As if the three timelines of the Zelda universe weren't confusing enough, fans are now forced to ask the overcomplicated question: "Where does Breath of the Wild fall in the timeline?" As you can imagine, players have a lot of opinions on how BotW fits into the overall lore of the franchise.
Of course, there are (some) theories about Breath of the Wild that have nothing to do with the game's place in the canon. Some people are wondering what's going on with the Master Sword, whereas others have questions about the Shrine of Resurrection's true purpose.
These Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild fan theories aim to answer all those questions and more. As is the case with most Nintendo fan theories, some of these "what if?" scenarios get pretty in depth, and a few are off the rails even by Zelda's standards.
Revali Is A Jerk Because He Had To Work To Become A Champion
Anyone who's played Breath of the Wild knows that Revali — the hero who represents the Rito people — is not the nicest guy. He's outrageously condescending to everyone (especially Link), and his arrogance is off-putting.
However, Redditor /u/DiddyDubs believes there's a simple explanation for his attitude. Basically, every other hero and/or champion (Link, Zelda, Mipha, Sidon, and Daruk) is born into their role, but there's no evidence to suggest that Revali is of noble stock within the Rito people's hierarchy. The "Champion's Ballad" DLC depicts Revali working diligently to become a hero, whereas the others acquire their talents naturally, so the hero grows to resent the more privileged characters.
All Three Timelines Merge Into One For 'BotW'
Since the Zelda timeline is such a mess, theories exist that place Breath of the Wild in each of the franchise's three timelines. Cutting through the miasma, Redditor /u/accrsd has a neat solution: what if all three timelines merged into one for BotW? Part of the claim is based on the fact that the game apparently references all of the timelines, but the argument is considerably more nuanced than that:
"You see since the 3 timelines would be merging (probably because of a wish made on the triforce) we'd have a very interesting problem on our hands. That of there being 3 copies of the hero's spirit, Ganon, and Zelda. Of course Ganon would try to find a way to become more powerful through this and it would be up to a new link and the 3 hero's spirits to defeat him but not before Ganon completely sheds his mortality and becomes Calamity Ganon. This in my opinion would also somewhat explain why Zelda in BoTW had such a hard time being able to use her abilities in the past. She'd most likely have burnt out her power sometime in the past, possibly to help stop Calamity Ganon the first time."
All The Other Games Are Dreams Link Has While In Stasis
Redditor /u/ArtisanBubblegum asks an intriguing question: "What if all the Previous Zelda Games were just dreams that BotW Link was having while in Stasis?" Here's the explanation of the theory:
"As the series goes on, his dreams are diverging more and more from reality, as he has to fill in the gaps made by his lost memories. At the divergence of the timelines, he would be far enough from reality that there could be greater differences between his recurring dreams.
And when he wakes up, he doesn't remember his dreams, as most people will quickly forget their dreams as they wake up.
Making Breath of the Wild the Realty that Link's Adventures are tenuously based on."
Hyrule Forgot About The Tri-Force
RMFH's theory is over six minutes long, so in case you're in a hurry, here's a abbreviated explanation.
The theory relies on the assumption that BotW takes place in the distant future, which is reasonable, since Impa tells the tale of Ganon's 10,000 year history. Considering so much time has passed, RMFH asserts that the people of Hyrule forgot about the existence of the Tri-Force, in part because the royal family worked to have the legend struck from the record. BotW speaks of Zelda's inner powers constantly (powers that are reminiscent of the Tri-Force), but the Tri-Force itself is rarely mentioned. RMFH believes the royal line and thus Zelda are imbued with the power of the Tri-Force, so it technically still exists within the princess.