Do you think that maybe the reflection in Zane's eye is a robot/cyborg of sorts? It would explain the armor and visor, and why it is that Zane is the one seeing him.
I recieved this interesting comment from Lincelot1 (link to their profile in the description) on my previous theory, concerning Season 4 and the 'Purple Ninja', a commonly theorized person that supposedly will show up in the fourth season.
However, this comment and our back-and-forth responses spawned an even bigger, better, more complete theory - one that relies on no information other than canon and what was offered by the poster LEGO released, shown here.
It centers upon Zane, Dr. Julien, and a third character whose existance can ALMOST be proved by looking at the two episodes centering on Zane and Dr. Julien, Tick Tock and The Last Voyage.
Due to the fact that most of this took a long time (for me at least) to write out, most of it will be copied directly from the comments with no editing (except for the irrelevant parts at the beginning and changing the spacing for clarity on points). Some explanation will be offered where it is needed.
This theory is ongoing, and will be updated as we theorize more. Otherwise, jump on the bandwagon in the comments here, and I'll cite you if you post more good evidence! ;D
Prepare to enjoy the awesomeness of my new personal headcanon.
On to the theory!
----- THE ZANE VERSION ZERO THEORY -----
--- ORIGINS ---
Note: Lincelot1's comments in this section and the Theory section are bolded, while mine are in regular text.
Do you think that maybe the reflection in Zane's eye is a robot/cyborg of sorts? It would explain the armor and visor, and why it is that Zane is the one seeing him.
Interesting... and actually, I just saw that it's reflected in his other eye, too - it just blends in more since it's black.
Another robot/cyborg on the show would be awesome. Good or evil, I don't know, and I don't care. Probably evil, since Garmadon turned good... but, you never know...
Yes, you can see it because of the red light/eye in the reflection itself, it stands out. I do expect that he will be evil, because there is a current lack of villians. I heard some say it will be a 'gone wrong' experiment that doctor Julien made before building Zane, but even then, he's gotta need an army, because Julien made Zane to be perfect, so the evil one couldn't be anything more than equal to Zane. This would render him obsolete, because Zane has allies, including four more ninjas, a sensei, a samurai and with some luck another master of the arts. Lord Garmadon instead could easily defeat any one of the ninjas, being equal to sensei Wu (and I still think sensei is just about the most powerful in the series, along with the rest of his family).
Any ideas what else it might be?
Probably, whatever it is will be evil. Red, however, hasn't necessarily been associated with evil in any part of the show... Kai's red, Nya's red, the Fangpyre are red (they're KINDA villains... kinda... but mainly all the tribes (except the lone Anacondrai, Pythor) are laughingstocks for the most part).
About the red, yes, red doesn't neccesarily make one evil. I also agree about the serpentine, yes, they were pushovers. In my own fanfic I too make them more powerful. However, although red does not signify evil, red eyes do. Lord Garmadon had them, the hypnotized Cole had them, the evil ninjas had them, the skeletons had them, the hypnobrai had them. Only the creatures made or turned by the Overlord didn't have red.
Before I get into my theory extension, I'll comment about the red: Red eyes are always evil in Ninjago. That's true. Purple eyes, too, sometimes, such as in the Overlord's 'zombie army'. In which case, the purple is really just a zombified red - none of those people really were evil, but they became it. Hypnotized!Cole is not an exception to this rule, either - it's just an alter ego of sorts taking the place of Cole. He became evil because his master was evil.
--- THE THEORY ---
That would be amazing if it was Zane's 'brother', in a sense. That would get to be so deep... I mean, Dr. Julien would feel a slight bit of pride for the other one, because even if it failed, it was still running. The other ninja wouldn't want to trust Julien anymore, and Zane would end up being torn between his friends and his 'father', even though they were still on the same 'side' (while also finding out about a darker past he wasn't aware of)... sounds like a season where one would cry after every episode. XD
And no; a robot also designed by Julien (due partially to all of the feels overloads from a rivalry among the team) could actually make a very formidable villain; stressed nerves + bad guy = problems.
In one of the flashbacks, Dr. Julien said that Zane was 'built to protect others who cannot protect themselves'.
Well, what if the prototype before him, say, Zane v0, wasn't built to do anything specific at all?
Dr. Julien looks in his early-to-mid forties or (maybe) fifties in the beginning... assuming he was a child genius (assumable, since he built Zane from his own plans, with fully-functional AI that's about a century or two beyond our current capabilities - and probably beyond Ninjago's, too), it's actually quite feasible that he could have built another project similar to Zane in the missing 20-30 year window between his schooling years and when Zane first wakes up... but the other project would have been a bit more primitive, hence, Zane v0. I'll refer to him as Zv0 from here on out, though.
The AI could have not been as well developed, maybe the body a bit more primitive, maybe it's easily corruptible, and it could have been treated as an experiment, which always equals doom in this kind of situation.
If Zane v0 was designed to simply be a helper for experiments, and Julien does not have nearly as much emotional attachment as he does with Zane (or Zane v1, if you prefer to differentiate), Julien made one of the most fatal mistakes in all of science fiction - don't neglect your sentient experiments, don't treat them cruelly, don't let them even know they're an experiment or servant or whatever.
So Zv0 goes insane somehow, from a bug or virus or whatnot, starts destroying everything, kills a bunch of people, and that's when Dr. Julien realizes that he's going to live a very lonely life from now on. He shuts down Zv0 somehow, but does not destroy it, out of a sad sense of pride. He secludes himself in the Birchwood Forest, builds Zane (v1) from what he can remember of Zv0's corrupted programming, improves Zane (v1) from the original (drastically), turns it on, and never leaves the Hidden Workshop again. Zane (v1) becomes his only friend, companion, and 'son', while Zv0 remains hidden in a box in a side room, along with its original blueprints.
Zv0 somehow is activated again, either by Serpentine that weren't with Skales & co. when they became trapped, Garmadon (somehow - not sure how this would work), or an even Bigger Bad who wants to use Zv0 to 'destroy the ninja' (For example, the Overlord. Can we be absolutely sure the Overlord was destroyed - not just banished? From what I can tell, the form that was speaking with Garmadon before it took over his body is some sort of electric force... that could easily power up a machine).
It all goes too well. Zv0 is reactivated, whoever activated him fills him in on his successor and where his creator went, and lets him go where he pleases.
Chaos ensues. Zane somehow finds this out when either A) Julien cracks and admits everything to him or B) Zv0 confronts Zane personally while Zane is alone and fills him in on the hidden past... most of it, anyway.
A rivalry of the ninja vs. Julien forms. Zane isn't sure where he fits, Sensei is a peacekeeper on active duty, everyone is getting stressed out, more people are dying, nobody knows where to turn without seeing death... and then Julien fills in Zane or everyone about a 'secret weakness' or something - the same method he used to deactivate Zv0 beforehand.
Nobody really trusts him. Zane isn't sure whether or not to do so. Sensei points out that it's all they have.
They beat Zv0 using the secret weakness. That's either Season Finale or Disc One Final Boss, depending on who activated Zv0 - the Overlord, or someone else, and whether it was accidental or on purpose.
About the new theory, yes, it is in fact very likely that this could happen. As with the Overlord, I think he was only banished, and even then he was banished before too, because Ninjago was in balance, but he could still appear in an immaterial form to influence Garmadon. It's easily possible that maybe, just maybe, he will find and activate or at a point maybe even possess Zv0.
Yes, the gone wrong invention made by Julien would explain both why he became a hermit of sorts, to keep himself from doing anything wrong again, and his desire for a humanoid robot as a companion. Also note that despite eveidently being an expert in robotics, he only made one single, small and unsentient service robot in all the time he was imprisoned near the Dark Island.
I was actually thinking a lot about this theory today during gym class (open gym - fuck your gym, I'm writing XD), and it makes even more sense in terms of some of Julien's other lines. Such as the one in The Lost Voyage about how he's a 'monster'. Let's think for a minute:
* You're being forced to do this by the bad guys
* They just brought you back to life to do this
* You're the only one who can do this and they're going to make you do it
* They're using your son as a ransom
* You're totally screwed if you don't go along with it
Any normal person would say that this situation is one for wallowing-in-self-pity, not I'm-gonna-think-I'm-a-monster-now. Given, of course, that Julien is not exactly a normal person, but close enough that he would agree with something like this.
If, however, he had a dark past with Zv0, it all makes sense and falls into place: He unintentionally killed a bunch of people (when his creation killed them), became a 'monster' from that, made Zane to try to redeem or 'fix' himself, and then the Skeletons come along and give him an excuse if it ever comes up again.
Julien could easily come up with ideas on the fly - he says that he could make the Bounty airworthy by dawn, and he does, with no original blueprints. Any idea how impossible that would be? If he has that kind of mad skill, anything he says could just be a diversion of sorts from the truth.
Take a look at how quickly, from the time that the Leviathan shows up, that he's able to pretend that he's making music with those seven or eight cups. It's about five or ten seconds after the first eye comes up and opens, and another two or three to turn all the cups over and start acting. That's fast thinking.
It also explains why he made Zane keep the memory switch in the same episode - if Zane himself goes psycho and starts killing people, Julien will not want to shut Zane off. Using the memory switch is a quick (and far less painful) solution - Zane would just have to slowly be reintroduced to his life again, and the memory switch kept hidden from him. It gives new, sadistic meaning to the words "Zane, you're perfect!"
The nonsentient robot that he made is only further proof of this theory - he can consider his time away as 'punishment for his sins', so to speak, and so he gives himself no friendly companionship at all in his 'journey through hell'. Not to mention that if he made a Zane v2, what would happen then? It would also be so, so, so hard to explain to the others.
However, this could also be explained away by a lack of parts - he's there for... what? Six months to two years after the Skeletons 'disappear'? He'd have to start taking apart basic equipment to make anything complex, such as a Zane v2. Teadrinker (as I call it) is something small, and not terribly complex. The parts are small, a few wheels and gears, just basic object recognition AI... it's something he could easily do up in that tower, what with all the time he's got there.
About the skeletons, I have always wondered, why did Samukai bring Julien back to life, if he controls the dead?
About the Destiny's Bounty, it was a simple ship. After all, it was build by pirates, ones who didn't seem to be very skilled (then again, except leaders like Captain Soto, General Kozu, Pythor, Skales and Samukai, all their mini-me's seem to suffer severe brain damage) That's why it was so easily changed by Jay, because it was so basic. Then again turning a broken ship, however simple, into a working blimp through one night proves you have skills.
I do think Julien wouldn't be so cruel as to keep the memory switch for that reason. After all, before he knew he was going to be brought back to life, he seemed ready for it, and consider himself ready. This means that if Zane had any redeeming purpose, he had completed it. However, Zane had never got out of Julien's home in the northern forest.
Now, let's compare scientists in Ninjago, just to give us an idea of how skilled they are. We don't know many though.
First is Ed Walker. Although he doesn't act like it, he's an inventor. After all, he says "Take a note Edna, of all our inventions, this one is the greatest." referring to Jay. This implies he made multiple inventions. Also, he might be well known. After all, he obviously isn't rich enough to buy all the scrap materials he has, yet he has it. It must be delivered to him then by people who don't need it, even though he lives in a (calm) desert like area. Using these scrap materials, he made multiple vehicles, a powerful and large robot, a security system for the junk yard and who knows what else. He also managed to fix whatever small mistake Jay made when he tried to install a flying function in the Bounty quite quickly.
Now for Ed's son, Jay Walker. He sometimes uses his mindset and creativity for combat situations, such as when he was the one to first discover how to use spinjitzu, then helping the other three to learn the art. He can fix everything the ninjas need fixed, and managed to install a flying feature in the Destiny's Bounty, making only a small mistake, soon after fixed by his father, as mentioned above.
Jay's girlfriend and Kai's sister then. Although she probably picked up some things from Jay, Nya is skilled with electronics herself too, as she showed when repairing the Ultra Sonic Raider, and later instaling a flying feature in it too. She also managed to build a pilotable mech for Kai using what little material she had on the Dark Island, and help Julien build the Ground Drill. What she couldn't do, even though it was created by Jay who helped, was repair the flying function on the Destiny's Bounty.
Now for Julien. He created Zane, a humanoid robot who became very skilled and well developed ninja. Zane didn't even know he was a robot for a long time, nor did anyone he knew. He also created a robotic falcon pet for Zane. Julien created vehicles for the skeletons too, which include an ATV, multiple motorcycles, the skull shredder (if I remember the name right that is, probably not) and most of all, the Skull truck, which was quite big. Also he created an underground home with an entrance inside a tree, and another robot to defend his home from the large and powerful indigenous treehorns, succesfull for as long as it took Zane to find it, probably a year or more until after he died. All things considered, he may just be the greatest scientist and inventor in Ninjago.
As for why the Skeletons brought Julien back to life? If I remember right, the only beings inhabiting the underworld are those corrupted by black magic - such as Garmadon and the skeletons. Sensei Wu woke up there because he was trying to get there, I think.
Julien, however, probably would have gone to some kind of 'heaven' - or whatever Ninjago's equivalent is.
(You know you're going too far with a theory when you're getting into the concepts of heaven and hell in a land of Lego people XD)
Thus, Julien needed to be revived. It could also be explained that in order for the vehicles to be of the most use, they needed to start in Ninjago's overworld. And who wouldn't want Ninjago's (supposedly) best inventor doing the inventing?
Rebuilding the rocket boosters from scratch - with his own tweaks and improvements, as shown when he's drafting the design - was what I was getting at, though. Who knows how long it took Jay and Ed (and Nya) to build them in the first place? They had time - they had plenty of time.
Julien had about eighteen hours, overnight. Not only is he able to do it in less than a day, he's able to do it (more likely than not) while deprived of sleep.
Now, now, not necessarily - he could have kept the memory switch for any number of reasons. One is inventor's pride, which, in the context of the theory, is most likely, since he could not destroy Zv0. It would signify one of Julien's weaknesses - a big weakness to have, with something like Zv0 breathing down his neck.
Note, however, that Julien does have a heart in that sense - he allowed Zane to keep 'living', but hid his past from him so as that Zane would not experience the grief. There is, in fact, a power switch located a bit away from the memory switch - in the scene where Dr. Julien shuts off Zane's memory in Tick Tock, it's clearly visible, set back a bit in his chest. Julien definitely has inventor's pride - and it can explain his actions both in and out of the theory's context.
Exactly. The comparing of the known scientists only backs up the theory more - why would a person in such good standing as Dr. Julien (even though he made inventions for the skeletons, yadda yadda yadda...) decide to hole himself up in a tree in a barren, snowy wasteland?
While it could be explained that he's just an 'eccentric', like Radagast the Brown from the Lord of the Rings (Radagast is a wizard that behaves like a hermit of sorts, living in the woods with his animals beyond the range of human contact), it doesn't really make sense for Julien - his inventor's pride, again. If the Juggernaut were mass-produced, the Serpentine would never have been a problem, and neither would the Skeletons have been. BOOM! UR DEAD!
(Given that Zane was able to take down the Juggernaut - but somewhere, deep down, I think he had an idea of its weaknesses already.)
The more we look at it, the more likely I'm thinking that this definitely is the plot of season four. LEGO has done stuff like this before - the teeny tiny foreshadowing that Dr. Julien was either hauled off or revived in Tick Tock (since his body was not there in the bed in the last scene where Zane woke up confused) leading to the fact that he was still alive. I can't remember any other major moments of this foreshadowing anywhere else - but it's definitely there. I haven't seen all of the episodes from season one, even, much less season two or three (they're on TV at inconvenient times for me).
Also take notice that in the last half or so of season three, Dr. Julien plays a good role more than once - repairing the Bounty so as to get to the Dark Island, steering the ship in the way of the Dark Matter missile so as to save Lloyd's life, builds the Power Drill and Fire Robot (with Nya; both of those inventions later save the Ninjas' hides in that episode)...
In a sense, you could almost consider Julien to be a major plot driver in many ways.
He built the machines used by the Skeletons for one thing, to make the Season One enemy slightly more powerful. Building Zane is definitely his most significant contribution to the plot, however.
He's done quite a lot - more than the Great Devourer, more than the Skeletons (as he was the driving force behind them for the most part), almost more than the Serpentine (were it not for so much season two action with them, and early-to-mid season three stuff), and more than the Overlord.
At this point, with how much he's driven the plot behind the scenes, it's also more proof for this theory.
Well that'd make sense. If he was going to Minifig-heaven, it would explain the fact that The First Spinjitzu Master would not have died unless he opted to. Still, it'd make you wonder how evil he truly is, if Samukai needed to prevent him from going there.
Back about what you said earlier, "What if Zv0 wasn't build to do anything specific at all?"
This spawns a bit of a paradox. If he wasn't build to do anything specific, but only whatever Julien would require him to do, Julien probably wouldn't bother to give him emotions, unless as a test of his own skills. If he did the latter though, he probably would add a switch to control how which and how much emotions Zv0 would be allowed to have. If that were so, Julien would probably turn down his emotions at the first sign of corruption. So how would Zv0 escape control? Did Julien make the mistake of adding fully functional emotions perhaps? It would explain the halfened emotions that Zane has, as well as the presence of multiple on/off functions he has behind the harmless humour switch, including a power switch.
Also I think we can be glad that Zane probably isn't Zv0 himself. If Zane had ever shown any signs of a darker personality or intentions than what we see in the series, Julien wouldn't have left him running and would have hit the power switch instead of the memory switch. I think we can say this myth is busted.
For why that would work, I think it's just the fact that Julien didn't really intend for any of his creations to be evil - Zv0 would have just turned out so. That way, Samukai would need to prevent it.
The fact that it explains the First Spinjitzu Master's dying option just proves it more so.
"Viruses: Making it necessary for you to pay the fifty bucks a year for that software that does nothing."
The saying is mine. I'm gonna put it on a motivational poster someday. But that's exactly what could happen - if a virus got into such complex programming to begin with (I mean, my god, Julien... Zane alone is far more than a few million lines of code. He probably assumed that he wouldn't even need an antivirus function due to the complexity of the programming and lack of a single feature to target), chances are it's very sophisticated and would very slowly start to eat away the stuff that isn't corrupted, like cancer almost. Zv0 gets 'cancer' and there's no saving him, partially because Julien does not realize it in time. If the virus could eat away at the code but stay dormant for a long time...
It could also help to explain a bit more about Zv0's 'living conditions' - chances are good that Julien would have to make little 'software updates' every once in a while. If one of Julien's
And perhaps he did add full emotions on purpose as a test of his skills. Zv0, in my mind, was intended to be more of an experiment, due to the lack of practicality until more of Ninjago becomes 'modernized', for lack of a better term. Probably, adding the emotions would have been both a challenge for him and a point to brag about to other scientists. The youngest Julien that we see in the flashback seems to be quite wise beyond his years - thus, the inventor's pride (that he still has, albeit slightly subdued) caused him problems before.
Imagine the scene: Dr. Julien takes Zv0 to some sort of conference after he has given him the final update. The demonstration begins - and then goes very, very wrong.
I'm glad you pointed that out, though - the fewer flaws this has, the more likely that it's true.
Also, 'halved' really is the perfect way to describe Zane's emotions, you're definitely right about that. If Zv0 was a prototype (which is really Department of Redundancy Department right there), doubtlessly Zane would have improved and had those extra features, and probably more that we aren't even aware of.
Yes. That's exactly why I placed the other theory under the 'Alternatives' heading. You've said it - it's so unlikely that it's just not gonna happen. Zane would have shown something by now, and more likely than not it would have been during Tick Tock. I wouldn't be surprised if it would have happened right after his Big No, when the others finally show up.
Very well possible. Yes, that would explain why Julien would create any such being, while it does not fit him at all.
Indeed. It's a good saying.
About what you said earlier, about Zv0 not having any specific goal; "A mind without purpose will wander in dark places" might fit as well.
The virus on Zv0 would face difficulty doing its job. If it does its work too quickly, Julien would notice the increase in malfunctions immediately. If it worked slowly, its effect would be noted in the routine maintenance/check that Julien would surely provide. If it would be able to bypass both of these two problems, the creator of the virus must be very good at it.
Full emotions might be present in the experiment, but because it is an experiment Julien would most likely make sure he has a way to keep it in check. However out of those two reasons you stated, the challenge would probably the one, because as you said Julien was wise beyond his years, so he probably would be beyond bragging.
Yes, I found that term to be fitting.
Indeed, there is no telling what functions Zane might have, but he is no experiment, so it would only be things that he had perfected.
Yes, exactly. Coupled with the virus, it would only make things worse.
Really, when considered, the virus could have been an elaborate prank or scheme of sabotage designed by another scientist, possibly a close rival, who could have been slightly aware of Julien's projects by hacking his computer repeatedly. However, due to the complexity of Zv0, the fact that a hacker can only view coding, and the inability to know exactly what was happening to Zv0 already, the virus only helps the prototype's descent to madness.
The hacker wouldn't even have to design a complex virus if he had a constant tap into Julien's computer - he would just have to tell the virus when to activate certain parts of itself. I have experience with programming, and while hacking is a bit different, it surely isn't too different from what I already know.
Adding the emotions to the fullest is most certainly what happened with Zv0, I think we can agree, and that it was because Julien did not have the experience of the disaster at the time to understand exactly what he was doing when he did that.
Yes... and it's canon. Julien has said it multiple times. Let's face it.
--- ALTERNATIVES ---
There are other takes on this theory as well.
For example, take this interpretation by Wolfpelt9550 (who will be credited in the description):
"It also explains why he made Zane keep the memory switch in the same episode - if Zane himself goes psycho and starts killing people, Julien will not want to shut Zane off. Using the memory switch is a quick (and far less painful) solution - Zane would just have to slowly be reintroduced to his life again, and the memory switch kept hidden from him. It gives new, sadistic meaning to the words "Zane, you're perfect!""
What if... The evil one, it isn't a version 0, it's Zane! He went psycho the first time and Dr. Julian flipped his memory switch! Then, since Zane is a robot, he was able to delete Zane's previous memory. He had to hide away in the Birchwood Forest to get away from everyone who was angry with him, and then he made some tweaks to Zane's design and turned him back on!!!
At this point, I would say that this alternate theory could hold some weight with time, but it's far less likely than the other, due to more evidence on the base theory.
Another quite lengthy alternative/expansion of this theory was done by SongOfHopeOriginal. Their theory focuses more on the red eye/beam and can be seen here.
--- THE FANFICTION ---
Since this has become my new personal headcanon, I naturally have to write a fanfiction about it.
UPDATE: The first chapter has been posted! Read it here!
Thank you for reading!