The following is a list of all Theories and Speculations regarding the events and characters of Life is Strange, including the Dark Room events of Life is Strange: Season 1, the supernatural phenomena of Arcadia Bay and Max Caulfield's superpowers, and specific characters and their involvement and the outcome of the final episode, "Polarized".
You can comment on your own theories or additional ideas or add them directly to the list. You can also discuss your ideas and other theories on the discussion board.
This list still needs to be filled with theories from characters' theory and comment sections.
Life is Strange Edit
After "Polarized" Edit
- Main article: Episode 5: Polarized - Theories
Blue Butterfly Edit
- The blue butterfly at the end of Episode 5 is speculated to be Chloe Price's spirit animal, due to the fact that the blue butterfly appears at the start of Episode 1 where Chloe is shot by Nathan Prescott.
- A likely theory which ties the game together was that Max would need to rewind using the butterfly photo she took in the Blackwell bathroom before Chloe was shot by Nathan. Going back to the beginning of the game, Max would need to let Chloe die in order to correct the timeline and put a halt to the eco-disaster befalling Arcadia Bay. On the other hand, it seemed contradictory that the eco-disaster still exists despite Chloe's death in the alternative timeline.
- Another discussed scenario was that Max would step in on this moment and calm Nathan's rage in order to save Chloe and placate Nathan. However, this would be less likely, as Chloe's death is predicted symbolically in the game, and keeping her alive would not correct the wrongs in time; she was originally meant to die.
- Another theory was that the cause of the upcoming disastrous tornado was caused by Chloe's wrath toward her miserable destiny, such as the loss of her father and Rachel Amber. Considering the scene at the end of"Chrysalis", when Max falls into her premonition of the storm right after Chloe curses Arcadia Bay, it is possible that Chloe could be a destructive power against the world, and Max's duty is to save the world and Chloe.
David Madsen Edit
- David Madsen has a taxidermy mount of a deer, which he displays in the garage. There is also a picture in the Madsen Household in the living room depicting him hunting a deer. Since Max's spirit animal is a doe, it was theorized that Max might be victimized in some way by David in the future. On the other hand, "hunting the deer" was also interpreted as him investigating the mysteries that are connected to the doe spirit.
- It was speculated that David was not just onto the culprit of the Dark Room events, but also tried breaking into the barn, but failed. In the barn, prior to entering the Dark Room in Episode 4, Max makes a remark that the padlock is new, but judging from the partly faded button numbers in the Dark Room's armored door (thus, guessing the password), it can be assumed that the password hasn't been changed for a long time, hinting that someone must have broken into the Dark Room before Max and Chloe, destroying the padlock (thus explaining the new padlock) but failed to open the armored door (explaining the unchanged password). David Madsen has surveillance data that shows Jefferson and Nathan went to the barn and he is the only known person besides Max and Chloe who was aware of Jefferson and Nathan's activities and was searching for evidence.
Homeless Lady Edit
- There are some fans who suggest that this woman is actually Max from an alternative timeline, since there are similarities between the two that make it possible; she eats the same cereal (sitting beside her) as Max and Chloe do and she has a gap between her lips when her face is at rest; the only other character in the game to have this consistently is Max.
- It is theorized that the woman is an oracle and physical embodiment of Arcadia Bay, standing sentry over the town. The town has grown old and is no longer prosperous. This lady could be a metaphor for the town: eventually the town will get so old that it will die too. Max can save both the town and the Homeless Lady based on a single decision. This is hugely symbolic of the butterfly effect.
- Many theories prior to the release of the final episode varied from Jefferson knowing about the end of the world and impending tornado to him being a demented serial killer.
- There were a few people who theorized that Mark Jefferson also had the power to control time like Max’s abilities, explaining why he chose to sedate her in the end of Episode 4 to prevent her from using her powers to stop him and warn Chloe. This theory explained how he got to the junkyard so quickly after the Vortex Club party at the end of the episode.
- Jefferson constantly mentions Max’s "gift", which could imply that he knows of Max’s abilities.
- To convince Jefferson's victims to come to him, he could have stolen Nathan's phone and used it to message them, such as the text Chloe received from Nathan in the end of Episode 4. The text was well-written and literate, unlike any texts sent by Nathan earlier in the game. The game also seems to canonize that he sent the text and attempted to frame Nathan in other ways as well, including planting Victoria's bracelet.
Max's Powers Edit
- There are some fans who suggest that the homeless woman is actually Max from an alternative timeline; there are similarities between the two that make it possible. She eats the same cereal as Max and Chloe do; it sits beside her. She has a gap between her lips when her face is at rest; the only other character in the game to do this is Max.
- In this theory, rather than Max having the ability to rewind time, she in fact has the ability to warp to another universe where the events of what she tries to undo have not happened yet. This theory would explain why no one ever notices her teleporting, as the other universe would automatically provide a logical reason for her being in that particular place. This would mean that there should be at least one universe for every position Max could be in and every angle Max could be looking at.
- In "Polarized", Max has to stop Chloe from going to the End of the World Party. If she tells Chloe nothing when Chloe asks what she did, Max will go on to explain that she creates alternate realities every time she goes back in time (or at least through pictures), but Chloe tells her not to doubt herself. This comes up again in the nightmare sequence. Even if this is not true, Max herself is sure of it.
- Nathan is suspected to be involved in Rachel Amber’s death, as well as her being drugged and photographed against her will. Jefferson claims Nathan accidentally overdosed Rachel, but in reality it is unclear to what extent Nathan is involved in the situation.
- Nathan's red jacket can be seen in the bunker when it is found after he sees the girls in his dormitory. It is revealed in the same episode that Nathan's father is on his way to the dorm before Max and Chloe leave the building; this could mean that Nathan’s father was with Nathan in the bunker and is connected to the game's events. Considering there are survival supplies in the bunker and that there are receipts for the construction of the place in Sean's name, it is possible he knows about the activity that occurs there.
- Nathan may not be aware of Rachel’s death, due to his apparent surprise and elation when he sees Max wearing Rachel's clothes and mistakes her for Rachel at the Two Whales Diner. This could mean that Nathan was not informed and involved in her disappearance and it was all the work of Mark Jefferson. However, Nathan is also described by a psychiatrist as having mental disorders. This could also be escalated by his drug use, and could cause him to be detached from reality. He may have been in too much shock to process her death even if he did witness it. Alternatively, he may have thought he only sedated Rachel when Mark knew Rachel was already dead from Nathan's overdose and Mark hid the truth from Nathan to keep him around longer and keep him from turning himself in to the police.
- It is possible that Nathan was drugged for the photos in which he appears alongside Rachel in the junkyard, and afterter he realized the danger he was in, he requested protection and safety from his parents. This could explain both the thank-you letter from Nathan’s father to David Madsen and the fact that Officer Berry told Max at the diner that he watches over Nathan while he is at Blackwell as those were his orders from the Prescotts.
- It is a possibility that the twitch-causing side effects of the risperidone Nathan is on caused him to shoot Chloe by accident.
Nathan's Father Edit
- Some theorized that Mark Jefferson is Nathan's father, Sean Prescott, but this theory is largely flawed, mostly due to character eyewitness accounts saying they have met Sean Prescott and that he is a "mean bastard" and Mark Jefferson is widely loved and admired. Also, Evan has met both Jefferson and Sean separately; if they were the same person, he would have realized it.
Principal Wells Edit
- There is the possibility of a link between Wells and Jefferson, as well as the Prescotts. Obviously, the Prescotts nearly own Blackwell and therefore Principal Wells must keep them happy in order to facilitate their continued funding of Blackwell.
- Nathan and Wells share meaningful looks in the office after Kate's incident, implying that Wells is in some way involved and must take Nathan's side in the situation. However, in the right scenarios he does suspend Nathan, which could indicate that he is actually uninvolved with the mysterious disappearances, and that he is simply a principal attempting to keep his school afloat.
- There is a bottle of whiskey in the Prescott Bunker which is a possible link to Wells, as he is a known alcoholic due to the stressful nature of his occupation. It is possible he is involved with the Prescotts in some way, in a deeper sense than just keeping them happy enough to retain funding for Blackwell. Keeping them happy may entail keeping quiet about their involvement in the disappearances, or possibly assisting them.
Rachel Amber Edit
- Another theory is that the ghost doe that disappears at the end of Episode 4 is the spirit of Rachel that moves on once her body is found by Max and Chloe.
- Samuel has an array of fashion items that can be found in the janitorial shed, including sunglasses, a scarf, and magazines. It is possible that Samuel has an interest in fashion, and maybe even a desire to become a fashion photographer.
- From the beginning of the game, Samuel seems very mysterious and it is possible that he has some kind of connection to Arcadia Bay or Blackwell. This theory is furthered by his lecture about spirit animals and his heightened distress at the unusual occurrences that unfold throughout the week.
- When talking to Max about her spirit animal guiding her to Rachel, he uses the phrase "body", which indicates his possible knowledge about Rachel being dead.
- The Twilight Zone Theory
There is some speculation that Warren Graham's chposted a portrait of Max online and she asks him if he can draw.