Breaking Down Our Favorite YELLOWJACKETS Fan Theories

Wendigos, changelings, and Walter. These Citizen Detective conspiracies would make Misty proud!

By Mary Kay Mcbrayer · @mkmcbrayer · May 16, 2023, 5:00 PM EDT

Do you find yourself in the middle of a Wednesday doing dishes and singing, "No return, no return, no reaaason," or asking your spouse, "What would you do if I woke up in the middle of the night, kissed you, and said, 'This isn't where we're supposed to be?'" Or casually hollering down to your friend at a neighborhood block party, "So, the other people took Crystal's body, right? That's why Misty can't find her?" without taking into account your friends and loved ones may not be mulling over Yellowjackets fan theories at all waking hours.

If any of those is true, you're Yellowjackets obsessed and clearly in good company. I can't stop thinking about how the present-day and 1990s timelines fold together. The freakiest thing might be that if I ever watch more than one episode in succession, I dream about the Yellowjackets girls all night.

I climbed deep into the crevasse of research to save you from that same fate, and I'm sharing my favorite fan theories here. When I say "favorite," I don't mean the theories that bring me the most peace—that would be the insufferable deus ex machina of "It was allll a dreaammm!" No, when I say "favorite" in this instance, it's in the way detectives say they "like" a suspect. I only mean "favorite" as in the fan theories that are the most consistent with the impeccable writing of the show. Let's start with a couple of theories I had on my list that proved themselves true this past Friday.

What's the deal with Lottie's "therapist"?

Reddit User LezGuerilleres says, "Opinions on psychiatry and psychotherapy aside, deliberately not showing Lottie's (Simone Kessell) shrink's face definitely seems like the show is trying to tell us to doubt her as a figure entirely."


Nailed it. And the show even tricked us a little—I mean, not ever violating the viewer's trust, which is one of the things I value about the show. It never undermines itself or walks back what it said was true—added to it, maybe. Like in the instance of Season 2, Episode 7, "Burial," when we do see Lottie's psychiatrist. And then, when she says something wild and Lottie challenges her, we see a brief flash of white noise from Lottie's perspective, and then the Antler Queen resting as if on a throne, her long black locks draped over her shoulders.

And what happened to Javi?

However, another user's theory might have just washed out with that realization. Macfixplus said, "My dad blew my mind last night. Showed him the first three episodes and he loved it. Turns to me and goes 'I know who the antler person is. The little boy. Only male deer have antlers.'"

yellowjackets antler queen

The glimpse we saw of the Antler Person definitely looked like (and sounded like) Lottie. But Yellowjackets is really good at yes-anding. It's possible that they all see the Antler Person differently. The only times (I think) we've seen the Antler Person appearing as Lottie is when we're seeing them through Lottie. Or in the case of "Doomscoming," when we look at Lottie herself (Courtney Eaton).

It's tricky, right? It's hard not to jump to the why when we're theorizing what. But that's not how this show works. It only gives us pieces at a time.

So let's talk about Javi (Luciano Leroux). I do think he could be the Antler Person—or he could also be the Antler Person, part of the Wilderness, or whatever we've collectively decided to call "It."


One fan, Griddlebait, likened Javi to a changeling, and I can definitely see it. "Seeing how he … maybe it's something like that. Or he's just severely traumatized. Or both!" Javi, one way or another, is an integral piece of "the wilderness." Remember when he carved that little effigy of a wolf with Shauna (Sophie Nelisse) 's knife just before a wolf ate Van (Liv Hewson) 's face off?

And further support of his connectedness is his sheer survival. Jackie (Ella Purnell) froze to death in less-intense weather than Javi withstood, and she did it in a single night. He was out there for weeks, if not months. How did he do that? I'm of the mind that he's the first of them to encounter other people in "Oblivion," as adult Van (Lauren Ambrose) called it in episode 7, "Burial." The only thing he says after his return (or his capture) is that he didn't come back because "she told me not to come back." And when Coach Ben (Steven Krueger) asks who "she" is," Javi says only "His friend." At first, I thought that friend might be the Antler Queen. And it might.

But then I thought, maybe his friend is sleeping Taissa (Jasmin Savoy Brown). Fan CineCraftKC suggests that Javi was in the cabin the whole time, or hiding underneath it. That presence could explain who took a number two in the number one bucket, who stole the bear meat, and the dripping noise that Mari hears. That seems very cold to me. If he was under there the whole time, how did Van and Tai find him so far away?

Leowisisisushd offers this take on Javi's survival: "I mean, the moss growing on the tree in the dead of winter is an indication of a heat source. The cement tunnels Lottie sees could very well be the abandoned mine." And when someone said that tunnels would also be too cold, fan Right_Ad_3500 replied: "You know what's usually in mining tunnels? Stuff that burns to make heat."

Whatever the answer turns out to be, there's a consensus that something's not right with Javi. Like miggieBRO says, "Even though he's back, I don't feel like it'll be for long. A part of me is actually very worried he may do away with himself, and that will be why Travis/Nat made the pact not to do that to themselves." That's heavy. But being heavy definitely doesn't rule anything out in the world of Yellowjackets.

The Walter Theory


Let's change gears for a minute, though, and look at the present-day timeline. What is the Yellowjackets Hive saying about Walter (Elijah Wood)? Here are a few leads that I thought seemed hot:

Wonkatin: He is obvs a member of the cult, also a murderer, also a Yellowjackets fan. And he knew Adam (Peter Gadiot) bc Adam was also in the cult. They were watching Nat (Juliette Lewis). They were watching Shauna (Melanie Lynsky), too.

MahtiGC: Someone on here said his head injury could have resulted in him being a killer, too.

Brittanydiesattheend: Something that stuck out to me is him saying, "I'm looking for the Sherlock to my Moriarty." Moriarty is a villain, not Sherlock's ally. My gut tells me he wants someone to chase him and thinks Misty (Christina Ricci) has the chops.

The two separate timelines work to create a lot of tension in the show. I appreciate the suspense, I really do. I know how hard it is to withhold answers to burning questions without losing audience interest. There's so much to unpack on a molecular level that zooming out to view the whole narrative feels overwhelming. We have big questions, like How did they get rescued? What is "It?" How did they bring "It" back? And what does "It" want?

Yellowjackets feast

It's much easier to board the runaway conspiratorial train when trying to answer those fundamental questions, but it's harder to root the answers into textual evidence. We can't support them with evidence because we can't be sure of what we're observing—not that it didn't happen. Again, I trust the writers not to let us down with a deus ex machina—but we're constantly questioning if what we saw was what we saw.

Static and Lost Allusions

Along with the dual timeline, we have Ropony's idea: "I'm lowkey obsessed with the concept that the TV-distortion signals we're seeing an alternate timeline, and that when Tai references 'the power' that's what she means. The power of the woods to split them all off together."

I like it. We see Coach Ben live in his delusion for a long time after the cannibal feast. And I'm not convinced that all the survivors don't experience some kind of duality between here and Oblivion. I could see a world in which they get rescued, but they never really get out. What else could Sleeping Taissa (Tawny Brown) mean by, "This isn't where we're supposed to be?"


Sleepwalking Tai

And who is Sleeping Taissa? That's one of the freakiest fucking questions to me. Lottie says that the other Tai is a part of her, period. She might not want to hurt her family, even though she does. Partly because of the Man with No Eyes (Brahm Taylor). He's a big link, right? He's the only element of the supernatural we see before the crash, in Oblivion, AND after the rescue. He's present for all three periods. Tai sees him when she's sleepwalking and when she's awake. And her dying grandmother saw him, too.

The Wendigo Theory

I know the fans are largely over the Wendigo theory, but bear with me because it makes sense in a less literal way. It's not just cannibalism = Wendigo monster in the flesh. The Wendigo, in its oldest mythological iteration, is not just a cryptid that you let control your body by consuming human flesh. It's far more intense than that. The Wendigo creates the survival situation. It draws victims into the wilderness, and it keeps them from leaving. It creates the opportunity to consume human flesh. And what, if not It, knocked that avalanche of snow out of the trees from hundreds of feet above Jackie's cremation to extinguish the fire, to tempt them all into consuming her body?


To draw on the TV-distortion mentioned above… the alternate timelines could be a split experience because that's another thing a wendigo does: it doesn't necessarily create multiple personalities so much as split the spirit. So multiple timelines could totally be its byproduct, especially when it's represented as a television show—and I love it when form imitates content. It's my very favorite literary tactic!

Here's my other list of facts that support a less-literal wendigo experience: their plane crashed in the mountains. When Lottie gets possessed after the séance, she speaks French. That leads me to think they crashed in French Canada. The Wendigo's tribal, conceptual origins predate European colonization, but their oral history can be traced to the area of Canada colonized by the French. Plus, the episode before last was titled "Qui" which means "Who" in French. Couldn't you see the spirit of the Cabin Daddy, or if not him, some earlier settler of that area, arriving at a Wendigo scenario and sticking around to warn as many people as possible?

And The Man With No Eyes


A few theories suggest that the Man with No Eyes is the Cabin Daddy, and maybe he is, but also maybe not. I don't know why the Man with No Eyes has no eyes, and even though he is, to me, the scariest element of the series, I think he may not be evil. I see him as a Lawful Neutral character so far (on the Dungeons & Dragons alignment chart, that is). He guides Taissa. To what, and to what end, we don't know. But I have a theory.

I actually think he might be or have been, a Jesuit missionary. Look at him for a second if you can bear to. You can see how I might get there based on appearance, right? And why would he know where the markings were unless he'd suffered a similar fate in the Wilderness? Isn't it just as likely that he's trying to help Taissa as hurt her?

I don't know. I have thoughts, but I don't know. What do you think?

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