Metroid Dread Chozo theory SR388

Metroid Dread is finally out on Nintendo Switch, picking up the story where Fusion left off 19 years ago. Planet ZDR is home to many Chozo ruins and artifacts and exploring it reveals more about the mysterious race than any past game. There’s one new piece of lore in particular that has been flying under the radar, but with potentially massive implications. It’s time for a deep dive into the history of Chozo and Metroids! Be advised that the following theory will contain spoilers for Metroid Dread, as well as some details about Samus Returns. 

The origin and purpose of Metroids

During the final transmission from “Adam” (Raven Beak in disguise), we’re hit with an avalanche of shocking twists. Samus has been following a fake Adam, she’s infused with the DNA of the warlike Mawkin, and she’s transforming into a Metroid. It’s a lot to take in. But there’s another shocking revelation in this monologue that’s easy to miss amongst all the others. While explaining Samus’s ongoing metamorphosis, Raven Beak says “Metroids are programmed to identify Mawkin as enemies.”

Excuse me, what? Metroids are specifically programmed to attack the Mawkin tribe of Chozo. And this programming is so strong that when Samus fought a Mawkin, her Metroid DNA came roaring to the surface and began to take over. This intriguing plot thread isn’t pulled on any further in the game itself, but we can speculate based on the clues we’ve been given. We know from Samus Returns and Fusion that Metroids were originally created by Chozo scientists who were exploring planet SR388. During their colonization of the planet, they discovered the X parasites and feared they would become unstoppable and overrun the galaxy. In response, they created the first Metroids in a lab as the antithesis to the X. However, they later lost control of the Metroids when exposure to Aeion energy mutated them into stronger forms.

Thanks to Dread, we now know that these Chozo were from the Thoha tribe and that their ability to control Metroids is genetic. Presumably, they genetically engineered their new guard dogs to follow the orders of those with Thoha genes. At the same time, it seems the Thoha also engineered the Metroids to react violently to Mawkin genes. This gives us a whole new perspective on the SR388 operation, and it begs further inspection. Why did the Thoha program Metroids to attack their Mawkin kinsmen? 

The SR388 incident

This all seems like pretty crucial information for Quiet Robe to leave out. Then again, his monologue to Samus is vague at best and misleading at worst. Here’s how he describes the Thoha mission on SR388:

Aided by the Mawkin, a fellow tribe of the Chozo, we managed to contain the Metroids that were running rampant on SR388. Our intention was to eradicate these Metroids, which had become more dangerous than ever before, by destroying the planet.”

Although Quiet Robe later notes that Thoha can control Metroids, he never clarifies why. He takes no responsibility for creating Metroids. His framing of the incident makes it sound like Metroids had existed on SR388 for a long time and the Chozo heroically showed up to eradicate them when they became a threat to the galaxy. We know that’s not how it happened. He also criticizes Raven Beak for wanting to use Metroids as weapons without ever admitting to Samus that the Thoha were also using Metroids as weapons. 

The Thoha and the Mawkin

All of this suggests that Quiet Robe is hiding a dark truth about SR388, but does that make him evil? Almost certainly not. Secrecy and hypocrisy aside, he’s a loyal ally to Samus. And although the Thoha are clearly not above using biological weapons, their motives were vastly different from the Mawkin. Both tribes sought to bring peace and order to the galaxy. To the Thoha, that meant working with the Galactic Federation to spread diplomacy, but it also meant using Metroids (as well as Samus) to destroy perceived threats to galactic peace. To Raven Beak and the Mawkin, order could only be accomplished through absolute tyrannical domination.

It seems inevitable that these differing worldviews would lead to conflict. Raven Beak is exactly the kind of galactic threat that the Thoha would want to eliminate in the name of galactic peace. But the Thoha are renowned for their scientific advancements, not their military prowess. They are weak in comparison to the Mawkin and wouldn’t stand a chance in a fight, nor would they want to fight. But using SR388 as a base of operations, they could secretly create, control, and weaponize an army of the ultimate biological warriors: Metroids. 

We even have an explanation for how they managed to “program” Metroids to kill Mawkin. We’ve long since known that Samus was infused with Chozo DNA as a child in order to survive on Zebes. But in Dread, Raven Beak reveals that she was infused with two different strains: Thoha and Mawkin. In other words, the Thoha scientists on Zebes were in possession of Mawkin DNA. 

The two tribes were clearly working closely together at some point in the past and during that time, Raven Beak’s megalomaniacal tendencies likely gave Quiet Robe cause for concern. Later, he and the other Thoha scientists created Metroids to combat the X, which they saw as the biggest threat in the galaxy. With Mawkin DNA on hand, they had the means to weaponize Metroids against the other biggest threat in the galaxy, too. They just couldn’t anticipate that the Metroids would transform and rebel against their control, leaving them helpless. And when they turned to Raven Beak and the Mawkin tribe as a last resort, their fears became a reality.

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.

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