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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.
Turnabout Storm
This page lists all Wild Mass Guesses for the crossover Turnabout Storm by NeoArtimus.

Any Wild Mass Guesses that are 'what if's unlikely to be confirmed or jossed in the series, are organized in the "Misc. Guesses" folder.

The folders labeled "Confirmed Guesses" and "Jossed Guesses" contain exactly what they say they do.

All spoilers regarding Turnabout Storm won't be marked, but spoilers specific to Ace Attorney and MLP: Friendship is Magic will.


    open/close all folders 

     Misc. Guesses 
The embarrassing pictures…
  • Are from Rainbow Dash's time in the Junior Speedsters. I agree with the previous WMG that Gilda may not be the murderer but she definitely has a part in this whole mess and that part being that she provided the embarrassing pictures.
    • If this one's true, I want Gilda to have done it unintentionally and to be apologetic when she finds out what her actions caused. She does really care about Dash after all.
  • Are of the previous girly Rainbow Dash or otherwise this Rainbow Dash "dressing in style" as her namesake put it. Considering her reputation as a tomboy, having those around is not good for her.

There is more than one set of Elements...
  • ...specifically, one uniting set of Elements per world depending on what ideology is dominant in that world. Since the Ponyverse is lots of different species co-existing with one another, the Elements are that of Harmony. Since, apparently humans have the greatest Judicial System ever, it stands to reason that the Elements that govern the human world (or at least, the AA-verse) are the Elements of Justice, one of which is the Trust one puts in another despite the accusations. Others that I can come up with could be Diligence to conduct Due Process of the Law, Reasoning to weigh evidence against claims and circumstances, Objectivity to not tarnish the verdict with bias, Faith in the Law and its criteria, and Humility to knowingly and willingly accept that no one is above the Law. That's why Princess Celestia wanted Twi to summon Phoenix specifically. She wants allies who can harness other elements, just in case, sometime in the future the Elements of Harmony fail.
    • Different Troper, but this also leads to a few possibilities for Element Holders.
      • Phoenix Wright of course, as Trust.
      • The Judge as Objectivity.
      • Miles Edgeworth as Reasoning.
      • Dick Gumshoe as Diligence.
      • The other two are still lost to me.
    • Yet another troper. How about Maggie Byrde for Faith? She's had her neck on the line more times than Maya at this point, and each time she gets the right verdict. Not Guilty. That takes faith, don't'cha think?
      • OP Here, the other troper nailed my ideas for those four, and while I can't remember who I had in mind when I first wrote that down, AJ and DD gave me Klavier for Humility, since he sent is bandmate and his own brother to prison, and Apollo for Faith, because of that stunt with Athena. Now I have Fanfiction Fuel.

A crossover between The Steel Samurai and Daring Do will be made in-universe eventually.
After being introduced to his adventures by a visitor from Earth, the steel-plated warrior from another world will make furor within Equestria, and it'll spawn its own series of novelizations for the enjoying of the ponies and other creatures. So much will be his fame that the anonymous author of the action/fantasy novels Daring Do will decide that it's time that these 2 heroes from different worlds meet and face the toughest challenge they've ever encountered.

The plot will involve a team up between Ahuizotl and the Evil Magistrate, one done in order to bring to fruition both Big Bads plans with each of their worlds. The evil duo manages to get their hands on the mysterious treasures Daring has managed to keep away from Ahuizotl hands all this time and make their escape. Ms. Do gives them chase, and winds up in front of a portal that both used to get away; she jumps in, only to find herself in Neo Olde Tokio, surrounded by dozens of the Magistrate's warriors. Just as she loses all hope to escape, the Steel Samurai jumps into the scene, swiftly cutting through the mooks, giving Daring the chance to escape with the warrior.

Both heroes eventually find out the plans of both of their nemesi, and realize the only way to save both their worlds from a certain doom is to team up. With the Steel Samurai's fighting abilities and Daring Do's knowledge and cunning, both set up to recover the relics and stop Ahuizotl and the Evil Magistrate's plans.

(The idea of an In-universe Intercontinuity Crossover inside another Intercontinuity Crossover was too good to pass up!)

Ace was the one who caused Cruise's sister to go into a coma
He then uses it to blackmail Cruise. It wouldn't be that hard of a guess considering he just appeared to Cruise the moment she got into the coma and had her shipped to the Canterlot hospital.
  • This makes so much sense in the most heartbreaking way!
  • Cruise's sister was actually flying at safe altitude. Ace Swift knocked her out, grabbed her and then dropped her at lethal altitude; the laws of gravity did the rest. Fluttershy was capable of dragging Rainbow Dash in the actual show, so this is plausible, considering that Ace had it easier than Fluttershy.

Trixie's animosity towards Twilight results from not being chosen as Celestia's student.
Both Trixie and Twilight made magic their specialty... What if, like Twilight, Trixie met Celestia as a young filly but wasn't chosen by the princess as her student? What if they were unknowingly in competition? What if Trixie discovered that, and came to resent Twilight since childhood for being chosen over her, developing feelings of jealousy and inferiority (which could explain why she is so full of herself: it's a defense mechanism for her)? Taking that into account, this line from the "Part 3 - Twilight" makes so much sense:
Twilight: It's something else… But that was the first time [note: Ursa-Minor incident] I met Trixie in my life; what else could I have done to her to bear these awful feelings?
  • That does make some sense. Sonata and Trixie went to the same magic school and Trixie was apparently at the top of her class. Being the best at magic since she was a foal, Trixie probably thought she was destined to be Celestia's student, only to see that snatched away from her by some "no-name unicorn" who would not have been accepted into the magic academy had it not been for a sudden burst of magic.

And it switches when she says the name of the personality she is now. The third one (Bright Eyes) is a counter against trying to use first two names at once. Use all three and she will reveal yet another name... use all four and the fifth is revealed... and so on until either the universe implodes or you fail to mention one, therefore getting yet another scenario.

Trixie's dream was to become the Element of Magic
One thing really stuck out to me during Trixie's "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Twilight which was mocking the magic of friendship. Now why of all things did she say that? Nothing about the Elements of Harmony was brought up during Boast Busters or during any scene throughout Turnabout Storm. Plus, she holds a big grudge Twilight for more than just the Ursa Minor incident. Maybe she figured out that the final Element of Harmony was Magic but could never find the spark to make it awaken. This can go hand in hand with the above WMG of Trixie also dreaming of becoming Celestia's apprentice only to lose it to Twilight. She wouldn't figure out that it was Twilight who "took" her dreams away until after the Ursa Minor incident and when she realized that she had lost everything to her and the spark she failed to find, the magic of friendship, she didn't want revenge on just Twilight. She wanted revenge on the magic of friendship itself.

Trixie's ultimate goal is to cause Twilight to feel the same despair she felt
If one assumes that Trixie's motivation is the sadness and despair she felt after getting shown up before by Twilight (and thus, having all chances of her career continuing wrecked and thus, ruining her life), then it could be possible that she's pulling a Yomiel and she's trying to make her feel the pain and despair of having her life crumbling around her. And what better way than to go after what she values most?

The story is completely canon for the Ace Attorney side of things
It's pretty evident that the events take place in an Alternate Continuity to My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic; Trixie and Gilda's reencounters are completely different from canon for instance. That's not the situation for Phoenix: The series perfectly fits between the events of Justice for All and Trials and Tribulations, and no anachronic "Call Backs" are made to the latter at any point; Phoenix does not encounter the black psyche-locks, so the person he sees them from in the future still is the first one he sees with them; and, as a plus, he gets in the ending what most likely is the silk hat his daughter Trucy would come to wear.

The events did happen to canon Phoenix, and this alternate Equestria is part of Ace Attorney's universe. As to why they aren't mentioned or refered to? Well, it's not unusual in the series for big previous cases to go unmentioned (see Case 1-5 up until Apollo Justice), we don't see every day of the lawyers' lifes, and it's not like Phoenix would be willing to go around talking about a pastel talking equine world back on Earth too much.

  • Well, 1-5 wan't mentioned until Apollo Justice because it was the most recent case up to that point. All the other cases came from the original trilogy released in Japan on the GBA. Rise From The Ashes came about as a... sort-of bonus case... to the first game when it was ported to DS. Thus, any mention of it in JFA or T&T would've had to have been retconned in. Considering the tight script and conservation to detail in both games, that wasn't likely to happen. ALL THAT BEING SAID, yes, I agree. Canon is tighter on the Ace Attorney side of the crossover, and excepting the addition of the top hat at the end, it fits in neatly at the end of JFA. To add to the evidence pile, we see a glimpse of Adian Andrews during Phoenix's first talk with Sonata. She (Adrian) was wearing her blue managerial clothes from JFA. The only reason Neo would have her like that (as opposed to her obviously more attractive black suit) is to anchor the events at the end of JFA. Judge, can you hand down your verdict yet?

Trixie's black psyche lock had been broken
In Dual Destinies, it's shown black psyche lock could be broken if their owner "remembered" the trauma. So maybe when Sonata pushed Trixie by revealing "Unlike everyone else, I know...", it makes Trixie realize the true reason for her hatred towards Twilight? That would explain why Phoenix didn't see them later.

Sonata has some sort of connection with Mia.
I'm not saying she's Mia herself, but she might have some sort of connection with her. It's kinda hard to swallow that the coincidence of voice and looks is just that, a coincidence. This might be reading too much into it, but there's also the fact that Sonata's Cutie Mark is a human eye.
  • Invoked by Phoenix himself at the end of Part 4, though he then admits her attitude is completely opposite of Mia's.
    • Indeed. Her personality and character role ends up MUCH closer to another character with an uncanny Mia face. Forced into performing unethical acts by a friend turned cold, she holds up the hardest facade of them all. She thinks knows who did the crime. She stops at nothing to see that suspect never convicted. Phoenix has to reveal that possibility, and then find its faults in order to uncover the real truth; the friend was the true killer. Once that heavy burden is gone, the mask crumbles, and she lets loose one of the most satisfying smiles you ever did see. If you haven't guessed yet, then it's time you met... *surprise interruption courtesy of NeoArtimus's dramatic sense of humor!*
  • In the end, Sonata sees Mia's spirit. She is confused by the similarity, but can't manage to explain it to Phoenix thanks to a certain griffon.
    • Again, surprise interruption courtesy of NeoArtimus's dramatic sense of humor!

     Confirmed Guesses 
Pinkie Pie will team up with Wright.
After what happened in part 2, Twilight probably won't want to work with Wright. So, since it's Wright, Pinkie will step in! She'll probably understand his reason for his stunt in court through her Pinkie-Logic.

Confirmed by Part 3. Even the Ladder/step-ladder debate.

Twilight Sparkle has gained the Perceive Ability after exposure to the Magatama.
Consider the fact that Twilight, in the words of Phoenix Wright, keeps "randomly looking at Trixie" throughout the trial, but when she was asked about it earlier, she brushed it off as unimportant. Also consider how the Magatama emitted a strange glow before the trial started. Isn't it possible that Twilight has gained the ability to sense tension when others lie in court as Apollo Justice can?
  • Which could lead to some interesting Fridge Brilliance considering that the cross examination theme playing during those moments was from Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney.
  • This brings up a problem, though, as the Perceive ability was gained through a specific bloodline.
    • Note that she only starts looking "randomly" at Trixie after contact with the Magatama and had no such incidents with similar situations prior. Likely if she does have the Perceive ability or something like it, it is a product of exposure to the magic of the Magatama rather than something natural.
  • It's possible that instead of the Perceive ability, Twilight gained the Magatama's power to see Psyche-Locks.
  • Alternately, notice that both the times Twilight started staring Trixie was using Is and other first-person words, temporarily breaking out of her Third-Person Person routine. It's possible that Twilight was staring simply because she was perplexed to see Trixie actually speaking in a first-person rather then because she gained a new ability from the Magatama.

Twilight won the ability to see Psyche-Locks after this incident.

Phoenix will explain to Twilight why he did what he did.
This might seem like the logical thing to do as Twilight might start calling him out only until he explains to her why he did it.
  • She might not buy it...
    • If the WMG about Mia being channeled, reincarnated or summoned turns out to be true, maybe Mia will be able to talk Twilight around. And regardless, Twilight will probably forgive him by the end of all this; Phoenix DID have good intentions... just no good way of carrying them out.

Happens in part 3.

Rainbow Dash is being blackmailed.
Why is Rainbow Dash so reluctant to tell Phoenix what she was up to at the time of the murder? It would not be a stretch to say that the reason is connected to the photos presented in Part 2. If they were, it opens up the possibility that Rainbow Dash is being blackmailed, whether by the victim or by someone else. Many seem to be focusing too heavily on the contents of the photo; it is often ignored that the fact that the photos exist and were in Ace Swift's possession when he was killed might be far more important.

Blackmail indeed.

Lenora is a Griffon.
Before the credits start in Part 2, 3 OC silhouettes appear, 2 ponies and another one that looks like a griffon. One of the ponies is Cruise Control who was already shown in the audition video, the other one appears to be Mia Fey, something that was discussed in the above WMG and then was confirmed to be the OC Sonata, so that only leaves us with the griffon for the remaining OC, Lenora. If this is true, all guesses regarding a griffon getting involved (most if not all of them pointing to Gilda) could point to Lenora instead.

Confirmed by Word of God through this picture.

The humans who visited Equestria before…
…were the ones from past incarnations of My Little Pony.
  • Most likely. Just for the sake of further developing this idea, Twilight said they based their criminal justice system on the human one, so that means either they did their research on humans, or someone law savvy winded up in Equestria. Maybe another attorney has laid feet on Equestria before? Maybe…someone Phoenix may know?

The humans are the ones from the previous generations of MLP. They and the past gen ponies live overseas.

Speculations on what's going to "piss" everyone off in Part 4
Speaking of part 4, there is something that is going to happen in part 4 that I know WILL piss a lot of people off, but please try to understand when that time comes…it had to be done…
  • Rainbow Dash isn't going to be sent into the sun, but she's going down for something serious. She stole a cloud and put in a place where it was used as a murder weapon, planned to threaten somepony with it (non-harmfully, but that didn't work out), and tried to obstruct any attempts to get the truth from her. Likely charges: negligence, theft of property, intimidation (likely going to have mitigating circumstances, but only enough to reduce it, not negate it), obstruction of justice, and possibly conspiracy (that one's probably going to be tenuous even if it is used).
    • Heck, some of Rainbow Dash's friends may end up taking charges. Stealing from an active crime scene, breaking and entering, witness tampering (or whatever it is was. IIRC, Apple Bloom admitted she didn't give the full account of what she saw because her sister wanted to drop a bombshell on Trixie and have her insult Trixie on the stand, meaning she withheld testimony), etc.
  • Cruise's sister will die. Despite Ace now being out of the picture, Rainbow Dash being cleared, and generally everything being wrapped up, Cruise will receive word that his sister died after all he went through and give Turnabout Storm a Bittersweet Ending. If not dead then at the very least relocated from the Canterlot hospital.
    • Alternatively, she'll die around the beginning of or around the middle of Part 4. As for why it has to be done, Cruise refuses to state why he attacked Phoenix and stole his evidence. After his sister dies, he won't care anymore and will state everything.
    • It will have a negative ending; Cruise is found guilty and sent to the sun, resulting in his sister's discharge from the hospital and subsequent death, leaving everyone feeling really bad about the whole ordeal...then pulling a Clue, going "that's how it could have happened" before showing the happier real ending.
    • Cruise will be found guilty, and his sister will wake up after he's sent to the sun.
  • It will contradict Canon in some way; likely something in Season 2, since the fanfic was written before that season.
  • It's going to end abruptly.
  • The ending will make no sense whatsoever.
  • It Was All Just A Dream.
    • Phoenix Wright will be left with either the impression that It Was All Just A Dream, or no memory of the case at all.
  • It will end up destroying the Mass Relays and likely play into the hands of an insane AI.
  • It's all a Red Herring to mislead us, and the "thing that will piss people off" is something so minor that only the dumbest of the Fan Dumb would raise a ruckus about it. After all, we do know that NeoArtimus can't be the most reliable source of information sometimes.
  • Pinkamena or Trollestia did it.
  • Someone's gonna walk free despite committing serious crimes.
  • Someone will get Killed Off for Real, and it won't be an OC.
  • Princess Cadence comes by and fixes everything with The Power of Love. That or an OC with a serious bend towards being a Mary Sue saves the day.
  • Status Quo Is God, as in this won't hold any weight in both universes.
  • Ace Swift will be alive. And not pay for his crimes.
  • The case ends in Rainbow Dash being convicted, sent to the sun, and then the murderer getting away scot free. Oh, there was going to be judgement for him and a way to rectify this fate in the sequel, but thanks to the Fan Dumb...
  • Princess Celestia is going to intervene and have a mistrial declared for all the flagrant abuses that have been going on, from Trixie's malicious prosecution and conflict of interest, to the Defense's numerous points of withholding and tampering with evidence. Thereby making the series completely pointless.
  • Or alternately, the author is wrong and it winds up not pissing off and even getting lots of rejoicing from the fans. Just that the author was wrong in jumping to conclusions.
    • The thing that will piss us off is the fact that there is nothing that will piss us off, and we have been worrying over nothing. Oh Artimus, you're so meta…
  • Shipping ensues. Do you know how many Fan Dumb get pissed over shipping?
    • Not possible, the author already Jossed that possibility, as she's not a fan of shipping either.
  • It will be split into at least two parts…with a cliffhanger.
  • Phoenix will be forced to show the evidence related to Sonata and admit to breaking and entering. It'll get him in trouble. Twilight may be forced to cover half of the trial while Phoenix being detained.
  • Phoenix gets punished, Rainbow Dash and Cruise Control get found guilty and sent to the sun while Cruise's sister dies, Ace is alive and walks away with Sonata towards the sunset.
  • Phoenix and Twilight are Decoy Protagonists and Cruise Control is the real hero of the story.
  • Cruise's sister wakes up, becomes a Bitch in Sheep's Clothing, and calls out Cruise for his dickish behavior.
  • Ace killed himself, and thus no one is the murderer, rendering the trial worthless.
  • After the trial is over, no one will be able to keep Cruise's sister in Life Support and so the big wigs will pull her out of it. Bonus piss off points if this happens after Cruise helps close the case, or if Celestia is the one deciding to pull the plug.
  • Despite all the evidence pointed towards Ace being a Jerk Jock, everyone outside the courtroom will not know about his blackmailing antics, still being worshiped as a hero.
  • Rainbow Dash is disqualified from taking part in the race despite the whole thing being Ace's fault. This might not earn a lot of pissed off points now because of Wonderbolt Academy.

The "It will be split into at least two parts…with a cliffhanger." guess wins, being the closest of what actually happened. The series is to be concluded in Part 5/4. Although the destruction of the mass relays is still a possibility...

Gilda Griffon will be appearing as a witness but will not be the actual murderer.
The feather that Phoenix presented in court may or may not be Gilda's. If it were Gilda's though, she'd be the viewer's immediate target for suspicion. Considering the plot twists that are so common to Ace Attorney cases, the viewer's initial suspicions may not necessarily be correct. Thus it's not out of the question to think that Gilda might be making an appearance in the game without turning out to be the culprit herself. Trixie's comments about a witness with an "attitude" might also point circumstances in this direction.
  • The feather seems to belong to Lenora the OC Griffin.
  • Also the witness with "attitude" is almost certainly Confirmed as Cruise Control the Pegasus.
    • It's slightly too soon to tell but this guess is probably Jossed
    • It's entirely possible — downright probable, really — that Gilda will indeed appear as an accomplice in the murder, with Lenora's suspected involvement being a Red Herring to keep the audience from immediately realizing the truth. After all, Gilda has issues with Rainbow Dash (never mind that they're her own fault) and has shown herself as willing to attack ponies for no good reason — is it really so inconceivable that she'd work with the other culprits (probably Sonata and/or Trixie) to frame Dash for Ace's death?

All but Confirmed! Gilda was a witness to the crime, the feather was hers, and she did tamper with the scene to frame Dash, but she had nothing to do with the murder aside from that. She just wanted to get back at Dash for ditching her, and confesses on the stand that she really, really overreacted.

Rarity's perfume will become important evidence.
It may take a while to become relevant, but considering she gave Wright her invoice it's highly possible. As with the previous guess, nothing in Ace Attorney is ever done without aim.
  • Given that the bottle Twilight found in the woods looked like a perfume bottle, I'd say this is likely.

Confirmed. It was a key factor in debunking Gilda's testimony.

What Phoenix did at the end of Part 2 will reward him with more than just extra time.
More specifically, something in the questioning of Fluttershy will wind up in getting something that can turn the tide of the case.
  • That's only to be expected; all of the Ace Attorney cases revolve around gathering groundbreaking evidence outside of court by speaking to witnesses.

Confirmed. It allowed Phoenix and Twilight Sparkle to gather a lot of extra evidence that came in very handy in Part 4 and should help prove who is the guilty culprit in Part 5.

The second lightning is the one which killed Ace.
Let's recap. There were 3 lightning bolts (no less, no more):
  • The first one was fired by Rainbow Dash and burned the ground in the clearing at 8:40. It's assumed by many that this is the lightning bolt that killed Ace.
  • The second one, as for now, is a mystery: somehow no one heard it though it's mentioned that lightning bolts make sound only when they touch the ground. It happened a short time after the first one at 8:50.
  • The third one croaked a tree (poor tree), way after the events of the murder, at 11:35.
Now remember that it is confirmed that lightning bolts can't hit the same spot twice. So we can rule out the hypothesis that Ace was struck by lightning at the same place of the first one. Also it's revealed that while a Pegasus is flying, their combination protects them against lightning. However when on ground, we see that the neck area is no longer protected. So, we can imagine that if Ace was flying stationary, the same area around his neck would be vulnerable. So it's entirely possible that said lightning bolt could have killed him. However there's still one problem: even if said lightning bolt struck Ace, it would've left a mark on the ground... ... Or, during episode 1, while they were in the clearing, Phoenix and Twilight noticed that there was dirt on a place, like "somepony was kicking the dirt around in this area". We can probably bet that this is the spot where the second lightning bolt struck (or at least, where Ace's body landed). All that's left to do for the murderer is to move Ace's body on the spot where the first lightning bolt struck. The only question marks left at this point would be:
  • Who really killed Ace?
  • What is the burnt object found by Twilight and Phoenix during episode 1?
  • Why, oh why didn't anybody hear the second lightning bolt? Is it related to the burnt object? If it hit Ace, did something prevented the lightning bolt to struck the ground, therefore preventing it from making any sound?

Pretty much Confirmed: Part 4 reveals that while the first bolt of lightning did strike where the burnt patch is, Ace Swift's body was originally in the dirt pit; the scuffmarks are from Gilda obscuring the imprint when she moved the body and placed it on the burnt patch where the first bolt struck. With the third bolt confirmed as not having struck until the murder scene was investigated, that means only the second bolt could have killed him. Unless a big reveal that it wasn't a lightning bolt at all that killed him comes up.

There will be a friendship report to be written.
Possibly about how you should trust in people or that Justice Will Prevail even in the Darkest Hour.

A friendship report is written; but it is about how friendship, while it's not necessary per se, can bring a lot of happiness and hope to those who have it.

Edgeworth will make a proper appearance in the story.
Follow me on this. Trixie, as she slowly realizes that Phoenix is in a completely different league than her, will cast the same spell Twilight did to find 'The Greatest Prosecuting Attorney' which will result in Edgeworth being summoned (because seriously; who else?). This will in turn lead to a huge Oh Crap or Hoist by His Own Petard moment for Trixie when she realizes that Edgeworth isn't as concerned with winning a trial as he is with finding the guilty party.
  • Sweet Celestia, let this happen. (And why else explicitly show Edgeworth and cast a voice for him? Other then the Court and guard ponies, no one else has been a one time deal.)
  • Just for the sake of irony, Trixie will screw up that spell somehow.
  • If he does appear, he will be under the impression that it's All Just a Dream. After all, magical, talking ponies are simply too illogical to exist, right?

Edgeworth appears, but only back on Earth.

Trixie will have a Villainous Breakdown.
She's an Ace Attorney prosecutor. They're often prone to have breakdowns. Bonus points if said breakdown becomes memetic or put into some kind of Phoenix Wrong sketch.

She has a breakdown after the possibility of Rainbow being guilty goes down the drain. A rabbit pops out of her hat.

The Perry Mason Method will be used.
This should come out as natural, considering Phoenix always has to prove the guilt of someone else in order to save his client.
  • This is a staple of Ace Attorney. Regardless of the circumstances, it will happen.

It is used, but it is ultimately subverted when Phoenix goes out of his way to prove said "guilty" party was actually innocent.

Trixie isn't aware of the truth behind the murder.
She's just an Unwitting Pawn, though not unwilling — more driven by jealousy and hoping to hurt Twilight. She doesn't care who's really responsible, or who goes down for the crime, so long as it's one of Twilight's friends — be it Rainbow Dash, Fluttershy, or anyone else. If Applejack or Rarity or Pinkie or even one of the CM Cs could be potentially punished, she'd leap at it.

On top of that, it'd also give her a 'victory' over Twilight in the sense that she triumphed in court. Taking down the 'top defense attorney' is just an added bonus.

She appeared to only look for Rainbow getting a guilty veridict, as shown by her breakdown after that possibility crumbles. But it is suggested that, deep down, she wanted to find the truth too.

Scootaloo is the only pony besides the rest of the Mane Six that still believes in Rainbow Dash's innocence.
Because let's be honest. She's Rainbow Dash's number 1 fan. I highly doubt she'd think Rainbow is capable of such cruelty. I wouldn't be surprised if she's thinking of some sort of petition to have Rainbow Dash freed.
  • Word of God said that Scootaloo was cast; however, the details about her role are currently under wraps. We will have to wait and see.

She does believe in her innocence. She even tried to bring evidence to clear her name, even if said evidence is pretty much useless.

Sonata was in the forest that night.
Not only was she there, but she also teleported Apple Bloom outside of the forest. That was the bright flash she saw. Not only that she probably teleported herself out and kept anypony from seeing her
  • As well, watch carefully for Sonata's 'cringe' moments; they typically appear whenever Pinkie's being high-pitched. This leads me to believe that Sonata was there when the lightning was hitting, and wasn't prepared for it; possible earache there, Sonata, from the thunder? Causing pain when Pinkie's being high-pitched?

Indeed she was! Overseeing Ace's "negotiations" with Rainbow. And she was also responsible for Apple Bloom's teleportation. There's a different explanation for the cringing, however — Pinkie wasn't just being loud at those moments, she was being more Cloud Cuckoolander than usual. Sonata was trying not to laugh right in her face.

Well, sort of. There is an evil Rainbow Dash, but she's a magically disguised impostor, not an Evil Twin.
  • Since they introduced Changelings, the possibility for this has increased dramatically.
  • Or, there is an evil twin, expect that in fact it isn't Rainbow Dash's twin…But Trixie's! If Twilight's reactions during part 2 weren't caused by seeing psych-locks around Trixie, it may have been caused by Trixie's twin not exactly acting like Trixie would. Though, truth to be told, it's still a quite iffy hypothesis.
  • Looking at the background of the channel right now, there is an OC pony that bears a striking resemblance to Rainbow Dash, but red-colored instead of blue, along with a scar. Though he/she might not be a changeling, Pinkie Pie might not be too far off on this Evil Twin thing.

Confirmed. Although it has no real relevance to the story, Wright does run into an aggressive and rude pegasus with a red-orange coat and a rainbow mane who threatens him. There is no explanation for who or what this pony actually is, but it seems Wob Niar is real after all.

Sonata will pull a Heel-Face Turn
Okay, okay, I'm going to get some flack for saying it, but just hear me out.

Now, this was inspired by one of the above Guesses about the The Power Of Trust being a theme for the series; Sonata's special talent, the thing that she is almost supernaturally gifted in, is observation, meaning that she could easily tell when someone is lying. If she was an early bloomer, she could have had her trust betrayed by somepony close to her when she realized they were lying thanks to her skill, possibly to the point that she became as she is today.

However, Phoenix isn't one to lie unless he absolutely HAS to, making him the perfect someone to restore her faith that not everyone is a liar and that good and decent people (And ponies) still exist. I realize this invokes a lot of Humans Are Special overtones, and I'm sorry, but it's just been on my mind a lot.

Very close to how the actual events played out. He proves his ideals and the value of having someone on your side to her by using the very same truth she used to dismiss in favor of "cold hard justice" in order to save her life and give her a second chance.

At some point, Neo will humorously note how some of the above guesses are over the top and not what she was thinking at all

She did call out a few guesses for being way over the top, like Trixie being magically manipulated.

Pinkie Pie's Golf Club is the Murder Weapon
The murderer found Pinkie Pie's golf club, stuck it down Ace's shirt or tricked him into holding it, and set off the cloud. The club acted as a lighting rod, allowing the lighting to bypass Ace's protective suit and kill him. The murderer then moved Ace's body to where the first bolt hit and threw the club into the river where Twilight Sparkle found it.
  • And the club part broke off: that's what Pheonix found the night he was brought to Equestria.
    • They probably didn't have to trick Ace into holding it. Rainbow Dash mentioned that the suit was very itchy. Ace would've been chafing something nasty and all the culprit had to do was give him something long, thin and metallic to use to scratch an itch and then set off the cloud.

The golf club did kill him, but Ace brought it uppon himself by holding it in his mouth while flying to give Sonata chase.

Cruise Control is now being blackmailed by Sonata
The reason the second set of Psych-locks appeared in Cruise Control's conversation with Twilight is because he knows who the killer is: Sonata! And she's blackmailing him with his sister. Sonata also lives in Canterlot and she could easily pull some strings to keep Cruise Control's sister there and take her out if she wanted to.

Indeed he was, as she was trying to cover up her "crime".

Ace accidentally killed himself
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin. This idea bugged me even since first episode. Because being sent to the sun seems such harsh punishment, even for O Cs.
  • My guess for what's actually happened. After Dash left the forest, either Cruise or Sonata confronted him...probably Cruise. During the heated argument, Ace lost it. He is about to attack using Pinkie's golf club when the bolt comes down and did him in. I am unfamiliar with MLP, but after the episode 4 it is told that most ponies (except Unicorn) hold things with their mouth. I think that's what Ace did. Then, the other (probably Sonata) witness the scene and told Cruise to shut up and blackmailed him. They decided to blame it on Dash. The same reason is used to blackmail Cruise into stealing Phoenix's evidence.

That's close to how the actual events played out, at least as far as the death motive is concerned.

Sonata's "Because unlike everyone else, I know" refers to
  • A blackmail material for Trixie, because she had for anyone else
    • Given said material, it's probably refers to Trixie relation with Ace. As another WMG above, I think that's the only reason it fits. Trixie is related with Ace, probably even helping him blackmailing others. And then, he dead. She was actually devastated by his death and intent to get revenge on the murderer. This explains her black locks and her intent to get on Dash whom she thought was the murderer.
  • Is the reason behind her black psyche-locks. She learnt the real motive behind her grudge against Twilight either through her Hyper Awareness and knack at getting information, or by somehow being involved in the whole thing.

It is heavily implied the latter is the thing she was referring to.

The charred up item that Phoenix and Twilight found in Part 1 (that either of them could recognize) will be a key piece of evidence in the trial.
Think about it: nothing in the Ace Attorney universe happens by accident. Almost no evidence is given for no reason. That charred up item will be recognized in the trial.
  • Isn't that the head of Pinkie's golf club? Didn't Pinkie identify the stick as her iron, but it was missing its head? Wouldn't it make sense that the burnt thing is the golf head charred by the 2nd bolt?

It turns out to be a huge key through the whole final stretch of the trial. Up and including to being the thing that helped prove Sonata's innocence.

Sonata will try, and fail, to accuse Phoenix of breaking and entering
Given how Defense Attorneys seem to get a little more leeway, Sonata will attempt to charge Phoenix of breaking and entering... only to be told by the Judge that, since it was related to the crime scene, due to Sonata's room also being Ace Swift's room, Phoenix wasn't breaking any laws by investigating in there.

She tries and fails indeed, but because that is a crime unrelated to the case at hand more that Phoenix getting leeway.

Mia is related to Celestia somehow.
This would explain how Celestia knows so much about Phoenix and his accomplishments.
  • Mia's spirit has made contact with Celestia somehow. Maybe someone else summoned her?
  • It's possible that Celestia was channeling Mia when she told Twilight to summon Phoenix. This WMG is from the YouTube comments from the Part 3 - Twilight preview.
  • Princess Celestia is Mia Fey reborn. Yeah, this sounds crazy, but there are not many other alternatives here.

She does know Mia, but for a different reason. Celestia was the one that screwed up a Greatest Defense Attorney spell, and ended up getting Mia, who unfortunately was a little too dead to do the job, so Mia suggested Celestia to get Phoenix Wright. Celestia doesn't even learn her name until The Stinger.

     Jossed Guesses 
Pinkie Pie was the one who gave the tip.
Trixie mentioned that the reason why the police didn't respond to the tip seriously at first because of the tipper's "attitude", and Pinkie could easily have used her Pinkie Senses to find out that something big was going to happen.

Jossed by Part 3 - Twilight. Cruise Control was the anonymous tip.

The Audience is playing a big role in determining the case's outcome.
They're pointing out contradictions that weren't pointed out in court and even theorizing on who did it. Maybe NeoArtimus will take notes from the comments and add them to her next part with the audience helping to either clear Rainbow Dash's name or send her to the sun.
  • Unlikely; she has stated that she has the overall plot as good as complete; she only needs to write how everything goes down (by the time this was written she has already sent the script of Part 3 to the voice actors). But I wouldn't be surprised if she's taking ideas from the comments for potential gags.

Jossed, the author has already stated that she had the story and plot points completed before Season 2 of MLP started. She's even confirmed that there are some plot points that contradict with some of Season 2's events, and it's too late to fix them.

Regarding the reason Part 3 is taking so long.
NeoArtimus has said there's a special motive as to why Part 3 is taking more time than usual to make besides the massive ammount of content that part will have. It's supposed to be a surprise, but she's said that bronies in particular will like the reason. Hmm…a time consuming feature that bronies might enjoy…and she's said before that there's going to be song in part 3…Friendship is Magic style animated opening mayhaps? Or maybe an animated scene put in between that part?

Turns out that's not the motive of the delay. Part 3 is a double feature, one video from Phoenix's and another from Twilight's P.O.V.

Trixie is possessed.
Her lingering grudge against Twilight made her a perfect pawn. Consider her glee at Phoenix accusing Fluttershy, one of Twilight's friends…and somepony who didn't take part in her original heckling and humiliation. The occasional slips into first person are her possessor breaking character.

Jossed by NeoArtimus herself in the comments section of her profile for bring a BIT too epileptic.

Phoenix Wright will be conducting the second day of investigation alone.
After Phoenix Wright pointed out that Fluttershy is a potential suspect, I doubt Twilight will be willing to stay with him...at least at first. Therefore he'd be left to try and gather evidence and possibly even face everyone's criticism (ESPECIALLY ponies like Applejack and Rarity).

Nope; see confirmed guesses.

There will be a song sung by a...'character' in Part 3.
This is not me guessing; this was actually written by NeoArtimus. Time to make those Epileptic Trees grow:
  • Easy guess: Pinkie Pie will sing and it will creep out Phoenix.
    • It's most likely her. This comment was left on the profile of the guy who voices Phoenix. "I just got the part three script and it's looking really good; shame I have to stay secretive. (How would they react if they knew I spoke to that "one" pony who's in it…What was with her? She really needs a dose of Ritalin and a glass of water.)"
  • Phoenix himself will sing, he's taken lessons from The Phoenix Wright Musical Project after all.
  • Edgeworth will, he will get summoned while he's singing to himself the Steel Samurai's theme.

Due to time constraints, the song supposed to appear in Part 3 - Phoenix wasn't finished.

The voice at the end of the second preview clip for part 3 will belong to Octavia.
Going from the tone and accent, it sounds like a voice that Octavia could have if she were a canon character.
  • Or it could be Gilda. No offense to the original poster but it actually would make more sense for the list shown to be in Gilda's room that she's renting for some reason or other whether she has it on purpose for an innocuous reason, was given it but didn't realize the significance and is in the middle of having someone try to frame her or have had someone slip it into her room without knowledge. As for why Gilda would be in Ponyville, she might have come to see Dash race and also apologize because she feels bad about the past. She ended up staying because she wanted to be a character witness but someone thought she would make a perfect patsy to pin the murder on; whether Dash or Gilda got convicted, someone would end up heartbroken over a lost friend.

It wound up being an OC pony; see part 3.

If Discord appears...
...His theme would be Investigation's "The Enemy Who Surpasses The Law", before he decides that's too dull and changes the background music to "Let Me Laugh At The Cool".

Jossed. Word of God says that the story was planned out before Season 2. Discord won't appear.

Dr Whooves knocked Phoenix out.

1) Keikoandgilly is one of THE voices for the doctor and is already doing voices for Turnabout Storm. Derpy here is voiced by Balddumborat, who voices her in Dr. Whooves and the assistant

2) One of the theories for the Doctor's incarnation in MLP is that he used to be human shaped but the next regeneration turned him into a pony. This is why his walk cycles are sometimes slightly off and so on. He's still getting used to the world.

3) It was implied Phoenix was knocked out by someone hitting the nerves on the back of his neck. The only pony to do this would be someone who knows not only that the nerve cluster exists, but where it is…i.e. somepony who used to be human, humanoid or near humans themselves.

Sonata could be blackmailing Dr. Whooves for a variety of reasons. She knows he's not really a pony, The Time War, she knows about the Tardis, Dr Whooves and Derpy are in an inappropriate relationship...and he knocks Phoenix out because he likes his life in Ponyville.

Jossed. It was Cruise Control, as indicated in Part 3 - Twilight.

Sonata knocked out Phoenix.
Jossed. It was Cruise Control.

Sonata is pregnant with Ace's foal.
She's just hiding it because it would be unprofessional to reveal she...was with a client. Those random winces? Foal be kicking.

Jossed by the author herself. Though she said that the author of this theory should recieve a medal.

Phoenix will use Owlolysius to nail Sonata
At the end of Part 3 - Phoenix, Phoenix asked Owloysius for a favor…it's a long shot, but it's possible that the favor is taking the evidence on Sonata and Ace's blackmail to the proper authorities.

Part 4 reveals that the favor was researching all night. (Which may indirectly help, but won't be the critical piece.)

The crime scene was staged.
Rainbow Dash triggered the lightning bolt to destroy the photos. The second lightning bolt hit Ace as he was flying away. Someone came along, dressed him in the lightning-proof suit, put the photos on his body, and moved him to where the first bolt hit; probably Trixie.
  • This is a good idea but I honestly don't see Trixie doing this...she's not smart enough! I personally see someone who has a grudge against Rainbow (Trixie has one by proxy) and decided framing her for murder would be a good enough revenge or possibly one of the other highest ranked racers who decided that with Rainbow out of the way, they just needed to remove Ace and their victory would be secured.

Pretty much jossed: Cruise Control gives Twilight Sparkle a photo of Ace Swift entering the Everfree Forest while wearing a lightning-proof suit in Part 3: Twilight, while Rainbow Dash confesses under magatama that she only set off the lightning bolt to scare Ace Swift in Part 3: Phoenix.

The Second Lightning Bolt DID hit something!
Namely, the mail carrier delivering Rarity's perfume, thus why it never arrived and Twilight found it in the forest.
  • That could also explain why Twilight thought the substance in the bottle she found (quite possibly the perfume) smelled so horrible. The lightning could have altered the chemical structure of the perfume and created the horrible smell Twilight complains about.

Nope. Gilda shows up in part 4 and admits that SHE was the one who was supposed to deliver the perfume Rarity ordered; she applied some to herself, then dropped the bag while flying after Rainbow Dash and couldn't find it again. This is used to link the two together because Gilda has the same horrible smell as the perfume.

The cloud was moved by magic after Rainbow used it the first time.
Remember how there was a big dug up spot in the ground. I'm willing to bet money that that's where the first bolt struck down. The second bolt did kill Ace, but the first bolt missed and wasn't even at his exact location.

Nope. Gilda eventually confesses in Part 4 that Ace's body was originally lying on the dirt patch; she was the one who placed him on the charred spot where the first bolt struck, to frame Rainbow Dash. The spot that's all dug up and scuffed around is that way because of her ruining the imprint so nobody would realise the body had been moved from there to under the cloud.

Twilight Sparkle will channel Mia Fey.
Considering The Stinger at the end of Part 2 where we hear Phoenix calling out Mia's name, as well as the mysterious Magatama glow before the trial, this one is not an unreasonable guess.
  • All but confirmed seeing as though the audition video's stinger shows a ponified version of Mia for a split second.
    • Unless that's not a channeled Mia but a reincarnation. There's a mystery that Part 1 left hanging: namely how Twilight knew Phoenix's name. What if she didn't summon the best defense attorney but instead summoned Phoenix intentionally, following the advice of a peculiar pony?
      • Well, Part 3 - Twilight revealed that Celestia explicitly told Twilight to summon Phoenix, but not how she knew of him.
  • Please provide the link to this video.
  • Alternatively, she could somehow end up summoning Mia Fey instead, except in Pony form. Reasoning for this would be that she'd be trying to summon a different lawyer after Phoenix is forced to accuse Fluttershy to buy time, to get that one to take his place, who would then explain things in a bit more detail.
    • PLEASE let this one be true. I want Twilight to understand Phoenix's motives so badly it hurts.
  • Mia will be summoned by Twilight during Part 5. It's quite evident at this point that Twilight didn't have any chance of summoning her before that point, considering she didn't even know about her existence right until Phoenix told her by the end of Part 4. With this knowledge, and the fact that she'll have a dead ringer of Mia right in front of her face, she might get the chance to pull out a spirit chanelling; most likely out of pure desperation when things start looking ugly again.

No such thing happens in the end. Although Mia does show up in spirit for the coup de grâce.

The one case in Justice For All will be brought up.
Phoenix is bound to be confronted by at least Twilight on the stunt he pulled in court. At which point, he'd explain his reasoning for accusing Fluttershy as well as pointing out that he needs no help from Twilight in hating himself for it, partially explaining the one case.
  • Although I agree with that, I think initially Twilight won't want to talk to him and walks out on him as mentioned in the above WMG. He will however bring it up to Fluttershy in the Detention Center, and she will probably have the kindness to forgive him; maybe even saying that if it means helping Rainbow Dash, she's happy to help in any way she can.
    • Interestingly, this also calls to mind Case 1-5, where Lana forfeits her right to an attorney and dismisses Phoenix in the middle of the trial before Edgeworth is able to turn the tide back into Phoenix's favor. It's possible that Rainbow Dash, especially since she is the Element of Loyalty and Phoenix has accused her friend Fluttershy of the murder, might do exactly the same thing before someone else intervenes on Phoenix's behalf.
    • Perhaps Trixie might have second thoughts about getting revenge? She's a jerk, yes but I REALLY don't think she's one to do THIS to Twilight and her friends.
    • Did you see how she reacted at the end of part 2? She was perfectly happy to have Phoenix accuse Fluttershy. She doesn't have any qualms about throwing anypony under the bus as long as she gets what she wants.
      • Given Part 3-Twilight, Trixie having second thoughts is a little more probable given that her black Psyche-Locks aren't evil in nature but rather just make Twilight feel incredibly sad.

Case 2-4 is not brought up at any point.

The culprit tried to kill Rainbow Dash, not Ace Swift.
Let's assume that the murder was premeditated. The fact that Rainbow Dash and Ace Swift were both in the same area of the Everfree Forest at the same time suggests that Rainbow Dash could have been just as likely a target as Ace Swift. Granted, there is still not enough evidence that proves the act was premeditated but this is still a reasonable guess considering what has already been shown in court.
  • Ugh; this theory may be plausible but it gives me the chills…OH MY CELESTIA! Something just hit me. There's a theory that Rainbow Dash is being blackmailed right? Well…what if Fluttershy becomes a target by the blackmailer? She's in the detention center so someone claiming to be an old friend or part of the defense team might be able to slip in and kidnap her to use as a hostage so Rainbow takes the fall. And Rainbow would do it given that she's the Element of Loyalty and it's been all but confirmed that Fluttershy is one of her oldest friends...gah; I hate myself right now.
    • Original poster of the above: Sorry everyone. I've been informed that my panic was spurned by being misinformed and Fluttershy is safe. Thank Celestia huh?
    • Well, devil's advocate here, but what's still stopping somepony from kidnapping Fluttershy?
      • Flutters being kidnapped may not be Jossed yet but if the preview for Part 4 is any indication, the only pony getting kidnapped would be Twilight…

Nope, Rainbow was never the target.

Ace Swift isn't dead to begin with.
Call this a hunch, but in a setting like My Little Pony, it's hard to imagine a murder taking place other than snuff fics.
  • With the autopsy report and a crime scene complete with Chalk Outline and everything, I highly doubt that. Even if he didn't die, they got Phoenix Wright, ace Mystery Magnet and video game poster boy of Always Murder, taken to Ponyville. Something will die at some point.
  • Actually, here's my theory: since Ace is known to have blackmailed anybody with a legitimate chance to beat him, he would probably be more concerned with having a "perfect record" than anything else. When Rainbow Dash scared the daylights out of him with the lightning cloud, he probably had a few horrified thoughts out of how it came THAT close to killing him…and then suddenly realized what WOULD have happened if he was killed: Rainbow Dash would've been banished, there would be no evidence to his blackmail scheme (until Phoenix started digging it up, that is), and he'd still keep his "perfect" record. So he had Sonata and Trixie fake his death, and he's currently in hiding, waiting until Rainbow Dash had been banished before heading off to retirement. Bonus points if either A) either Sonata or Trixie murdered him anyways, or B) if he was convicted for his crimes, that Rainbow Dash would challenge him to a one on one race - and completely whipping him in the process!

Ace Swift is very, very dead. No question.

There is more than one culprit involved in the murder.
This is as of yet unsubstantiated but still a valid guess. Many theories seem to revolve around Gilda or Trixie being the culprit but this would make the case far too simple. A more likely answer is that numerous individuals are involved with one central figure that is ultimately responsible.
  • I like this one. And then if Gilda, Trixie or both are involved, they come to realize just what they've done and in their horror/disgust with themselves, they join up with Phoenix to clear Dash.
    • Gilda being a culprit is pretty much jossed by #4; she admits to tampering with the crime scene to frame Rainbow Dash as the killer, but insists that the pegasus was alive when she first went after Rainbow Dash. Also, Phoenix notes to himself that his research reveals griffons cannot set off lightning clouds; that's an ability unique to pegasi.

No. The one true culprit was a heavy dose of karma.

The culprit was an Equestrian attorney.
Compare the burnt object that Phoenix and Twilight found with the Equestrian attorney badge. There is somewhat of a resemblance, although this is still not confirmed in any way. This is Wild Mass Guessing, after all.

The burnt object was part of Pinkie's club.

The culprit is Trixie.
She's an attorney? Check. She can summon thunderclouds? Check. Likes to spite Twilight's Friends in revenge for being shown off? Check. The fact that Manfred, the character most people seem to compare her to in this fanfic, pulled off a murder with a similar motive? Check.
  • This seems to be a prevailing opinion but it appears far too obvious of an answer to create an interesting case. See the above WMG that suggests more than one pony was involved.
    • That and she doesn't have strong enough magic.
    • Plus Trixie's not a Pegasus so she couldn't move or manipulate the cloud which was confirmed as the cause of death.
    • Unicorn magic is just as capable of affecting the weather as Pegasus magic. Unicorn magic is used to change the weather and the seasons in Canterlot, and both Luna and Trixie herself have used Dramatic Thunder in their Large Ham moments. Hearths Warming Eve also implies Unicorns are able to affect the weather.
      • Trixie can summon lightning, but we don't know for certain if she can manage to summon real lethal lightning, considering most, if not all, of her tricks are pretty low key. This is especially important because, at the end of #4, Twilight notes that not only are killing-grade lightning spells ancient, forbidden magic, they're also extremely difficult, to the point she doubts that she herself could cast one. And Twilight's a magical prodigy, as the show makes clear.

Not even close.

Rainbow Dash really did do it.
That or Fluttershy. How shocking would that be?
  • When she was asked if she had anything to do with the murder, no Psyche-Locks appeared at all. It isn't like the case with Matt Engarde, the true culprit of Case 2-4 of the Phoenix Wright trilogy, who was able to bypass the locks only because Phoenix worded his question badly. The fact is that Rainbow Dash couldn't have been lying when she said she had nothing to do with Ace Swift's murder, especially since Phoenix worded his question as such.
    • Riiiiiiight. Forgot about that.
  • Plus no Psyche-Locks showed up when she said "I DIDN'T KILL ANYPONY!" so she's not lying about that and therefore didn't commit the murder.
    • What Phoenix asked was if Rainbow had anything to do with Ace's murder, but what she answered with was that she didn't kill Ace, which isn't a direct answer. All it means is that she didn't directly kill him, but it doesn't mean that she wasn't involved in some other way.
      • That doesn't change the fact that Phoenix worded his question as, quote, "Did you have ANYTHING to do with the death of Ace Swift?". If Rainbow Dash had anything at all to hide about his death, the locks would have appeared there and then.
      • Not only that, notice that Rainbow didn't hesitate at all before answering "I told you…I DIDN'T KILL ANYPONY!". In every, every single case when someone was hiding something in the original Ace Attorney, they would noticeably hesitate in some way before answering, whether by stammering or by silence, indicated with an ellipsis "…". Even Matt Engarde, who was hiding something even though no Psyche-Locks showed up, initially answered Phoenix with silence, represented by the ellipsis that showed up on the dialogue bar at that point in the game. Rainbow Dash, on the other hand, does not hesitate at all. If we accept the hesitating-equals-hiding pattern from Ace Attorney as true, chances are that Rainbow truly has nothing to hide.
      • On top of that, recall that Rainbow Dash does stammer a bit when the Psyche-Locks show up later in the story, which adds yet more credence to the above theory.

Even less close!

Ace Swift did it.
Consider if you will that Ace is indeed cheating. He could have called Rainbow Dash into the forest, intending to blackmail her into competing. Even with the embarrassing pictures though, she was hardly about to give in, adamantly refusing to do it. Thus, Ace's insurance plan was to use the thundercloud which he stole from the ones Rainbow Dash was using, activated it preemptively and then tried to pin Rainbow Dash under the cloud. However she escaped and the cloud killed Ace instead. Rainbow Dash then ran into Apple Bloom in her frantic flight, soon flying out of the forest and getting seen by Fluttershy as Apple Bloom got back onto the path. This would be why Fluttershy didn't see Apple Bloom. The theory likely has holes in it so feel free to discuss and take apart if need be.
  • Rainbow Dash herself mentioned that she was planning on competing anyway and even Twilight makes a point to mention how much Rainbow Dash was bragging that she'd win. For what reason would Ace Swift have to coerce Rainbow Dash in competing?
    • He was trying to coerce her into NOT competing. That's how he's won every single race he's been in: by blackmailing anypony that's faster than him to drop out of the race.
  • The cartoon has shown that lightning strikes only when a Pegasus touches the cloud as shown in this clip. If Rainbow Dash managed to escape and the lightning somehow killed Ace Swift on the ground, then who or what triggered the lightning?
  • Even if the lightning struck somehow, what are the odds that the lightning would have hit precisely one of the few areas of his body that was not protected by a lightning-proof suit?
    • How do you aim a lightning bolt in the first place? Even with the whole 'directly below the cloud' thing, that's still kinda vague.
  • My thoughts on this one are as follows: If this is true, then Ace messed up because he's a professional athlete and not a weather pony so he couldn't aim the lightning properly and struck himself. Frightened by the sudden turn of events, Rainbow fled the scene in a panic (explaining how she looked when Fluttershy saw her) and distracted Fluttershy long enough for her to miss Apple Bloom. The whole hitting him in a so-called "sweet spot" was either poor luck or another pony (specifically a Unicorn) who wanted Ace out of the way for some reason who used magic to redirect the lightning to hit the exact right spot. Feel free to pick apart as you want but I think this is pretty sound.
    • Isn't Sonata a Unicorn? Perhaps she'd be the one to help redirect, for she was tired of helping Ace in his blackmail?
  • Given what we've seen, this theory seems to be on its way to being Jossed.

While the BASIC idea is correct, the rest of it is completely off the mark. He brought his own demise by trying to give chase to Sonata with the golf club in his mouth.

An Odd Friendship will form between Pinkie Pie and the Judge
Considering both are quite the Cloud Cuckoo Landers, the latter is enjoying his stay at Ponyville, and Rule of Funny, this is not unlikely.

They don't meet directly on-screen, so it is to be assumed this doesn't happen.

Phoenix Wright will write a letter to Princess Celestia by the end of this.
It's My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. This is bound to happen.

He doesn't write a letter, and both Every Episode Endings are not mixed.

The Equestrian Attorney Badge will be useful again somehow.
I'm not necessarily saying it'll be used as evidence or something like that. Maybe it will form a bridge between Nick's world and Equestria once he comes back? (if he comes back...).

We don't even get confirmation that he took it back with him.

The Culprit is an Original Character.
Just another hunch.
  • Probably is, if the feather apparently being Lenora's is any indication.
    • The feather is actually Gilda's, though, which is confirmed in part 4.

Yes... but no. Ace's demise was self-inflicted, but not deliberately.

Addendum to the above: Trixie will end up making good points during the breakdown
She'll descend into a rant about all the breaches in protocol (ignoring her own) by having children withhold testimony to make big reveals on the stand instead of telling everything from the get-go, stealing evidence from an active crime scene, not telling important details like seeing somepony else walk out of the forest, and how if Rainbow Dash didn't bring Ace Swift to an isolated location with the intent to threaten him with a potentially lethal object that she both stole and activated, Rainbow Dash wouldn't be on trial in the first place.

Nope. She mostly grumbles.

Phoenix will have a chance to give her either a Hannibal Lecture or a "The Reason You Suck" Speech to Trixie at some point.
Maybe during the Break the Haughty moment.
  • Oh; if Trixie stays the bad guy, let this happen! She needs it!

Nothing of the sort happens.

Phoenix's accusation at the end of Part 2 is right.
Phoenix never used the Magatama on her, so there's no proof against her doing it. He may have been just buying time, but his logic still fits, and Trixie doesn't wish to argue with the idea of having two of Twilight's friends in the slammer. Also note that Dahlia was mentioned in Part 1. Foreshadowing?
  • At this point, we can say Celestia did it. When Phoenix Wright is in the court, early on, NO accusation is too outlandish.
  • Oh come on! Fluttershy committing murder? May I ask what is going on in the brain of the original poster? That's crazy!

Wrong in a lot of levels.

Trixie is being manipulated.
Note how at how a few points, Trixie's mood shifts, her cool persona cracking every so often when something unexpected happens. Something Twilight notices too. Maybe she's being blackmailed into doing this, just as Ace Swift apparently intended to blackmail Rainbow Dash?
  • Certainly a plausible idea. Note that whenever Trixie gets flustered at these points, she stops referring to herself in the third person, indicating that she is not acting normally at these points.
  • This is further evidenced in Part 3 - Twilight when Twilight notices Trixie's habit of slipping into first-person pronouns when she's nervous or hiding something. She points out that Trixie does this when she claims that her reasons for prosecuting Rainbow Dash are all about the Ursa Minor incident, and when she presses harder, black Psyche-Locks appear

No. She acted on her own account through the whole ordeal.

There will be emphasis put on the Power of Trust.
The trust Phoenix has with his clients, and the one between him and Edgeworth, are a moving force of his series. He mentions this trust in Part 1 as his inspiration for becoming and an important part of being a defense attorney. It seems to be Nick's answer to MLP's Power of Friendship, and it might become a key point in Turnabout Storm, as how one should trust on his friends and allies even on the darkest of times.
  • Hell, if you want to reach near conspiracy theorist levels on this guess, he might or will somehow be connected to the Elements of Harmony by this power.

While trust is brought up, it's not put emphasis into. The real emphasis is put on the Power of Friendship and the pursuit of the truth.

One of Ace's previous blackmail victims is the murderer!
Blackmailing may be Ace's usual method for winning, and some other Pegasus who he did this to was looking for revenge, with Rainbow set up as the fall guy. Err, pony.

Unless he somehow blackmailed karma, then no.

The murder weapon is the small, burnt metal object revealed to be part of Pinkie Pie's lost golf club.
Ace's suit had a few precise weak points where lightning could theoretically strike it, right? If someone were to stick a small strip of metal on the back of his neck, or sabotage his suit by clipping something on, or something similar, it *might* be conductive enough to act like a lightning rod, especially if there's nowhere else for it to strike. It would also allow the bolt that killed him to be one of the "imprecise" second or third lightning bolts from a cloud; no need to manually aim directly under the cloud for a weak point if you've got something that attracts the lightning to it. This also opens up the possibility of explaining the "missing lightning bolt" discrepancy; the first lightning bolt could've gone off long before the murder and the "first lightning bolt" everyone heard is actually the second lightning bolt.
  • Supporting this is that the second missing lightning bolt was silent, therefore, according to Rainbow Dash, it had to have it something in midair. Since there was no sound, meaning that he could not have been killed on the group when he was vulnerable, the second lightning bolt had to be the "murder weapon," and the metal rod jammed onto Ace somehow would allow for him to be vulnerable in the air, this theory is very plausible.

So close but no. It was the golf club that that burnt object belonged to the cause of death. The object was a result of Sonata using it to defend herself by hitting Ace.

Franziska taught Trixie how to prosecute.
Trixie is extremely similar to Franziska in her prosecuting style, almost like if von Karma swapped her whip with more Trash Talk. Maybe this is more than just a coincidence, and she actually learned prosecution from Franziska herself; she might have invoked a prosecutor before and learned from her, which would also explain how she got into prosecution in the first place.

She doesn't even show her face. Although Trixie still has a liking for the word "fool".

The second lightning bolt never hit anything.
Does anyone remember how it was said that "lightning is what produces the noise when it strikes the ground" when Nick tries to point out how Fluttershy 'heard the lightning bolt'. This information seems a bit odd to have been included in this story other than to illustrate further how little Nick knows of Equestria.

Also, Apple Bloom said she only saw the lightning bolt but not necessarily that she heard it (This is a bit of a stretch though). And Fluttershy also never heard the second bolt even though it was confirmed to have been set off because of the 'cloud ballistics' and she would have been able to hear it from her cottage.

This may mean that the second lightning bolt didn't hit anything at all or at least hit something that for some reason wouldn't make it give off a sound or leave a mark. It is also possible that it would be related to the burnt metal object that Nick and Twilight found at the crime scene.

There is no telling whether this is even significant to what happened or even how it fits in to the case but this IS a Wild Mass Guess and there is a fair amount of emphasis on the second lightning bolt even though we don't really know a lot about it or what happened to it. So it's either a Red Herring or critical to the case.
  • This actually makes sense. Very rarely do the Phoenix Wright games include information without it becoming somehow important...especially if it's highlighted multiple times. I think we can expect for the second lightning bolt to become more important in the next two installments.
  • Invoked by Trixie in Part 4, where she claims that the second bolt must have been a "dud bolt" (ricocheting inside the cloud instead of firing) as part of her argument to convince the judge of Rainbow Dash being guilty after all, despite the evidence Phoenix had presented.

The truth is about the exact opposite situation.

Derpy did it.
Search your feelings; you know it to be true! In addition, she's a Pegasus. Lyra and Bon-Bon probably conspired with her.

Yes, she di-! ...Oh wait, no.'

Twilight is lying about Celestia being rejected as judge. Either there is no high council or Celestia suggested to the council to have someone else preside.
I highly doubt any pony would want to go against Celestia's will. Most ponies respect her and fear those who show any kind of disrespect. If that's the case, then why did Twilight lie about that? Celestia told her to. She knows Rainbow Dash didn't do it, but she knew that even if she did let her off, everypony would still believe she did it. She had Twilight summon Phoenix to truly prove that Rainbow Dash didn't do it and then had her summon the Judge to show that there wouldn't be any bias in the verdict.

Nothing suggests she was lying about it.

Edgeworth will help Phoenix with Trixie.
Why not? They're friends since childhood.

He only calls him out on a supposed disturbing fetish. Does that count as helping?

The Black locks Twilight mentions will belong to the real killer.
If Apollo Justice is anything to go by, this is probably the case. I also maintain that the magatama, or rather its power charged into Twilight, will be unable to break them as well.
  • The black locks belong to Trixie, and appeared when Twilight asked why was she prosecuting the case. They could mean anything from her being involved in the crime to the real motive behind her grudge with Twilight.

Nope. The locks are for a resentment she has on Twilight, although what exactly they are hiding is never shown explicitly.

Sonata set the whole thing up.
She's blackmailing the actual killers to carry out the murders in her stead and refuses to go down with them.

She set up the crime scene, but not the crime itself.

Twilight will have to finish the trial herself.
I think Phoenix will use the evidence against Sonata to bring her down and drag out the truth and Sonata will attempt to take Phoenix down with her. Twilight will then step in and take control as lead defense to finish the trial. It would be great homage to how Maya got herself held in contempt of court on Edgeworth's behalf
  • Not Jossed yet but seemingly on its way. First of all, Twilight tells Phoenix that she cancelled her appeal to become an attorney before the court; if Phoenix goes to jail, Twilight can't legally take his place.

Jossed. Phoenix goes through the whole thing without much problem.

Derpy's misdelivered letter will become more important in Twilight's part.
Just a hunch. In Ace Attorney, nothing is ever done without aim. Most everything becomes relevant at some point.

It doesn't turn out to be that important after all

Sonata's random winces are from a recent injury.
Specifically, the second lightning bolt hit her after she killed Ace Swift. The reason she didn't die is because she was using a spell to protect her from lighting as a safety measure (she did have an advanced spell book from Canterlot). However, she wasn't powerful enough to use the spell properly so the protection was incomplete leading to her surviving without major injury but still being in a fair deal of pain.

Jossed. Those weren't winces at all. She was actually trying not to laugh at Pinkie's jokes in order to maintain a professional demeanor.

Sonata did it.
... Seriously, you want an explanation as to why this is plausible?
  • Yes, please.
    • Very well. This is based off the fact that she's an OC. Think about it, if the murderer was an established character, that would probably paint them in a dark color, or otherwise earn the ire of the fanbase. It's sort of like why the victim is an OC, to avoid ire of the fanbase. However, with Lenora and Cruise in the game now, her chances are now slimmed by 66%.
      • To add to this WMG, this series is full of Shout-Outs. Who's to say Sonata's name isn't one to Detective Conan and the Midnight Sonata case.
      • With the end of Part 4 this is looking very likely (As it's Ace Attorney Tradition to cross examine the murderer last). It would also make it an ironic inversion of Turnabout Sisters with the magic intellectual seeking some sense of justice murdering the blackmailing monster following through with Sonata being the anti-Mia.

Jossed. She thought she had killed him in self-defense, but even that was wrong.

Something will happen that will let Phoenix spill the beans on the blackmail without fear of being arrested.
If Sonata is the killer, and he finds some evidence leading to her that he could have found without going into the hotel room, then he could nail her for that, and her protestations that he broke into her hotel room could be put under suspicion. Even then, Phoenix would probably be perfectly fine with facing the consequences for his actions as long as it didn't hurt Rainbow Dash's case; if the real killer were found, he could go to jail then.

No. Sonata spills the beans anyway, but the Judge is convinced to forget this until the trial is over. And in the end, Sonata lifts all charges against him.

Ace wasn't a Pegasus to begin with.
Sonata use a spell to give him some wings that spell has to be cast multiple times or has a short duration.

Even he is not that massive of a cheater.

A pony version of Miles Edgeworth will show up.
Sonata looks like Mia and Phoenix thought Applejack was one of the persons of his universe so…
  • Hmm; come to think of it, that would explain the casting of a voice for Edgeworth without having to bring him in.
    • They did bring Edgeworth in briefly; Edgeworth spoke in the image Phoenix imagined and immediately wanted Brain Bleach for.

Nothing of the sort.

The mysterious caller's identity.
Just who was the one that called Phoenix in the middle of a world without cellphones?
  • The ghost of Ace Swift called Phoenix to the forest. It might be unlikely, but note that the caller managed to use Phoenix's cellphone to communicate with him, which probably nopony no matter how good their magic is can do. The attacker's coat color also looks similar to Ace Swifts. Additionally he wanted to be met alone in the forest clearing, which makes sense because it's where he was presumably murdered. I can't think of an explanation as to why he would attack him. Perhaps it's just a way to give him the bottom half of the letter.
  • Doctor Whooves called, as part of the blackmail conditions from the "Dr Whooves knocked Phoenix out." WMG. He might have access to some kind of technology or power to make a call to Phoenix's cellphone.
  • Twilight did it. She made connection with Phoenix's signal using magic, and then she modified her voice somehow to avoid being caught by Phoenix. She did it so she could get the evidence from his hands.
  • What's the easiest way to make contact with a cellphone? Another cellphone of course. Another human, probably from "orders" of a pony (Trixie? Sonata? Twilight?) made contact with him with the aid of their cellphone and a little magic to lure him into the forest.
  • I'm pretty sure it was Cruise Control. How he did it beats me. But it's his voice after all, or very similar to his voice.
    • Pretty much confirmed as Cruise Control; he gets taken down for ambushing Phoenix in Part 3: Twilight.

It was Sonata sending him a telepathic message using Cruise's voice. The message was intercepted by the cellphone, which it interpreted as an oncoming call.

Princess Celestia will be the Big Damn Hero
Phoenix's cases have a history of someone bursting at the last minute and producing some vital evidence for the case. Who better to swoop in and save the day than the ruler of all Equestria? After all, the council only prevented Celestia from serving as judge, but there has been no indication that she couldn't participate in the trial another way…

Nope. She stays on the sidelines.

Trixie's after the real killer and the trial is fake
A magician relies on subterfuge and legerdemain. She's using the trial as a smokescreen to hide her real intent. She could have tried to deny Phoenix's accusation, but instead let him do it. However, that is not to say everything she is doing is part of the act. Publicly humiliating Rainbow Dash is purely a perk for her.
  • I know, a Phoenix Wright prosecutor that is out to get the real villain. Highly unlikely, but this is "Wild Mass Guesses".

Jossed and tossed all around.

Sonata is the murderer.
She found Ace's letter (which mention firing someone), tore it up in anger, and then started plotting her vengeance. Spike mentioned having a "Magical Friend" of whom he gave a book to. That book is Advanced Magical Studies. That book is rare, as it can only be found in Canterlot. She knew that Rainbow Dash was going to meet Ace Swift in the Everfree Forrst. Sonata followed her until after Rainbow ran off. She used the book on magical studies to manipulate the cloud into striking Ace Swift. That is why there is no other marks; she never touched the cloud.

Plus, she's an OC. You think the writer would condemn a cannon character?
  • Partially Jossed, as she wrote the letter, and admits it when Phoenix questions her on it.

Again, jossed.

Phoenix will be forced to reveal what he learned in Sonata's hotel room and will hand over the reigns to Twilight.
It just seems like standard Ace Attorney fair with the twists like that and it would make for a damn good story. Also, that's the most damning piece of evidence that Phoenix has right now.
  • Except that Part 4 ends with Twilight admitting she didn't make the appeal, so she's not legally entitled to act as an attorney if Phoenix is taken off the case. If Phoenix goes down, Rainbow Dash has no legal defenders left...

It is revealed very early on, and it doesn't bring much immediate consequences for Phoenix.

The Black Psyche Locks that Twilight mentioned can be broken.
  • Twilight's talent is magic, and it's been shown before that she can learn spells from other unicorns and power them up considerably, like Rarity's gem-finder spell in "A Dog and Pony Show". There's a chance that this may hold true for the power of the Magatama, and she'll be able to break the "unbreakable" black locks thanks to this.
or
  • Seeing as how the Magatama can't break them on its own (which means that Twi can't break them on her own), Phoenix will team up with Twilight to use both the Magatama and her spell to break the Black Psyche Locks.

No one gets a chance to break the locks, although it's implied that they "broke" towards Phoenix on their own after Trixie inadvertently opens to Phoenix about the events.

Sonata will have a Villainous Breakdown
And it will be glorious and Memetic.

No such a moment happens.

The third lightning bolt will end up being a Revealing Cover Up
OK; so there's always the possibility that it is nothing more than a Red Herring, but if Phoenix is trying to push for the 2nd bolt being the bolt that killed Ace, then the 3rd bolt is currently a problem for the theory. However, there is a key connection. Later on in the trial, as they continue the banter, some key evidence will come up, and Phoenix will realize that someone used the lightning strike on the tree in order to cover up their part in the crime. And from this, he will expose the killer to the best of his ability.
  • Except that the third bolt occurred at 11:35 pm, way after the murder, and the authorities that came in to investigate watched and saw the third bold come down.

It was the exact opposite. The third bolt allowed Phoenix to discover a big flaw in a witness' testimony.

Trixie was an accomplice to the murder.
I'll admit I'm just venting anger/frustration here but isn't it weird how Trixie was in town the day of the trial? Also because it's Rainbow Dash being prosecuted can't be the ONLY reason why she got involved, right? Plus, it's possible that a Pegasus wasn't the one to manipulate the cloud. "Sonic Rainboom" showed that there was a spell that allowed non-winged ponies to walk on clouds. Maybe it also allows them to create lightning by kicking them?
  • If you recall the only episode Trixie has been in, you can see that Unicorns can create lightning via magic. The cloud walking spell isn't needed.

Jossed. She wasn't even remotely involved.

Celestia did it.
Celestia knew that Rainbow Dash was being blackmailed so she killed Ace Swift. When she found out that Rainbow Dash was arrested for the crime she committed, Celestia decided to judge the trial and rule Rainbow Dash Not Guilty but without finding the murderer. However, the High Council prevented her from doing this so she had to get a Defense Attorney who was good enough to get Rainbow Dash found not guilty but not good enough for Celestia to be found guilty. She also sent Twilight Sparkle to watch Phoenix in case he started to get the idea that Celestia might be guilty. Lastly, she picked a Judge who wouldn't believe that she could be guilty.

Jossed. To the Moon with you!

Trixie is the "thing" Apple Bloom bumped into in the forest.
When Twilight looks at her in surprise, it's while Trixie is saying she didn't know about that part of Apple Bloom's testimony or denying that it has any relevance to the case. It's confirmed in Part 3-Twilight that Trixie has a Verbal Tic of only using first-person pronouns when she's nervous or hiding something. At the very least, Trixie knows more than she let on during the trial.

Nope. It was Sonata.

The burnt metal object acted as a lightning rod of sorts
If it really is the second bolt that killed Ace, then this would be the most likely M.O. It was placed on one of the vulnerable spots of Ace's lightning-proof suit and attracted the bolts that weren't under Rainbow Dash's control. It was probably placed on his person sometime after Rainbow Dash scared him since if it was there before, the initial bolt really would have killed him. This could also explain the introduction: the culprit was saying the words in the opening as he attached the metal to an opening.
  • I bet it's part of Pinkie's Golf Club.

While it is part of Pinkie's Club, it was the club itself, and not the burnt object that had fallen beforehand, that worked as a lightning rod.

The golf club is the real murder weapon.
Ace Swift was hit in the back of the head with it, but the wounding would not be readily visible because the "missing" bolt of lightning was grounded by the club into the neck of his corpse. The lightning bolts are just a red herring to the true nature of the murder.

Ace was hit with it by Sonata while it was burning hot, and that's what left the mark, but it was far from being a deadly strike.

Lenora did it.
The Griffon Express not arriving until after the murder, the feather left behind, being a blackmail victim…So far, everything's pointing to her.
  • Her reason for doing it is because she wanted things to go back to the way they were before Ace Swift. Cruise is simply trying to cover it up.
  • Pretty much jossed by Part 4; Phoenix notes during his cross examination of Gilda that griffons can't set off lightning like pegasi can, the "strange feather" is Gilda's, and Gilda was the Griffon Express deliverywoman who was supposed to bring Rarity's perfume — she never arrived because she "got distracted" by the confrontation between Rainbow and Ace, lost the bottle, interfered with the crime scene to frame Rainbow Dash, and then flew back to the Griffon Kingdom.

Completely jossed in the end.

Cruise, his little sister and Trixie are all related
The picture of Cruise and his sister don't let us take a good glance at her but we can see that they all share the same kind of skin color though his sister seems to have a lighter tone of blue similar to Trixie's. There's the possibility that Trixie is Cruise's cousin or something (or even his sister, making Cruise's little sister her own too). That would explain why her psyched-locks are black and full of sadness: one member of her family is being black-mailed, the other is in a coma and the one doing the blackmail even threatened to pull her sister/cousin life support off. This would reinforce the hypothesis that Trixie murdered Ace Swift as well (though it may have been an accident). One thing is sure: Magic happened during the night of the murder (teleportation at least as we assume thanks to Apple Bloom), and there was no other unicorn nearby.
  • If that's the case then her becoming prosecutor actually makes a lot of sense. Even if Trixie didn't play a role in the murder, she really care about Cruise and thus became prosecutor to take suspicion off him. It just happened that it was Rainbow Dash who was accused and her whole revenge on Twilight was to further keep their role in the affair hidden.

Nothing suggests a familiar relation between them.

Cruise, Leona, AND Sonata did it. Trixie's trying to cover it up.
Cruise and Leona have had enough and Swift blackmailing a younger pony is the final straw. (They don't know it's just some embarrassing pictures; they're assuming worse.) Sonata's fed up with working for the scumbag. Cruise's attempt to go to the police failed so they've decided to do the only option they have. Cruise baits the area, Sonata uses Pinkie's golf club to rig Ace's suit and Leona fires the bolt. Then as per the earlier guess, Trixie is related to Cruise and finds out what happened. She signs up to prosecute in order to save her family. She's actually slightly hating herself for doing this.
  • I'd switch Cruise and Lenora around because it isn't clear if griffins are capable of manipulating the weather in both Fi M's canon or Turnabout Storm's canon.
    • Phoenix actually thinks to himself that he'd like to accuse Gilda, in Part 4, but he can't, because griffons can't set off lightning from clouds.

Again, no.

Ace and Trixie are related
Rather than Cruise, it's Ace. Maybe they are friends or even an item. Why not? Both are meanies. Trixie is putting up prosecuting as a revenge and her despair and sadness is over the loss.

Nothing of the sort if ever suggested.

Sonata used Changeling Magic to become Trixie
As a way of covering her tracks. That's where that book came in. This isn't the first time an impostor forgot one important detail in the MLP verse though this time Twilight is on top of it.

Changelings hadn't even been introduced by the time the series was written.

It will be Cruise Control who will say that blackmail is involved
This will destroy the blackmail Sonata aimed at Phoenix and leave him free to attack.

No. Sonata spilled the beans immediately.

Rainbow Dash killed Ace Swift but not intentionally
I'm guessing the metal club from Pinkie's golf club that was broken off was placed on Ace Swift to act as a conductor by the mastermind behind it all. Rainbow Dash's attempt to scare Ace Swift accidentally caught the club and thus killed him. Whatever further lightning bolts occurred were either as a cover up or something else entirely.
  • This Troper takes back this wild mass guessing, considering the first lightning bolt made a noise upon impacting the ground which I'm assuming was what caused the charred ground, and it was later brought up that striking a very small object wouldn't make a noise, which this Troper believes was the deadly blow by impacting that very same conductor placed on Ace Swift.

Jossed. While she did activate the cloud, Ace brought the events that lead to his death much later by himself.

If Ace is alive, then he won't be for longer
If Ace does manage to stay alive after the murder, then he'd be exposed as a blackmailer and earning the ire of everyone to the point where some would be going after his head (especially Cruise if the above WMG is true). What happens after may or not bring back memories of a similar case.
  • Bonus points if Phoenix is given the choice to declare him innocent or guilty, with Ace Swift mutilating himself and begging Phoenix to say "guilty".

Couldn't possibly be much deader than he already is. Chances are if he were still alive, Sonata wouldn't.

Cruise and Lenora were both blackmailed into helping Sonata kill Ace.
While neither Cruise nor Lenora are sorry that Ace is dead, neither of them seem like the type to kill someone unless forced. Sonata took the liberty of picking the two most suspicious of Ace's victims and forced them to help her.

No, but Sonata did extort Cruise into helping her cover her "crime".

Neither Cruise nor Lenora are involved but they both think the other is.
Lenora seems very protective of Cruise and even though they're no longer close, Cruise likely feels at least some affection for his old friend. He discovered the feather and recognized it as a griffin feather and then proceeded to connect it with Lenora; not wanting her arrested, he attacked Phoenix to prevent him from finding the feather but was unaware it had already been found. In Lenora's case, she made the connection between Cruise's sister being in Canterlot Hospital and Ace being a blackmailer and prior to Ace's death, may or may not have been planning to expose Ace for his blackmail of Cruise. However after Ace's death, she believed Cruise had somewhat justifiably killed Ace and tried to protect him. Eventually Twilight and Pheonix will be able to reveal the truth about neither being involved and get the full story out of them.

Neither of them seemed to believe the other was involved in the murder.

Lenora's blackmail was somehow connected to the bottle Twilight found, which itself was supposed to be Rarity's perfume.
Lenora is very proud of her position as a mail-griffin and the company she works for, complete with claiming that her company would never mix up packages. However the bottle Twilight found seems to resemble a perfume bottle (and perfume was what Rarity ordered but didn't receive) but is label-less and filled with something that smells horrible. It's possible either Lenora mixed Rarity's bottle of perfume up with something else or Ace mixed up the orders and threatened to blame her.
  • Or it really is Rarity's perfume, she did comment on how powerful smelling it was, and Lenora dropped it while she was doing something that caused Ace's death.
    • Arguably jossed; in Part 4, Gilda eventually comes clean that she was the one assigned to bring the perfume to Ponyville, she lost it by accident in the forest while chasing Rainbow Dash.

Lenora wasn't even involved with the delivery of that bottle.

Trixie killed Ace Swift and framed Rainbow Dash for the murder to get back at Twilight.
This guess is based on an assumption that if Trixie can be a prosecutor in Equestria, perhaps she may be involved in police as well. Thus, Cruise Control makes his anonymous tip about the blackmailing of Rainbow Dash, and Trixie sees an opportunity to send one of Twilight's closest friends to jail. The fact that she has black Psyche Locks could also be a hint to this, as the only person to ever sport these locks is Kristoph Gavin, who is also known for petty and complex revenge/murder plots.
  • Although not out of place in an Ace Attorney setting, the problem is how this would fit in the Friendship is Magic one, the place where not a single murder has transpired for several years. The "complex murder scheme for revenge" plan is already absurd enough in Apollo Justice, so we don't even have to get started on how ridiculous it would be on Equestria.
    • A strong notion that might disprove this theory is that Twilight notes how the locks were depressing her and that it was more trapping the truth under emotional duress than just being so stubborn about spilling the beans that their locks are impossible to break.

''In Trixie's words: "I'm not a monster.".

Trixie's locks, if they do, won't break in the normal fashion.
Per Phoenix's canon black psyche-locks are unbreakable, and Trixie did do all that flashy stuff at the stage.

We don't see them break. And if they were broken, Trixie did it unintendedly, happening without much flashiness.

Sonata killed Ace and either Lenora or Cruise Control helped her.
Sonata just wanted to end everything she and Ace did. She probably knew that Ace was about to blackmail Rainbow Dash, so she followed Ace to the Everfree Forest. Once she saw RD leave, she entered the forest and saw that Ace had been knocked out. Taking the initiative, she placed Pinkie Pie's golf club at one of the gaps in Ace's suite and either used a stepladder to reach and activate the cloud (if anypony can activate clouds), asked for Cruise Control to do it (if only Pegasi can activate clouds), or asked Lenora to do it (if she can also activate clouds).

Since the thunder did not hit the ground, it did not make any noise. If she did it alone, she saw Apple Bloom and used a spell to send her home. If she did not, then either Lenora or CC saw Apple Bloom and just left her in the nearest place which just happened to be her home (since Rainbow Dash flew in the direction of Fluttershy's home, the guilty party would just leave using another road). Sonata then switched the stepladder she used with one from Lenora's place and placed one of her feathers at the crime scene to throw ponies off. This is more or less is how I think everything happen. I can't stop thinking that Sonata has to be a culprit but I kinda doubt she could have done it alone. Even if she did, she probably had a back up plan to make another pony or gryphon look suspicious. I feel there is a lot of holes in my theory but I can't remember everything that had just happened in like 6 hours of gaming XD.
  • First, Sonata just wanted out of the business. So far, she has expressed no desire to kill Ace Swift. Also, there is currently no hard evidence that would point to her. Second, how did Ace get knocked out? Third, in The Boast Busters, Trixie used a spell to summon a storm cloud to strike the Ursa Minor with lightning. Given that spell-book that Sonata had, she could have used that spell. Fourth, why would Cruise kill the only thing that's keeping his sister in the hospital? Fifth, Apple Bloom did not just find herself at Sweet Apple Acres. She specifically states that she walked out of the Everfree Forest on her own. Sixth, there is only one road out of Everfree Forest. Even if Lenora or Cruise flew Apple Bloom out of the forest, Sweet Apple Acres is nowhere near there if memory serves. Also, Apple Bloom would have been able to tell if she was being carried. Seventh, if Sonata had Lenora help her, why would she shift all of the blame onto her? In short, very little of your theory makes sense and most of it has nothing concrete to back it up.
    • First: Exactly because of that she could have killed Ace. One just does not get out of a business like that so easily. Also, it is not like she would be screaming at the sky that she will kill Ace. Second: Probably with Pinkie's golf club. If not, any other hard object could do the job. Anyway, I guess it is not so important if Ace was knock out, it just make things easier. Third: It is possible. I had forgotten about that spell. It is just that by this point in time, I don't feel like Trixie being the culprit is the right answer but who knows. Maybe that is the thing that would get us mad about the last part of this series. Fourth: It is exactly because of that that Cruise or Lenora would help Sonata. She is also a Pony from Canterlot. If anything happened to Ace, she could help Cruise. In my theory, Sonata needed an accomplice to help her and just happened to chose one of those two. I feel that Lenora would be the perfect choice. Fifth: I can't remember. I guess you are right. I remember that she passed out after she saw that lighting and then she woke up in Sweet Apple Acres but honestly I can't remember. If it is how you said, then the culprits just waited until Fluttershy got back home to leave the place. Sixth, I have no good answer. Seventh: Honestly... it is exactly that. She needed a scapegoat. First Rainbow and then her backup plan, Lenora. That is just what I think. She is kinda smart you know. Sonata probably is a few step ahead of a lot of everyone. But yeah, it is only a theory. It is just what I think after I saw all of the evidence and since magic is a possibility, who knows?
      • First, not true. Ace was powerless to stop her from leaving. Even if he threatened to expose her, Sonata would have just pointed out that doing so would expose himself as well. Second, that doesn’t answer my question. My question was “How was Ace knocked out” not “What was Ace knocked out with.” Third, I am not saying that Trixie did it. I seriously doubt that she did. I was just pointing out that Sonata could have used that very same spell. Fourth, that is unlikely seeing as how Sonata might not be able to act fast enough to keep Cruise’s sister in the hospital. Killing Ace and then relying on Sonata would prove to be riskier than just continuing to be blackmailed by Ace. Fifth, I am right. Your memory is incorrect. Also, you last sentence makes no sense. Sixth, see point number five. Apple Bloom did not wake up in Sweet Apple Acres. Seventh, I find this unlikely but I wouldn’t put it past her.
      • First, I don’t know. If Sonata was the one doing all the hard work and stuff then not having her around would be the same than he being exposed but yeah. Besides that, I guess he cannot do anything to stop her. Second, she used a spell to hit him with the golf club. I can't remember why having Ace knocked out was important so I guess that it isn’t. Third, I don't know if Sonata could cast it. I mean, she is not as magical as Twi or Trixie but who knows. She is still a unicorn. Fourth, what if she arranged everything beforehand or she lied about it? That would be really a douche move but that is just me assuming a lot of stuff here. Fifth and sixth, I’m sorry. I’m not really sure what I mean by that.
      • First, you are, once again, incorrect. Ace already had what he needed to blackmail every one of the competitors in the Equestrian 500 (to my knowledge) or at least the biggest threats so Sonata’s job was done for this race. Second, this is baseless conjecture. There is no evidence to suggest that Ace was knocked out before being killed. Third, I’m fairly certain that Sonata could cast that spell. Remember, in the show, there is nothing to suggest that Trixie really is any good with magic and Sonata had a book of advanced spells. It is highly likely that she could have cast that spell. Fourth, I have no evidence that disproves this statement but it seems overly complicated (not that being so stopped Ace Attorney villains before).

Jossed, but still rather close. Sonata attacked Ace on her own in self-defense, first hitting him with the club and then with a magic lightning strike powered by a magic surge, with that being only enough to knock him out.

Trixie has summoned a prosecutor from the Ace Attorney universe before.
Except that it wasn't Edgeworth. It was either Franziska or Godot, both of whom know exactly where her pride is going to lead her. Franziska went through a Break the Haughty moment in the ending of Justice For All, while Godot would point out exactly where revenge would lead.

Alternatively, she summoned Edgeworth before, and he chewed her out over her pride.

Nothing of the sort.

A crucial cross-examination during the last part of the last courtroom act will use the Ultimate Marvelvs Capcom 3 versions of Phoenix's themes.
Simply because both the Objection! and Pursuit ~ Cornered remixes are too epic to be left out.

While some Cadenza's versions of the themes show up, Pursuit ~ Cornered is not included between them.

The pony in the picture that Cruise Control took at the entrance of the Everfree Forest is NOT Ace Swift
It was explicitly said that Cruise Control didn't get a clear picture of the face of the pony that entered there. Think about it: Just WHY did Ace choose to wear a lightning proof suit for his meeting in the clearing? Rainbow Dash also explicitly stated that the suit was itchy and generally uncomfortable. He had absolutely no reason to be wearing it. The weather report said that the clearing would have clear skies, so he wouldn't be wearing it for protection. My guess is that somepony knocked him out earlier with the golf club, before the first lightning strike hit, and knew that Cruise Control would follow him/her. So they donned the suit to hide their identity, let Cruise Control take his picture, and later put it back on the body to make it look like Ace entered the forest at 8:20, when in fact he was there earlier.

That pony was definitely Ace Swift.

Rainbow Dash will be joining Gilda in prison.
Gilda admitted to trying to frame Rainbow Dash in some, by her own confession, really messed up desire for revenge, and staged the scene, then committed perjury trying and failing to get that sense of revenge, but Rainbow Dash isn't completely innocent. She stole a cloud and tried threatening someone with it, then obstructed any and all attempts to find out what happened, not to mention, the cloud she stole and activated did end up killing someone. These are not exactly trivial things.
Gilda: Dash, what are you doing here? I thought you were supposed to be getting ready for the big race.
Rainbow: Yeah, well, while I'm not guilty of the murder, Ace is dead because of a cloud I stole, threatened him with, and turned on. Move over, we're cellmates.

Nope. Rainbow comes clean out of the whole ordeal.

It all comes together. The dud second bolt, the golf club, the escapes from the Everfree Forest... okay, the reason why Applebloom managed to get out of the Everfree Forest so easily and without Fluttershy's notice is because Sonata teleported her out. The actual murder of Ace was with the second bolt, which was the "dud" inside the cloud... Sonata used her magic to embed the golf club into the cloud and channel the lightning from the interior of the cloud straight to Ace, which is why nobody heard it. She then recovered it while Gilda was gone and teleported out; Fluttershy saw her carrying it in her mouth because her horn was focused on the teleport spell out. That's how it all went down.

SO close! But no, Sonata was not involved in any way with the second bolt's strike.

It was...
Sonata... in the clearing... with the golf club sticking into the cloud for the second bolt.

Again, close but no cigar.

How the Murder Happened...
As Ace goes into the forest, Sonata follows him (either using magic to cloak or just ordinary sneaking) into the forest, knowing that Cruise had taken his picture and went to the cops and they were essentially alone with Dash. She lets Ace and Dash negotiate, knowing that Dash won't fall for it because of her attention to detail talent. After Dash sets off the initial bolt and flies away, Ace looks up at her and is about to give chase, but Sonata grabs the nearest thing she can (Pinkie's club) and clobbers him. Ace is unconscious and Sonata then sticks the club close to an exposed spot and then uses magic to force the cloud to send off a bolt. Using laws of physics the bolt finds the closest path to the ground with the least resistance: the metal club/lightning rod. It shocks the downed Ace, while not making a sound because it hit something small and in the air (the head of the club, which broke off) killing him. The deed done, she grabs the charred club by her mouth and focuses up a teleport spell to get her out of the forest. While casting, Applebloom bumped into her and she get teleported along for the ride. Sonata realizes this, and hides (cloaking or jumping into a bush) when the spell's done. Applebloom's dazed, looks around, and bolts for her home. Everyone gone, Sonata decloaks and leaves, holding the club in her mouth because she exhausted her powers (force-activating the bolt, teleporting 2 ponies, maybe 2 cloaking spells) and can't maintain a levitation spell.
  • Clobbering Ace is very unlikely, as the autopsy never mentioned blunt force trauma to his head.
    • I see your contradiction, and raise you an addendum: Remember in ep 3 that Rainbow Dash mentions that the racing suit is itchy. After Dash fires the bolt and leaves, instead of her clobbering him, Sonata just calls Ace's attention and advises him against chasing her (maybe she saw Fluttershy on the way in). Ace trusts Sonata, so isn't so concerned about her being there and then talk about their next move against Dash. In the middle of the conversation, Ace complains about the suit. She hands him something long and metal as a backscratcher, and when he holds it in his mouth, she force-activates the bolt.
      • OBJECTION! That would be impossible as well, as by the time Rainbow Dash was flying out of the Everfree Forest from the clearing, which would've taken 5-10 minutes, Fluttershy had noticed her flying past her cottage, and at the same time, noticed Sonata trotting towards Ponyville nowhere near the entrance to the forest, along with the stick in question.
      • "...which would have taken 5-10 minutes..." It's a tight time-frame but there is a LOT that can happen in that span. Dash left the clearing immediately after bolt 1, Gilda most likely fast after her, that's just a matter of seconds. As far as I know of in the Ponyverse, spells can be cast with negligible charge time (less than a minute for a good caster) So placing the stick on Ace's person where vulnerable (pictures indicate 2 spots, the mouth and a spot on the neck) could be either him holding the stick in his mouth or sticking it under the suit in body contact, then force activating the bolt could take around a minute and a half or less. Deed done, she focuses the teleport spell (maybe involving envisioning the location she wants to arrive to, the forest entrance) which leaves a small enough gap for Applebloom to bump into her while casting, making her spell use more power than needed (moving 2 bodies across space in a small amount of time.) Clutch-recloaking while Applebloom is dazed can take 5-10 seconds, and then decloaking when she's gone even less so. It's still very plausible that Sonata blitzed herself out enough that she caught up with Dash when Fluttershy saw them, in that time, somewhere in the middle, Gilda came back, discovered the body and tampered with the crime scene.

While some of those events did happen, the real motives behind them are far different from the ones that were guessed.

The killing was not premeditated, Sonata killed Ace via magic, and then she spun a web of lies to get away with it.
If it pleases the court, I'd like to present a unified argument on what has been happening behind the scenes, up to that fateful night in the clearing and beyond. *Ahem*

Let’s begin by examining the evidence, starting with Pinkie’s golf club. It's charred, is missing an end, and was lost in the Everfree Forest a week prior to the murder. This all aligns perfectly with the supporting evidence: the broken and similarly charred piece of metal found near Ace's corpse. All of this points to the club being used as a channel for the lethal shock at some point. The question is, however, where did the fatal bolt actually come from?

At the end of Part 4, Phoenix questions Twilight on any unicorn spells that can cause electrocution. She states that no, no unicorn in this day and age is capable of casting anything like that. She does note that there are spells to conjure and release electricity, however even she lacks the magical power to make such a spell lethal.

The second lightning bolt must therefore be the source of the electricity used to kill Ace; the others are all accounted for. This raises another question, however: why didn't this bolt make a sound? The answer becomes apparent when one recalls that thunder only sounds when the bolt strikes the ground. The second bolt, therefore, did not strike the ground, but was channeled directly into the victim. And it had to have done so while he was in the air—as Trixie notes in Parts 2 and 4, it would have transferred into the ground and charred it if he weren't.

The problem with arguing this as evidence for murder is that too much is left to chance. For this to have been premeditated, it would have to rely on several random factors. First, the golf club itself was lost even to its owner, thus it could not have been planned for. Second, the cloud's presence at the scene likewise could not have been known, as Dash only brought it there of her own accord. Third, said cloud releases its lightning on its own after the first bolt, meaning the killer could not rely on the lightning to kill him whenever they wanted. All of this points to a scenario more akin to voluntary manslaughter—er, ponyslaughter—rather than first-degree murder.

With that in mind, here is where I begin to speculate. First, we must ask the question, "Why was Sonata there at all, if not for murder?" Allow me to put forth a theory I believe fits her modus operandi. I believe she was there to deliver her resignation letter to Ace at a place and time where it would do the most damage to him—namely, right after Rainbow rejects the blackmail attempt.

Sonata could reasonably assume Rainbow would reject the offer; she likely constructed a full profile on Rainbow as part of her blackmailing duties. We also know Sonata likes to "hold the cards" until it is convenient, and quitting while Ace is at his lowest would serve as some small vengeance against him. Given the wording of her letter, and the regret it indicates, punishing Ace in this manner would likely satisfy her sense of justice.

Now, Sonata assumes she knows how Ace will react to this based on her observations of him throughout their time together. She expects him to react with a bit of blustering and half-baked threats. She can then calmly point out that there is nothing he can do to harm her, as revealing anything about the blackmail business will bring him down with her. The problem is that her "eye for detail" assumes its subject acts rationally, but what about when they act irrationally? Say, if Ace flies into a rage and decides to kill Sonata?

Ace attacks, and taken by surprise, Sonata can do little but be overwhelmed. Ace is larger and physically stronger than her—he’s an athletic pegasus, she’s a squishy unicorn. A weapon could turn the tide, however; and as luck would have it, she stumbles across the golf club lying in the dirt. Using telekinesis, she tries to wield it against her assailant, but he wrenches it from her magical grip and begins using it against her in turn. He hits her with several hard blows, and these injuries continue to affect Sonata days later. Recall that she winces in pain when Pinkie shouts, "Again! And again! And again!"

Beaten to submission, Sonata looks up to find Ace flapping above her, preparing to swoop down and make the killing blow. And then she spies the cloud floating next to him. She, of course, knows all about the weak points in Ace's suit; she's worked with him long enough to know the ins and outs of the uniform. The problem is that she is not a pegasus; she can't reach the cloud, nor can she aim the lightning it generates.

But then, she has a handy, conductive device to do all that for her. All Sonata needs to do is coax the cloud into releasing its stored energy, and the lightning will take the path of least resistance in traveling downward. As stated earlier, unicorns possess spells allowing them to generate and release electricity, and Sonata likely knows one—she left a mark in her spell book specifically pointing to it. That’s what that scrawling means, in fact—"From here, third line"—it’s the latter half of the spell, the part that commands the electricity to be released.

All she needs to do is cast the spell at that precise moment. The cloud spits out its lightning, and it arcs straight into the head of the golf club, blasting it apart even as it chars it. There is no thunderclap, as the lightning never makes contact with the earth. Ace falls to the ground, and Sonata is left alone in the clearing.

And here is where her true crime takes shape. Rather than admit to her killing, she does what she does best: she plots a way out. She begins removing the evidence—with her mouth, as necessitated by the loss of her strength and the need to teleport—starting with the murderous golf club and the letter. She runs into problems due to the dark, however; she doesn’t realize the club is missing its head, nor does she realize that the letter has been torn apart in the scuffle. These pieces of evidence are later found by Phoenix and Fluttershy, respectively.

Preparing to teleport, Sonata is suddenly bumped into by Apple Bloom. Startled, Sonata accidentally transports the two of them to the edge of the forest. Because of her dark coloring, Apple Bloom doesn’t see her in the near-pitch blackness under the trees, and Fluttershy just barely notices her exit. Sonata then disposes of the club in Ponyville’s park and waits for her opportunity to further seal the deal. When Rainbow Dash is arrested, she plans on prosecuting the case herself in order to ensure Rainbow takes the fall for her. Of course, Trixie beats her to it, but that's fine so long as no competent defense attorney shows up to ruin things.

Cue Phoenix arriving in Ponyville, and Sonata scrambling to further deny the truth. She conscripts Cruise Control with the same blackmail as Ace—this is why Sonata appears for a moment before Twilight encounters Cruise for the first time, and why Cruise still uses his goofball persona despite having no need for it anymore. What Sonata doesn’t realize, though, is that there are two individuals working the case. Thanks to Twilight, her well-coordinated plan falls apart.

The motive, the opportunity, and the mens rea of a masterful criminal—it’s all there. Sonata may not have planned to kill Ace at first, but she did, and then tried to hide her crime in the most reprehensible manner: by framing another for it. Despite her best efforts, however, "no matter how far she runs, now matter how long she hides, the finger of justice will never lose sight of her." Phoenix is going to blow open the lid on all of this during her testimony. And to slip one last bit of WMG into this, I’ll bet he’s going to use that exact turn of phrase when he finally corners her.
  • I'm the Troper who posted the theory above this one, and I just wanted to say thank you for being my Edgeworth. (and for introducing me to his themes, they're awesome).
    • HOLD IT! There's a problem with this testimony, your Honor! In Part 4, Gilda confessed to seeing the broken golf club (or stick, as she saw it) when she returned to the clearing. If she can see in the dark, how could she have missed Sonata? Gilda admitted to moving the body underneath the cloud to the part where the first bolt hit, and left the stick alone.
      • OBJECTION! Gilda managed to miss her lost bag, despite both her night vision and ten minutes of search time. Since apparently all it takes to foil a Griffon's gaze is a simple bush, Sonata could have avoided detection by merely being outside the clearing at the time Gilda returned. Whether she did so deliberately or purely by accident is a matter of further speculation, of course.

While many of those deductions are close to the mark, they still fall short on many points, up and including the fact that Sonata only THOUGHT she had killed him in self-defense.

Pinkie Pie will take the fall for Phoenix when Sonata accuses him
Pinkie may be an airhead (and she may oversleep) but I have a feeling that she'll come barging in when Sonata accuses Phoenix of breaking and entering, and claim that she's the one responsible. Bonus points if she broke into Sonata's room again and erased all of Phoenix's prints, via the power of Pinkie-jutsu.

She doesn't even get to the trial in time. AGAIN.

In part 5/4, there will be some extra footage after the credits roll.
It'll mostly be about Twi preparing to send Phoenix back to his world, and as they talk Phoenix laments that Pony currency is useless for his world, and he basically did a big case Pro Bono. Suddenly, the rest of the Mane Cast come in to see him off (maybe even Trixie if she Heel Face Turns over the course of the video). Applejack gives him the knock upside the head she owed him and Rarity gives him the suit that she was rambling about, completely inlaid with enough gems to basically quadruple Phoenix's payment.

There are some lengthy scenes involving some of those events before and during the credits. But the actual stinger is something unrelated to that.

Trixie and Ace were lovers
Think about it: Twilight felt that those black psyche-lockes were full of sadness. And they appeared when she asked Trixie her true reasons to be the prosecutor in these case. That's because the victim was the pony she loved; she doesn't want revenge against Twilight, she wants revenge against the murderer of her boyfriend.

Also, both of them were fakes: they became famous using dirty tricks and lies; they share something.

Besides, check that little scene at the end of episode 4.

Nope. Nothing of the sort.

The judgment will not be reversed. Rainbow Dash will be banished to the Sun.
Just as being banished to the Moon did not kill Luna, being banished to the Sun will not kill Dashie. Rather, Dashie will endure the Sun's harsher conditions-its relentless heat and radiation, its immense gravity, the raw power of a solar storm, its total lack of clouds upon which to nap. Then, months later, the real killer will be revealed. As it would be completely wrong to cause an exonerated suspect to continue serving an unjust sentence, she is magically summoned back home. What comes out of the summoning spell has flight ability trained to almost 30 times normal, a hide that can withstand the full output of the most powerful energy source in sight, is still as hot as the Sun, is completely sleep deprived, and the first thing on her mind is what it usually is: flying into a brawl against those who wronged her. And hey, no sense holding back, right? I mean, what's the worst thing they could do to you...banish you to the sun? The whole series has been a setup for an epic Hoist By Her Own Petard, with every one of Trixie's choices-from which of the Mane Six to frame to what punishment to pursue to whether to let Fluttershy take the fall instead-combining to yield a new, improved, and very angry Dashie, out for Trixie's head.
  • The ordeal will not have left Dashie unchanged. Months in intense gravity without anywhere to land will have caused her legs and hair to elongate. Wings will have increased in span as well as strength. To protect her brain, her body will have grown a thick, conical projection of bone and callus, which is so hot that, when returned to normal atmosphere, incandesces...

Short answer: Nope.

A previous murder in Equestria is related to this case
This is a huge guess, but there might be a chance that a previous Equestrian crime of this magnitute has some relation to this one, even if just a very slight one in a Butterfly of Doom kind of way. Then again, "a very long time" since the last murder could easily mean anything from a few years to a few centuries, considering this is Celestia we're talking about here, so the chances of it being related could go down significantly.

No conection with previous crimes is brought up.

Sonata murdered Ace for playing with Cruise Control's sister's life
Her letter was written to voice her disapproval of Ace crossing the line by threatening a comatose filly, but she soon realized that the only way to keep Cruise Control's sister comitted was killing Ace so he'd take his dirty secrets to the grave. She may in fact be an aunt or niece of Cruise Control and sister, making this a case of blood is thicker than water.

She wanted to leave that life, not to kill him.

The Black Psyche-Locks
I believe Trixie's psyche-locks are holding back a deep pain in Trixie's heart that has to do with Twilight. That much is already easy to guess, but what am I suggesting the secret is? Twilight and Trixie were once best of friends many years ago, but something happened that split the two apart, and Trixie perceived it as being abandoned. Now she wants to make Twilight suffer the same sadness she still feels. Think about it, she directs her anger towards Twilight through her friends, she's trying to hurt her in only one fashion (splitting her friends apart), has a begrudging opinion about friendship itself, and she seemed to react oddly when Gilda made remarks about getting revenge against Rainbow Dash for abandoning her for the Mane 6.

It also explains the deep sadness in her heart. It's not malicious, it's longing.

Er, no. Twilight never had any friends before moving to Ponyville (unless you count Shining Armor and Cadence, who aren't mentioned in this story), and she herself remarks that "Boast Busters" was the first time she'd ever seen Trixie. Furthermore, in Part 5, it's pretty heavily implied that Trixie has just been projecting her own failures onto the more successful Twilight, and her realization of this (though she still tries to lie about it) breaks the locks before Phoenix can ever see them.


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