Metroid Dread theory: Samus is captured by evil Chozo

Metroid fans are finally getting the sequel to Fusion that they’ve been craving for nearly two decades! Between the initial reveal trailer, official website, and Nintendo Treehouse footage, there is plenty to analyze. What’s in store for Samus in the 5th chapter of the 2D saga? My mind is racing with Metroid Dread theory possibilities involving the Galactic Federation, evil Chozo, and more! Let’s dig in. 

Metroid Dread Theory

metroid dread evil chozo

The first volume of the Metroid Dread Report explains that Samus begins her mission on request from the Galactic Federation. It seems they received video footage from an unknown source claiming that the deadly X Parasites, believed to be extinct, are still alive. The transmission is traced to an uncharted planet called ZDR, but the team of E.M.M.I. robots sent to investigate never return. As the only person in the universe known to have an X Parasite immunity, Samus embarks on a solo mission to find the truth. 

It’s a nice set-up, but this all just seems far too convenient. Sure, it’s possible some X survived. But faking the re-emergence of an X is the most sure-fire way to guarantee Samus comes alone. My suspicions intensified when I learned that Metroid Dread’s gameplay begins deep inside the planet’s core. The Nintendo Treehouse team repeatedly emphasized that, unlike past games, Samus is separated from her ship. You’ll have to fight your way through numerous underground regions before reaching your vessel on the planet’s surface. Someone or something must have ambushed Samus and left her stranded. So who could have set this trap? There are plenty of potential culprits, but two top my list.

The Galactic Federation

metroid dread evil chozo

If you’ve played Metroid Fusion, you know the 2D series last left Samus and the Galactic Federation on alarmingly uncertain terms. While exploring the Biologic Space Laboratories, Samus uncovered the Federation’s illegal Metroid breeding program. She also disobeyed orders when she learned they were planning to attempt to capture the monstrous SA-X alive. With the help of Adam, her former commander turned AI, Samus activated the station’s self-destruct mechanism and crashed it onto the X Parasite homeworld. As the game ends, Samus expresses her fear that the Galactic Federation will punish her actions. 

But how will the beings of the universe view our resolve? I doubt they will understand what we did… the danger we barely averted. They will hold tribunals and investigations. They will hold us responsible.

Adam eases her fears by reassuring her that someone will understand. They must understand. Samus takes solace in this and concludes that the human soul will always reach for the truth. But when Samus arrives on ZDR and faces the E.M.M.I. bots, there are no human souls to be seen. Instead of thinking, feeling humans with whom she can reason, Samus is confronted by cold, heartless, relentless killing machines. And they’re owened by the Galactic Federation.

metroid dread theory

E.M.M.I.s are made from “the toughest stuff in the universe,” making them impervious to nearly all weaponry. They’re also equipped to restrain hostile entities and forcibly extract DNA from them. If you wanted to get your hands on some Samus DNA, these robots are tailor-made for the task. But I’m not sure it’s that simple. Samus has checked into Galactic Federation hospitals on numerous occasions. I’d be shocked if they didn’t have buckets of her blood at this point. The Federation mission brief also claims that the E.M.M.I. bots are no longer under their control. There may be tension between Samus and the government, but I suspect there’s something else at play.

Planet of the Chozo

Perhaps the most important thing to glean from this trailer is that ZDR is a Chozo planet. In addition to the iconic Chozo item statues, the save rooms, map rooms, and recharge stations are all unmistakeably Chozo in design. The Nintendo Treehouse hinted at this during their live stream. They never invoked the actual word, but they repeatedly praised the “cool architecture and statues” and remarked that seeing them should get fans thinking about the lore. On top of that, ZDR is controlled by a “bio-mechanical computer” that looks and functions like a knock-off of Mother Brain, the infamous Chozo-made villain.

You might be thinking ZDR is only a former Chozo planet, and our true antagonists have taken over their world. Frankly, that’s the norm for this series. But this time around there’s good reason to suspect otherwise. In a blink and you’ll miss it moment around the 1:31 mark of the trailer, you can actually see a Chozo. If this scene is set in the present day, we’ve got a live Chozo on our hands.

live chozo

Who is this, and what are they up to? Before landing the Metroid Dread project, MercurySteam remade Metroid II as Samus Returns on 3DS. The remake fleshed out the story of the original with collectible Chozo memories, and they may be the key to understanding this new story.

The memories tell the story of a group of Chozo sent to colonize and study SR388. When they discover the deadly X Parasites, they create Metroids as their antithesis. The X Parasites are defeated, but a new problem quickly arises in their place. The Metroids grow into new, stronger forms and turn on their masters. The Chozo are forced to fight for their lives, seal off the planet’s tunnels, and call for help. However, a secret, final memory shows that the “reinforcements” who arrived ruthlessly murdered their fellow Chozo. Compare the following images, two from Samus Returns and the last from Dread.

Truth hidden in memories

evil chozo
Help arrives on SR388
metroid dread
An evil Chozo faction
evil chozo
Chozo relief from Metroid Dread

An evil faction of Chozo

The parallels between the scenes from Samus Returns and Metroid Dread are incredibly striking. Both feature a Chozo leader draped in a blue robe and equipped with an arm cannon on their right hand. Both leaders are depicted giving orders to an army of spear-wielding Chozo warriors in power suits. And in both, those orders are to execute their Chozo brethren, also clad in blue. Somewhere out there, there’s an evil faction of Chozo that knows about the X Parasites and Metroids. My theory is that Metroid Dread will reveal ZDR as their home.

Adding to this theory is the fact that Aeion Energy is back in Metroid Dread. This energy source plays a major role in Samus Returns, which specifies that it’s created by the planet itself. Aeion Energy is native, and presumably exclusive, to SR388. If it’s back in Dread, that means someone brought it from SR388 to ZDR. The evil Chozo faction is by far the most likely culprit.

I’m not sure what the end game would be for these evil Chozo, but there are plenty of possibilities. As I mentioned before, the E.M.M.I. bots have been programmed to hunt Samus down and retrieve her DNA. Samus was born human, infused with Chozo DNA at a young age, infected by X Parasites, and injected with Metroid DNA. Fusion‘s ending and a developer quote indicate that she’s no longer part Metroid. However, she claims in the intro that she still has her X Parasite immunity. Could a living X Parasite be reproduced from her cells?

Samus’s relevance to these evil Chozo may also extend beyond her blood. Past games have depicted her as a sort of prophesized savior to some groups of Chozo. There’s no telling what this faction may have seen in her future. Luring her into a trap could be an attempt to subvert her destiny. Sakamoto has hinted in interviews that Dread will close out the story of Samus and the Metroids while kicking off a new chapter. Is the series finally ready to take a deep dive into the mysterious history of the Chozo? I hope this Metroid Dread theory made you even more excited for the game’s release on October 8!

Ben Lamoreux
Nintendo Enthusiast's Managing Editor. I grew up on Super Nintendo and never stopped playing. Been writing video game news, opinions, reviews, and interviews professionally for over a decade. Favorite franchises include Zelda, Metroid, and Mother.