Ah-ha! I’ll go ahead and pat myself on the back for calling another major twist well ahead of time...
(Though, Babylonian’s let me know that this was the easier-to-guess surprise he eluded to in his write-up of the movies, so I probably shouldn’t award myself too much XP).
Since I’m on a little bit of roll here, I’m going to let the wanton speculations run rampant and propose that all this nonsense has really been about Kyubey searching for the perfect candidate to groom into what I imagine will be the ultimate witch - - an antichrist-like “chosen one” to usher in the apocalypse of the Walpurgisnacht. All of the rigmarole about Magical Girls and their rules has just been a way for the cute lil’ demon to make sure nothing gets too out of hand, too early; a vetting process to put any potentials through trials to see who’s got the right powers to be the big baddy.
(I think it’s hilarious how Kyubey’s name is actually some Kira-like Engrish for “incubator.” Saying that he’s “incubating these girls” must surely sound much more menacing in Japanese).
I suppose I was only partially right about Homura, though. Yeah, she isn’t actually older than she looks - - but she still is from another time. So, now that we know she’s from the future, I’ll presume it’s most likely the apocalyptic one that Madoka saw in her dream at the very beginning of the show. She’s used her time-warping powers to come back and avert that horrible future by preventing Madoka from becoming a witch, but she’s bound by some rules that bar her from saying so.
Of course, while Homura apparently can’t talk about her mission, she can get startlingly frank about her other activities. Sayaka’s spot-on accusation about her not actually caring about her well-being, and Homura’s subsequent admission that the effect on Madoka is all that matters too her, was a brutally-good conversation. Eeesh - - cold as ice, that girl.
I’m only scratching my head, right now, about why her powers give out during the latter confrontation with Kyubey. Maybe another complicated rule from her time-travel magic?
And I’m starting to see what all the hype around this show has been about...