If there’s any series that invites viewers to create thought-out and well-crafted fan theories, it’s Futurama. The series has long been held up as a bastion of narrative storytelling, with plot threads that go on for years and tie into different franchises. One character that figures into many of these Futurama fan theories is Bender, the beer-guzzling robot who’s the most lovable scum bag you’ll ever meet.
Bender fan theories cover everything from why he’s such a ne'er-do-well to what he got up to during the 1,000 years he was supposedly trapped in the Nevada Desert. The theories are all fairly comprehensive, and if you’re doing a Futurama rewatch soon, you should keep them in mind.
There's a theory among Futurama fans that Bender was just a workaday bending unit until he met Fry in the pilot episode of the series. This simple meeting between two strangers supposedly turned a normal robot into a scummy robo-lawbreaker. According to a Redditor, Bender was forcefully rebooted when he was electrocuted by a light fixture in the head museum while he and Fry were running away from Leela. Previous to this point, Bender shows no signs of nefarious intent. But it is after this point when he changes.
As made obvious from "The Birdbot of Ice-catraz," when Bender reboots, he adjusts to his surroundings, and when he presumably rebooted in the head museum, he was in the hall of lawbreakers, thus taking on a similar persona.
If there's one thing to know about Bender it's that he's the most vain being in the universe. He thinks he's better than everyone else, and he's not afraid to let people know it. He continually tells people to bite his shiny metallic rump, and Redditor /u/StumpNuts thinks they know why the robot takes so much care of his backside. Previous to meeting Fry, Bender's posterior was not shiny; he claimed it was, but when he first says his catchphrase to Fry in the show's pilot episode, Fry responds, "It doesn't look so shiny to me." Though he doesn't seem upset by Fry's comment, /u/StumpNuts claims it irked Bender and caused him to begin shining his backside every day so that it would be bright enough for the lighthouse.
In Bender's Big Score, a crew of scamming aliens infect Bender with an obedience virus before making him take a bunch of historical items for them. When he's not committing theft for the aliens, Bender's left in a cave with the historical artifacts, and Redditor /u/GLUG209 believes he was in the cave for quite some time. To go back in time over and over again, he would have had to be sent back in time up until the year 3000 CE and then get transported again. Since his doubles have Greco-Roman pottery among other historical objects, it can be presumed that he went back to about the 8th century BCE, thus the one copy who did go to ancient Greece would alone be almost 4000 years old.
Furthermore, there are hundreds of Benders who are all technically the same Bender who have gone back in time in a single timeline over and over again. Therefore, he may be at least 100,000 years old.
When Bender observes some kids playing Dungeons and Dragons, he has a crisis of faith after realizing that he doesn't have much of an imagination. He loses his mind and has to get a lobotomy while the rest of the crew breaks into Mom's lair. Mid-lobotomy, everyone is transported to a fantasy realm, but Redditor /u/OriginalName18 believes the entire fantasy portion of the film is all in Bender's head. Bender creates Dungeons and Dragons character sheets in hopes that others in the Planet Express crew will play with him. Most of the Redditor's evidence derives from peculiarities in the fantasy realm. Firstly, Fry and Leela, though transported to a completely different world, are only briefly confused by the situation they find themselves in. They accept their roles as Frydo and Leegola, and the rest of the Futurama cast are exaggerated versions of themselves.
Furthermore, the quest they venture on mirrors everything that happened before Bender received his lobotomy.