The Antler Queen and her crew waiting for dinner in Yellowjackets

These Theories About The Yellowjackets Antler Queen Will Have You Shook

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by Ani Bundel
Photo credit: Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME

Yellowjackets is Lord of the Flies meets Lost: A plane crash in 1996 leaves a team of high school soccer players stranded for 19 months in the Canadian wilderness. Although they claim nothing happened beyond their struggle to survive, flashbacks show the girls go fully feral in the depths of winter. In the show’s premiere, viewers saw them turn to cannibalism, complete with ritual murder led by a hooded figure with antlers. But who is this Antler Queen? These Yellowjackets theories ponder which girl led the team to become a brutal cult.

Warning: Spoilers through Yellowjackets Season 1, Episode 5 follow. The most practical place to start is to consider who these survivors are. Twelve made it out of the plane crash alive: Ben, the assistant coach, was the only adult to survive, albeit with an amputated leg; two other non-team members, Travis and Javi, the head coach’s sons; the other nine were all team members: Jackie, Shauna, Taissa, Van, Lottie, Laura Lee, Mari, Natalie, and Misty.

But there were very clearly only eight in the scene with the Antler Queen (nine if you count the one roasting on an open fire). All eight were fully mobile in the snow, and although viewers never saw the face of number nine, it’s clear it was a team member.

Who The Antler Queen Is (Probably) Not

Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME.

No one is one-legged, crossing Ben off the list; fans can assume he did not survive winter’s onset. (His frozen corpse probably gave the girls a taste for meat.) Plus, it’s the Antler Queen, not King, so it’s probs not Travis. Javi is too young. Misty is also out, as she was the eighth fur-masked member presenting the meat.

We can also rule out whoever’s body was being eaten in that scene. Fans suspect the late team leader, Jackie, was the victim due to the necklace on the body. However, there’s a team member the body more closely resembles, and it’s someone the show hasn’t focused on at all: Mari. But regardless of whether she’s the victim, Mari’s lack of screen time also guarantees she’s probably not the Antler Queen. And despite having more backstory, Van and Laura Lee also seem unlikely. They would likely join in, with Van following Tai’s lead and Laura Lee following Lottie, but they’re not leaders.

Here’s who it could be:

1. Lottie

Samantha Hanratty as Teen Misty in YELLOWJACKETS

Like Van and Laura Lee, it’s not known if Lottie survived in the wilderness. However, the girls’ ritual behaviors and mystical symbols point to her being the leader. Lottie has shown supernatural tendencies in the seance scene. That makes her ascension to the Antler Queen a logical path, and the chances of her “possession” being a form of mental illness are pretty high. However, without knowing the truth, a religious girl like Laura Lee worshipping Lottie and the others following suit, especially if it keeps them off the menu, wouldn’t be surprising.

2. Natalie

Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME.

The four women who are confirmed to have survived the long winter and came home are the most obvious candidates. But we already know it’s not Misty, so that leaves Shauna, Natalie, and Tai. TBH, Natalie kinda seems like a long shot. Her ability with a shotgun aside, Natalie is a follower, not a leader. One could see her survival instincts kicking in and convincing Travis (and Javi) to join alongside her, even if the ritual stuff didn’t appeal. That would also explain Travis’ final message: Nat was right. Survival requires joining, even if every instinct tells you not to.

3. Taissa

Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME.

Tai entered the wilderness with a reputation for ruthlessness. She injured Ally to keep her off the team, bettering their chances at nationals. Also, she could have pretty easily gotten people to join her: She’s got Van as a would-be lover and Shauna’s pregnancy secret to hold over her. Misty and Laura Lee would easily fall in line, and Nat would grudgingly follow, with Travis in tow. The future New Jersey State Senate candidate fits the bill. She also has visions; although fans haven’t seen it in teenage Tai, adult Tai sees wolves everywhere she goes. Suppressing the memories of leading a cannibalistic cult could do that to a woman.

4. Shauna

Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME.

The show’s undisputed main character is Shauna, and the show’s lead is probs the Antler Queen, right? She is the first of the women in the present day to be introduced, and her story (and affair with Adam) is a significant plot thread separate from the others. Also, it’s Shauna who makes the phone call to Tai about the reporter and demands she “handle it,” mob-boss style.

5. Jackie

Paul Sarkis/SHOWTIME.

Jackie is not a leader. When there’s a crisis on the field, like Ally’s leg-breaking, she freezes up. She’s lazy and whiny. Shauna had to kick her in the butt to get her to do anything. And yet, Jackie is a contender because it’s easy to manipulate her into assuming positions of power she doesn’t hold. The head coach claimed he made her “team leader” because she has that je ne sais quoi, but it’s really so he doesn’t have any competition. Shauna or Tai using Jackie to play the Antler Queen figurehead because the other girls will follow her, while in reality, they are the ones calling the shots, seems to a real possibility. And then, when Shauna and/or Tai are done with her, Jackie becomes the final meal. This would also explain the necklace on the dead girl. Jackie is totally the type to bestow it on the unlucky girl who draws the short straw in a “may the odds be ever in your favor” type of move.

Yellowjackets Season 1 continues with new episodes every Sunday at 10 p.m. ET on Showtime.