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  • #270358
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    I was surprised that I couldn’t find a dedicated thread for this topic, figured there shouldn’t be any harm in starting one (in theory).

    What are your favourite/most noteworthy Red Dwarf fan theories? (Either ones you’ve come up with yourself, or ones you’ve heard from others.)

    To start us off – Smeg Ups, Smeg Outs , Can’t Smeg, Won’t Smeg etc. are all canon. They take place off screen just before the end of ‘Back to Earth’. Lister is taking advantage of his new lucid squid dreaming to act out fantasies of being a real life TV character in the world where his life story is a popular comedy.

    #270359
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Of the sincere ones I’ve read, I do like the idea that the Stasis Leak future selves are on the path to being the Out of Time future selves, or at the very least an IMDb-style ‘foreshadowing’ thereof.

    The timeline sort of works out (with allowance for the usual irreconcilable continuity), future Lister is an unnecessary dick, and Rimmer’s moustache is a delicious superficial coincidence. Kryten was off picking out a toupee or something.

    #270360
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    Ooh yes, I’m definitely fond of that one. The “5 years” time frame roughly matches the gap between Stasis Leak and Out of Time, and the resolution of OoT acts as a neat explanation of why the Stasis Leak future doesn’t happen.

    The lack of future Kryten in Stasis Leak isn’t even too weird, when you consider that there isn’t a future Cat either.

    #270361
    Loathsome American
    Participant

    I like the idea that the changes in sets over the years are motivated by them actually changing which area in the ship they’re living in, whether it’s because they’re still gradually decontaminating new areas, because they’ve trashed the last area, or just because they get bored and want a change of scenery from time to time.

    This requires that Red Dwarf contains multiple independently functioning drive rooms, but let’s chalk that up to a redundancy measure for such an important function.

    #270362
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    Well, it would mean the interior design of Red Dwarf is sheer chaos, but maybe that just adds to the charm. (Even if you wouldn’t expect charm from a ship built for purpose by a mining corporation.) And I think Back to the Red supports that idea with the return of the original bunk room.

    As for other changes to the ship made by Back in the Red… let’s just not think about those.

    #270363
    Rudolph
    Participant

    The Chloe Annett Kochanski is the original Kochanski who was wiped out of existence by the Inquisitor, and replaced with the Clare Grogan Kochanski. Erasing the Inquisitor from history restored the original Kochanski back, hence why Lister and the nanobot crew recognise her despite her obvious differences. Unfortunately, the Kochanski hallucination in Psirens contradicts all that.

    #270365
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    Yeah the Kochanski/Inquisitor theory is great. And you can handwave the Psirens issue away by saying that hey, the Kochanski Psiren got its image of Kochanski from Lister’s memory, and Lister was directly involved in the timeline changing, so maybe he still has residual memory of the old timeline.

    I also like the extension of the theory which says that The Inquisitor doing this also changed Lister and Kochanski’s dating history so that they never went out with each other, and – if you’re not feeling charitable towards Lister – her dating him was a point against her in her inquisition. (This is unfortunately not supported by the retcon of Lister and Kochanski as exes occurring as early as ‘DNA’, but I don’t know, maybe Lister was able to get memory flashes of the changed history just by being on course to make that change in the near future.)

    #270366
    Loathsome American
    Participant

    There are many potential layers to the “moving around the ship” theory.

    I would posit that the wildly different interior design schemes are a result of this being a huge, kludged-together ship. Maybe it gets periodic refits but only in sections. The Series I/II area is maybe one of the older and, let us say, less glamorous sections (which is where you might expect to find the bunkroom occupied by the lowest-ranking crewmembers). Maybe JMC abandoned the attempt at Esperanto-bilingual signage at some point and that’s why the newer sections don’t have it.

    Why wouldn’t the captain’s office be in the newer/nicer part of the ship? Maybe there are multiple offices he works from on different days, and so there’s one in the Series III/IV/V zone and the Dave-era zone. Maybe he is able to move to a nicer office but is too damn lazy to have done so. If he is Dennis the Donut Boy and blackmailed his way to the top, maybe he stays there to avoid the officers he blackmailed.

    It is a rich tapestry.

    #270370
    loadoftottnumb
    Participant

    I know this was almost confined in series X but my theory is that the Rimmer we have now came back as Ace and saved the ship from the Chameleonic Virus, Nano Rimmer then took over as Ace (possibly tricked into it)

    #270371
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Maybe more of a mundane observation, but just as Book Rimmer’s true calling may have been for art or design (as discussed in the Boob Club – I’ll keep the typo), TV Rimmer might have semi-secret aspirations for show business that he could have focused on if he hadn’t been fixated on officerhood and learned not to take himself so seriously.

    He’s a talented impressionist (he just hides it sometimes out of insecurity) and always ready with a witty put-down (so are all of them, to be fair)*. He was comfortable presenting his own death tribute video (for his enjoyment only, but it’s a start) and plays the Hammond organ, even if he may not have musical talent (unless that’s only the books, but it would fit).

    We saw how much he loved his brief taste of showbiz in Backwards, maybe he didn’t admit how much.

    * ‘Scripted comedy character is funny in real life’ is a murky area generally.

    #270372

    He also dreams he is singing and dancing in Thanks for the Memory.

    #270373
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    He also dreams he was singing and dancing in Para- oh wait no that was The Cat.

    I know this was almost confined in series X but my theory is that the Rimmer we have now came back as Ace and saved the ship from the Chameleonic Virus, Nano Rimmer then took over as Ace (possibly tricked into it)

    That’s definitely the neatest way of transitioning between Only the Good… and Back to Earth, but I don’t buy that nano-Rimmer would choose to become Ace, or that the others would trick him into it. It was barely plausible that original Rimmer would do it. Probably easier just to say that nano-Rimmer died tbh.

    Although by sheer coincidence, I’ve just finished reading Homecoming at International Debris’ prompting, and I can attest that Karnie (RIP) came up with an impressively neat resolution for all that. Even managed to cover a couple of extra Series VIII plot holes while he was at it.

    #270374
    Dave
    Participant

    Yeah Homecoming is just great in the way that it resolves so many of these things, big and small.

    #270376
    loadoftottnumb
    Participant

    Yes I’ve read it before I think, I’ll check it out again as a refresher.

    #270379
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    While we’re on the subject, here’s one for Series VIII:

    The reason Kochanski Prime and Petersen don’t turn up amongst the resurrected crew is that those were the 2 people who Lister gave a proper funeral to, and thus their remains were jettisoned into space. Rimmer also had a funeral – where he gave his own eulogy, of course – but he held on to his remains because he was obsessed with creating himself a new body, and thought there might be a way to use them.

    Lister intended to give funerals to the others, but kept putting it off because he didn’t have the same emotional connection to whomever was next on the list.

    #270380
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    Oh wait, revise that, Petersen does get acknowledged as alive in Krytie TV, doesn’t he?

    Everyone pretend I just said Kochanski Prime. It makes more sense Lister would single her out if he isn’t also going to do Selby and Chen anyway.

    #270382
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    >I like the idea that the changes in sets over the years are motivated by them actually changing which area in the ship they’re living in, whether it’s because they’re still gradually decontaminating new areas, because they’ve trashed the last area, or just because they get bored and want a change of scenery from time to time.

    The series 3, 4, 5 set is labelled “Officers’ Quarters” below the doorway, so it’s less a fan theory, and more “the explanation”.

    #270383
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    >The reason Kochanski Prime and Petersen don’t turn up amongst the resurrected crew is that those were the 2 people who Lister gave a proper funeral to, and thus their remains were jettisoned into space. Rimmer also had a funeral – where he gave his own eulogy, of course – but he held on to his remains because he was obsessed with creating himself a new body, and thought there might be a way to use them.

    You can tell that you’ve been reading the Omnibus, Flapjack.  The funerals are from the assembly cut/pilot script rather The End, so insert “are they canon?” question here.

    #270384

    You can tell that you’ve been reading the Omnibus, Flapjack. The funerals are from the assembly cut/pilot script rather The End, so insert “are they canon?” question here.

    Fan theory – Lister held a special one off funeral for Kochanski

    #270386
    Rudolph
    Participant

    (This is unfortunately not supported by the retcon of Lister and Kochanski as exes occurring as early as ‘DNA’, but I don’t know, maybe Lister was able to get memory flashes of the changed history just by being on course to make that change in the near future.)

    Perhaps the Lister from Stasis Leak went back a little further and changed history to persuade Kochanski to go out with him? Either asking her out on his younger self’s behalf, or doing something to give him the confidence to ask her out himself. Future Lister turned up and explained all to her, causing her to dump ‘her’ Lister in order to go off and get married to him.

    Kochanski was then also corrupted like the others with all the time travelling decadence, becoming too shallow to go out with a brain in a jar. She dumped him and went off with Vlad the Impaler or Genghis Khan.

    #270387
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    Fan theory; every single scene is set in a slightly different universe, so even logical errors in individual episodes can be hand waved away.

    #270388
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    Fan theory – Lister held a special one off funeral for Kochanski

    Haha, you say this as if it isn’t just a summary of my post.

    You can tell that you’ve been reading the Omnibus, Flapjack. The funerals are from the assembly cut/pilot script rather The End, so insert “are they canon?” question here.

    You know it may well have been the Omnibus pilot script which put it in my mind, but I had already seen the deleted scene too.

    So this isn’t me thinking about whether or not the funeral scene is canon – it definitely isn’t. Its lack of canonicity is what makes the limited version of it happening a fan theory.

    Actually the funeral scene being canon would contradict the theory as well as Series VIII, because Lister implicitly jettisons the entire crew according to that, not just Kristine.

    #270389
    Pete Part Three
    Participant

    Ah, apologies. I assumed your theory was based on something stated within the show rather than just more theory.

    #270390

    Haha, you say this as if it isn’t just a summary of my post.

    That was the joke ;)

     

    #270391
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    Ah, apologies. I assumed your theory was based on something stated within the show rather than just more theory.

    It’s cool, it isn’t totally clear if my fan theory is just “this deleted scene more or less happened”.

    Fan theory: they did drink urine recyc in between Out of Time and Tikka to Ride.

    That was the joke ;)

    Jokes? On a comedy forum??? Bit inappropriate.

    #270392

    All deleted scenes are Rimmer just editing their expeirences in AR as they never actually left BTL.

    #270393
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    All of Red Dwarf post The End is just Lister’s dream in stasis, including all of the scenes he isn’t present for, somehow. The ship is fine and he’s still on track to be woken up at the end of his 18 month sentence.

    #270395

    That would explain why he keeps having weird dreams about slightly alternate Earths.

    #270398
    Jenuall
    Participant

    Theory: all mechanical AI’s within the Dwarf universe are programmed with an inner life based on the Wild West. This explains the Skutter’s obsession with playing cowboys and Indian’s, their membership to the John Wayne fan club, Holly singing “Do not forsake me” from High Noon, and Kryten’s internal struggle against the Armageddon virus taking place in a Wild West town.

    Also I always liked the idea that everything post BTL (episode not book) is still part of the game as it ends with them still “inside”

    #270399

    It would actual fit the world we know of the Red Dwarf universe if at some point in the universe, when AI is being developed, as a cruel sense of irony the developers start giving AI wild west obsessions because they (the human creators) happened to like West World.

    #270402
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    After a failed suicide attempt which knocks them unconscious, Jake Bullet, Sebastian Doyle, William Doyle and Duane Dibbley are captured by the fascist government and forced back into the Total Immersion AR game Red Dwarf, loading their previous save file. Agents had initially intended to arrest or kill the insurgents, but on balance decided that a high profile party enforcer such as Sebastian Doyle being revealed as a criminal would cause unnecessary scandal, and so the government elected to cover up the incident and pay the quad’s game fees indefinitely instead.

    #270403
    Warbodog
    Participant

    Smegazine writers had a ball with the Back to Realityverse, that’s generally some of the better stuff to look forward to.

    #270404

    Kochanski didn’t just leave in Blue Midget, she swapped game servers and now travels the universe with the crew that Lister observes in BtR.

    #270421
    Rudolph
    Participant

    Red Dwarf’s hydroponic gardens were in the hold, and were therefore shut off from the radiation leak on the decks above. Consequently, the cats roamed this vast, forest-like area and eventually used it for agricultural purposes.

    This is why a food supply meant to feed a crew of just over a thousand managed to last an entire species the duration of their existence, and for there still to be plenty of food left over for Lister to eat three million years later.

    #270440
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    I definitely approve of any theory that makes more sense of Cat history, because that is a minefield.

    Here’s another fairly popular theory I think:

    The reason Rimmer found himself alive at the end of Timeslides was that by visiting himself as a child, he had desensitised himself to time travel weirdness, and thus when he later got visited by his future self in Stasis Leak he was more credulous about it, and so he put himself into stasis and survived the radiation leak.

    I find this theory compelling, but I just don’t like the idea of Rimmer being alive up until Series 3. It changes way too much about the show’s foundations, as well as the details of lots of actual episodes. So really I’d much prefer a fan theory which explained why the Timeslides “Rimmer is alive again” history change didn’t stick. Anyone got any of those?

    Maybe you could split the difference and say post-Timeslides Rimmer didn’t survive the radiation leak, but he was able to construct himself a cloned body/solidgram to mind-jump into by that point in Series 3. No idea how that Butterfly Effect would break down though.

    #270441
    Warbodog
    Participant

    I just don’t like the idea of Rimmer being alive up until Series 3. It changes way too much about the show’s foundations, as well as the details of lots of actual episodes.

    Rimmer interacting with props in Marooned and Polymorph is due to a Back to the Future style ripple effect from altering history in Timeslides, same as the appearance of the Grogan Kochanski in VI with the Inquisitor shite. theory.

    #270442
    Dave
    Participant

    I find this theory compelling, but I just don’t like the idea of Rimmer being alive up until Series 3. It changes way too much about the show’s foundations, as well as the details of lots of actual episodes. So really I’d much prefer a fan theory which explained why the Timeslides “Rimmer is alive again” history change didn’t stick. Anyone got any of those?

    This all hinges on why Rimmer is now alive in the first place. It’s because young Rimmer (as he grows up) realises that he must have met a hologram of his older self that night, thus giving him a good idea of the age at which he will die. This makes him extra sensitive to risks at this age, meaning that when the radiation leak hits he is primed to run to the nearest stasis booth and freeze himself alongside Lister.

    Unfortunately, this alternate timeline is very short-lived, because as the ending of Timeslides plays out and Rimmer is celebrating being alive – and hits the crates and they explode – a small piece of shrapnel is fired through the timeslide portal that is still open, into the dormitory, and lodges in young Rimmer’s leg. This then gives him a slight limp for life that, decades later, just prevents him from running fast enough to get to the stasis booth in time. As a result, Rimmer dies after all and (seconds after the televised events of Timeslides are over) reality is once again rewritten so that Rimmer died in the accident all along.

    #270443
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    Genius.

    #270467
    Rudolph
    Participant

    I always figured that given Rimmer and Holly remember the timeline changes – even though Lister, Cat and Kryten have been erased from existence – that all the other characters exist in a similar sort of bubble, so they remember the timeline where Rimmer died in the accident and in their memories of the previous sixteen episodes, he was a hologram.

    #270468
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    That idea makes sense to an extent, but is contradicted by Wealthy Lister not remembering. I usually square that in my mind by saying that there’s like a grace period after the change is made before the new timelines become ‘set’.

    Either way, it’s really the change to the timeline overall which bothers me, not just the characters’ memories of them.

    #270469

    Rimmer and Holly are 3million years in the future, maybe it takes a while for the changes to catch up to them.

    So Wealthy Lister doesn’t remember because it directly impacts his life, from his perspective nothing has changed, and because he is much further removed from Rimmer and Holly in time.

    #270470
    Warbodog
    Participant

    If all cast changes have to be explained in-universe, David Ross Kryten was a spare head (4, or maybe even 1) that got damaged in the wash and developed a semi-independent personality and accent over time.

    The idea that the actor change can be explained by his crash and rebuild is disproven as early as Timeslides, with Kryten’s birthday photo from the Nova 5 or wherever. His surviving spare heads in DNA all generally resemble what’s explained in Beyond a Joke to be the template.

    This is also why series III Kryten lacked the new rebellious personality, since that died with the destroyed head. Don’t ride space bikes without a helmet.

    #270471
    Flap Jack
    Participant

    Rimmer and Holly are 3million years in the future, maybe it takes a while for the changes to catch up to them.

    So Wealthy Lister doesn’t remember because it directly impacts his life, from his perspective nothing has changed, and because he is much further removed from Rimmer and Holly in time.

    Well we know that the change occurs pretty immediately from the 3 million years in the future perspective, because Holly’s able to look up the new history in her database.

    I don’t know if it rings true that e.g. if you change something that happened 20 years ago, it takes longer for your memories to change than if you change something that happened last week.

    The way I imagine it, from Lister’s perspective he materialises at his current age of 27 in his mansion with full memories of the original timeline, thinking “Brilliant, it worked!” but then a few hours later at most he only has memories of the new timeline. And I think it would work the same way for Rimmer and Holly.

    #270472

    Well we know that the change occurs pretty immediately from the 3 million years in the future perspective, because Holly’s able to look up the new history in her database.

    Well bugger then …

    #270473

    Warbodog
    If all cast changes have to be explained in-universe, David Ross Kryten was a spare head (4, or maybe even 1) that got damaged in the wash and developed a semi-independent personality and accent over time.

    The idea that the actor change can be explained by his crash and rebuild is disproven as early as Timeslides, with Kryten’s birthday photo from the Nova 5 or wherever. His surviving spare heads in DNA all generally resemble what’s explained in Beyond a Joke to be the template.

    This is also why series III Kryten lacked the new rebellious personality, since that died with the destroyed head. Don’t ride space bikes without a helmet.

    If you’re going to argue for in-universe explanation for that, I think you’d need to explain every costume change of Kryten’s.  It is sometimes subtle, but often there are quite major differences – colour, monitor size, lights and bits on the shoulders, head shape changing series to series etc.  It’s that or accept that every iteration is all meant to be the same, its just production changes (i.e. s02 Kryten is the same as s10 Kryten regardless of actor or costume changes).

    #270474

    In Tikka, it is an issue that the Time Drive doesn’t offer teleportation functions in Out of Time and yet when they pick it up they are able to travel back in time and through space to Earth.

    Yet, their future selves in Out of Time had obviously picked up some faster than light/teleporting tech to allow themselves to jump through history and hangout with the worst history has to offer.

    Lister explains at the start of Tikka that their reality is unstable and anomolies have merged from both timelines to cope with the paradox.

    So I posit that the Time Drive they retrieve from Gemini 12 is an amalgamation of the original plus the future crews time drive that is capable of faster than light/teleporting shennanigans.

     

    There’s also complaints that Tikka’s resolution hinges on breaking the logic of Out of Time’s resolution (i.e. by killing themselves they can’t travel back in time to kill themselves in the first place).  Kennedy in theory shouldn’t have been able to kill himself then.  But, Lister et al have already fucked the timelines up, and Kennedy shouldn’t exist.  Perhaps the future-shouldn’t-exist-Kennedy killing himself resets the timeline to before Lister et al arrive in some funky way and two realities merge to cope with the paradox.  He stays dead, but Lister and friends continue to exist in that version of the timeline because the universe dictated they should.

    #270475

    I must admit that second part about Kennedy is a lot wonkier than the first part about the Time Drive, but I wanted a stab at reconciling the two main issues with the episode.

    #270476
    Dave
    Participant

    My theory is that the merging of the timelines after the events of Out Of Time causes a reality distortion that makes everyone in the Red Dwarf universe experience things like they’re being seen through a slightly shittily-applied video filter.

    This is kindly removed by the nanobots as a final favour as Starbug flies into Red Dwarf at the end of Nanarchy.

    #270477

    I think that’s right about the Time Drive, it’s based on the future one from Out of Time.

    The problem with the Kennedy thing is that, even if you can force some sort of headcanon explanation out of it, it’s dramatically unsatisfying. Out of Time is incredible, and is resolved at the start of Tikka with “you can’t kill your past selves” which is completely contradicted in a big emotional moment at the end of the same episode. There are all sorts of unofficial explanations you could give, but ultimately it just feels narratively and dramatically lazy, and is symptomatic of some rather dodgy writing of Doug’s. The show often contradicts itself, but not before in such a big way in the same episode.

    There’s also the issue that, now having the Time Drive, they never use it again. Even if we believe the “it’s irresponsible to go back and change things” idea, it’s still a faster than light device that could get them back to Earth, maybe set to a second in the future. Instead, they’d rather stay stranded in deep space.

    #270478

    The problem with the Kennedy thing is that, even if you can force some sort of headcanon explanation out of it, it’s dramatically unsatisfying. Out of Time is incredible, and is resolved at the start of Tikka with “you can’t kill your past selves” which is completely contradicted in a big emotional moment at the end of the same episode. There are all sorts of unofficial explanations you could give, but ultimately it just feels narratively and dramatically lazy, and is symptomatic of some rather dodgy writing of Doug’s. The show often contradicts itself, but not before in such a big way in the same episode.

    Yeah I get why people feel this way.  Personally it has never ever bothered me, but it is a logical inconsistency and dramatically quite flawed within the same episode.

    There’s also the issue that, now having the Time Drive, they never use it again. Even if we believe the “it’s irresponsible to go back and change things” idea, it’s still a faster than light device that could get them back to Earth, maybe set to a second in the future. Instead, they’d rather stay stranded in deep space.

    How many opportunities do they have like this though? Stasis Leak and Time Slides being the obvious ones.  I like to think that, for all of Lister’s chat about wanting to get back to Earth, he secretly enjoys his deep space adventures as he knows he life amounted to very little in the past.

    He also keeps getting teased worthwhile futures, even if we never see them on screen again, with the twins, marrying Kochanski etc.

    Though could certainly have used it to find Red Dwarf (i.e. go back to when the lost it).  Maybe, after he gets the curry in X-tended, Kryten dismantles it as he knows how much trouble it’ll cause.

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