Film Theory: Gravity Falls ISN’T OVER! (Bill Cipher LIVES!)
October 23, 2019
Dipper: Good night Mabel. Mabel: Good night dipper [Evil Laughter] Bill: Oh, Gravity Falls, it is good to be back! [Film Theory theme plays] Hello Internet! Welcome to yroehT mliF. Destroying your favorite show’s perfect endings one by one. And today is gonna be no exception. Partly because Gravity Falls is a show that I never want to end, but mostly because when you look at how this show actually ended, the evidence points to there being much more to this story than we saw play out on screen. Now the show’s final trilogy of episodes at first glance does pretty much everything that a great series finale is supposed to: Family grudges are forgiven, loved ones are saved and evil is finally defeated. But rewatching the finale, there was one thing that just didn’t quite sit right with me. In the finale, Bill Cipher, Evil Dorito of Gravity Falls, travels to our world to create the apocalypse he calls “Weirdmageddon”. However once here on earth he realizes that he’s trapped in Gravity Falls due to the town’s Ford: “Natural law of weirdness magnetism” in order to escape and spread his reign of Weirdness to the rest of the world, Bill has to get inside the mind of one man: Ford Pines; resident genius, paranormal investigator and great-uncle to our heroes Dipper and Mabel. However, this requires that Bill make a deal with Ford by shaking his hand. To defeat Bill once and for all Ford and his twin brother Stanley switched clothes to trick Bill into making the deal with the much less able minded Stan. With the deal made and Bill now trapped inside Stan’s head, Ford uses a gun that can erase memories on Stanley, wiping out everything in his mind, including Bill Cipher himself. Stan, in a moment of pure heroism, makes the ultimate sacrifice; losing himself, losing his identity, and losing all memories of the loved ones he left behind… …for about three minutes. Yeah, it’s not all that much of a sacrifice as it turns out, as Stan’s memories come back in less time than it takes to mix up a blender full of Mabel Juice. So what’s going on here? Well, Thankfully Journal No. 3 gives us a little more context on how all this happened: Quote: “It turns out that the memory rays effects can be undone through exposure to important images and people from your past. The reason Stan recovered so much faster is that we began recovery while the eraser was still fresh-less than an hour or after contact.” end quote. But at this point you’ve probably figured out where I’m going with all this. If all of grunkle Stan’s memories weren’t permanently wiped out, would that also mean that Bill Cipher wasn’t permanently wiped out? It’s a question that fans have been asking for the past two years. Is Bill Cipher, the main antagonist of Gravity Falls, really dead?! And I am here today to tell you NO! Bill Cipher is alive and well and living in Paris… with Jacques Brel. Sorry! Sorry, never mind that last bit, it’s a really obscure musical theater reference that no one and I mean no one will get. In all seriousness though looking at all the evidence from the end of the show, as well as content that’s been released after the series ended, points to Bill Cipher still kicking around. And not just kicking around! What we unearthed today will not only change your thoughts about the end of the series, but also everything you thought you knew about one of your favorite characters. Intrigued? Excellent! Grappling hook away! First, we can absolutely prove that Bill isn’t dead. During the finale, when Bill was trapped inside Stan’s mind, Bill decides to make these strange noises: !nruter yam i taht rewop tneicna eht ekovni I !nrub ot emoc sah emit yM !L-T-O-L-O-X-A These are his last words of the series, so you’d think he would have chosen his words a little more carefully. Or, you know, just chosen words. But here’s the thing, he actually did choose those words very specifically, the only reason why it sounds like gibberish to us is because he’s talking backwards. Just reverse the clip and you get this: “Invoke the ancient power that I may return”. Okay. That makes it pretty clear that he ain’t planning on leaving this mortal coil anytime soon, but what’s all this about an axolotl? Well, it turns out that the answer is given to us in a book titled “Dipper and Mabel And the Curse of the Time Pirates’ Treasure!”. Now, this book was confirmed to be non-canon, except Alex Hirsch, the creator of the show, tweeted that it does contain “one ENORMOUS *canon* secret”. So in the book Dipper and Mabel end up face-to-face with this all powerful cosmic axolotl, and are each granted one question. Dipper asks the very responsible and very logical question of “What do you know about Bill Cipher?” To which the axolotl replies quote: “Sixty degrees that come in threes. Watches from within birch trees. Saw his own dimension burn. Misses home and can’t return. Says he’s happy. He’s a liar. Blame the arson for the fire. If he wants to shirk the blame, He’ll have to invoke my name. One way to absolve his crime. A different form, a different time.” End quote. Gotta love those classic rhyming couplets. Now look at those last few lines: “Invoke my name, to absolve the crimes as a different form in a different time.” Yeah, this is pretty obvious why Bill was chanting in Reverse right before he was literally brainwashed away, and presumably the axolotl granted his wish, preserving him in a different form and a different time. That’s a pretty strong case for Bill still being alive, but if that’s truly the case, then that begs the question of what new form could he possibly be in? Well, why not the form that he was already trapped in? Grunkle Stan! And that isn’t just speculation! Most of the post-show content that’s come out, and believe me, there’s been a lot for a show that’s been gone for two years, has signaled pretty heavily that Bill Cipher continues to exist within Stan’s mind. Case in point: the Cipher Statue Hunt. Shortly after Gravity Falls ended, Alex Hirsch made it very clear that there was a real-life Bill Cipher statue hidden somewhere in the US, and that in order to find it, fans would have to solve a worldwide treasure hunt. And while that is absolutely cool in and of itself, the most interesting part of this whole thing was that it appeared to be led by Grunkle Stan. One of the very first clues to the hunt was a phone number. When you called it, you would be greeted by this answering machine message: Immediately you can recognize Stan’s voice, but something’s a bit off. It’s in Reverse! Now, this definitely could just be some attempt to make the quest slightly harder, but it’s worth noting that every time a character has ever spoken in Reverse during the series, it was because of Bill. In the episode “Dreamscapers”, Gideon speaks in Reverse after reading a chant that summons Bill: Egassem sdrawkcab. egassem sdrawkcab. Egassem sdrawkcab! Egassem sdrawkcab! In “A Tale of Two Stan’s”, Ford (It’s McGucket MatPat -_-) speaks backwards after falling into a dimensional portal and seeing Bill: VOTMZRIG IVSKRX OORY Not to mention that every single opening theme ends with whispers in reverse, before we’re greeted with a flash of the Cipher Wheel. Every time someone speaks in reverse on the show, it seems to be an association with Bill Cipher. So the fact that we catch Stan Pines speaking in reverse over the phone is already incredibly suspicious, but the evidence doesn’t just end there. All objects found throughout this treasure hunt tended to be related to either Bill or Grunkle Stan. There were Stanbucks, a jigsaw puzzle of Bill Cipher, a golden Stan head, and a few other recordings of Stan giving out clues. It was always these two characters that the Cipher Hunt kept coming back to. An odd choice when considering that there were so many other characters that fans would have loved to hear from. You know, like the heroes of the show Dipper and Mabel, or Soos, or Wendy or literally anyone else associated in this series! It’s almost as if the creators were hinting towards a connection between Bill and Stan. Eventually the fans found the Bill Cipher statue, and beside it was a chest filled with some pretty interesting things. There was a Journal No. 3 book that had a drawing of Stan, Ford, and Soos, but if you hover a black light on this page, you’ll find Bill Cipher drawn in with invisible ink directly next to Stan’s head, once again indicating that he’s alive and well and suspiciously close to Grunkle Stan, but there was something else in there that definitely caught my attention. When I was researching this theory, in the chest there was a USB Drive of Grunkle Stan singing “We’ll meet again” by Vera Lynn.
Don’t know when We’ll meet again. Don’t know where. Don’t know wheeeeen It’s an important song choice to make note of since it’s the exact same song that Bill Cipher sang to Ford Pines in the Gravity Falls finale. We’ll meet again, Don’t know where, Don’t know when Coincidence? In this show?! Yeah, right! Stan goes on to congratulate you on finding his statue: Stan: Hey guys, congratulations on finding my mysterious treasure of the statue in the forest! A very interesting choice of words to be sure. Then shortly after he recommends that you shake the statues hand! Stan: Shake his hand, that’s kind of like a prize. We’ve already gone over how Bill Cipher is notorious for making deals that require shaking his hand and Stan knows this as much as anyone else! So why would he be encouraging us to shake Bill Ciphers hand as if that’s some sort of prize?! Unless of course, this isn’t Stanley talking, It’s Bill! Bill talking through Stanley, encouraging people to shake his statues hand in the real world, potentially as a means of trying to escape from the body he’s already trapped in. Trying to make a deal through the statue. Seem like too much of a stretch? Honestly, I thought so too at first. But we already know that Bill can mimic someone else’s voice when he’s in their body, because we’ve seen the exact same thing happen before on the show. Specifically when he was controlling Blendin Blandin the time-traveling agent in the episode “Mabel and Dipper VS The Future” So it’s definitely plausible that the person we’re listening to isn’t Stanley at all. But I know, I know, there’s still one big problem that I’m sure a lot of you’ll be asking in the comments. If Bill is still alive, and is somehow controlling Stanley, then why in the finale aren’t his eyes yellow with an elongated pupil? The signature look of someone who’s under Bill Cipher’s control. Well, it’s because Bill only controls Stan when he sleeps. Now, before you run down to the comments to tell me that that’s a huge leap in logic, hear me out here. It is canonically something Bill has done in the past, specifically with Stan’s brother Ford. In the Official Journal No. 3 book, Ford describes a deal that he made with Bill thirty years before the events of the show, a deal where he let Bill enter his mind and control his body, but during the terms of the deal, Bill could only control Stanford’s body when was sleeping. Page 118 of the journal, quote: “I awoke this morning to find that my muse was true to his word! There in my notebook were 6 hours worth of beautifully written calculations, perfectly sufficient to keep me on schedule.” End quote. What starts as a mutually beneficial relationship though quickly deteriorates as Ford starts to fear Bill’s influence, and actively tries to stay awake for fear that Bill will continue taking control of his body again when he falls asleep. Page 142, quote again: “I fell asleep on my cot only to awake sitting at my desk staring at the strange symbols inscribed below… he is taking advantage while I sleep.” End quote. This tells us that it is very possible Bill is only controlling Stan at night! Notice how in the Cipher hunt, we never actually see Stan’s face, only a bunch of pre-recorded audio files. Audio files that could have been set up in the middle of the night. So there you have it! A theory on Bill Cipher being alive, and trapped inside Stanley’s mind. I think there’s a lot of evidence for it, but you know, while I was researching this theory it struck me: It’s pretty crazy how close these two characters are with each other. It’s almost as if they’ve been connected on a deeper level since the very beginning. I mean, they’re the only two characters who both refer to Ford as “sixer”. Stan: Hey, what’s the word ‘sixer’? Bill: A deal’s a deal ‘sixer’! That’s a pretty weird coincidence. They both tell people to buy gold before the impending apocalypse. Bill: Buy gold! Stan: You’ve been buying gold, right? They even do that whole “Einie, Meanie, Minie, You” thing. Stan: Einie, Meanie, Minie… you. Bill: Einie, Meanie, Minie… YOU! “One way to absolve his crime. A different form, A different time.” In the episode “The Inconveniencing”, Mabel has a hallucination where a giant dog talks backwards. He tells her to: We’ve already established how backwards talk tends to relate to Bill, and now we have someone speaking backwards telling us not to trust Grunkle Stan? I know he had a couple secrets within the show, but none of them were so serious that it was caused to really distrust him. This even puts a whole new meaning on the cryptogram found in the title sequence: “Stan is not what he seems.” All the Gravity Falls theorists just kind of brush that one off as a reference to him having this secret twin, but what if it was referring to something else the entire time? Could it really be possible that these two characters are actually one and the same? Guess that’s a theory for another day… In the meantime remember! Reality isn’t real, the universe is a hologram, and that’s just a theory… A FILM THEORY!