After waiting for what seemed like forever, the BTS ARMY finally witnessed BTS' 2019 Melon Music Awards performance and it was nothing short of epic. Fans don't know how BTS does it, but, somehow, the group always manages to top themselves each year at their end-of-year award show appearances. Since BTS are notorious for hiding clues in their performances, fans paid very close attention to their MMA stage, in particular. Almost from the first day Map of the Soul: Persona dropped, ARMYs have been convinced BTS' next album title will be Map of the Soul: Shadow, but after the group's MMAs performance, fans are having second thoughts. This theory BTS' next album title will be Map of The Soul: Ego is so fascinating.
Before I get into the current theory, let me backtrack to when fans believed BTS' next album was going to be Map of the Soul: Shadow.
On March 27, BTS dropped their "Persona" comeback trailer. In the video, there's a chalkboard with various words and drawings on it. Fans pointed out the words, "Persona," "Shadow," and "Ego" were written on the chalkboard exactly in that order and assumed it was a hint at BTS' next album trilogy.
Previously, the group released the School, The Most Beautiful Moment in Life, and Love Yourself trilogies, so fans thought Map of The Soul was next, with Map of The Soul: Persona being the first album, followed by Map of the Soul: Shadow and Map of the Soul: Ego.
BTS released Map of The Soul: Persona on April 12 and, ever since, fans have been eagerly anticipating Shadow, but now BTS' 2019 MMAs performance, which fans had the opportunity to stream worldwide on Nov. 30, has fans doubting their original theory.
BTS scattered imagery in both their performance and their VCRs that seemingly looked like shadows, but fans think it was all a pretense. The shadows weren't actually shadows, instead, they were projections, which hints more to "ego" as a concept than "shadow."
BTS' Map of The Soul series notably takes inspiration from Murray Stein's book Jung’s Map of the Soul, which covers Carl Jung's psychological theories, including his theories about the "Persona and Shadow," as well as the "Surface (Ego-Consciousness)." Jung's theory connects "Persona" and "Shadow" because they deal with concealing yourself, or putting on a "mask." Meanwhile, "Ego" is more about "our sense of identity" and "the self."
Taking these theories into consideration, some fans believe the imagery shown throughout BTS' MMAs performance related more to "Ego" than "Shadow." One fan noted BTS' MMAs performance highlighted each of the seven members, who could all individually represent a Greek God or Goddess, but as a whole, BTS could represent the "inflated ego."
Other fans had similar theories, thinking BTS' MMAs performance referenced "Ego" more than "Shadow."
One fan even tweeted, "If the next album is Ego and not Shadow, armys worldwide will be straight clowns," since a lot of fans were almost 100% sure the next album will be Shadow.
One fan had an interesting idea. "What if the new the next comeback is 2 different albums... Shadow on one side...Ego on the other," they offered.
BTS always surprises their fans every comeback, so their album title could really be anything at this point.
The group still has a few end-of-the-year performances left, like the MAMAs on Dec. 4 and the Jingle Ball on Dec. 6, so fans should keep their eyes wide open in case BTS gives any more clues about their next album.