The season finale of Showtime’s thrilling survival drama Yellowjackets has left plenty of puzzles about what exactly went down in the woods 25 years ago – and fans and cast members are responding with a number of compelling theories of their own. Warning: this article contains spoilers.
If there’s one show that we’re going to be thinking about for a long time to come, it’s definitely Yellowjackets. Since the season one finale of Showtime’s mind-gripping new survival drama, our group chats and news feeds have been filled with nothing but chatter about what the hell happened in the wilderness 25 years ago.
For the uninitiated, Yellowjackets follows a high-school soccer team in 1996 whose plane crashes in the Canadian wilderness leaving them stranded. Across two parallel timelines, we find out what the teenagers had to do to survive there for 19 months, as well as what became of them 25 years later as adults struggling to keep the secrets from their time hidden. Over the course of the first season, we witnessed everything from wolf attacks and cult-like rituals to seemingly supernatural forces at play – but if there’s one thing about this show, it’s that there always seems to be more questions than answers.
With filming on the second season due to begin in late summer, there’s going to be a little while to wait until many of the central mysteries are unravelled. Fortunately, we don’t have to obsess over the truth of what happened in the wilderness alone, thanks to the passionate fandom (Yellowjackets even has its own dedicated subreddit, r/yellowjackets) that is cooking up some seriously impressive theories to explain the show’s disturbing events.
With that in mind, we’ve scoured the internet in search of the best fan theories that give answers to some of our most burning questions. Come with as we go sleuthing…
Adam is actually Javi
One of the most prominent theories around right now is that adult Shauna’s (Melanie Lynskey) handsome love interest Adam (Peter Gadiot) – who, by the way, she fatally stabs after discovering that he’s lied about his background – is actually grown-up Javi (Luciano Leroux), Coach Martinez’s youngest son and Travis’ brother.
If you remember, Javi is a few years younger than Shauna at the time of the crash in 1996. The last time we see him, he’s alone and high on shrooms in the forest. He could have perished, of course, by wild animals, the weather or at the hands of savage teenagers; but it’s equally possible that he survived, too.
Although Javi isn’t mentioned in the 2021 timeline, there are similarities to be observed between Adam and Javi. There’s Javi’s interest in art, for one thing, and also Adam’s tattoo of a mountain range resembling the cryptic geometric shapes that appear in the forest and on the postcards received by Misty (Christina Ricci) and Natalie (Juliette Lewis) in 2021.
And his death might have been recorded…
Sharp-eyed Reddit user BigGur2221 noticed that when Shauna searches the bedside table in Adam’s apartment, we see a fleeting glimpse of a large video camera on top of the table. Whatever the reasons are for Adam making furtive recordings (the resemblance of his tattoo to the symbol used by the shadow organisation in 2021 is certainly unnerving, as is his personal collection of books about the Yellowjackets crash) it’s possible that it could have recorded their showdown and potentially implicate every character who was present in making plans to dispose of his body.
Misty could have been working with Adam
While all the characters in Yellowjackets have dark secrets, arguably no character is as troubling as Misty. Not only does the teenage Misty (Samantha Hanratty) destroy the plane’s black box to delay the team’s rescue, but the present-day storyline sees adult Misty involved in everything from elder abuse in her nursing job, to blackmail, surveillance and kidnapping.
Reddit user YelhsaB has spotted potentially more suspect activity linked to Misty, however, in the form of a car number plate. It’s definitely a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it moment, but the number plate on Adam’s truck appears to be exactly the same as the one on Misty’s small car. It could be an important plot point in the second season, because there are hardly such things as coincidences in the world of Yellowjackets.
Misty might actually be a serial killer
If you’re of the opinion that Misty is the most unhinged character in Yellowjackets – and maybe TV full stop – then this one might not be such a stretch for your imagination.
In an interview on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, Ricci was asked about some of the most popular Yellowjackets fan theories ahead of the show’s upcoming second season. When Fallon proposes that Misty is a present-day serial killer, Ricci agrees that her character certainly exhibits the tendencies and temperament of one.
“She casually murders somebody, and she has a bunker ready for kidnap victims,” she said. “I mean, that bunker was ready to go, pretty much.”
“I would say that she has probably done it before, but I don’t know,” she added.
As a character that seems worryingly au fait with murder (see lacing Jessica’s cigarettes with fentanyl and her composure at the sight of Adam’s body for more details) we’d say this theory definitely ticks the believability box.
Shauna’s baby will be eaten
A gruesome theory, it’s true. One of the biggest unanswered questions from the show is what happens to teenage Shauna’s baby, which she conceives with Jackie’s high school boyfriend, and her future husband, Jeff. We know that Shauna considers attempting an abortion in the forest, but changes her mind. But thus far, there’s no mention of whether she actually gave birth or lost the baby, and adult Shauna doesn’t seem to think about the fate of the infant, either. So what became of it?
According to Reddit user u/cool-name-pending, Shauna’s baby is going to get eaten. “She’s been dreaming that she’s giving birth to food, and then eating it? This is foreshadowing 101. Whether they will be forced to kill and eat the baby (due to starvation), or the baby dies naturally and they eat it, that baby is getting consumed.” Definitely food for thought…
Ben’s chances of survival aren’t looking good
As the sole surviving adult in the wilderness, level-headed assistant coach Ben Scott (Steven Krueger) doesn’t have an enviable position, not least because he’s lost a leg in a plane crash and finds himself continually tormented by Misty, who has an unrequited crush on him.
“I’m curious on what happens to Ben,” Hanratty said in a virtual panel for Atlanta’s Scad TVFest. “And I’m also really curious on that whole relationship between Misty and Ben, I really have no idea which way she’s gonna go.
“I like the theory that he’s still alive and that adult Misty has him locked up somewhere,” she joked. “I may have come up with that theory myself.”
Joking aside, the odds of the only authority figure surviving in this micro-society of ruthless teenagers isn’t looking good. But for as long as Ben remains on the series, we wouldn’t put it past Misty to devise a disturbing fate.
Van dies… by drowning
By all accounts, redheaded soccer player Van (Liv Hewson) should be dead by now. Having survived a plane crash, a wolf attack and being almost burned alive (twice), she’s overcome the worst horrors imaginable and still managed to kiss her girlfriend Taissa at the team’s ‘Doomcoming’ dance in the woods.
Years later, however, adult Taissa (Tawny Cypress) is married to Simone (Rukiya Bernard), and there’s been no mention of what became of Van.
On the Dyking Out podcast, Jasmin Savoy Brown, who plays teen Taissa, revealed a heartbreaking theory about the odds of Van’s survival.
“Van’s gonna die, but not until like right before, I mean right before the girls get rescued,” she said. “And it’ll be like drowning because that’s the opposite of the fire survival. Survive all these fires and then, like I don’t know, drowns. How sad would that be?”.
Sad indeed – but will Van live to fight another day?
Lottie is the Antler Queen
“I’m going with Lottie (Courtney Eaton),” she writes. “We’ve gotten a sense of her maybe-clairvoyance throughout the season, and yes, I believe she was genuinely possessed by the spirit of the cabin’s original owner, the dead French Canadian guy. She was the first to notice the flashing light from the cabin, she notices the carvings in the trees, and she has that trippy, Romeo + Juliet-esque candlelit walk during her baptism. I think Lottie’s connection with the spooky elevates her upward — and maybe to her doom. No adult Lottie yet, remember.”
More evidence that Lottie might be the Antler Queen: the teenager has a vision of a deer shedding antlers. In another scene, she can be seen framed by the antlers of a stuffed stag head in the cabin, which could be read as a foreshadowing of her coronation. Later, at the Doomcoming party, Lottie also makes an antler-style crown for herself out of sticks.
Intriguingly, Reddit user ludmiloulou has an alternative theory about the spooky gathering linked the behaviour of real yellowjacket wasps, who can resort to cannibalism in extreme conditions to preserve the colony.
“Yellowjackets wasps are cannibals only during extreme winters, and I think that it’s one of the inspiration of the creators of this TV-show,” they write. “Perhaps they even base the characters personalities on the hierarchy between yellow jackets wasps: queen/workers/drone”.
Ludmilouloubecause also sees parallels between teenage Shauna and a queen yellowjacket wasp. Why? Because queen yellowjacket wasps are the only ones in a community that give birth. If we’re reading into that symbolism, therefore, it might suggest that the Antler Queen is pregnant Shauna, who may or may not have given birth before the team escape the wilderness.
Lottie is the pit girl
Lottie might be a likely candidate for the Antler Queen, but some fans also believe that she’s the as-yet-unidentified girl who was running through the woods in the first episode before meeting an untimely end in a pit of sharpened stakes.
Dubbed the “pit girl” on Reddit and Twitter, the scene is the only time we see any evidence of cannibalism. One Twitter user has spotted that Lottie and the victim are both wearing a bracelet on their left wrist, which could suggest that she is the one who was ritualistically eaten by the Antler Queen and co. Then again, the voicemail from Natalie’s ex-sponsor Suzie in the present day suggests that Lottie may still be alive as she is supposedly the one who emptied Travis’ bank account.
Another theory? The opening scene could be one of Lottie’s clairvoyant visions.
“I’ve been thinking about it and, what if the opening scene is a “vision” Lottie sees?” says Reddit user u/bella_builder. “This could be why pit girl looks super similar to Lottie. We know she can predict things in the past and maybe this is the vision she sees before she advises the group towards cannibalism?”
Christobel Hastings is Stylist's Entertainment Editor whose specialist interests include pop culture, LGBTQ+ identity and lore.