Warning: Major Us SPOILERS ahead!
With two films under his belt, writer and director Jordan Peele has earned a reputation as a filmmaker that makes thought-provoking movies that inspire intense discussion and lots of theorizing. That was definitely true with this year’s wild (and well reviewed) horror film Us. Jordan Peele’s sophomore effort left us with plenty of questions and theories, with one in particular that proved especially popular.
Towards the end of Us, in a twist we find out that Lupita Nyong’o’s Adelaide is in fact one of the tethered doppelgängers created by the government, and that she switched places with the real Adelaide as a girl. The theory is that during the events of the film, Evan Alex’s Jason was also swapped with underground dweller Pluto, with the pyromaniac Pluto having infiltrated the Wilson family. This is seemingly supported by a knowing look “Jason” gives to Adelaide at the end of the film.
In the special features on the recently released Us Blu-ray, Jordan Peele shoots down this popular fan theory, by first talking about the dynamic of the Wilson family. He explained:
I always thought of the family in terms of a certain archetypal foursome. Adelaide is the leader, the captain. Zora is the warrior. She acts before she thinks and she kicks ass. Gabe is the fool, even though on the surface he looks like he might be the leader or the warrior. And Jason is the wizard. He’s the magician.
The way Jordan Peele describes the Wilson family in these archetypal roles makes them sound like a party in a video game. The roles make sense too, with Adelaide leading the family while Winston Duke’s affable Gabe is the fool. Zora is definitely a warrior with her running abilities. But it is Jason that is the most interesting. In Jordan Peele’s mind, Evan Alex’s Jason is the wizard of the group.
That might seem like an a strange concept for the young character, but the implications of what it means that Jason is the magician are what directly refute the supporting evidence of the Jason and Pluto switch theory. Jordan Peele continued:
I have this kinda concept of Jason that he can sorta see through the veil. You can see these moments where he’s observing his mother and he’s meant to be a little step ahead of us, the most clever of us that’s sorta figuring out there’s something more to Adelaide’s story than we see.
If Jason is the wizard of the Wilson party, his powers provide him with a certain kind of omniscience; he is able to see things that the others can’t. That includes the fact that his mother, while still being his mother, is technically one of the tethered. So his look to her at the end of Us is not a conspiratorial one, but one of realization and knowing.
Jason is putting the pieces together in real time, with his experience with Pluto and the rest of the tethered giving him the insight to sense that his mother’s story is not what he thought. When he puts his mask down after giving Adelaide that look, he is either fearful or at least processing his realization.
Why he can see beyond the veil as Jordan Peele puts it is unclear, but he does seem to realize what the tethered are during the home invasion quicker than the rest of them and he doesn’t seem quite as freaked out. One interpretation of his powers could be that although Adelaide isn’t the real Adelaide, she is still his biological mother and perhaps being half human, half tethered granted him the power of sight.
Whatever the case, this puts an end to one of the most popular Us fan theories. While fun, this theory always seemed like it had a few too many problems to be true, and credit where it’s due, our own Mike Reyes posited the theory was wrong months ago.