In the mainline Pokémon games, there’s always a professor, and they’re always a mentor. It’s practically inviolable at this point. But some fans think the (hot) professors in this year’s Pokémon Scarlet and Violet might actually be the villains. Yes, this is just a theory, but it’s not as far-fetched as you’d think.
Yesterday, the Pokémon Company unveiled a bunch of information about its forthcoming pair of monster-hunting RPGs, Pokémon Scarlet and Violet, out this November for the Switch. Instead of getting distracted by the two new legendaries or the unexpectedly delicious-looking piglet Pokémon, everyone ended up fawning over the two professor characters, Sada and Turo.
For the first time in the series, Scarlet and Violet will feature version-exclusive professors. Sada, wearing clothing reminiscent of Legends: Arceus, is the professor in Scarlet, while Turo, rocking a future-chic jumpsuit, shows up in Violet. Both are way more conventionally attractive than they need to be, which has already led to a glut of memes, fan art, and other internet-approved publicity. But some have demurred, suspecting that something more sinister might be behind their attractive appearances.
“Sada and Turo look so evil to me, they give [off] the vibe that they’re gonna try murder me,” one fan wrote on Reddit.
To others, that’s not such a bad thing. “I really really want the poke professors to be evil this time around,” another fan said on Twitter.
Their distinctive fashion has spurred observers to believe Scarlet and Violet are set in divergent timelines, one in the past, one in the future. That, too, seems likely. As one writer pointed out on Twitter, “pasada” is Spanish for “past” and “futuro” means “future. (Though the name for Scarlet and Violet’s setting has yet to be revealed, it’s nakedly inspired by geography and architecture from the Iberian Peninsula.) A past-vs.-future theme is also in line with the two most recent Pokémon games: last November’s Brilliant Diamond and Shining Pearl and this January’s Legends: Arceus, a spin-off set in the distant past in the same region as BDSP. And the two legendary Pokémon, Koraidon and Miraidon, sure seem like past-vs.-future alternatives of each other.
“I wonder if we’ll have different evil teams per game as well,” one player mused on Twitter.
In the mainline Pokémon games, the villains are typically underground criminal organizations called “teams,” whose stated goals range from “waking up a slumbering god and evaporating all of the seas” (Ruby’s Team Magma) to “ctrl-alt-deleting the galaxy” (Diamond and Pearl’s Team Galactic). Usually, these orgs want to accomplish their goals by tracking down and taming the region’s all-powerful legendary god Pokémon.
It’s often pretty serious-sounding stuff, but the games put such a focus on capturing and training Pokémon that you often forget there’s world-ending stakes going on in the margins. Some versions—2003’s Pokémon Ruby and Sapphire, for instance—have you join forces with one team to defeat the other. Other versions—like 2019’s Sword and Shield—feature teams so defanged they’re more harmless than a Lechonk.
The most prominent theory about Pokémon Scarlet and Violet’s secretly evil (but still hot) professors suggests that opposing teams, with truly villainous intent, will make a return to the series. “Calling it now,” one fan wrote on Reddit, in response to a post suggesting Scarlet and Violet’s theme is about the butting heads of tradition and technology. “The one that isn’t ‘your’ professor in your game will be the villain, using their ideals of primitive or advanced technology or something.”
Reddit user Catchem-22 pointed out how, ever since Pokémon Sun and Moon came out in 2016, these games have had a “twist” villain—an old foe comes back, or an early-game ally goes rogue. “The thought occurred to me,” the user wrote. “We have two professors this time around, why can’t they oppose each other?”
The theory postulates that Sada would be the professor character in Scarlet, Turo the villain. In Violet, though, Turo would be the professor and Sada the villain. (This would be good news for those of us who love them both and are struggling to decide which version to pick up.) Each villain is researching the legendary Pokémon, and wants to secure the respective legendary from their game, the one on the cover, to assist in some as-of-yet indeterminate goal—probably something to do with world domination or whatever. And to assist in their goal, they’ve assembled teams to help. The professor, meanwhile, nobly stands opposed to world-ending-ness, and helps you find the other legendary, the one not on the cover, to prevent it from happening.
Basically, it’s a twist on the dramatic framework established in Ruby and Sapphire.
To be crystal clear, the notion that Sada and Turo are villains at all is entirely unconfirmed. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if it turned out to be the case. I mean, seriously, look at them! One 2012 study suggested we’re naturally attracted to the “bad guys,” creating a cyclical effect where artists then design villains and anti-heroes to be hot, therefore making it more likely that viewers and players are attracted to them. But c’mon. You didn’t need science to tell you that.