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This is a "Wild Mass Guess" entry, where we pull out all the sanity stops on theorizing. The regular entry on this topic is elsewhere. Please see this programme note.
Sky High
The events of the film are all part of the curriculum of Sky High.
It's better to learn by experience than by hearing secondhand theories. Why teach Villainous Plots 101 to a class of bored and distracted high school slackers, when you can have them foil their own? It pushes the noobs and "sidekicks" to realize the full potential of their minds and powers, builds up their confidence, and gives them Hero cred all at the same time.

The "villains" are metahuman actors hired for the role; the scenes of them in detention, plotting in lairs, etc. are so-called "found footage and security tapes" later shown to the newly-minted superstudents to reinforce the illusion.

The teachers, the villains, and possibly some of the ordinary students are all in on it. For example, how convenient that Warren Peace went psycho on Will but never once singed him, despite clearly having the capacity to kill him with one shot, thus leading to Will's first successful Die or Fly activation of his powers? It seems contrived because it is contrived, and served its purpose.
  • All good, except that it assumed Layla wouldn't show her powers, because she would have had to be in the Sidekicks for the plan to go even remotely good. It would have had to get The Commander and Jetstream in on the ploy so that they would "fall into the trap". Gwen's fate wasn't known, and who would willingly go through puberty twice? And keep in mind it only showed a few "sidekicks" being "pushed". The proper way would be to have them form groups and face challenges in the groups so that all are "pushed". Not just a handful of them. And, finally for now, if Gwen could control biological systems then the Pacifier would have been useless and she wouldn't have needed to be smart or hot to be popular.
  • Possible corollary:

Gwen's power lets her not only control mechanical systems, but biological ones.

She caused Will's love at first boner, thus manipulating him into position to be set up as The Hero and lead the Sidekicks in their revolt/rescue. She may also have given his powers a nudge.
  • She looks like a teenage gril, of course she gave him a boner!

Warren Peace and Zuko are the same person.
Playing with Fire, angsty, daddy issues, Mr. Fanservice, shaggy black hair, used to be villainous but now is good, shipped with The Hero's female best friend (who the hero eventually ends up with)... how much more evidence could there be?! Has anyone seen these two at a party together!?
  • Also they both have an evil father and a good mother.
  • One may be an expy of the other. But they don't even take place in the same universe. Additionally the "misunderstood bad boy" with "a good parent and a bad parent" is a classic character type.
  • Also according to Wordof God should the film become a series like it was intended, Warren would end up with Layla.

Ron Wilson (Bus Driver) Did Have A Superpower
Ron Wilson (Bus Driver) had a superpower all along, but it was fairly mundane and he never noticed it. His power is to always be there in the nick of time. He gets Will to the school in the nick of time to save everyone, and discovers Stitches in the nick of time as well. These may be passed off as just good timing, but, if his statement to Stitches is to be believed, he is the only bus driver employed by the school, and, judging by the number of students, there's no way he could get them all there on time without some super assistance.
  • Look! Up in the sky! It's Deus ex Machina Man! He's here just in the nick of time!
  • Or another possibility is driving reflexes. The way he flies the bus brings to mind what Qui-Gon says to Anakin "You must have Jedi reflexes if you race pods" in The Phantom Menace
  • He briefly mentions that there are other bus drivers in his first scene, we just never see them

Layla would have been put on the Hero track had she just shown her power to the Coach
Compared to most of the other sidekicks shown (all of them, really), it is easy to picture just how useful control over plants, and the ability to quick-grow them with seemingly no negative effects, can be. But as she did not do the test supposed to show which path one is put on, she was placed on the one with less need for impressive powers.
  • I thought this was pretty clearly the idea in the film.
  • Where is the wild, mass, or guessing in this?

The "Heroes" who run Sky High and other similar programs killed all the Badass Normal heroes.
This explains the complete lack of them and the seemingly prejudiced system against normals and especially supers with "useless" powers. It's to shoehorn them into a submissive role before they figure out they can do other things that have nothing to do with their superpowers. The reason for this is that The Badass Normals are notoriously Crazy-Prepared and usually have measures in place to take out their superpowers colleagues in case they go rogue. The Supers got rid of them and tried to suppress that kind of thinking to preserve their own comfortable little status quo.
  • Alternately, the reason Sky High doesn't teach "normal" superheroes is that there are so few teenagers who aspire enough to be real superheroes that they'd go to school for it. Taking examples like Batman and Green Arrow, most Badass Normals in comics either train all their lives or start when they are adults. There is a school for B Ns in the Sky High universe but it's a more of a boarding school than a high school that focuses on physical training, criminology, forensics and strategy than Sky High's mad science and power developing. The existence of this school is even more secret than Sky High, even most superheroes don't know about.

There will be a sequel, that will reveal that Will's power was actually to obtain powers by needing them, or possibly the ability to adapt, hence the name Will, since he wills his powers to work.
He will help give birth to a new species of heroes, kids who hold more than one ability such as himself.

Gwen was actually falling for Will.
Maybe. On the one hand, she had no need to lie to Layla after she got the Pacifier. On the other, maybe she just wanted to be cruel to a Sidekick, with a little Animal Farm-style hypocrisy. Or both. And her reaction to getting dumped was her fear of rejection, or she really did like Will, or both.
  • This troper got the impression that her reaction to Will breaking up with her was a result of typical villain pride; she just couldn't accept that he would dare to break up with her.
  • Look very closely during the Save The Citizen scene. Right after Will gets body-checked by Speed, Gwen reacts in a genuinely concerned-looking way, even though the only person close enough to see her face is Penny, who was in on the plot, so she'd have no reason to be acting. Then again, this may be just because it's a not-very-deep Disney flick and we should really just relax.
  • Adding on to this, if Will hadn't tried to stop her immediately, she probably would hae invoked We Can Rule Together, and tried to convince him by reminding him of how everyone treated him when he didn't have powers. (Of corse, those people were her henchmen, but she didn't think he'd remember)

This takes place in the same universe as Up, Up and Away!.
They refer to late bloomers which implies that most supers get their powers by the time High School begins. Because of that, this troper's theory is that Scott from Up, Up and Away! was the first person to get his powers after his 14th birthday.

The Pacifier needed to be recharged
It's the only valid reason for Gwen not to use it on Will or any of other characters

Warren also has two powers from both his parents, firepower from one and the power to speak in all languages from the other
We see him speaking Chinese. Now admittedly he could have just learnt it but there is a decent possibility that he like Will (eventually) inherited both powers but tends to use the more powerful one in his heroics/bullying as the language one, though useful, is more geared towards diplomacy.
  • So a power meant for combat (War) and one for diplomacy(Peace) on a guy named Warren Peace?

If the film was become in a series,

Warren was put into foster care at a young age
His parent were constantly battling each other, which is not exactly the best environment to raise a kid in. Maybe he was adopted by a Chinese family and that why he knows the language.

The hero/sidekick system was abolished after the events of the film
Not only was it what created the Big Bad, but the "sidekicks" saved them all. If that doesn't convince them, there's only one thing I can think of that would. The Commander's line at the end seemed to support it.
Commander: Let's just call them what they are, Josie. Heroes.

Had Layla shown her powers and selected as a hero, some guy would hit on her and tell her to dump the powerless sidekick
This troper can't be the only one to imagine a male version of Gwen telling Will to back off. Perhaps Larry. Has anybody seen him do anything relevant after being places as a hero? He seemed to be there just to show nerdy-looking guys shouldn't be underestimated.

If the movie took place at Marvel universe...
  • Peter Parker would have attended Sky High but not allowed to use the web launchers anywhere outside class.
    • He'd be sorted as a hero;
    • Without a chance to become a wrestler, he'd be at home to save Uncle Ben;
    • The six-armed hero would become friends with him;
    • He'd use a web to remove the Pacifier from Royal Pain soon after she turned Steve, Josie and Mr. Boy into babies.

Steve knew about his sidekick's crush on Josie from the beginning
That's why Will never knew of Mr. Boy before the first "Hero Support" class and why Mr. Boy understood that.

"Save the Citizen" was invented to keep the supervillains from realizing they can simply shoot their victims and the heroes
It's bad enough when powerless villains are that Genre Savvy. At least Sky High can discourage supervillains from following that path.

Gwen wanted Will to rule by her side.
If all she wanted out of their relationship was the Pacifier, her Freak Out upon being dumped makes no sense. She already had the Pacifier, so if that was the only extent to which Will figured in her scheme, she could have just brushed his rejection off and Pacified him along with everyone else. Whether she wanted to groom the scion of superhumanity's greatest champions into a villain as a form of evil irony, or simply ended up liking the guy back, is probably a Riddle for the Ages, unfortunately.

Had the series continued, it would've gotten progressively Darker and Edgier
I think this can be extrapolated from the Word of God postings on the IMDB forums. It was hinted, for instance, that the Big Bad of the second film would be Baron Battle, and unlike Gwen the Baron is heavily implied to be an outright murderer. As well, it as stated that the third and fourth villains would be a planetary and finally a universal threat; a far cry from turning people into babies and raising them to be evil, no?

Sky Captain and the World of TomorrowWMG/FilmSkyline

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