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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.
The Iron Giant
The Giant Was Never Meant To Destroy
The Theory: The Iron Giant was never meant to destroy earth.

Explanation: In the film, we are lead to believe that the giant was sent to earth to destroy everyone on it. Now, from a deleted scene, we know that the giant was created by aliens and that there are many more just like him. But what if he wasn't meant to destroy? Supposedly, the bump on his head prevented him from remembering his primary objective, which was to destroy. But what if his primary objective was something completely different? Like, say, to make contact with humans? The bump on his head did not prevent him from remembering his objective, but it gave him a speech impediment. That is why he can speak English, but he has to take time to learn it. Before he bumped his head, he already knew how to speak English, but the bump made it difficult. That is why, at the end of the movie, when the bump is fixed, he seems to be able to communicate much better, “You stay, I go. No following.” It is the first and only intelligible saying the giant makes in that movie. The guns built in to the giant were only a defense mechanism. He was not programmed to use them unless he was being attacked. The aliens just wanted peace, and the humans destroyed every chance of that.

The Iron Giant is a prototype Titan-class chassis created by the Necrons
The Giant's primary armaments fire green energy similar to that of Gauss weapons. He's also self-repairing and possesses a rudimentary personality. This checks out since most Necron warriors contain the memory imprints of the original Necrontyr race.

The Iron Giant is a self-replicating machine similar to a Berserker
That is why he eats so much metal and why there were more than one of him blowing up the planet in the deleted dream scene. The Giant's creators sent them out to destroy every other planet (or just all life) in the universe and they were programmed to land on a planet, consume copious amounts of metal, replicate, destroy the planet, and move on with each one going to another planet and starting the process again. The Giant forgot all this when he got zapped by the power station and banged his head.

The giant is a weapon of peace!

It was designed to land on a planet, provoke them by eating all the metal, and then see how the natives react. If the natives react by attempting to destroy the giant, then they are too hostile and must be destroyed. If they attempt to make contact with it and communicate with it, then the giant doesn't destroy them. That way, every violent race gets weeded out!
  • That's called Eugenics and it's not peaceful.

The giant was another race's attempt to create a robotic Ultraman
His head clearly looks like a robotic Ultraman's and the weapons could easily be made for fighting kaiju

The song Iron Man is the sequel to this movie
At the end of the film, we see the giant restructuring himself after his encounter with the nuke. However, his mind was screwed up by the blast, and instead of wanting to be Superman, he is now a robotic super villain coming to "Kill the people he once saved." Of course, "Now the time is near/for Iron Man to spread fear."
  • What about the "traveled time" bit, then?
    • Technically anybody who lives through the passage of time is said to be "traveling time". Albeit the slow way.

The Iron Giant is designed to weed out peaceful planets from hostile planets
He's a probe sent by Well-Intentioned Extremist aliens. The Giant only fights in self defense. So, the logic of the aliens is that if the inhabitants don't fire upon the Giant, then it's a decent planet to be contacted. However, if the inhabitants fire at it, they are destroyed with extreme prejudice. We survived its attack, but unfortunately, we still blew our ticket into The Federation. They might return in a couple hundred years to see if we've mellowed out.
  • So...the Giant is Gort?

The Iron Giant came from the same Galaxy as Ratchet and Clank.
His head is nearly Identical to Clank's, complete with the same facial expressions and shutter-like eyes. And he has a buttload of weapons that he pulls out of nowhere. He is obviously an advanced model of the type of robot Clank is with Ratchet's arsenal thrown in as a bonus.

The Giant came from Cybertron.
He came down in the form of a comet, and transforms near the end. It's just that his initial head trauma and amnesia lead to him neglecting to scan an Earth mode.
  • He was originally a Decepticon who pulled a Heel-Face Turn. He came to Earth looking for the Ark.

The Iron Giant is actually Russian
He was designed to be a weapon to kill the Americans with, that's why he has such an easy time learning human languages. It's just his programming got all fouled up by his unintentional crash and he no longer sees there to be much of a reason to fight the Americans.

The Iron Giant is actually a prototype Super Robot
To be more specific, it's a Super Prototype of Giant Robo intended for a possible space exploration or defence against aliens.

At the start of the film Mansley has been Reassigned to Antarctica
It's no stretch to think that his colleagues at the NSA find him just as annoying and obtrusive as Hogarth does and happily sent him to go check out these reports of a 'giant metal man' just to keep him out of the office.

The Iron Giant is actually a giant Cyberman
Seriously, just look at him - he looks pretty much identical to the Cybermen from the new Doctor Who series! And didn't the Cybermen use a giant Cyberman to invade London in one episode?
  • The Giant has a different face of sorts form the Cybermen. Also aren't they suppose to wipe out emotions?

The giant didn't want to kill, even in full battle mode
When is destroying tanks you often see people leap out of them before they are destroyed. Even with his battle programming taking over he is still trying to avoid killing.
  • Well, he didn't do a great job with that- the Patton medium tank has a crew of four, and you only see the what I assume is the commander and driver get out before it's annihilated.

The giant's arrival on Earth was completely accidental
The Giant is one of several super-weapons being used in some kind of galactic alien war. None of those sides wanted anything to do with Earth. Somehow, one of the giants was knocked off-coarse and crashed on Earth.
  • Judging by some of the storyboard scenes, this does seem to be the most likely explanation.
Happy FeetWMG/Western Animation (Film)James and the Giant Peach
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal SkullWMG/FilmJames and the Giant Peach

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