Follow TV Tropes


WMG / Sky High (2005)

Go To

The events of the film are all part of the curriculum of Sky High.
It's better to learn by experience than by hearing secondhand theories. Why teach Villainous Plots 101 to a class of bored and distracted high school slackers, when you can have them foil their own? It pushes the noobs and "sidekicks" to realize the full potential of their minds and powers, builds up their confidence, and gives them Hero cred all at the same time.

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

The teachers, the villains, and possibly some of the ordinary students are all in on it. For example, how convenient that Warren Peace went psycho on Will but never once singed him, despite clearly having the capacity to kill him with one shot, thus leading to Will's first successful Die or Fly activation of his powers? It seems contrived because it is contrived, and served its purpose.

  • All good, except that it assumed Layla wouldn't show her powers, because she would have had to be in the Sidekicks for the plan to go even remotely good. It would have had to get The Commander and Jetstream in on the ploy so that they would "fall into the trap". Gwen's fate wasn't known, and who would willingly go through puberty twice? And keep in mind it only showed a few "sidekicks" being "pushed". The proper way would be to have them form groups and face challenges in the groups so that all are "pushed". Not just a handful of them. And, finally for now, if Gwen could control biological systems then the Pacifier would have been useless and she wouldn't have needed to be smart or hot to be popular.
  • Possible corollary:

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

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

  • Maybe she has the power to control biological systems, but why doesn't she control anyone else's other that Will's system? Even if she had that power, what would be the point of only being able to control the biological system of one specific person only?
  • She looks like a teenage girl, of course she gave him a boner!
    • Looking like a specific female celebrity helps Gwen in this case too (Will does not even have to be a fan of this celebrity in order to find that attractive.)

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

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

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

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

  • Possible corollary for the above:

Sky High is a school for the superpowered children of superhero parents.

There's an emphasis placed on the safety of the school: its location changes daily, only a select group of people know it and are able to access it. It's not that Badass Normals don't exist/don't want to attend a school that would teach them how to fight, it's that Sky High was created specifically for kids like Layla and Will and Warren, kids with parents who fight crime (or, in Warren's case, likely built a lot of enemies just as bad as them) where they could learn in a safe environment that wasn't at risk of being attacked by be vengeful villains 24/7. This also explains why they allow Will to stay despite clearly having 0 powers. His parents are heroes and it's a well-known fact he's their son. Sending Will to a normal school would put him and everyone else in danger.

  • Actually, I'd argue that Will would be fairly safe even if he did go to a normal school. He and Layla went to a normal school together and there was no indication that it was a special school in any way. Unless they had bodyguards or something. And I don't think Will being the son of the Commander and Jetstream is that well-known. The only reason why Ron Wilson, Bus Driver inquired Will about his full name was because Will wore colours similar to them, in my opinion (plus he's a nerd so he'd probably be slightly Genre Savvy). It would be tedious to ask every kid that walked into the bus for their last name which... seems like something Ron Wilson, Bus Driver would do, actually. Also, Mr. Boy didn't know about Will as well, even though he's Will's father's sidekick.

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

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

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

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

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

If the film was become in a series,

  • Baron Battle would have been the big bad.
  • Gwen would have been a example of Recruiting the Criminal (Or even of Reformed Criminal).
  • Flanderization or/ and Characterization Marches On
  • Xavier School for Gifted Students would be featured as a rival school and Professor Xavier and Principal Powers would discuss the ups and downs of each school.
  • It would be an Animated Adaptation because using those special effects in a live-action series would be cost-prohibitive. Also, any time an actor or an actress needed to be replaced, the substitute wouldn't needed to look like the previous one.
  • According to Wordof God should the film become a series like it was intended, Warren would end up with Layla.

Since now Disney own Marvel, I think Sky High should be included into Marvel Cinematic Universe.

  • Or at least Sky High gets it's own cinematic universe.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The girls' bathroom has a Power Nullifier ready to be activated whenever an invisible boy attends Sky High
  • Additionally, the same goes for vice-versa.
  • Alternatively, they have a security system set in place for invisible students who try to use their Power Perversion Potential.

Zach, Ethan and Magenta's powers are simply in the developing stages
They're full of untapped potential, but they're also late bloomers like Will. Given some time...
  • Ethan might gain more control over his melting, perhaps selectively melting parts of his body and using them as weapons or melting/unmelting things other than himself.
  • Magenta might develop the ability to shapeshift into other animals besides a guinea pig. If not, she might be able to control her shapeshifting in different ways (like perhaps changing into a giant guinea pig).
    • Alternately, since all of Magenta's clothes and items change with her she may instead learn to turn people and things that she touches into guinea pigs too.
    • Guinea pigs have keen senses of hearing, smell, and touch. Possibly Magenta could develop these abilities in her human shape, not just her guinea pig shape. They also have a very loud call of excitement (the "wheek"), so a sonic screech-attack might be plausible.
  • Zach's glow seems to get brighter the more he uses it, so eventually it could become bright enough so that it can be seen in normal light. If he learns to control it more, he might be able to use it offensively too, perhaps blinding villains with enormous flashes of light.
    • Zach may also figure out how to focus his light over time.
    • His powers might make Zach particularly useful as part of a team. He could rapidly recharge a technology-using hero's solar-powered equipment, or enhance Layla's plants with photosynthesis-enhancing light wavelengths.
    • Zach's glow is green. Why not literally any other colour? Perhaps his real power is the ability to generate radioactive energy. This might allow him to melt physical objects, give people superpowers, become a living power plant, or straight up kill people.

Gwen's Plan Would Have Failed No Matter What
Her plan was to raise the baby heroes to be villains. However, it appears the Pacifier may not wipe memories and personalities. Gwen has all the resentments of how she was treated when she was Sue Tenny. This can't simply be explained by having been raised by Stitches. Why that might have unhinged her and lead to her being a villain, anyway, her desire for revenge seems more personal than due to something she was told. The heroes would have retained their memories and still been heroes when they grew up.
  • Alternately, the other babies would've had no memories, but Baby Mr. Medulla would've concealed his adult intellect from her and her accomplices, then told the others the truth on the sly once they were old enough to understand.
  • Considering that Gwen managed to remember parts of her life when she was Sue Tenny, even memories that her henchman Stitches has literally NO mundane way of knowing, the former is more likely.
  • Plus, if her memories did get erased, she would have grown up to be a female Joker. She was raised by a cackling jester.

  • Maybe Gwen was going to brainwash them? Medulla might be immune to that, though.

Gwen Grayson is also meant to be an evil counterpart to Will himself.

Baron Battle has more than four lives.
Each time one of them ends, he returns as an eighteen-year-old. That's why he has to serve more than one life sentence. He cannot simply kill himself three or four times because each suicide is punishable by another life sentence.

Stitches likes being abused.
He actually enjoys it. It is a weird fetish of his. He purposely annoys his boss just to be strangled.

Badass Normal kids can attend the school, and normals can get a job there.
Notice they don't kick Will out of school for not having powers. As for normals getting a job there, they don't seem to have a problem with Ron Wilson working as a bus driver.

Originally Royal Pain was supposed to be a Badass Normal villain.
She was supposed to be a normal girl in an Iron Man-like suit. The fact that she has no powers caused her to go insane, creating a powerful suit for the purpose of killing all the supers.

The upcoming sequel that is currently in development may feature Barron Battle, but only as part of a Big Bad Ensemble

Every super is Made of Iron.
Nurse Spex told Will that she once got kicked through a wall by the Commander and is apparently still alive (or, well enough) to tell the story. Warren Battle got hit through a wall by Will Stronghold and ended up breaking a pillar behind it, yet walks off with seemingly no injuries... Neither of them have been mentioned to have any sort of super durability, so this troper thinks that being Made of Iron might be a Required Secondary Power in the Sky High universe.

Had the series been made, Will would have eventually gone out with Freeze Girl.
Word of God says that had the series continued, Layla would become Warren's girlfriend. So Will getting together with Freeze Girl would be ironic, and their relationship status could be used as a revenge plot (which would DOUBLE the irony).

Freeze Girl eventually ends up getting detention, but the boys who use their laser vision to assault her also get detention as well
Most definitely. The school itself has a no-tolerance policy for fighting with powers, and both Freeze Girl and the boys used their powers to essentially fight each other. Although the boys being frozen might've been considered detention-enough by the principal, they were probably still punished afterwards.

Warren confronted the two laser vision boys offscreen.

The laser vision boys were criminally charged with sexual assault.... by an agency that's made specifically to deal with international and paranormal threats.

Alternatively, the laser vision boys were depowered and then criminally charged with sexual assault.

Ron Wilson, Bus Driver falling into a vat of toxic waste was no mistake.
Ron somehow overheard Nurse Spex's talk about nuclear waste granting people superpowers while he was outside the window. So, willing to take a shot, he purposefully jumped into the vat while making it look like an accident to avoid suspicion.

In the sequel, magical characters will be introduced.

Had the show been made, Gwen would've been Retconned into a good guy.
They need her pink theme in order to complete the rainbow, after all.

Only people with Superpowerful Genetics can survive falling into toxic waste.
One would guess that they'd need some form of superhuman immune system beforehand in order to survive that kind of thing happening to them.

Alternatively, only people who have the right gene that allows their bodies to assimilate the toxic waste into their system gain powers.
Ditto to the previous WMG before this one.
  • This would explain how someone with no superpowered-ancestors can have toxic waste given powers. Alternatively alternatively...

Only people who make it out of toxic waste before they drown/die are given powers.
It's like a reward for surviving a highly-dangerous situation. This might also apply to getting bitten by radioactive X's, and so on, as they tend to be a less lethal version of dipping your entire body in toxic waste.

Will only had LOW-LEVEL superhuman strength in the beginning of the movie, and he only didn't notice at first because it was so minor that it was more of a Required Secondary Power at first.

There are boot camps for Badass Normal kids instead of schools that teach them how to be badass.
With the lack of a need for Badass Normal(s) in a world of superheroes, there wouldn't be many schools for them. So they build boot camps to teach people without powers how to defend themselves with Anime-Styled Martial Arts, sidekick equipment such as utility belts and more.

Even if Sue Tenny was accepted in the "Hero" class, she still would have chosen evil anyways.
Because even though her motive was kind of understandable, it was still an incredibly petty motive.

Josie already knew that Will was powerless.
She was pretending not to know because she knew that Will wanted to hide it from them.

The radioactive zombie mentioned in the written sidekick assignment was meant to be a shout-out to George A. Romero's Living Dead series.
Because in that series, one of the in-universe speculations of the cause of the outbreak was radiation

If a sequel is ever made, at least one cast member from either the Marvel Cinematic Universe or DC Extended Universe will be part of the cast

Bonus points if they get an actor from Guardians of the Galaxy as one of The Commanders' enemies and/or Gal Gadot as the vice principal of Sky High.

Had the opening where Mr. Boy is abandoned by Steve and Josie been used, people would've expected him to be the villain.
And most of those viewers would be rooting for him.

The entire movie is just Will's drug-incuded coma dream daydream hallucination.
Layla represents weed. Because she's green. Warren represents smoking because he controls fire. And also bongs. His dad represents weed as well and addiction. In fact, they all represent weed. In the real world Will is also a superhero, who just smokes and dreams and hallucinates a lot and his power includes the power to visit other worlds by smoking and dreaming. You may say "what" now.

Alternatively, the entire movie's events are "real" in-universe, but Will's first supervillains when on superhero duty will be a cartel of superhuman drug dealers selling a G-rated stand-in for meth.
Think a kid's movie version of Breaking Bad with superpowers added to the mix.

Alternatively, the entire movie's events are "real" in-universe, but Will will also help addicts to G-Rated drugs rehabilitate as much as possible.
In other words, he'll be a social worker, a real estate agent, and a superhero. Hopefully his super-strength most likely comes with super-stamina in order to help him power on through (no pun intended).

Alternatively, the entire movie's events are "real" in-universe, but Will becomes a kid's movie equivalent of a pothead in a desperate attempt to cope with the stress of superhero duties.
Meaning that it would basically become a kid's movie version of Hancock except with a Fantastic Drug that's a stand-in for weed instead of alcohol.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: