Strap on your Incredibles-themes tinfoil hats kids, because Incredibles 2 is out! As with any Pixar and/or superhero film, there are layers of meaning and PLENTY of wiggle room for fan theories and speculation. Having recently deep-dived into some of my more conspiracy-centered thoughts on the film, I thought I’d share them here.
Also, fair warning, this is going to be fairly spoiler-heavy! If you haven’t seen it yet, and don’t want to know things ’til after, drop a bookmark here and we’ll see you then (also, read our spoiler-free review!)!
1. Edna Mode is a Super
I’m certainly not the first one to connect Edna to possibly having powers, but what those powers might be is very interesting. She’s been connected with the superhero community for a long time, has ridiculously refined fashion sense, and an obscene amount of money (judging by her access to materials and her impressive mansion.
If Edna is a Super, her power might be that of an extreme awareness of need, with an ability to fill it. While not as flashy as some of the heavy-hitters of her universe, it still makes her extremely powerful and gives her the freedom to remain under the radar.
Think about it: How powerful would a person be if they knew, instinctively, what every situation and person needed, even before they did? Also, how boring would life get? There never would be any surprises.
This could explain her chosen profession as an artist, and her near-super levels of narcissism. She survives the malaise of her powers by creating and hyper-inflating her own self-worth.
A great example of her potential powers comes in the creation of super-suits for the Incredibles family in the first film. She knows what each suit will need to withstand, and has them ready well before they’re asked for.
Fast forward to the second movie, and we can see why she would be so excited by Jack Jack. He is the one thing in the universe which she cannot predict, by virtue of unpredictability being at the core of his power manifestations. This excites Edna, who is starving for the unexpected.
Interestingly, Jack Jack may share a similar power to Edna, as both of them would be reactions to need. In fact, the first thing Jack Jack does is show Edna herself, which is her favorite thing and inspires her to help. Need meeting need.
2. The Children Represent Freudian Theory
If your Psych 101 days are a little hazy, one of Sigmund Freud’s most enduring theories is the concept of a three-part psyche; the Id, Ego, and Superego. The basic idea is everyone has these three aspects, all working together (or in opposition) to make up who you are and what you do.
The Id is our base instinct, reacting without reason to its environment to fulfill a perceived need. It is considered to be present without any sort of training from birth, and an extremely powerful part of a person’s existence (because it really dictates a lot of survival basics: hungry, sleepy, want, and so forth)
The Ego is like a mediator between need and the world around them. Like the Id, it still seeks fulfillment of need but employs strategies in the pursuit of those needs. If something doesn’t work the first time they try, they will approach it differently, which is called “reality testing.”
The superego put simply, is the conscious, helping to control the Id, and to direct the problem-solving energy of the Ego to what they perceive as the “ideal self.” This is a learned trait, often from parental figures, and society around them.
The three super-children of the Incredibles family can easily be viewed as an allegory for these three aspects.
Jack Jack, the Id, reacts to his needs. He is ridiculously powerful and seemingly unaware of consequences to his un-strategic actions.
Dash, the Ego, is still very impulsive, but uses reality testing to determine courses of action (as shown by his remote summoning of the Incredible [pronounced Incredi-beel], which parallels his failures and successes with remotes earlier in the film, like the “pool” remote in their new home, and the television remote after dinner in their motel room.
Violet, the superego, learns to control, protect, and respect the Id (staying with Jack Jack in the final battle), and to direct the energy of the Ego (she makes Dash wait to bring their father back up from under the water until Frozone, an outside societal influence, let’s her know it’s time).
3. Evelyn Was Not Screenslaver, Syndrome/Buddy Pine Is
If I had one critique for this film, it’s that the surprise twist of Evelyn being the main villain wasn’t actually all that surprising. There was so much foreshadowing and so many throwaway lines that I was almost expecting her to be a red herring, what with her, “genius behind the genius” lines.
But maybe she was. In the first movie, we saw Syndrome meet his apparent demise in a plane turbine… or maybe not. The guy was quite literally a genius, I wouldn’t be surprised if he had some clever way of getting out of that situation.
Leading up to facing off against the Supers, Syndrome had years of prep. It serves to purpose that he would have a back-up plan.
Enter Evelyn, and her superhero-crazed brother Winston. With Syndrome’s superhero-obsession, he would very likely know about them, and their family’s relationship to Supers. He also probably recognized a kindred spirit in Evelyn.
But the methods used, namely, hypnosis, and a rejection of technology and media, don’t really Syndrome. However, there is one possible explanation: Dissociative Personality Disorder often referred to as having a “split personality.”
A common trait of those with D.I.D. is extremely high intelligence, as well as a penchant for creativity. They also tend to have traumas at a young age which alter their worldview.
I could see that splitting into two distinct personalities- Syndrome, the all-for-tech pseudo superhero wanting to give power to equalize, and Screenslaver, the against-tech villain wanting to make people do what he wants.
It would then be a matter of manipulating Evelyn to his will, either by convincing her normally or using hypnosis (with enough application over time, she could be manipulated without the use of a screen).
So, in this line of thought, either A- Syndrome’s death somehow activated his Screenslaver plan with Evelyn, or B- Syndrome survived the ordeal and switched personas to continue his torment of the Supers.
4. Frozone is a Government Employee
Did you notice how well Frozone seemingly did after the banning of Supers? He had a nice high rise, expensive equipment, and (at least from what we can see) didn’t need to work.
What if he was only semi-retired, with the (secret) government’s consent, and payroll?
First, he’s well placed to be an informant. He has close ties to some of the most powerful Supers out there, and could easily keep tabs and report on activity.
Then, there’s the nature of his powers. While there are several amazing Supers in their world, very, very few of them can “create” things like Frozone can (most sources I could find say he doesn’t actually make the water, per se, but does pull water molecules out of the air). He is able to make a tangible, valuable resource, at what appears to be near limitless speed.
And it’s totally viable as a source of nourishment, too, as we see him creating perfect water spheres for Jack Jack to suck on. That’s pure water.
Maybe, the government doesn’t want him out publicly but is still contracting his services under the table. He can make more fresh water at a faster rate than any purifying factory, and for a lot cheaper (though still enough money to keep him more than a little comfortable).
5. Jack Jack Will Lose Most of His Powers
In the Incredibles universe, superpowers are very, very particular to the person using them. They fit the character, and the role they want to play in society. Elastigirl, a mom juggling a family and a career, is flexible. Mr. Incredible, a father figure with a need to prove himself is super strong and durable. I could go on.
But as Jack Jack grows up, he’ll be less baby and more individual person.
In the film, Edna makes an offhand comment about “several powers manifesting at a young age” and the unpredictability of babies. In theory, maybe all Supers are born with limitless power, which is refined by what kind of person they grow up to be.
If that’s the case, why doesn’t this happen more often, and why aren’t others in the superhero community aware of it?
I think that has to do with the rarity of Supers and the rarer still nature of the marriage of Mr. Incredible and Elastigirl.
First off, there’s not a ton of people with superpowers out there. At the one hundred nation summit, there’s maybe 20? In all, that’s not a huge pool of research on what’s common with super babies.
Also, there’s nothing in the movie that says people were aware of the biological passing on of superpowers before this family, If only because it hadn’t really happened before.
Maybe every other Super, born by chance to non-super parents, never saw powers demonstrated in their most impressionable years, and just never attempted to replicate the behavior until they were well past their “unlimited” stage. Remember, both Violet and Dash were raised in a rather strict absence of superpowers, as the Parr’s were obeying the law and living in witness protection. They’re also close enough in age that by the time they realized Violet had powers, Dash was old enough to be out of the early stage.
Then, Jack Jack is inundated with examples of superpowers, which he suddenly started using as his family gave in to using them as well.
Perhaps, because he had the freedom to try out more powers at such a young age, Jack Jack will retain more of his abilities. But, if this theory is true, he may be more and more limited as he grows.
Have your own theories on Incredibles 2? Be sure to comment them below!