Thanks to webbc99 for the inspiration!
Sometime in 2017, script writer Yoshinori Kitase debunked several Final Fantasy theories. Two of those theories were from Final Fantasy VIII: Squall’s Dead and Rinoa is Ultimecia. I think a few fans truly miss those theories. Others don’t care much. But webbc99 brings up an interesting point, one that the writers of Final Fantasy might agree with:
I honestly think it does the writing and story of FFVIII a massive disservice to buy into any of these crazy theories that are clearly just clutching at straws and looking for things that aren’t there.
The story has plot holes as you say, and it already gets enough flak. There’s no way the writers had a storyboard lined up where their main character literally dies in the first cutscene, or even after the first disk, and never mention it.
The story does not need these crazy theories to explain what’s going on. The plot-holes are actually fairly minor, almost to the point where they could be explained as translation errors. Things like the whole orphanage scene are actually foreshadowed (albeit fairly poorly) and you can tell what they were trying to do. This is why scenes like the assassination scene with Irvine are actually genius imo. And there is so much of that in FFVIII – the whole Laguna is Squall’s dad thing, Raine being his mum, Julia being Rinoa’s mum, it’s all very clever. There is a lot of clever writing in VIII. Saying “yeah it’s just all weird and gets weirder because Squall is actually dead” undermines all of that subtlety.
Your points about certain characters not being in the final cutscene are also a bit silly. It’s like saying that Cloud dies during the explosion in the reactor at the beginning of Final Fantasy VII and that’s why Vincent and Yuffie aren’t in the final cutscene, and that explains why Red XIII is a weird animal thing, and Cait Sith is a talking cat.
VIII is my favourite game in the series, and I don’t think it needs any of these theories to explain the story. Having said that, I think it’s fair to say that the “Squall is dead” theories just completely undermine the writing and story. The R=U theories on the other hand are at least constructive in that they attempt to explain the origin of a character. Not the entire plot of the game. It doesn’t detract from anything to suppose that Rinoa is Ultimecia. In fact, I think believing that or not believing that to be the case actually changes nothing about the overall story, unlike “Squall is dead”.
Ultimately, in FF games, people get injuries that should kill them all of the time, in cut-scenes, in battle etc., and they rarely die. When a character does die, it’s a pretty big deal in these games. Cloud is literally stabbed though the chest by Sephiroth and somehow doesn’t die. Blank is literally turned to stone for a large portion of FFIX, doesn’t die. Everyone in the missile base doesn’t die even though it literally explodes. I don’t know why such a fuss is made over Squall getting a blizzard to the chest, especially as it’s magic that we see in every battle, and especially as we see characters recovering from far worse stuff in other games and in FFVIII.
As a final note, I would like to mention that I don’t understand why weird stuff would happen to someone because they died. When you die, that’s it. You don’t go into some bizarro world where some stuff happens that’s a bit odd. I don’t know why suddenly he’s dreaming about his perfect woman. He’s supposed to be dead, you just said he died. I don’t even understand how someone dying can even lead down that train of thought.
This was a reply to apako1’s post: [Discussion] (insane Spoilers inside)FFVIII has the biggest story of any final fantasy
Apako1 argued that Final Fantasy VIII’s story the biggest, due to the number of fan theories it spawned. Of course, these fan theories aren’t canon. Never were. But each of them caught on and became so famous that many fans think this was the intention. Of course, without the word of god to support these theories, they fall flat. Or rather, they’re at least interesting to think about.
Does a fan theory do disservice to the original work? I can only think of one instance where this might be the case. If a theory doesn’t account for all of the facts, then that theory does not enhance the author’s original work. Most of the theories Kitase debunked actually explained the mystery behind the characters. Of course, this is what webbc99 thinks is the problem. The original stories are good enough. No need to add our interpretation of it.
But we don’t always make fan theories just to fill in plot holes. Sometime we make fan theories for hypotheticals. At what point does a fan theory become fan fiction? That line’s hard to draw. Sometimes we scoff at a fan theory, only to realize that it emphasized a major theme about the story.
Other times, we make fan theories because we see something really cool, and wonder if others saw it too. It’s a sense of comradery. Who knows, maybe we can “enlighten” other fans who maybe haven’t see it a certain way.
But I don’t think a fan theory sets out to undermine the original story. I think a good theory can complement the writer’s original vision, as long as . Yes, there are sometimes a fan theory doesn’t add to the story. And there are others were the fan theory completely misses the point of the author’s intent. But in those rare cases a fan theory can enhance the original story.
As a sidenote: I don’t know how webbc99 knows what it’s like to die. I guess it’s comforting knowing I would have to battle a Shumi after having a Moomba lick my blood.