Alright Pokémon HQ! Let’s take our most popular character, recreate him in loving detail, cast the Internet’s favorite voice of sarcasm, adhere to established canon and drop in a lot of Easter eggs to fans of this series. Movie, I choose you!! Meanwhile, over at Sonic HQ! Yeah, guys, let’s do what they did, but change everything about the character, remove any ties to established lore, and set the whole thing to classic gangster rap. Come on money… Hello internet! Welcome to Film Theory! The show that’s kinda cringy when it tries to be funny, but at the end of the day is still endearing. Just like “Detective Pikachu”! Hey, so based on the Internet’s collective reaction, it seems like we finally got ourselves the first great video game movie of all time. “Don’t overcook it. It’s fun. It’s good. It’s enjoyable.” “It’s about as good as a live-action Pokémon film could be.” “I’d probably say it’s the first watchable video game movie.” OK, dialing back the praise here, the first watchable video game movie of all time. Now, in all honesty, I saw it last night and I have to agree. It was just a lot of fun. Nothing ground breaking, but it was just a really enjoyable movie to watch. And, as an experience, it confirmed a lot of things for me… Ryan Reynolds? Still funny. Pikachu? Still adorable. Mr. Mime? Still probably creeping on kids at night. But more so than any of that, “Detective Pikachu” seems to have provided the final pieces of evidence needed to confirm one of the longest-running and coolest Pokémon theories that’s been kicking around since the first generation of games way back in the 90s. In the process of solving the mystery of what happened to Tim Goodman’s father, Detective Pikachu may have also just solved a much more important mystery… a case that’s been open for over 20 years. A case whose solution has huge implications about the true nature of Pokémon. So pull out your magnifying glasses, and put on that deerstalker cap, because we’ve got ourselves a case to solve. Our case begins with the video games. Way back in 1998, the year when everyone thought that they were king of the world, and the height of mobile gaming was an 8-bit egg in your pocket named Tamagotchi. Little did we know then that we were in the middle of a revolution. The Pokémon revolution. Generation 1: 150 cute little pocket monsters that would give rise to the highest-earning media franchise of all time. Eat your heart, out Hello Kitty! 2 years earlier in 1996, the world had been met with Pokémon’s “Red”, “Green” and “Blue”, but then came “Pokémon Yellow” in 1998, which contained one major change, Pikachu was now your starter Pokémon, and just followed you around the overworld. That was pretty much it. Other minor changes were to make it feel closer to the hugely popular anime series at the time. The gym leader Giovanni using a Persian, or characters like Jessie and James replacing generic Team Rocket grunt appearances. But other than that, it was just the original games all over again. Or was it? You see, there was one other very subtle change made in “Pokémon Yellow”. In the course of your journey across the Kanto region, you visit a place called the Pokémon mansion on Cinnabar Island, a massive building filled with rubble. Scattered throughout it are journal entries, referencing the discovery of Mew in the jungles of Guyana, and the subsequent creation of the ultra-powerful, ultra-violent Mewtwo. The wreckage around the mansion is the game’s way of telling us that he was created here, and later escaped. Something that later games, in particular the recent “Let’s Go Pikachu!” and “Eevee” series makes a lot more explicit. You eventually find Mewtwo in the Cerulean cave, where he can finally be caught. But here’s the important change. In “Pokémon Yellow”, a new wild Pokémon can be found roaming the halls of the mansion: Ditto, the transform Pokémon. A little blob of purple goo, unique for its ability to shape-shift using DNA, as his Pokédex entry says: “Capable of copying an enemy’s genetic code, to instantly transform itself into a duplicate of the enemy.” Seems like it’s just a minor shift in spawn locations, right? Maybe. It seemed to many to be more than just a coincidence that a genetically based Pokémon would appear in an area where Mewtwo was being created using genetic experimentation. Perhaps there was a way that Ditto was connected to both Mew and Mewtwo. Maybe, just maybe, Dittos were the failed clones of Mew. The experiments that didn’t make the cut, until science was finally able to create the perfect Mew clone in Mewtwo. Seems like it’s a bit of a stretch, right? Theorists like me grasping at straws. All they did was change one spawn location. But the closer you looked into this thing, the more details started to line up. The connection between the two only got stronger when players noticed that, (again, in “Yellow”) the only other spawn location for Ditto was the Cerulean Cave, where Mewtwo winds up hiding out after his escape from the mansion. So wherever Mewtwo was, Dittos seemed to follow. It was enough to get theorists like me to start looking closer, and boy howdy, did we ever find a treasure trove of evidence. The similarities between Mew and Ditto are undeniable in the games. They have the exact same weight of 8.8 pounds, they’re the only two Pokémon that are able to learn the transform move purely by levelling up, even their coloration seems to match. I mean, sure, Ditto is usually purple, and Mew is usually pink, but sometimes, in some iterations of the games, Mew is purple. And sometimes, in some iterations of the games, Ditto is pink. And in “Detective Pikachu” the Ditto was definitely much more in the pink spectrum. But there is no denying that all the time both Ditto and Mew have shiny forms, that are both the same shade of light blue. And this is all just the superficial stuff. If you dig further into the game’s data, even the numbers tell the story of how they’re connected. Each Pokemon has base stats that govern their basic attributes like HP, attack, defense, speed, etc. Mu is a regular jack-of-all-trades when it comes to his base stats. He has equal base stats across the board. If you look at Ditto’s base stats, you’ll find the exact same thing; identical base stat distribution across the board. Now all of Ditto’s are 52% lower than Mew’s, but it’s exactly 52% for all six of the main stats. The distribution of those statistics is identical. It’s almost as if Ditto were a weaker copy of the original Mew, and that there’s the point. Ditto isn’t Mew, it’s an imperfect copy. It’s the result of failed cloning experiments, cloning experiments that eventually give rise to Mewtwo, and leave the little pile of gooey DNA Ditto over there in the corner, wandering around, looking for stuff to do. Kind of a weird Pokemon. All of it adds up to a very compelling amount of circumstantial evidence. But for the two decades since Yellow’s release, that’s all it’s been. Circumstantial. A bunch of similarities never outright confirmed by any singular piece of Pokemon media. And then came Detective Pikachu. Let’s lay out what we learned from the movie. And yes, we’re gonna have to have some minor spoilers here. Not the big twist of what happened to Tim’s father or anything like that, But for the smaller mysteries that are uncovered along the way. I’ll give you three seconds, so you can use that time to click away, and/or click the subscribe button to get notified of every time we have a cool theory, like this one! Help this channel get to 10 million subscribers, please. It would be great to get that glorified paperweight. Alright, we all good? Everyone ashore who’s gone ashore? Fantastic. Within the movie, it’s mentioned that Mewtwo is a genetically altered clone of the ancient Pokémon Mew, confirming everything that we just talked about. But the movie goes one step further. They explicitly say that Mewtwo disappeared from the Kanto region 20 years ago. Now the Kanto region is where the first games took place, and where the anime began. Interesting coincidence, but nothing earth-shattering. It’s that “20 years” detail that really matters. You see “Detective Pikachu” is coming out just over 20 years after the release of the Generation 1 games, and exactly 20 years after the release of “Pokémon: Mewtwo Strikes Back”, the first ever Pokémon movie, which was all about, you guessed it, Mewtwo’s escape. It’s all connected. And that’s not even speculation, it is something outright confirmed by the screenwriters, in an interview they did with Polygon. “The implication, which the screenwriters confirm to Polygon, is that this is the same Mewtwo from the canon universe.” I mean, I gotta quibble with them saying “the canon universe”, because it’s like, “Which canon universe are you talking about?”. But hey, I will take it. So we have an established and confirmed canonical connection between “Detective Pikachu” and the wider “Pokémon” franchise, cool! But the writers went on in another interview, this time with ScreenRant, to confirm that they were aware of the Ditto/Mew theories when working on the project. “So we went into the history of Ditto, we looked at all of those things,” “and we kind of wanted to leave it up to the audience of people that are more familiar [with the story].” “We didn’t necessarily feel that we wanted to go too much into that.” “But all of those things are a factor,” “and I think the deep origin of Ditto is a provocative question that we wanted to hint at.” “Because of the interaction with Mewtwo’s genetic material, “it did seem like there was a sensible connection between Mewtwo and the Ditto.” So, we have writers who’ve been approved to work within the official canon, who were also aware of the possible connection between Ditto and Mew, So now the question is: how does that actually translate to what we see on screen? Well in the movie, we see Ditto playing a pivotal role. By the end of the film, it’s revealed that Howard Clifford, the founder of Ryme City, is our true villain. A man who’s out to hijack Mewtwo’s mind, so he can gain the psychic Pokémon’s powers for himself. In order to do this, he uses his partner Pokémon, Ditto. But this isn’t any ordinary Ditto. You see Howard’s Ditto has the ability to transform at will, and in the film’s climax, we see him do exactly that. He transforms into a Machamp to beat up Tim, then transforming into a Cubone to give him a few knuckle taps to knock him off a building, and later transforming into a raging Charizard. Heck, his Ditto can even transform into humans, which is a whole other discussion for another day. All of these behaviors though, directly conflict with what we know about a normal Ditto’s abilities. We’re told repeatedly throughout the animes and video games that Ditto can only copy things it sees. In gameplay terms, this means that Ditto can’t just transform into any random Pokemon, it always has to copy whatever enemy it’s facing. But this isn’t just a gameplay mechanic. It is something that’s a part of this wider franchise’s canon, as established via various Pokédex entries; Ruby and Sapphire, Emerald, Diamond and Pearl, Black and White. “Ditto rearranges it’s cell structure to transform itself into other shapes.” “However, if it tries to transform itself into something by relying on it’s memory, this Pokémon manages to get details wrong.” “A Ditto rearranges it’s cell structure to transform itself.” “However, if it tries to change based on it’s memory it will get details wrong.” “It has the ability to reconstitute it’s entire cellular structure to transform into whatever it sees.” This is further supported by what we see in the anime. The first Ditto we meet in the anime are the ones belonging to the copycat Duplica, and in her episodes, we learned that Ditto are only capable of transforming into Pokémon that are physically present, and that this is a limitation of the species as a whole. Likewise all the other episodes that have Ditto, only show Ditto transforming into Pokémon that are present for it to copy. Across all of our research, there were zero canonical cases of Ditto randomly shape-shifting at will, without having a Pokémon nearby to copy. So for Howard’s Ditto in “Detective Pikachu” to cycle between forms so rapidly and so precisely, forms that it’s not seeing, and is still able to replicate flawlessly, it must be some kind of Super-Ditto. Something that we haven’t seen in this series before. Something that was artificially birthed out of a laboratory off of Mewtwo’s genetics. Remember that, all this time, the working theory that we’ve been trying to prove, is the connection between Mewtwo and Ditto. That, like Mewtwo, Ditto was also born out of the same genetic testing. Now, in “Detective Pikachu”, twenty years later, we see Ditto and Mewtwo connected yet again. Howard Clifford is doing genetic experiments on Mewtwo on the outskirts of Ryme City, and in the process, produces a Ditto with powers that surpass the other members of its species. Tim says, “What kind of Ditto was that?” “That was one of my father’s genetic experiments.” If you were looking for the final piece of confirmation for the link between Mew, Mewtwo and Ditto, this is it. And probably as explicit as we’re ever gonna get. Ditto is made out of the genetic stuff that Mew and Mewtwo are also made out of. It is more possible now than ever, that Ditto is just a bunch of failed protoplasm coming out of Mew cloning experiments. Back in 1998, it was all about creating the first forms of Mewtwo, and the random regular Dittos that spawned out of that process. Now twenty years later, in 2019 with “Detective Pikachu”, it’s elevating and exploiting Mewtwo’s powers for the next level of Howard Clifford’s evolution, and in the process, he’s creating a stronger, more advanced form of Ditto. In the end, it took a Film Theory to confirm one of the most famous Game Theories of all time. But hey, that’s just a theory! A multimedia cross-platform theory! Aaaaand… if you want to see more on “Detective Pikachu”, check out my Film Theory on why Detective Pikachu himself, might actually be Ash’s Pikachu! The movie doesn’t outright de-confirm it, and heck, he really likes riding on Tim’s shoulders the whole time! Or, hop on over to my other channel Game Theory for some more Pokémon excitement, I have over twenty episodes theorizing everything from, “How geography affects evolution in the “Pokémon” series”, to “Dead Pokémon, and what happened to them.” Heck, this last weekend, I actually did one exposing the true story behind one of the mysterious ghost girls that haunts the “Pokémon” games! In fact, I’m gonna link to the whole Pokémon playlist right here, so you can just binge-watch Pokémon theories to your heart’s content. So now if you’ll excuse me, I gotta go catch ’em all! Catch all the other big release movies that hit in, like, a one month span, there’s a lot to watch that I have to get through. So, need to run back to the theater now that this episode is done. Hopefully produces some good theories!