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This shocking Shrek fan theory changes everything, and might be true

One of the best animated movies ever is even deeper than you thought, if this Shrek fan theory holds water at all. And we think it makes a lot of sense.

This Shrek fan theory suggests he came up with his name on the spot

You love Shrek. We love Shrek. Everybody loves Shrek. In fact, if you’re anything like us, you’ve watched the Shrek movies in order more times than you can count. And this franchise has inspired more memes and internet discussion than just about any of its fellow contenders for any list of the best animated movies ever made.

In fact, Shrek is the subject of a very plausible fan theory based around the first meeting between the title character (Mike Myers) and his annoying-but-lovable buddy Donkey (Eddie Murphy). When Donkey asks Shrek what his name is, the big, green ogre pauses for a second or two before saying Shrek.

As the theory goes, this is because he made up a name on the spot. None of the other characters at that point in the movie have ever seen Shrek as somebody worth talking to, let alone being on first name terms with. It’s entirely possible that Shrek, persecuted for his whole life as simply a monster, had never needed a name before.

On the one hand, this is a deeply sad theory. It paints a really upsetting picture of Shrek’s isolation prior to meeting Donkey, which might well have been so total that he didn’t even have a name. None of the signs or buildings around the swamp identify him as Shrek.

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The other side of the coin here is that this makes Shrek and Donkey’s friendship even more heart-warming. Donkey is the first creature to treat Shrek like a person, rather than just a dangerous and violent beast. It’s no wonder that they form such a solid bond over the course of the movie.

As far as we’re concerned, this theory really improves what is already one of the best movies of the noughties. It deepens the connection between Shrek and Donkey, while showing just how important Shrek’s found family becomes to him. Before them, he didn’t even have a name.

For more on the franchise, look ahead to the Shrek 5 release date and learn how Shrek stops Disney from achieving a perfect record. You can also look back at the most recent movie in the franchise with our Puss in Boots 2 review.

Elsewhere, take a look at our new movies guide to find out more about the best family movies on the way to cinemas.