Theory: Did The Magic School Bus Kids Become Captain Planet's Planeteers?

captain planet magic school bus

Did The Magic School Bus kids grow up to become Captain Planet's Planeteers? Captain Planet And the Planeteers is an educational cartoon that debuted in 1990 and was co-created by Ted Turner. The show follows the adventures of the Planeteers, a group of kids from around the globe summoned by Gaia, voiced by Whoopi Goldberg (Sister Act), to help fight back against pollution and environmental disasters. Each Planeteer has a magic ring and when they need back-up - which happens quite frequently - they summon superhero Captain Planet to help. The show ran for six seasons and came to an end in 1996.

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Various attempts have been made to produce a live-action Captain Planet movie in the years since the show ended, with Leonardo DiCaprio (Once Upon A Time In Hollywood) currently attached to produce the movie. The Magic School Bus is another educational kids show from the 1990s where a teacher named Ms. Frizzle, voiced by Lily Tomlin (Grace And Frankie), takes a class of children on field trips via a magical school bus. This allows them to travel through time, outer space, and other fantastical locations while Ms. Frizzle educates her class on the wonders of science.

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The show returned in the form of Netflix's The Magic School Bus Rides Again in 2017, where Ms. Frizzle retires and her younger sister Fiona (Kate McKinnon, Saturday Night Live) takes over her class. Guest stars on this animated series included Will Arnett and Sandra Oh (Killing Eve). Both Captain Planet And The Planeteers and The Magic School Bus are beloved kids shows from the 1990s, but a dark fan theory suggests they may share the same universe.

The theory goes that The Magic School Bus' Ms. Frizzle is actually Gaia in disguise, and brainwashed the class into becoming Planeteers from a young age. When they were older and she finally needed them she gave them each a special ring. The Planeteers each resemble one of the kids from The Magic School Bus, with Arnold becoming Captain Planet's Wheeler, Wanda Li became Gi and so on. The idea gets even darker since not every kid became a Planeteer. Some of them fought back against Gaia's attempted brainwashing and grew to hate the planet instead, with Ralphie growing up to become Captain Planet villain Hoggish Greedly, voiced by Ed Asher (UP).

While this Magic School Bus/Captain Planet theory is fun, it doesn't hold up under a bright light. Both shows were created by separate creative teams, with Captain Planet being released roughly four years before The Magic School Bus, its supposed prequel. It would also be an uncharacteristically dark twist if Gaia was revealed to be a twisted puppet master behind the scenes. That said, actor and screenwriter Glen Powell (Top Gun: Maverick), who is writing the Captain Planet movie, has said it will be dark and irreverent, so maybe it will explore this idea after all.

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