Thanks to Memorphous for the inspiration!
Zidane is dead. During the end scene, after the battle with Necron, Zidane runs after Kuja to save him from the Iifa Tree. He’s overcome by some vines and him and Kuja are clearly crushed to death in the end of the scene. There’s a time skip (I think they talk about a year passing, not sure.) and the very last scene is Zidane revealing that he was masquerading as Marcus during the play. He and Garnet then live happily ever after. Or that’s what is implied; that Zidane somehow miraculously survived a certain-death situation.
Unlike Squall Dead, this theory does necessarily have to rely on the end of the game as being a dream. The story itself is complete. But looked at from one way, it could be Zidane’s wish fulfillment. But if Zidane died, how did he appear at the end of the game later?
But what is Zidane? He’s a Genome, an artificial body with an artificial soul. It is pretty much implied that aside from obvious gender differences, the Genomes are clones, identical to each other. Since there are a bunch of Genomes that don’t actually have a soul (well, actually, every last one aside from Zidane, Kuja and Mikoto), it isn’t that farfetched to say that Zidane’s soul could have been transferred into another body after his death. Before the time skip, we see Mikoto giving a monologue about Kuja’s demise while walking near the Iifa Tree. As Mikoto is the only one around with any knowledge about the birth of Genomes and all things related, she then “salvaged” Zidane’s soul.
Of course, if Zidane’s soul transferred to another body after his death, he didn’t die. Yet Memorphous makes a great observation that Mikoto does walk near the Iifa tree near the end of the game. In the same way Garland tried to rip Zidane’s soul out of his body, Mikoto could have. But then what about Kuja? Did he get the same treatment?
What do you think?