[Warning: Major Spoilers Ahead!]
Watching Showtime’s new hit show Yellowjackets is enough to make even the most level-headed person paranoid.
Between the twists and turns, the eerily music, and the frankly weird-ass shit that goes down in Yellowjackets season 1, it’s no wonder that fans are reluctant to believe anything they see is real. Is the river really made of blood? Can Lottie really see into the future? Or have we all gone horribly, horribly mad?
Luckily, the Yellowjackets creators Ashley Lyle and Bart Nickerson are here to dispel all your crazy fan theories and set you straight. So let’s get into it.
[A Second Warning: Major Spoilers Ahead]
Fan Theory: Jackie Isn’t Actually Dead
In the season 1 finale, we see Jackie freeze to death.
After a huge fight with bestie Shauna and subsequently feeling ostracized by the rest of the girls, Jackie decides to leave the cabin and sleep outside. She sets a small fire and falls asleep.
Unfortunately for Jackie, that night it snowed for the first time. And Jackie dies of hypothermia.
But not all fans are willing to accept Jackie’s death. If you fall into this camp, I have some news for you: Jackie is 100% dead.
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In an interview with Deadline, Ashley Lyle confirmed,
“I will say that in case there is any doubt, Jackie is very much dead in that scene.”
In fact, Jackie’s death was something that was planned from the very beginning. Bart Nickerson told ET,
“This was an idea that existed from the very beginning. It was part of the pitch. The character of Jackie, in a lot of ways, sort of symbolizes something endowed by a kind of society. And so, to have that fall away over the course of the first season, her death represents a sort of slipping away of home in a very real way. That was something from the beginning that we started with.”
But that doesn’t necessarily mean we’re done with Jackie. According to the showrunners, her presence continues to “loom large,” particularly for Shauna, who lives with survivor’s guilt. They’re even open to bringing back actress Ella Purnell (who portrays Jackie) in season 2.
“You’re not closed off to the possibility of seeing Ella in the future.”
Fan Theory: Jackie’s a Time Traveler
The whole “Jackie’s a time traveler” fan theory came out of one very specific scene. In one episode, when adult Shauna and Jeff are visiting Jackie’s parents, we see Shauna go into Jackie’s childhood bedroom. She looks through what are, presumably, Jackie’s old journals.
But eagle-eyed fans were quick to notice that the journals contained pop culture references to songs and movies that came out after Jackie had supposedly died.
This led to fans wondering: Is Jackie really dead? Is Jackie a time traveler?
Ok, so let’s nip this one in the bud. Ashley told ET,
“Jackie is not a time traveler.”
“If we ever start, like, a Jackie time-traveling storyline, that is a cry for help from the creative team. Like, someone is holding us [hostage]. We’re in trouble.”
Ok, so if Jackie isn’t a time traveler, how did all those things end up in her notebook? According to the creators, those things were actually written by Shauna as she attempted to process her grief and guilt. Ashley told Vulture,
“They were not meant to be things that Jackie herself had written.”
“Shauna at some point does return from the wilderness, as we know, because we see Melanie Lynskey [who plays adult Shauna]. So we felt like we could potentially dramatize her initial experience of that survivor’s guilt, and we thought there was something really compelling, to us at least, about this ritual of having to go to Jackie’s parents’ house every year and be this surrogate daughter figure to them, while having this intense feeling of complicity in Jackie’s death. What would that be like for her? How would she manifest those feelings of guilt?”
Considering Shauna is obviously big into journaling, this explanation seems perfectly plausible.
Fan Theory: They Aren’t Actually Cannibals
All season long, we were told that, eventually, the girls start eating each other as a means of survival. But by the end of season 1, we still hadn’t seen any sign of cannibalism.
Some have postulated that the whole cannibalism thing is just a rumor. After all, none of the survivors officially confirmed it, did they?
But according to the creators, the girls definitely become cannibals. You’ll just have to wait until season 2 to see it happen. Bart told ET,
“A big part of that is that we a gave away the cannibalism in the pilot. And part of that is we wanted to build to not just that they do in fact engage in cannibalism, but why they do. So, really being able to build that out and sort of earn it in the way that we’d like and have planned to do, we just want to give that the time that it needs to be a kind of satisfying, engaging, and believable.”
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“The intention was always that season 1 was always meant to be spring, summer, fall with a sort of ‘winter is coming’ feel to it. And then season 2, winter hits and it’s sort of the apex of everything that we’ve seen building toward. I would love to reassure all our viewers that we’re not going to drag out cannibalism for five seasons. It is very much coming, but we want to make sure we get there the right way. ”
So there you have it, folks. The girls are indeed going to become cannibals. They just haven’t gotten that desperate… yet.
Fan Theory: Adam is Secretly Part of Lottie’s Cult
Shauna was initially convinced that her boyfriend Adam was the one who tried to blackmail her and her friends. But Jeff eventually comes cleaned and confesses he was actually the blackmailer the whole time.
But some fans still aren’t convinced that Adam is totally innocent. Was Adam secretly part of Lottie’s cult?
“No, he is not involved in that organization.”
Yup, Adam was just a super nice guy who was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
That said, Bart will be the first to admit that they love to encourage the paranoia.
“The paranoia and those kinds of theories were the intent of the way we had his story unfold. The hope was to make the audience somewhat complicit in his murder, because that paranoia is one of the outgrowths of Shauna’s trauma, and the way she sees the world right now was the subjective experience we were after.”
Fan Theory: Adam is Actually Adult Javi
We’ve yet to see an adult version of Javi and his fate in the woods is still unknown. Many fans thought that Adam could very possibly be adult Javi.
Turns out, the showrunners actually considered it! Ashley told Harper’s Bazaar,
“It’s funny because we certainly discussed how the possibility of Adam-as-Javi would occur to our characters, the audience, and the world at large — especially in terms of that immersive paranoid experience.”
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But they eventually nixed the idea.
“In our minds, as storytellers, we ultimately thought, ‘that is more tragic and a more perfect encapsulation of the consequences of trauma than for this relationship to explode in this devastating and tragic way?’ Like, how fucking sad would it be if Adam really was just a guy who fell in love with Shauna, but that because of what had happened to her, it was an impossibility for her to accept that?”
“We were hopeful that it would work on both of those levels—that we would see that vision of paranoia, and then of heartbreak when the truth was revealed.”
Fan Theory: Shauna’s Baby Gets Eaten
Damn, this is a pretty dark one. But unless Shauna and Jeff have a secret 25-year-old child walking around — or they put the baby up for adoption — it’s not looking good for the little bundle of joy.
According to the creators, the show will definitely get darker in season 2, but it might not get quite that dark. Ashley explained,
“I think though that for as much as we love to revel in the dark and the macabre, that there are certain lines that you can cross that will make it a show potentially not fun to watch anymore. And we always want to be careful with that, giving the viewer a really fun experience, even if it is dark and twisted. But we never want to get into a territory that is so fully grim or bleak that it’s no longer entertaining to watch.”
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Bart reiterated the sentiment and said,
“I guess the darker stuff or the gorier stuff are really just tools that we use in the service of that. You know, I think that as much as anything will dictate how far we go. It is something that’s being decided like on the way based on what the moment needs.”
So the baby getting eaten isn’t *totally* out of the realm of possibility, but it does sound rather unlikely. You know, unless the story really necessitates it.
You can currently watch Yellowjackets season 1 on Showtime. The creators are planning to drop Yellowjackets season 2 by the end of 2022.