A Detective Pikachu writer has provided his thoughts on the popular, long-running fan theory regarding Mew and Ditto and explained how the idea played into the film's story. The first live-action Pokemon movie finally hit theaters last week after much anticipation, immediately receiving widespread praise for the visual style of its creatures and fun sense of adventure, and is now being touted as the first truly successful video game movie. Much of Detective Pikachu's plot centers around the abilities of Mewtwo, a man-made Pokemon from the original game series. The psychic-type Pokemon has been captured by a mad corporation owner, Howard Clifford, who also uses the transforming Ditto for a partner.
Over the years, the Pokemon franchise has proved to be a rich source of urban myths and fan theories and one of the longest running concerns the creatures Mew and Ditto. Mew is considered to be a powerful ancient Pokemon and the predecessor to all other creatures. This Pokemon's DNA was used by scientists to create Mewtwo and the theory posits that Ditto is a failed product of those same experiments. The theory's proponents suggest that since Ditto can replicate other Pokemon, it could have been crafted from Mew's DNA and other details such as Ditto's location, appearance and move set in the games are said to all correlate with the Mew and Mewtwo story.
One of the Detective Pikachu writers, Dan Hernandez, has now revealed in conversation with Screen Rant how that theory influenced the film and how far the creative team were aware of the possible connection between Ditto and Mew. Hernandez claims:
"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."
As Hernandez suggests, the Mew/Ditto fan theory is not overtly addressed in Detective Pikachu, and with everything else going on - the world-building, Tim's arc, the Pikachu mystery, etc - it could be argued that the film didn't have an opportunity to begin delving into the deeper, darker corners of Pokemon lore. As the writer also states however, Detective Pikachu does leave room for fans to speculate upon the theory further and those in the audience who are aware of the supposed Mew/Ditto connection will be able to go back and join the unspoken dots when the movie ends.
In Detective Pikachu's world, Mewtwo has already been created and escaped from his makers, but has now been recaptured by Bill Nighy's dastardly Clifford. More experiments were then carried out on the powerful psychic Pokemon and, since Clifford's main Pokemon is a Ditto, it's perhaps implied that the villain's choice of partner is connected to his long-standing interest in Mewtwo's genetic makeup. Certainly, having a Ditto around would've been a useful starting point for his macabre science project. The truth of the situation will likely never be elaborated upon, but these fan-friendly details all contribute towards the positive reception Detective Pikachu has enjoyed thus far.
- Detective Pikachu (2019) release date: May 10, 2019