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. And if you think this is the best Zelda game, make sure you vote it up in our list!
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.
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."
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.
Redditor /u/Darkiceflame contends, "The Sheikah in Breath of the Wild were part of the the ancient civilization seen in Skyward Sword who traveled into the future, and that's why we see so little of them in the gap between these two games." The user continues:
"This race mentioned in Skyward Sword, which has access to both advanced technology and time travel, sounds an awful lot like the Sheikah we hear about from the era before Breath of the Wild. Therefore, my crazy crackpot theory is that the Sheikah who built the Divine Beasts and everything else 10,000 years ago were time travelers from the era of Hylia. This would explain why we see so few of them by Ocarina of Time; a large faction of them have "skipped town" so to speak by traveling into the future."