The following is a list of all Theories and Speculations regarding the events and characters of Life is Strange, including the Dark Room events, the supernatural phenomena at Arcadia Bay and Max's superpowers, and specific characters and their involvement and its final episode Polarized's outcome. 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.
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's spirit animal. Due to the fact that the blue butterfly appears at the start of episode 1 where Chloe is shot by Nathan.
- 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 although Chloe's dying in the alternate 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 nothing but Chloe's wrath toward her miserable destiny, say, loss of father, loss of friends; considering the moment in "Chrysalis" when at the beacon Max falls into her delusion of the storm right after Chloe cursed Arcadia Bay. It occurs that Chloe could be destructive power against the world and Max's duty is to save the world, and Chloe.
David Madsen Edit
- David 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. Max's spirit animal is a Doe, which was considered an indication 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 being on to the mysteries that are connected with 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 old 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 vanished 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 been breaking 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's the only person besides Max and Chloe that we know are 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; there are similarities between the two that make it possible: She eats the same cereal (sitting beside her) as Max and Chloe do. 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 possible 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. It's hugely symbolic of the butterfly effect.
- Many theories prior to the release of the finale episode varied from Jefferson knowing about the end of the world and impending tornado to him being a demented serial killer.
- There was a small group that had the theory 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 be implying that he knows of Max’s abilities.
- To get the girls to come to Jefferson he could have stolen Nathan’s phone to text them and get them to come to him, the text Chloe supposedly got from Nathan in the end of episode 4 the test was well-written and literate, which is unlike any past texts sent by Nathan earlier in the game. The game also seems to canonize that he sent the text and is attempting 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.
Infinite Universes Edit
- 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 has 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.
- In "Polarized", Max has to stop Chloe from going to the End of the World Party. If you tell Chloe "Nothing" when she asks what you 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 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 accidently 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. We find out 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 games 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 in there.
- Nathan may not be aware of Rachel’s death, due to his apparent surprised and elated expression 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 cause him to be detached from reality. He may have been in shock to process her death 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 hope he doesn't turn himself in to the police.
- It is possible that Nathan was drugged for the photos he appears in with Rachel alongside her in American Rust and after 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 under the Prescott's orders.
- 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.
Principal Wells Edit
- There is the possibility of a link between Ray and Jefferson, as well as the Prescotts. Obviously, the Prescotts nearly own Blackwell and that Wells must keep them happy in order to facilitate their continued funding of the Academy.
- 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 him - we know he is an alcoholic due to the stressful nature of his occupation. So perhaps he is in some way involved with the Prescotts, further 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 in the end of Episode 4 is the spirit of Rachel that moves on once her body is found by Max and Chloe.
- It is possible that Samuel may practice transvestism due to the array of fashion items that can be found in the janitorial shed, including shades, a scarf, and magazines. On the other hand, it is entirely possible that Samuel just may have a hidden interest in fashion, maybe even a desire to become a fashion photographer.
- From the very 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 weird occurrences that unfold over the week.
- When talking to Max about her spirit animal guiding her to Rachel, he uses the phrase "body", which indicates a possible knowledge about Rachel being dead.
- The Twilight Zone Theory
There is some speculation that Warren's character actually has a way darker side than apparent at first sight. It suggests that Warren could possess a violent nature along with a strong desire for a sexual relationship with Max rather than a romantic one. It's based on the following observations:
- After you return the flash drive to him, Warren mentions a very disturbing movie called Cannibal Holocaust which portrays graphic brutality, sexual assault and violence towards animals. This movie is not just an average horror movie, it is very sick, but Warren said that he "laughed his ass off" watching it.
- Max would respond by saying that he is a "sensitive" guy and he would reply that Max said it in an awful way. If you asked "How so?" he would reply "sensitive means not gonna have sex with you".
- In a note that he left in Max's room he mentions another movie called Ultravixens which is basically a film full of excessive porn action.
- If you accept Warren's invitation to the drive-in, he would call Brooke and tell her he's no longer going to the movie with her, implying that he had Brooke as a backup plan all along. This suggests his dishonest nature and shows how he uses Brooke.
- In episode three, Max finds a developed photo of herself and Warren inside his locker in the boy's changing room at the swimming pool. Her surprised attitude could suggest that this photo is not a photo they have taken together, and instead this is a photo Warren edited and pieced together. This is backed up by the fact that Warren mentioned he is good at using graphical editing software when he discovered Daniel had posted a portrait of Max online and if Max asked him "Can you draw?".
- He lies by telling Max that he bought a second ticket to the drive-in movies for her. The poster at the diner clearly states that tickets are sold per car.
- Warren admits that he watched Kate's video "one and a half times".
- In episode two, when looking out of the window in Max's room, you can see Warren ducking behind a corner, which may suggest that he was stalking her.