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This is a "Wild Mass Guess" entry, where we pull out all the sanity stops on theorizing. The regular entry on this topic is elsewhere. Please see this programme note.
Red Dead Redemption
The Strange Man is John Marston's
  • Father, Brother, Sister, God , Time Lord, Wizard, all of them.

Red Dead Revolver is a tall tale in Redemption.

Red Harlow and Jack Swift may have lived in the same universe as Redemption, but the events of Revolver may have been greatly exaggerated. The story of Red's revenge may have spread over the couple of decades between games and gotten more and more outrageous with each telling until is was written into a Very Loosely Based on a True Story book. This could explain some of the wackier stuff from Revolver, which doesn't fit in with the more realistic Redemption.
  • Word of God proves it, in the game Jack Marston is reading a book with a plot very similiar to Red Dead Revolver.

The next game will be a prequel, set during the civil war.

The player character turns out to be Uncle from RDR. Uncle's age is never disclosed, and John remarks at one point that Uncle has been old for as long as he can remember. It's not impossible for him to be old enough.

The game will be set somewhere near the front lines, and protagonist will be able to do missions for both factions and play them against each other. Eventually the player must pick a side which will affect the ending.

Red Harlow, John Marston, and Landon Ricketts are Assassins.

Each has the ability to use Dead Eye targeting (presumably Landon can since he teaches level 3 Dead Eye to John). Dead Eye could be another form of Eagle Vision. This makes Jack an Assassin too. Taking this WMG one step further, Edgar Ross and the Federal Bureau are probably all Templars.

The pre-order Assassin's Outfit certainly doesn't hurt the theory.
  • An expansion on that theory: Dutch's gang was a radical splinter faction of the Assassins until he went crazy.

  • Another expansion, the Aztec Mask in Undead Nightmare is a Piece Of Eden, albeit one the Templars never bothered searching for, because it has no practical use.

John Marston is...

...Revolver Ocelot in Valhalla, living out his favourite fantasy for all eternity.
  • Nah, if anyone is Ocelot in this universe, it got to be Landon Ricketts. Just look at that hair and that mustache...
    • Who better to represent Ocelot's idealised self-image as a badass peacekeeper of unbeatable gunfighty prowess than himself, while his soul takes a break from Magnificent Bastardry to try out being a easily misled Unwitting Pawn living on the knife's edge?
    • Impossible for both, Ocelot would never be happy unless he's betraying someone.

John is the son of Wolverine.
It explains his regenerating health.
  • Dead eye is John's version of Wolverine's enhanced senses
  • Don't forget John's other superpowers. He has infinite stamina (can sprint forever), low-grade super strength (he can knock out most people with only a handful of punches, and he can aim and reload a cannon all by himself), and resistance to foreign substances (he recovers from a snake bit in a few seconds, and becomes sober only a minute or two after being completely wasted).

Red Dead Revolver is a dime novel Very Loosely Based on a True Story in the Redemption 'verse

We know it's a book that Jack Marston reads, but there are signs that it could have really happened in New Austin:

Twin Rocks is a location in both games, and the two look quite similar (there's even a dry riverbed in Redemption where a stream was in Revolver). Brimstone looks pretty similar to Armadillo (even the saloon is nigh-identical), Rogue Canyon could be an exaggerated Pike's Basin. 'Ghost Town' could be Tumbleweed when it still had a few residents. Bear Mountain is problematic (the outside looks like Tall Trees, while the mine area looks like Gaptooth), as are Governor Griffon's mansion (Tumbleweed mansion? Somewhere in Blackwater?) and Annie's ranch (Warthington's? Critchley's? Maybe even Beecher's Hope).

Revolver is so exaggerated and unrealistic compared to Redemption because a) all dime novels took liberties with the truth (Billy the Kid, Jesse James...) and b) Jack Swift's sections, at least (y'know, the ones with the teleportation) would have been second-hand from the start due to him dying in the final mission and being unable to tell anyone besides Red, Annie and the barmaids in the saloon (at which point he was drunk).

Yes, I did just buy the Legends and Killers DLC and watch a playthrough of Revolver. Why do you ask?

The sequel will star Jack Marsten and be set during The Great Depression
Redemption was set in later time period than Revolver so the trend may continue. Jack would be an appropriate age to become a depression era bank robber like John Dillinger or Bonnie and Clyde.
  • Red Dead Depression

Jack will be conscripted in the US Army (or as a special agent) against his will when the Americans join the war

Pretty straightforward, really. A young, healthy man, good with a gun, the war brewing over in Europe. America will get involved eventually, and his services will be drafted, possibly by the FIB (See my next theory below) to do their dirty work in Europe, as they wont care if he lives or dies, his death tying a neat bow on the whole Marston business.
  • That, or they could send him over the border into Mexico, as it would allow them more control over him (and more ability to use his familiarity with the frontier than the trenches of the Western Fronts or even the deserts of the Middle East) and it's not like the Germans were not dangerously powerful in Mexico (due to their alliance with the Mexican regime of the time).

Red Dead is in the same universe as GTA IV

There's no real evidence to support this, besides it being by the same developer using the same engine, but for some reason I just like to believe this is true. Both games share similar themes of confronting a criminal past and dealing with shadowy government agencies, in a crapsack world with black and grey morality. In further GTA instalments, I'd love to see little hints that this is true, maybe a history show on the TV about the turbulent old west, it's heroes and villains (Marston a villain, Ross a Hero...)
  • Both feature the Captain Ersatz versions of real life locations and a dark nihilistic tone.
  • But West Dickens refers to Manhattan at one point. One would think if the universe was the same, he'd have mentioned Liberty City instead.
  • Not to mention an entire side quest named "California", all about a man trying to reach California (not San Andreas).
    • Maybe California is made up of North California and Oregon, while San Andreas is made up of the southern parts of California and Nevada.
Along that logic, maybe Liberty City is a state by itself, and there's another, smaller city named New York.
  • New York was once called New Amsterdam. Place names change.
  • If it is, i like to present the possibility that Irish is an ancestor of the Mc Reary's.
  • I think it would be hilarious if in GTA V you can see a movie trailer for "John Marston: Zombie Hunter", where the west's most infamous outlaw has to fight hordes of zombies to save his family. And of course, John is a clean cut all-American guy with an AK-47 and a rapping black sidekick.

John Marston is a zombie in the Undead Nightmare DLC.

Think about it there's a plague raising the dead and infecting people including Abigail Marston, maybe John is one of the zombies! Also, even though he doen't look like a zombie it could be because he hasn't seen himself in a mirror, or he's just really well embalmed, or a ghost, etc.
  • Jossed, i'm afraid. John is the playable character in the DLC, as it represents an alternate continuity from the start of the game.
    • Of course, this doesn't exactly preclude the possibility of him being infected and possibly even put down by Jack in a mirror of the epilogue in Vanilla.
    • That first part is true. The epilogue does a Time Skip to after the end of John's story from the main game, then he pops out of his grave, with the intent to "finish his business on this earth." This troper hasn't played long enough to figure out what that means.

The weird glitches are intentional

The Cougar Men, the Donkey Ladies, the flying bird people, we think they're all hilarious glitches but they're not. Instead they're intentional nods that something very strange is going on the old west, something that will come to a head in the Undead Nightmare Pack

Marston will survive Undead Nightmare

Why? Because there's no FBI to betray him anymore and its not like any zombie is going to permanently put him down. Also, he freaking deserves a happy ending for once.
  • Four words: He Knows Too Much.
  • Jossed: He still gets killed by Ross after he cures everyone.
  • He does return as a zombie, however.
Edgar Ross organized the killing of John Marston because Ross was Genre Savvy and Leaning on the Fourth Wall.

Think about how the average player would act in regards to the Homestead epilogue, after the false Everybody Lives Happily Ever After (TM) ending. Would they live on the ranch until the end of there days teaching Jack and doing mundane chores after having experienced the adventure the rest of the world has to offer? What choice did you make: to continue herding animals or to hunt down the train robbers?

In short, Marston- as epitomized by the Player- CANNOT just stay on the ranch forever, no matter how much he may love and care for his family, just as he would have eventually roamed around on his own sooner or later if the BOI didn't step in and create a reason for him to do it sooner. Eventually, he will return to his old life simply because he cannot NOT do so. And when he does, there is a fair chance that he will do something unbelievably damaging or in general illegal, particularly with World War One and troubles from across the border looming on the horizon. Ross- probably having made a study of the Marstons- knew this, and it just added the final nail(s) to the coffin of his decision on what to do with John.

John Marston is a distant relative of Michael Westen.

He is always helping strangers out of his own good (Er, depending on how you play I suppose), and usually finishes a stranger mission start with "I'll see what I can do." Plus he has the government out on his butt to do favors for him.

The Stranger is a manifestation of Marston's conscience.

He appears randomly, and in the strangest places. He orders Marston to do morally amibiguous deeds. He never dissaproves of his behaviors, and he is invulnerable.
  • Correction: The strange man can be killed in one of the first two encounters by just drawing your gun and shooting him. In fact, in the first encounter, doing this will cause John to shout "I don't believe you!"

The reason the Undead never try to eat Seth in Undead nightmare..

Is because he spent so much time talking to corpses. They probably appreciated that. Or it's just that he's not that appetising, since he's skinny and stinks worse than they do.

  • Or he could smell like corpse after being around them.

The whole story of Red Dead Redemption...

Is actually a book Jack Marston is writing. He writes of his father's exploits before he goes off to deal with Ross. This is why after you finish that last thing, there's no more missions for him. Same for Undead Nightmare. All that are just stories Jack is telling us. (and the zombie thing is his attempt at writing a horror novel set in the Wild West. Of course, it begs the question as to why he used his own family and zombie-fied himself rather than making up a family.)
  • This actually makes a lot of sense (although it doesn't explain Jack being able to use dead eye) and explains John's dead eye ability, it's a fantastic exaggeration of his sharpshooting prowess and a literary device by Jack to make his father more heroic. it also explains the missions which are chapters in the book while stranger quests are sub plots that are continued throughout the story, hence the mentions of large timeskips between them. This explains Jack's mission to kill Ross not being an actual mission, because it's really happening and isn't a part of the story. Also, Jack could have gotten many of the games events from his father's journal, passed on to him.
    • You've already explained how Jack would know Dead Eye. He read it in his father's journal and incorporated it into his story.
    • You could even take it a step further, and say that the John's death, and Jack's revenge are merely Jack adding a twist to really make his story powerful to the reader.
  • Makes you wish even more now for a DLC with an alternate ending, huh?
    • I will now take it as canon and pretend I'm playing out the story Jack wrote.
    • As to why Jack would zombie-fy his own family? Maybe he was using an original, different family that was similar to his own. In our games, however, we have the Marstons as that is the family we're familiar with.

Ross is a lot more compassionate than John thinks.

Ross, despite his abrasive attitude towards John, didn't kill him even when he had the perfect opportunity and cover story (John died killing Dutch). Knowing the feeling of being forced by the government to do their dirty work, he gave John a few, brief months of peace and comfort with his family before Ross carried out his standing orders to kill him.
  • Makes sense , he didn't seem to take pleasure in killing John.
  • I dunno, Ross seemed pretty damned satisfied that John was killed. If R* wanted to show him as not taking pleasure, they would have had him do something like look away/look down or at the very least have a very regretful look on his face. And this is if John absolutely had to die and there was no other way out. Ross is shown very clearly lighting up his cigar with a smug grin on his face.
    • If anything, Ross would have emphasized with John after having him killed. By the time Jack catches up with him in "Remember My Family", he's tried time and time again to retire and spend his remaining years with his family, but the government keeps pulling him back in for work. Perhaps under his snide "He killed himself with the life he lived" exterior, Ross realized the similarities between his situation and what he put John through, and maybe even emphasized with him after the fact. He does threaten to kill Jack as well, but to be fair, by that point in the conversation it's pretty clear that Jack is there to put a bullet (or 16) in his head.

Undead Nightmare is completely, absolutely canon with Red Dead Redemption.
(Spoilered just in case.) The part of Red Dead Redemption where John Marston spends time with his family actually takes place over several months and Undead Nightmare takes place in between John coming home and John getting killed by the Army. When John cures the plague all the people who were zombified are brought back to life, even the ones who had their heads blown off (yes, I'm shamelessly calling A Wizard Did It on this one; just roll with it). Most everyone who was zombified thought they were just sick and delirious (Uncle thinks it was all a drunken dream) and the survivors are so overjoyed at having everything and everyone back to normal that there's an unspoken agreement to never speak of it all again. Even so, the events of Undead Nightmare have their subtle effects:
The May Incatec gods punish Abraham Reyes for his desecration of their temple by slowly driving him mad, and his growing paranoia turns him into a tyrant by 1914.
Overjoyed to have her father back, Bonnie acquires a new zest for life, gets married, and lives happily ever after.
Harold MacDougal's mind is unable to reconcile his memories of the zombie plague with his knowledge of science. He eventually cracks and assaults a fellow scholar at Yale.
Irish was so freaked out by the zombie plague that he commits suicide in an outhouse in Thieves' Landing.
Greatly disturbed by the zombie plague, Landon Ricketts throws away his guns, renounces violence, and becomes a farmer. Now that he's no longer getting into fights, he lives long enough to pass away peacefully in his sleep.
A zombie plague turns out to be the last straw for Marshal Johnson. He finally says "enough is enough" and retires.
Edgar Ross knows John was involved with the zombie plague somehow and uses this as a pretext for invading Beecher's Hope with the Army and murdering John Marston.
In 1914 Seth steals the May Incatec mask and claims it as the "treasure" he sought for so many years. He becomes the Zombie Lord and sparks a new zombie plague, which cause the May Incatec gods to resurrect John Marston as their Undead Avenger to put down the new plague.
  • Not bad, except... When John is zombified, only his grave is visible. It's shown very clearly that he and Uncle died in 1911.
    • John and Uncle did die in 1911. According to this theory, the events of Red Dead Redemption and Undead Nightmare both take place within one year. If we assume several months pass between "The Outlaw's Return" and "The Last Enemy That Shall Be Destroyed", that leaves ample time for the events of Undead Nightmare to take place. So shortly after John Marston put down the zombie plague, Ross and the US Army invade Beecher's Hope and John and Uncle are killed.
    • Also, the idea that everybody comes back to life "even if their heads were blown off" is ridiculous even by Undead Nightmare standards. With Abigail and Jack as examples, the only possible survivors of the undead plauge are people who either aren't bitten or haven't been killed. The reanimated dead die again. And if you get killed while infected, well sorry, you aren't magically going to regrow your head once the mask is put back.
    • It's a zombie plague created by May Incatec gods. It is the very definition of A Wizard Did It. I don't see how you can accept a cursed mask turning people into walking corpses but not that same cursed mask resurrecting people from the dead.
      • Well I'm under the assumption that since Abigail and Jack were still tied up, it isn't a "poof back to normal" kind of Deus ex Machina. Instead, the infected people just turn back to normal, with unexplained bloodstains on their shirts. If you got killed while infected...you aren't going to come back to life. You stay dead. The mask only had the power to reanimate the dead, not actually bring them back to life. What I'm trying to say is that there's a difference between the undead and the infected in the game. At least, that's how I see it.
      • Well, I'm not under that assumption. As far as I'm concerned, when magic is involved all bets are off.

Uncle was famous
So famous, that many years later a toy was made in his honor. That toy was named Stinky Pete.
  • ...but not famous enough to avoid becoming a shelfwarmer, apparently, according to his behavior in Toy Story 2.

Jack is a mutant
How else would you explain a boy growing so damn fast in only 3 years?
  • Adolescence.

RDR is in continuity with the Jack Ryan titles.
Dead Eye would continue to be passed down, except under the name "Mark and Execute".

Undead Nightmare is John Marston's purgatory/Hell
John is forced to suffer losing the family he fought so hard for, he has to watch society go to hell, fight horrific flesh-eating monsters,kill several friends and allies. And just when the poor bastard thinks his suffering is over, he's brought back as a rotting corpse, doomed to walk the infectd Earth for eternity. The whole 'Mask' thing was simply devised to distract his attention.

John Marston is an ancestor of Max Payne.
They both heal rapidly with minimal medicine, and have some sort of slow-motion abilities. Marston's Dead Eye is remarkably similar to Max's Bullet Time, but John is using the power in a more simple, methodical way. Max grew up in a culture of Gun Fu and Heroic Bloodshed movies, and was inspired to try more acrobatic moves once he discovered his abilities.
  • So would that in turn make the ending of Max Payne 2 a tragic twist by having Mona die and Max live? The ancestor with the troubled life gets redeemed in death; while his descendent suffers on despite his sacfrices.
    • Except that Mona lives if you beat the game on the hardest difficulty.

Landon Ricketts is Red Harlow.
This would explain why he is able to teach John and Jack the Dead Eye ability. He most likely changed his name after having killed Governor Griffon, as it's highly likely that the government would be after him and would probably be best living under a psuedonym. It also explains why he later fled to Mexico.
  • But isn't Landon around the same age as Uncle? Red's tale took place only about what, 30 or so years prior? (If one fully considers the two games to be in the same universe).
  • Except Landon in famous himself.
    • His famous duels took place much later than Red Dead Revolver. It's possible that he wasn't able to settle into a quiet life.

Jack Marston is really Dutch's son.
  • From the mouth of the old guy himself: "Abigail was any man's wife! And Jack, he was any man's son!" Plus, Adult Jack's facial feature looks strikingly similar to Dutch's (minus the age difference, of course) instead of John's. The only thing missing is this: Why would John then take Jack in as his own boy? Maybe Dutch liked John and told him "If anything happens to me, take care of my boy." Sure enough, Dutch goes insane and the gang breaks up. John, deciding to keep his promise, takes Jack.
    • I think that John's only biological child was his deceased daughter, which means the Marston bloodline is obliterated. I didn't know it was possible to make the ending even -more- depressing.

DeSanta rapes John after the soldier knocks him out in the mission "Cowards Die Many Times".

While it's day when John gets betrayed, it cuts to night time when we see them again. Why did they wait that long before attempting to kill him? Plus, no matter what outfit John was wearing he will be back in his "starter" outfit which implies they changed his clothes for some reason. DeSanta clearly wanted to have some fun with him first.

Undead Nightmare is a nightmare John is having.
  • Think about it. The whole game, John is saying to himself, "I hope I wake up soon." What a nightmare." or "I must be dreaming." Thats why McDougal suddenly returns, Nastas is still alive (well sort of), and nobody mentions the freakin' zombie apocalypse when you play as Jack. At the beginning of the game, John listened to Jack tell a story about zombies. He went to bed with that on his mind and thus dreamed everything. Plus the title, Undead Nightmare.

Howard Sawicki is a secret agent who keeps tabs on John Marston
  • It is suggested by Red Dead Wiki that he was the same man who came to Blackwater and boarded the train with John Marston in the opening sequence.Archer mentions that 'there is always someone watching' regarding John's actions.
    • This would make perfect sense why he casually told Jack about Ross's whereabouts,since traveling and monitoring John during the game gave him an idea of John being a man who desperately wants to leave his outlaw past behind him and who only wishes to redeem himself and be reunited with his family,thus he gained a level of compassion towards him and became sympathetic to Marston's cause.Giving the information about Ross to Jack knew he will 'settle' things the only way possible anyway

John Marston is Roland Deschain.
  • Red Dead Redemption is the story of one of the earliest cycles that Roland took through the tower, assuming that the WMG that 19 corresponds to it being his 19th cycle through the tower is correct. This is very early on, and as he is being redeemed in part each time he progresses through the tower and gaining another piece of what he needs to finally be at peace. Well before the cycle looked anything like its current incarnation.

Edgar Ross is an ancestor of Thunderbolt Ross.

John Marston and Jack Marston are both mutants
Explaning there fast healing and Dead eye
  • I like to think that those things are just literary devices by Jack as he writes out the story of Red Dead Redemption. It wouldn't do well if the protagonist got capped off on Chapter Three, now would it?

John didn't die
. That was the strange man, a shape-shifting god, and John's guardian angel. So where's John? He went into hiding and left clues for Jack to find him later.

The sequel will have a certain somebody as the (supposed) Big Bad.
You play as a policeman, chasing around Jack Marston, believing him to be the mastermind behind some nefarious series of crimes, but in reality, he wants to escape his life as an outlaw (much like dear old dad). Depending on how desperate for justice you are, you either A) spare him and find who the real Big Bad is, or B) gun him down impulsively and lose a valuable ally. Any rejoicing will quickly be squashed by the fact that he's a much more appealing person in general.

The next Red Dead game will be based on the stories of Cormac Mc Carthy.
The Red Dead series is the best Western you'll find in gaming, and Mc Carthy himself has stated that, at their hearts, all of his stories are Westerns.
  • George Miller once said the same thing about his movies. By that logic it could be based on Mad Max...or Babe: Pig in the City.

The next game will bridge the time-gap between Redemption & LA Noire

Jack will become a bank-robber after getting back from WWI, and you play as a FBI agent trying to track him down through the Roarin' 20s and the Great Depression. Your exploits end up being dramatized into a series of books and movies that inspire a young Cole Phelps to become a police officer after the end of WWII.
  • Or, Jack ends up running a criminal empire of underground bars and alcohol. However, he has a family and he is a fairly nice guy. And the game focuses on a blood feud between the Marstons and Edger Ross's son and his family. And you have a choice of who to work for. As for the game world, it has several large cities, and miles of gangster riddled depression stricken wasteland between it. And horses return, along with 30's cars. Horses are slower, but they are more maneuverable, cost less, and can go off road. Cars are faster and protect the occupant.

The Strange man is The Slenderman.
His motives are ambiguous and he knows everything about John and what's going on. The Slenderman takes the appearance of an ordinary human because he can. He also appears randomly, as if Slendy is stalking John.

This game takes place in the Revolution universe.
This game does take place in the Wild West, and it's entirely possible that Wild West action occurs in the show.

The next game will be a Prequel
The next game will take place when Dutch's original Gang was still around and missions would involve robbing people, banks, and kidnapping people with John slowly questioning what they are doing as Dutch descends into madness and it has an effect on Bill and Javier. Also for a potential Wham Episode, John's daughter will be shown and she'll be a sickly child who Abigail and Jack tends to but John can't get a doctor to see her because of his reputation. Shortly before The Epilogue, she will die and John would be so distraught over what happened that he can't concentrate thus leading up to the botched robbery where John gets shot and left for dead by his companions thus leading him wanting to walk away from the life he's lead.

What would the game world look like in 2011?
I think Blackwater would end up as a good-sized city, most of the surrounding area becomes suburban. Thieves Landing ends up as a smaller version of Reno. Parts of Tall Trees becomes a national park, the rest is cut down or developed.

John Marston is Johnny K`s ancestor and Bill Williamson is Billy Grey`s ancestor
Both John Marston and Johnny K were both in gang`s with gruff voices and dealt with betrayal within the gang.
  • Or they are reincarnations.
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