Warning: MAJOR SPOILERS for Us.
Jordan Peele's Us movie is full of hidden nuances and horror references, but what's the meaning behind the names of the Tethered doppelgangers? Peele is a genius when it comes to developing content that could be interpreted differently with each viewer. It would take multiple viewings of Us to fully grasp every message that Peele throwing out there. As viewers have seen with Get Out, Us contains context that is more than meets the eye.
Peele's follow up to 2017's Get Out is already a force to be reckoned with at the box office. It made over $70 million during its opening weekend, the best for an original, live-action movie since Avatar. The full-on horror flick follows the Wilson family as they visit the family's beach house in Santa Cruz. While there, they're confronted by the family's doppelgangers. These doppelgangers are referred to as "the Tethered." Led by Red (Adelaide's doppelganger), the Tethered are a result of a government experiment who were then abandoned and left in an underground facility. The Tethered are now on a quest to kill their above-ground counterparts as an act of revenge for the lives they were forced to live below ground.
Adelaide had a connection with the Tethered since she came face to face with her doppelganger as a young child. From then on, she has lived in fear and now her biggest worries have come true. Her doppelganger is back, and this time she brought the rest of the Tethered with her. Considering Red is the only member of the Tethered who can speak, much about the fellow doppelgangers is left unknown. Peele, however, gave them distinct names that provide some clues into the Tethered and his thinking behind their creation.
Adelaide Wilson/Red - Lupita Nyong'o
Lupita Nyong'o served up a stunning performance with her portrayal as both Adelaide Wilson and her Tethered counterpart, Red. Of course, viewers later learned that Adelaide is actually the doppelganger as she knocked out the young girl in the funhouse and took her place in the real world. Considering they both have ties to the Tethered, it makes sense that both of their names have deeper meanings.
Adelaide lived a seemingly normal life with her husband and two children. In reality, she stole the life from the real Adelaide. The name "Adelaide" is German for "noble" or "nobility." It also represents someone who has a high social class. The name for the character is fitting since Red (real Adelaide) comes after Adelaide for taking her lush life and the freedom that was stolen from her. Red views this woman as a higher class citizen who had all the freedom in the world. During Adelaide's cushy life, Red was forced to stay underground, eating rabbits, and mirroring her doppelganger's every move.
Related: All The Clues To Us' Big Twist
The name "Red" also bears a deeper meaning. The character Red served as a leader of the Tethered and organized their escape. The doppelgangers notably wear red jumpsuits which is a nod to Michael Jackson's Thriller. The Thriller music video and the t-shirt her father won her on the boardwalk is one of Adelaide's last memories before being trapped underground and taking over the Red persona. The color red also signifies violence, anger, and rage, all factors driving Red to get revenge on Adelaide's actions back at the funhouse.
Gabe Wilson/Abraham - Winston Duke
Winston Duke plays Gabe Wilson, the family patriarch. His Tethered doppelganger is named Abraham, most likely linked to the biblical meaning of the name. Abraham serves as the patriarch in three religions: Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. The character in Us plays the patriarch to Red's Tethered family. He is a believer and follower of Red, just as Christianity suggests. He is also a link in Red's chain as described in Islam as Abraham is a link in the chain of prophets. The name of Duke's other role similarly provides insight into the character.
The name "Gabe" is short for "Gabriel," which in Abrahamic religions is an archangel. The figure is also commonly described as a guardian angel which perfectly personifies what Gabe is to the Wilson family. He initially confronts the doppelgangers when they show up on the driveway. As the family's strong man, he takes on his Tethered doppelganger and eventually comes out on top. He then saves his family with the boat just in time for them to make their escape from Red, Pluto, and Umbrae.
Zora Wilson/Umbrae - Shahadi Wright Joseph
As one of the breakout stars of Us, Shahadi Wright Joseph portrays Zora and the doppelganger, Umbrae. The word "umbrae" is Latin for "shade or shadow," which is exactly what the Tethered represent - the shadows of those above ground. The word is also in the plural form which indicates that her name is used to describe the Tethered as a unit. There is even a foreshadowing shot of the Wilson family walking on the beach that highlights their shadows in the sand, something that certainly isn't a coincidence.
On the other end, the name "Zora" is Slavic for dawn, the first appearance of sunlight in a new day. As Zora took control of the situation and killed her doppelganger, it was a sign of hope for the family to survive the madness. The birth of Zora was also perhaps a life-changing moment for Adelaide, a new beginning of sorts. It's important to note that the word on Zora's shirt in Us was "tho," which means rabbit in Vietnamese.
Page 2 of 2: Pluto, Dahlia, and Tex