Us is not a simple film, and it doesn’t offer the same instantly iconic imagery as Jordan Peele’s previous film, Get Out. Instead, 2019’s Us is like a painting: it can be looked at from multiple perspectives and have just as many meanings as it does viewers. The ambiguity of the film's ending and themes have led to many fan theories, which range from the political to the metaphysical, with many blurring the lines between the two. Even the Us fan theories that sound ridiculous at the onset have a way of making sense over time.
If you haven’t seen Us yet, keep in mind that there are spoilers in this look at the fan theories about Peele’s thriller. Each theory shows you exactly what the viewer found the most intriguing about Us. Some fans focused on the Tethered aspect of the movie, while others were obsessed with Lupita Nyong’o’s turn as both Adelaide and her double, Red.
Do any of these hold water? Or are these fans reaching for something that isn’t there?
Kofi Outlaw of ComicBook.com posits Adelaide is aware of what is happening the entire time, not because she is in on the plan, but because she assumes her doppelgänger will eventually want revenge. Adelaide is unfazed by her family's doubles. Where Gabe is truly afraid of and perplexed by the phenomenon, Adelaide remains confident and composed during most of the film.
This is because she's been anticipating the assault as if it were an act of karma punishing her for her past.
In the third act of the film, Red explains the history of the Tethered to Adelaide. She tells her they were a government experiment where people were cloned as a way to induce mind control. The plan didn't work because the clones lacked a soul. Redditor /u/ZomBTurtles thinks the children are the actual success stories of this experiment. They were human and Tethered hybrids who were able to control their counterparts.
Because both the children of Adelaide-Gabe and Red-Abraham were born between a Tethered and human, they are the only two successful outcomes of the experiment. They, unlike every other human-Tethered counterpart, can either control their doppelgänger or be controlled by them due to this unique hybrid state. As explained by Adelaide, this was the intention of the experiment, but it was abandoned before the outcome was achieved.
The final moments of Us are definitely going to be the catalyst for a lot of late night talks. Was Adelaide smiling because she'd just saved her family? Or was it the smile of a psychopath who'd managed to get one over on the same person they wronged decades prior? Did she remember swapping places with Red? Or was she so traumatized that the memories were repressed?
One theory from ComicBook.com posits it's possible Adelaide suppressed her memories but the arrival of the doppelgängers triggers her flashbacks. Through the film's entirety, Adelaide's interactions with Red trigger more memories that she had previously hidden away in her subconscious. Through small realizations, she begins to embrace her past, develops self-confidence in who she truly is, and imparts her confidence to her son.
Both Get Out and Us have similar thematic elements at play, but for all anyone knows, they take place in two different cinematic universes. One Twitter user believes Jordan Peele's two films are in the same world though:
Why do I have a feeling that Get Out & Us exist in the same universe. Like there’s there’s this entire universe of just messed up events taking place.— イサベラIzzie-Pez (@PradaNeo) December 26, 2018
When asked about a shared universe between the two films, Peele refused to state whether the movies are directly related, but he did say, "Without answering directly if they’re in the same universe, I will say that, yes, I consider this part of the same project."