Favorited your post, number 4 seems to be the best and easiest option, but I'll try to work all your suggestions in. I know you're a regular member, I've discussed things with you before, so yeah, all of your suggestions have been taken into consideration. I'll try to include them into my next design.
As far as I know the Theme has nothing to do with the animated avatar. All the theme does is request the Avatar helper. Everything else is handled on the backend. It's more a matter of you having your server configured correctly.