why the Ice King was invited, she revealed parts of their hidden past but didn't seem to complete the picture.
One idea is that Marceline caught a bad cold which prompted Hudson Abadeer to bite her in order to allow her survival. This then lead to Simon feeling he was left alone and losing all motivation to be careful with the crown, prompting him to become the Ice King. However, one of the theories has a very different interpretation. It proposes that Adventure Time is a series of bedtime stories that Simon is telling Marceline and they’re all coming directly from his imagination. There are plenty of other interpretations of this theory, and we would love to see it develop further in the show. The one thing we do know is that we’d listen to bed time stories as told by Simon any day of the week.
8 Adventure Time is Really Finn and His Dad Playing a Game
This is possibly one of the cutest theories about what Adventure Time really means, a subject that many fans love discussing because the show is so surreal. This particular theory suggests that the entire show is in fact a series of Dungeons & Dragons role-playing games being played by Finn and his dad, who takes on the role of Jake. Many aspects of the show could point toward this being true, including the fact that it would explain why the characters grow in real time (unlike with most cartoons where they stay the same age). The theory would also explain how a lot of episodes have a moral lesson, as Finn's dad was trying to teach these to Finn throughout the game. Giving even more credibility to this theory is that it would also explain how – as the series has gone on – there have been fewer moral lessons, as Finn is now grown up enough that his dad doesn't need to teach him lessons anymore, and they can just enjoy the game.
In terms of evidence for this theory, fans have noted the similarities in parts of the show and Dungeon & Dragons-type games. Although we doubt this theory will be proven anytime soon, it's a nice concept to consider and puts an interesting spin on the show.
7 Princess Bubblegum is a Human Survivor of The Great Mushroom War
This theory suggests that Princess Bubblegum was originally a human and that she was a survivor of the Great Mushroom War before we meet her at the beginning of the series. According to the theory, Princess Bubblegum’s father was a highly skilled scientist and, when a dangerous nuclear war broke out, he searched for a way to save his daughter. He eventually ended up injecting chemicals and gum deposit into her body because of a theory that candy can survive a nuclear explosion. Her father managed to save her. While some fans of the theory explain that this injection caused her to mutate into Princess Bubblegum, others claim it was a combination of the injection and the radiation from the explosions that actually did the damage.
This is of course more of a hypothetical backstory for her rather than a theory for which someone has produced evidence. But still, it's a pretty cool idea and it would make for a great flashback episode. And as far as character origin story theories go, it's not too sinister in comparison to the rest of them; it’s just the right amount of sinister for a show like Adventure Time.
6 It's All In Finn's Head
There are two main theories about Adventure Time all taking place within Finn's imagination. One is that he is a normal child but with an overactive imagination, and therefore when he is playing at home (presumably with toys or perhaps his pet dog), Adventure Time is what he sees in his mind. This would explain Finn aging in real time-- he is genuinely growing up and the episodes we see are his bursts of imagination along the way. And while this theory is quite sweet and generally harmless, the other theory puts an uncomfortably dark spin on Adventure Time.
The second theory that Adventure Time is all in Finn's imagination has a much darker back story. It states that Finn was a lonely child with no friends other than his dog Jake. He was treated poorly by his family and only ever felt loved by his dog, who he would tell all his crazy fantasies too. When his dog passed away, Finn tries to kill himself but ends up in a coma, where he lives in a constant state of dream in which Adventure Time takes place. In these constant dreams he lives out the fantasy stories that he used to tell his dog Jake, while being by his side the whole time. And there he will remain until he finally dies.
This theory is definitely insane and twisted considering it's a children's TV show. It also falls into the category of not really having much evidence for or against it because of the nature of the theory. If it wasn't for the fact that this has become a predictable and cliché type of conspiracy theory among the internet's vast collection of dark theories about popular cartoons, it could have achieved the top spot on the list.
5 Jake is a Drug User
Adventure Time is pretty trippy, but this theory takes that to a whole other level. It states that the whole show is a series of intense acid trips that Jake is going through. Yes, this is Jake the dog we're talking about. It explains that in real life Jake is just a regular drug user and he is in a sick cycle of taking LSD to experience these trips in order to escape the dark past that haunts him. The theory goes on to suggest that the drug user does this in order to deal with the guilt of his younger sibling dying due to his own recklessness. In these trips, his younger sibling is represented by Finn, a young boy that he must protect, save, and care for.
Surprisingly, this theory isn't as widely circulated as the equally dark "Finn is in a coma" theory and is much lesser known in the fan base. But we think it's about time this theory got recognition for being even more bizarre than Finn's coma theory, even if there is no way to prove it's true.
4 The Great Mushroom War Was the Cold War in an Alternate Timeline
Adventure Time is canonically set in the aftermath of a nuclear apocalypse that was the result of The Great Mushroom War. However, one theory states that The Great Mushroom War was in fact a nuclear war that escalated as a result of the Cold War in an alternative timeline of Earth. This is backed up by the 80s and 90s references in the show that would imply the Earth was still in some way in the same state then as it was in our timeline and might be set in fairly recent history.
Some argue that due to the references of it being 1000 years after The Great Mushroom War that the show is set in around 3000, and due to the 90s and 80s references making sense to us, the world as we know it was intact until around 2000. Some would argue that this meant in the alternative timeline the Cold War continued escalating until breaking out into nuclear warfare around the 2000 mark, when the apocalypse took place.
3 The Characters Represent Nations in the Cold War
This theory is inspired by the previous one, and is a more metaphorical interpretation of it. It states that the main characters are representative of the nations involved in the Cold War, while existing in the alternative aftermath of it.
According to this theory, the Ice King is representative of the USSR, while Simon represents Russia before the Bolshevik Revolution-- as it was then on generally good terms with the Western countries. While Simon putting on the crown for Marceline represents the initial good intentions of the communist party and the revolution, the Ice King then represents the shift to oppressive and harsh regimes within the USSR. The theory goes a lot deeper into the analysis of the Ice King, stating who his penguins represent and what kidnapping the princess represents too.
Additionally, Princess Bubblegum is meant to represent East Germany, which would explain her random use of German and why the Ice King puts more effort into impressing Princess Bubblegum than anyone else, which is representative of the tough grip USSR had on East Germany. Finn then supposedly represents the USA as he is much younger than most characters and has a naive desire to solve everyone's problems, which reflects America's intention to protect the world from communism.
Seriously, at this point we think most people have forgotten that this is a Cartoon Network show. But to each his own.
2 The Ice King Has Dementia
Many modern critics of William Shakespeare have interpreted his character King Lear as being not just the angry old king people, but actually a person suffering from dementia, which would help explain his erratic behaviour throughout the play. It seems that these Shakespeare critics are also fans of Adventure Time – obviously – and have been circulating their own theories about the show online. Some theories state that the Ice King is a metaphor for dementia, while some state that he himself has dementia. The theory that the Ice King has dementia is quite dark and heartbreaking, but it is also surprisingly easy to back up with evidence based on his behaviour.
First of all, the differences between him and Simon are clearly visible. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer's disease, with one of the biggest symptoms including memory loss. This is evident in him not remembering his past with Marceline and calling her "Gunter" by mistake. Another symptom includes sudden bursts of emotions like anger and there are numerous scenes in the show that demonstrate this. Loss of empathy and depression are other symptoms that people have claimed he illustrates, as well as paranoia, disorganized behaviour, and hallucinations. People have also said that as the series has gone on he has deteriorated, suggesting the show has documented his decline with the illness similar to the way other characters age as the seasons pass.
This theory is nothing if not intense, and it puts a very sadg spin on the Ice King, making his story seem heartbreaking and his treatment in the show somewhat tragic. However, what makes this theory so crazy is that it is so dark, and yet so much evidence points to it possibly being intentional by the writers.
1 Finn Has Xenomelia
Most of the truly bizarre theories surrounding Adventure Time revolve around an explanation of the entire show or of Ooo and the Great Mushroom War, but the craziest of them all revolves around a much more minor detail. This is the theory all about Finn's arm.
Some of you may already be confused, but those of you who are more observant may have noticed some strange details about Finn's arm. Not only did he only have one arm in a past life, and at one point lose and grow back an arm, but also in alternate realities and in his imagination he is often pictured with a mechanical arm. Yes, we’ll wait while you go back and re-watch.
To explain all of this arm-business is a theory that Finn has xenomelia. Xenomelia, or Body Identity Integrity Disorder, is a condition in which a person does not feel comfortable in own their body and has the desire to amputate their own limb. In other words, people believe that Finn is not comfortable with his arm and wants to get rid of it. Some fans who live by believe that in some part of the show's future, Finn will reach a breaking point and amputate his arm. We're not too sure how Cartoon Network would feel about that, let alone the rest fanbase, which is why this is one theory we certainly hope is not proven to be true.
Do you have a crazy theory about Adventure Time or know one that we've missed? Let us know in the comments below!