Film Theory: Shrek's Donkey was SECRETLY a Human! (Shrek Movie)

The Film Theorists
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Have you thought about Shrek lately? Well, I have. Specifically, I've been thinking about the mystery that is Donkey. What do we know about him and where he came from? He is an animal of mystery... until you start to look a little closer. You see, I think Donkey has been hiding a big secret about where he came from and for good reason. Donkey may not be the good guy he pretends to be. Saddle up Theorists, this may be a bumpy ride.
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#Shrek #Donkey #Shrek2 #Pinocchio #Shrek3 #ShrekMeme #ShrekTheory #Theory #FilmTheory #Matpat
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Writer: Matthew Patrick and Luke Barats
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Published on


Sep 17, 2019




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Comments 80
Bob Ross
Bob Ross 14 hours ago
You know I'm still waiting on a megamind theory 👀
Wolf Gaming- CR deck replays
Isn’t there a human turned into a donkey in A Midsummer Night’s Dream by Shakespeare? Oberon, the Fairy King, turned a person, who is part of a company of actors practicing a play, into a donkey and put as spell on Titania (the fairy queen) to make her fall in love with him and humiliate her. Edit: I read the play several years ago so I may be misremembering and the character may have just their head replaced by a donkey head. It is an interesting thought though...
Gachax V
Gachax V 18 hours ago
Imagine Disney was like "Oh let's just put in a random talking Donkey" And MatPat gave this theory and Disney was like "Oh well, we'll take it"
Lolmanmagee Day ago
donkey is a huge coward of course he would not want to confront a tragic past
Jahsiah Bowie
Well in the ORIGINAL BOOK Shrek there is a TALKING DONKEY!!! It was a rip on the noble steed trope!!!
well I'm drunky right now
Lady Luminara
Actually in the 4th movie when witches kidnapped shrek,donkey mentions that he was a worker from Old Macdonalds farm and he was not going back there and he is done with ei ei o thing.
Lady Luminara
Lady Luminara 15 hours ago
didn't see u there sorry
Saif Ali Ahmed
Hey i said that
Jamie W.
Jamie W. 2 days ago
But in Shrek 2, why did Donkey turn into a horse instead of a human?
Camren Adkins
Camren Adkins 3 days ago
Hey matpat is your cat missing?
Scientist Doggo
Scientist Doggo 3 days ago
In the original version of Pinoochio, Pinoochio turns into a Donkey. What if Donkey is Pinoochio from an alternate Universe?
Commenter Q
Commenter Q 3 days ago
... But Donkey went to college
Ace's workshop
Ace's workshop 3 days ago
I honestly think that condemning donkey would make no sense, especially because he might just still be scared of the people he was captured by. Maybe he isn't talking about his trauma, because he feels like if he does, he'll be sent back. The way Shrek treats him would definitely solidify that belief, because Shrek was completely fine with shutting donkey out of his life as soon as donkey said "that was wrong." I mean, imagine what else Shrek was willing to do to keep donkey away.
Ben Geoghegan
Ben Geoghegan 3 days ago
Whoa whoa whoa. Hold the front door. Calling donkey a bad person because he doesn't want to address his trauma? If someone isn't ready to address their trauma that is completely fair no matter the circumstances. You can't make them talk and you certainly can't call them a bad person for not wanting to
Gabriella Herlin
Gabriella Herlin 3 days ago
This made me sad...
Anthony Hauser
Anthony Hauser 3 days ago
Well, we know that Donkey isn't the hero type. Especially when we first meet him. On top of this, if Pleasure Island discovers that Donkey escaped then they would likely come after Donkey. Or, like all criminal enterprises, if Donkey did squeal then it's possible the corrupt fairy-tale governments are fine with Pleasure Island or the owners used magic to hide the endeavor from prying eyes.
Chris David
Chris David 4 days ago
Mat pat Youuuuu sooooooooooo smmmmaaarrrt the smartest person on earth
Wasn’t the donkey added because there was an actual donkey in the shrek origin book? It was supposed to be the opposite of the noble steed in all fairy tales. Jon solo did a vid on this but on the origins of shrek
Viktoria Pikovsky
@Marcus_Loves_Chilis Yap, this is indeed true. And what's makes it more funny is how far MatPat went on finding Donkey's origins, uncovering little to be known fairy tales, yet he somehow never decided to check with the movie production team's interviews for this info, or even just read about the movie and it's characters on the official and fan wikis. The story on how the movie came to be and the book it was based on is very well known and very talked about story, and DreamWorks was rather public about it. It's strange to see how much work MatPat had done for this episode, only for completely miss upon the most obvious of Info. And to add to that, almost all modern day movies are based on some sort of pre-existing source material, and in most cases it's a book or a comic. And MatPat quite oftenly reads the OG books for his movie theories, so it's strange how he missed on Shrek's book. Double that with how easy it is to google the info about the book, just by googling for Shrek book, Shrek wiki and if you lucky enough, just the movie itself. So I guess for this theory MatPat decided research everything about the movie, except the movie itself.
Viktoria Pikovsky yeah but also most movies have an origin book (or at least a animated one) and idk if he knows that. I love matpats theories but yeah.
Viktoria Pikovsky
@Marcus_Loves_Chilis Yeah, if he did look it up, he would have known how incorrect his entire theory is. But I can't blame him for not looking the book up, as it's not that well known, and the movie overshadows it by popularity. And honestly, I would had never known that the movie is based on a book by myself, it it wasn't for SuperCarlynBrothers and Jon Solo for talking about it and mentioning that the movie is based on it. This is basically why reading Wikipedia articles for even the most basic of research is so important, and why you should always fact check whatever info you find online. It's highly possible that the person who wrote the OG theory MatPat based his theory on also never knew of the book & never mentioned it in their post, and by proxy MatPat never learned about the existence of the book, hence never tried to check it out before making the video. But again, Shrek's wiki does mention the book, so if MatPat really did done his research, he still had no excuse.
Viktoria Pikovsky yep but you can’t blame him cause he probs didn’t look up the shrek book to see if it was there
Viktoria Pikovsky
Yap, indeed it is. Heck, even the director himself confirmed it. MatPat went so far into his "research", uncovering very interesting yet bizarre talking donkey related stories, when what he only needed to do is to check the Wikipedia page about the movie. The wiki mentioned straight and center that the movie is based on the book. I'm so disappointed how Mat blindly followed some random theory on Reddit, instead of doing even the most basic fact check on it.
Angery Bear
Angery Bear 4 days ago
Can you not
carterfarter 124
carterfarter 124 4 days ago
Just bought some merch it is really cool
Austin Major
Austin Major 5 days ago
To be honest, when I first saw a donkey those years ago, I thought that he was one of the characters from this fairy tale I read once the kid. I do not remember what it's called, but I do remember that the characters were a donkey, a dog, a cat, and a rooster wanting to go to a place with music, but scared off a bunch of Thieves from their home and took the house for themselves.
Viktoria Pikovsky
You are talking about the Bremen Musicians. And yeah, there really was a talking donkey there. But nope, Shrek's donkey isn't from that fairy tale, but rather it's a fully original character to the Shrek fairy tale. Yeah, Shrek IS it's own fairy tale story, and the movie is actually based on a book by the same name. The book isn't the same story as you know from the movie, but the movie is heavily based on it. And the two main characters of that book are the green ogre Shrek, and his best friend the talking donkey. So Shek's movie donkey is just Shrek's book donkey.
Heck No
Heck No 5 days ago
When you’ve never noticed that donkey has pretty eyelashes
Sunphil Zablan
Sunphil Zablan 5 days ago
I knew about this theory long ago already, but this in-depth analysis made it more clear, thanks
Nyanli Unicat
Nyanli Unicat 6 days ago
okay, I totally get where Matpat is coming from about the "Donkey should tell people" thing, but anyone who has gone through a traumatic experience knows that it can be nearly impossible to talk about. If this theory is Correct, Donkey was lured to a remote island where he was experimented on, abused, turned into something viewed as less of a person, and almost sold into slavery. Even just one of those things will give a person serious PTSD, but he has to deal with all of it, while having no support system whatsoever. Donkey may have fears akin to what real world rape victims have about telling someone what happened to him. People might not believe him, or blame him, and those would just make his already difficult existence wayyy harder. TL;DR Donkey shouldn't be blamed for not telling someone about his traumatic experience, he's just trying to live his life.
Viktoria Pikovsky
@Saif Ali Ahmed Yap, it is. And the director confirmed it as being one of the source materials for the movie. More so, the book is as crazy and sassy as the movie itself is, with the basic plot of the movie being very similar to that of the book.The book is called Shrek! written by William Steig.
Saif Ali Ahmed
@Viktoria Pikovsky wait the movie is based on a book?
Viktoria Pikovsky
This is a great comment, thanks you! Sadly the theory is just 100% wrong, and donkey is just an original character from the kids book Shrek, which the movie is based on. And in that book, donkey was always just a regular donkey who just so happen to be able to talk as regular humans. He did claim he went through terrible life in the farm he previously lived in prior to him meeting book Shrek, but he actually didn't went through any abuse, and just talks about it to gain attention. It's actually not as deep as MatPat made it sounds like, and in the book the donkey only really suffers from the regular hard like any other barn yard animal goes through in a regular farm.
Anouk Schipper
Anouk Schipper 6 days ago
In Dutch there is a fairytale about this donkey i think that is were its from
Luka 420
Luka 420 6 days ago
Donkey is from Bible
Mimic Verse
Mimic Verse 7 days ago
Could be that Donky TRIED to explain to ... say Farquad, and was threatened to be locked up or killed for lies (I would say because Farquad had a hand in the pleasure Island but that is based on the fact that he has a failing kingdom and is an overall trash person.) This would make sense as to why he knows the way to the castle. BUT HEY THATS JUST A mini hypothesis.
Why laugh when you can cry?
Or he did tell the authorities when he escaped and that’s why Pinocchio is still in a that stage
Saif Ali Ahmed
Saif Ali Ahmed 7 days ago
Donkey is from the old macdonald nursery rhyme. When donkey pulls shrek in the cart in one of the movies he talks about old macdonald selling him to farquad. ... I think. Does this mean that most of your theories is just you putting together random easter eggs and making a lore story?
Shavxusvig Fsv
Shavxusvig Fsv 7 days ago
I was writing pinnochio to my friends and it autocorrected to pínon chipotle
Amulet Hp
Amulet Hp 7 days ago
Maybe the reason why Donkey won't tell anyone about Pleasure Island is because of Pinocchio. If he, Donkey, told someone about Pleasure Island the Pinocchio would have never gone there causing his whole time line to get all messed up. I just thought that might be the reason why he doesnt say anything.
Rosy Cupcake
Rosy Cupcake 8 days ago
Hey MatPat, I really just want to say your videos are awesome I watch your channel so much it’s so fun and super funny
Coosoon The Ham
Coosoon The Ham 8 days ago
Zain Saleem.Z
Zain Saleem.Z 8 days ago
But in the first movie, he says he was born outside...... He says it when shrek kicks him out of his swamp.
ChromaCat248 8 days ago
Jacques Jacobs
Jacques Jacobs 8 days ago
Also in shrek (I cant remember if it was sequil or prequil) donkey says he is going to hang out with penocio
Kevin Cruz
Kevin Cruz 9 days ago
I love this theory! But I do have one question to argue it. If he was ever human before, why did he turn into a stallion in part 2? Fiona was originally human turned ogre and the happily ever after potion made her human. Shrek was always ogre but turned human too, so the potion has no problems turning anyone human. So why not donkey if he had a human form before? Just curiously see how it could be explained. (Btw, I firmly believe if dragon was also affected by the potion, she would have become a unicorn...wonder how the kids reacted when they woke up to their mom being ANYTHING other than a dragon!?) Edit: Does makes me wonder though, why didn’t Pinocchio ever say anything to Geppetto about the massive child slavery island!? Damn...I’m looking at that movie in an EVEN DARKER light now...
LukeWarmLava 10 days ago
This is definitely the most possible film theory I've ever seen, I 100% believe this one.
Pineapple Panda
Pineapple Panda 10 days ago
I already figured this out. Like ages ago and it took me two seconds but it's still nice to watch film theroy
Sabine Castillo
Sabine Castillo 10 days ago
Me sees the boy in Pinocchio turning into a donkey:the frik is he allowed to drink and smoke?!
ToraToma 10 days ago
can i have the nane of the music pls!
Datboi Cruz
Datboi Cruz 10 days ago
Me seeing the thumbnail: he’s a furry
JerryBoi 10 days ago
Just say he’s scoobydoo’s cousin
FightTheFandoms 10 days ago
I love this theory but it’s not a good message to abuse and trauma survivors that Donkey is a bad person for not speaking up. Please remember that he is a victim as well and his response to the trauma, being that he chooses to hide it, is understandable.
pixilkid285 11 days ago
And donkey did not want to speak
Kathy Whitson
Kathy Whitson 11 days ago
Kathy Whitson
Kathy Whitson 11 days ago
Well there there is evidence where basically maybe donkey didn’t tell shrek ;) in his story at the same time he’s going to complain but he leaves the castle and they were in the copy of the story and it’s a deer dragon what about that. 🤔 Mmmm
Elena 11 days ago
I think you right i did look up some informasjon myself. William Steig is the wreit off shrek. He sayd "As a child, he dabbled in painting and was an avid reader of literature. Among other works, he was said to have been especially fascinated by Pinocchio." And he have allot off ather books with dunkys in. It will be nice if you culd make a epesode and dig tru Donkey life story. Sorry fore bad english. en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Steig
Just Being NIK
Just Being NIK 11 days ago
acually, donkey is in a fairy tale book. the original shrek
Chelsea Perez
Chelsea Perez 11 days ago
Actually I asked my mom this quetion the other day and she literally said he was from pinocchio.She said that. Because some of the boys that turn into a donkeys can still talk.She answers that easily.With no thought.She answered that in a snap.
Baff ForFun
Baff ForFun 11 days ago
1:07 Unicorn.
Danielle Harkness
Danielle Harkness 11 days ago
Some victims of trauma are not able to go to the authorities under the fear of that they will not be believed. And as you saw in the first movie the authorities were locking up fairytale creatures he was not able to do so. And after a while that trauma got further and further away and it was easier just to not say anything. Even years after it happened It could still feel new as if it was yesterday when you try to bring it up and you just can’t.
Cool Dude 876
Cool Dude 876 11 days ago
11:49 What's The Music
Katerina M.
Katerina M. 11 days ago
wtf was Pinocchio even about?
ArtisticD00fus 11 days ago
I think that one faitful person is that granny, she selled him
g i r l y
g i r l y 12 days ago
*is it me or are the captions in russian-*
DamagingDdl 12 days ago
This dude really said “ BRAIN BLAST” on some jimmy neutron type jank.
Eve K
Eve K 12 days ago
Dude....you just broke me....
Black Ops Pete
Black Ops Pete 12 days ago
Donkey could also be from The emperors new groove because he could of been turned into a donkey from yzma's potion.
Adam Brooks
Adam Brooks 12 days ago
Mostly I had that theory before if Donkey was a person since he can talk and someone on Facebook that mention about the part where he could been one of the kids from Pinocchio that had turn into donkeys.
Lily Pines studio
Lily Pines studio 12 days ago
Whoo oooww
Roslin Lawless
Roslin Lawless 12 days ago
good vid
Jan Hovde
Jan Hovde 12 days ago
that rabadash guy from the third narnia book was not a theory? You didnt even mention it. How did u overlook it? (it might not be a fairy tale, but what ever)
The Drangler
The Drangler 13 days ago
One problem: If this was the case, why didn’t the potion in Shrek 2 turn donkey back into a human?
Alex Jack
Alex Jack 13 days ago
Well children aren’t a fairy tale so try again
Julian Rittichier
Julian Rittichier 13 days ago
Swich the donkey with a llama and we got a shrek/wandering trader!
AmberLeaves 13 days ago
I have a line that Donkey says that shows why he might have been sent to Pleasure island. It’s from Shrek the Third (Even if it’s an awful movie and I personally don’t consider it canon). When Donkey and Puss switch bodies, Donkey says: “I haven’t been on a trip like that since college.”. This implies that Donkey was already college-age when he was sent to Pleasure island. Also, this is an adult joke that implies that Donkey went on a drug trip. That might be why he was sent to Pleasure island.
Lee Kasa
Lee Kasa 13 days ago
as a kid I always thought that Donkey was supposed to be the donkey from the Brementown musicians and thats why he is constantly singing lol
Zachary Reed
Zachary Reed 13 days ago
Did anyone notice in the story that the donkey in the book had human legs
Bees a little nerd Bird
The second you started on fairy tails my brain went, “Oh! Midsummer nights dream!” Which could totally make sense. Maybe. I dunno.
Blue Connolly
Blue Connolly 13 days ago
Donkey could have shut down tge pleasure island and that is why pinocio has remained a living toy
Skunktears 120
Skunktears 120 13 days ago
0:05 you think your slick willy
Allison Grace
Allison Grace 14 days ago
Shrek 4: The Discovering of Donkey
Alex Dunn
Alex Dunn 14 days ago
In Shrek 2, Donkey drank the happily ever after potion that turned him into his most desired self. Shrek turned into a human, becoming less feared and able to live life comfortably, which is all he ever wanted to do. Donkey, however, turned into a 'noble steed', a valiant stallion. Assuming this theory is true and that Donkey started off as a human, wouldn't he want to turn back into a human? The reason he is so content with being a donkey and doesn't tell anyone about what happened on Pleasure Island can only mean one thing... Donkey's human form was a furry. His fursona is a horse named Steed Thank you for coming to my TED Talk
David Wischstadt
David Wischstadt 14 days ago
Don’t worry nothing out there is canon
Tim Woods
Tim Woods 14 days ago
That would explain why he's still a donkey. According to at least one iteration of the lore, doing good or working well will eventually lead to the donkeys turning back into humans.
Is this a re-upload? I feel like I've seen this before
Royal Reality
Royal Reality 14 days ago
Amarthus G
Amarthus G 14 days ago
I scrolled down a bit. Someone mentioned the "I cant feel my toes... I dont have any toes!" line... but I would like to know what MatPat thinks of the part when Shrek and Donkey drink the magic potion and donkey instead of turning human turns into a steed.
idilyc 2
idilyc 2 14 days ago
But in shrek 3 it confirms donkey “didn’t have a trip like that since college”. I don’t know any young kids that went to COLLEGE and did drugs!
idilyc 2
idilyc 2 14 days ago
Also, it might have been shrek 2.
Tsemuka 14 days ago
Disney owns Dreamworks
Alphes Warm hugs!
Alphes Warm hugs! 15 days ago
I advise that u don't watch this before bed cus now I can't decide if my childhood is ruined or Im gonna have nightmares
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