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The Internet's Most Innovative Hunger Games Conspiracy Theories

Photo: Murray Close/Lionsgate

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The fourth and final installment of The Hunger Games premieres on November 20th. Throughout the series, first introduced in books by Suzanne Collins and culminating in Mockingjay, Part 2, fans have borne witness to a lot of unbelievable stuff: children mercilessly killing other children, secret electromagnetic force fields, brutal rebellion in a totalitarian state, and heaps and heaps of coal. But nothing is as wild as the conspiracy theories that the internet has foisted upon The Hunger Games universe. Read on in wonder as you mull over whether or not Katniss and Peeta are living in a world where Britain won the war, or if The Capitol is really just an international airport.

The Peeta Bread Theory

Peeta's really just named after a pita.

According to Slate's Miriam Krule, the unusual names in The Hunger Games universe can be divided into two groups: poor characters are named after plants, and rich characters are named after Roman mythology (that explains Katniss's plant-based name, President Coriolanus Snow's Roman- and Shakespeare-influenced name). But there's no explanation for Peeta Mellark, the boy with the bread. Krule proposes that he's named after a dystopic piece of pita bread.

The DEN Theory

The Capitol is the Denver Airport.

In The Hunger Games, the seat of Panem's government is the Capitol. It is located in an area that, before the first uprising, used to be referred to as the Rockies. A theory, first brought to light three years ago by Tumblr user hungergamesconspiracy (and explored by the Washington Post), the notoriously creepy Denver Airport is the command center for a corrupt, murderous government. According to hungergamesconspiracy,"Denver [plays host] to an airport with massively large and expansive underground tunnels (85 square miles to be exact), which, mysteriously do not allow employees to discuss what goes on in these tunnels." The theory maintains that the winding underground "will be the place where there will be a mass extermination of people, or a rebirth of the Earth. Just like it said in the Hunger Games." And of course The Illuminati is also involved.

The Alternate British Universe Theory

The Hunger Games take place in a world where Britain won the Revolutionary War.

Reddit user TheMartianManhunter posits a theory wherein each district of Katniss's home nation of Panem represents one of the 13 original colonies fighting for liberation under British rule in 1775. Like the colonists in our version of history, rebels in Panem fought against a larger, brutal empire. In this version of events, the Panem rebels lost the war, and the great Empire punished all of the colonies by destroying one as a symbol: the mysterious, maybe-gone District 13. "They would kill the signers of the Declaration of Independence, and then strike fear into the hearts of the remaining 12 colonies. How? By killing one off," writes TheMartianHunter.

The Ghost Writer Theory

The secret narrator is Madge Undersee's mother or aunt

In this theory by John on hogwartsprofessor.com, the narrator of The Hunger Games is Maysilee Donner, wife of the District 12 mayor and Madge Undersee's mother. Maysilee and her twin sister competed in the games in their youth; the twin was murdered. Before she sets off for training, Madge offers Katniss the Mockingjay pin before she leaves for the games, telling her it belonged to her aunt. John puts forth the theory that "Mrs. Donner-Undersee was the mastermind-puppeteer behind the Mockingjay story being written within the Capitol's Hunger Games." To avenge her sister's death in the arena, Maysilee Donner-Undersee plays a "long game" on the Capitol by inventing the Mockingjay rebellion.

The Little Rue Theory

Little Rue was the real Mockingjay.

The Black Fangirls Unite Tumblr offers a theory in which the series hero Katniss is the kindling for the revolution against the Capitol. Instead, the real catalyst of the revolution is the tiny, sweet tribute Rue, who meets and allies with Katniss in the trees during the first Hunger Games. When Rue dies, Katniss offers her a song and a funeral. In this theory, Rue's sacrificed herself for the revolution, and Katniss Everdeen, the girl on fire, just carries that flame forward for her friend.

The Compassionate Suicide Theory

Foxface killed herself on purpose.

Redditor circlemanfan supports a world where Foxface, a tribute from District 5 in Catching Fire, eats poisonous nightlock berries on purpose, committing suicide. Fans believe that the smart, sly Foxface knew her plants too well to eat poison berries by accident. In the second movie, she's even seen studying poison plants at the tributes' training center. When Foxface, who is suffering from dehydration and hunger and Katniss, decides to kill herself, she can't make it look intentional. Writes circlemanfan, "Foxface knew what would happen if she blatantly committed suicide, it would look like defiance to the Capitol and her family would be killed. She decided to end it this way to make sure no one would think she was trying to outsmart anybody."

The Tool Theory 

Katniss was a prop of a previously planned revolution.

Wattpad user Firegirl220 suggests that basically every character key to Katniss in the Games (plus her father) is a rebel spy. As such, Katniss was set up to complete the revolution by several external factors. Rue, Katniss's most loyal companion, is a rebel spy, too. According to Firegirl220, Rue's job "would have been to lead Katniss out of the arena. When she was dying and said, ‘You have to win,' she could have meant, "You're on your own now, please survive, so the rebellion can start."