As flawless as a movie might seem when fans first see it, repeat viewings can reveal that some of the biggest questions are never actually answered. There can be plenty of reasons, but whether the answer is found in deleted scenes, overlooked clues, or novelizations, we’ve got you covered.
Here are Screen Rant’s 10 Movie Mysteries Finally Answered.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Since Return of the Jedi ended with the downfall of the Death Star and Emperor, it was assumed that the Rebel Alliance had won the day, with the Imperial army weakened by the loss of its commanders. But in The Force Awakens, the Rebels are still known as “the Resistance,” without ever explaining what they’re resisting. In the novelization, it’s explained that the slow, self-involved politics of the Star Wars prequels are to blame. Apparently, once the Empire started to crumble, the same greedy, oblivious senators all dragged their feet, ignoring Leia and the Rebels’ call to act fast. That let the Empire recover, kicking off the next movie trilogy.
The Lion King
When Simba runs away from his home, he doesn’t stop until he’s left the African plains behind for the jungle, growing from a boy into a man. He only returns when his childhood friend Nala shows up to tell him how bad things have gotten back home – but she’s surprised to find him. The question fans might see as a massive plot hole is: what was she doing miles and miles from home? In the original story, Nala had actually been banished after refusing Scar’s… romantic advances. But the studio decided such a dark sexual storyline wasn’t right for the younger audience it was aiming for.
Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Fans of Steve Rogers didn’t just get to see an updated, stealthy costume for Captain America in his big screen sequel, but a return to his roots, when he puts on his original costume – after stealing it from the Smithsonian. But the actual reason for stealing the uniform isn’t given. A deleted scene showed Cap’s suit was being tracked, so he ditched it to lead S.H.I.E.L.D. on a wild goose chase, forcing him into street clothes for the rest of the movie. He needed a uniform that couldn’t be followed, leading him to his original uniform, created years before the technology needed.
Some problems in George Lucas’ prequels arise when fans realize that the Sith, the Jedi’s ancient enemy, isn’t a powerful order or army – just two Force Users: a master and apprentice. In fact, the regular pattern of apprentice deaths mean that, in the prequels, the term “Sith” really only means Emperor Palpatine. Why not recruit an army instead of hatching a decades-long plan all by yourself? The answer comes in the novels, when the greatest surviving Sith, Darth Bane, realized that the greed, hunger for power, and anger the Sith taught guaranteed they’d betray one another and never work together. It was better, he decided, to keep just two true Sith at any time, who could manipulate the leaders of the galaxy without them ever realizing it. The plan worked, after all.
Science fiction nitpickers are quick to point out the most far-fetched moment of Independence Day, when an Apple computer is completely compatible with the alien mothership. But follow the plot, and you don’t even need the deleted scene explaining it. The Area 51 scientists explain that the digital age was a result of studying the alien ship, right down to the microchip. If modern computers were reverse-engineered from the alien systems, the deleted scene states, someone as brilliant as Jeff Goldblum’s character could have easily programmed an interface.
The Lost World: Jurassic Park
It’s one plot hole that refuses to die, and with good reason. When the ship containing the T-rex crashes into San Diego’s port in the second Jurassic Park, the crew are found completely dismembered on board. Shockingly, that fact is never explained. But in the novel, it’s revealed that a pack of velociraptors had snuck on board before the ship left the island, killing the crew, and apparently falling overboard on the way. At least, we HOPE that’s what happened to them. Especially since none of the characters ever actually find out for themselves.
The Dark Knight Rises
Critics cried foul when Bruce Wayne returned to Gotham from his prison pit, without any explanation. But the solution is obvious going by the previous movies. It’s not hard to believe Bruce could have traveled back to a port city in America, since he left the States in the exact same way in Batman Begins. It’s also shown, and explicitly stated by Harvey Dent in The Dark Knight that Wayne Manor isn’t anywhere close to Gotham, located in the Palisades (which Harvey isn’t even sure falls within the city limits). So Bruce could have gotten to his Batcave easily – with his gadgets and tech, getting past Bane’s forces would have been a breeze.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
The movie makes a point of explaining that the First Order’s superweapon is practically planet-sized, compared to the original Death Star. But seriously, how could a space station ever be built so large? Besides being home to billions of soldiers needed to keep it running, how could the crew use all of the space effectively? The novel explains it by revealing the base wasn’t built at all – it was a planet to begin with:
“…the planet had been altered: its mountains tunneled into, its glaciers hacked, and its valleys modified until it no longer resembled its original naturally eroded form. Those who had remade it had renamed it. Starkiller Base.”
Every Titanic fan points out the same problem: Jack and Rose could easily have both fit on the floating door if they’d just tried, or taken turns if it wouldn’t support both their weight – and could have both been rescued. But think about it: when help arrives, Jack looks to be almost frozen solid. Rose barely survives herself, so if she and Jack had taken turns getting in and out of the water, medical likelihood says they would BOTH have died of hypothermia. Jack probably knew it, sacrificing himself to a certain death, instead of trying a plan that would have gotten both him and the love of his life killed, or horribly injured.
Star Wars: The Force Awakens
Fans have been debating the true identity of the new hero Rey since the movie released, wondering who it was that left her all alone on Jakku, and why they never returned. It seems pretty cold for a hero like Luke or Leia to leave her behind for good, but the novel reveals that wasn’t the plan at all. When Luke’s lightsaber triggers Rey’s Force visions, the scene ends with Rey hearing a voice calling to her. Not just any voice, either, but that of her parent, with their last words a promise to come back for her once it was safe, ending with the line “I’ll come back sweetheart, I promise” – confirming once and for all that movie audiences don’t know the half of her origin story.
Those are the nagging questions we’ve seen movie fans debate with no hope of an answer, but which great debates, plot holes, or unexplained movie mysteries are your favorites to discuss? Let us know in the comments, and don’t forget to subscribe to our YouTube channel for more videos like this one!