Rian Johnson’s cerebral sci-fi action movie Looper has spurred all kinds of discussion online, with burning questions being asked, fans formulating interesting theories to explain the plot, and non-fans claiming that the film doesn’t make any sense. Well, I’m going to jump on the Looper bandwagon, because I’ve come up with my own theory! And, at the time of this writing, it seems like I’m the only person online with this theory, at least according to a quick Google search. So, if you’ve heard this theory somewhere else, please let me know! If not, I claim authorship over it. Honestly, I think I’m really on to something here.
But first: MAJOR SPOILER WARNING! DON’T READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN’T SEEN LOOPER! You have been warned.
In the article Ten Mysteries in ‘Looper’ Explained by Director Rian johnson, Slashfilm writer Germain Lussier asks the following question:
The film surmises Old Joe killing Sarah eventually made Cid become the Rainmaker. But Old Joe can t become Old Joe without first being killed and letting Young Joe grow up to meet his wife. In that timeline though, Cid would grow up normal because Sarah wasn’t killed by Joe. How does that all work? How does the Rainmaker exist in a timeline where Old Joe didn’t kill his mom?
It’s a good question, and it’s the one that I walked out of the theatre asking myself. Somehow, without Joe being involved, the Rainmaker exists in the initial timeline. Here’s the answer from that article:
Unfortunately, this is the chicken and the egg explanation. There is no answer. One thing is dependent on the other but couldn’t have happened if the other didn’t. I’ll let Johnson take the lead here.
“That’s the Terminator question. If it’s important to you to really justify that beyond ‘It makes sense in a story type way,’ you’ll have to get into multiple time lines existing in neverending loops of logic. You can shoehorn it into making sense,” he said. “For me it’s a trope of time travel movies and there’s a slight amount of magic logic that you have to apply in order for a story like this to make sense.”
He does, however, point to the mention of the Rainmaker having a fake jaw in the future, then being shot in the present, as one particular connection. “That specific thing must have already happened, but he’s still in the timeline where that has yet to happen. Although, in my mind, what happens is cause his memory is shifting to accommodate, that’s one of the things that’s changed in his memory.” I guess we’ll never know for sure but my guess is that this loop has happened lots and times, we’re just seeing the final one.
One potential answer that isn’t addressed here is that Joe’s sacrifice at the end of the movie meant nothing – Cid will always grow up to be the Rainmaker. Maybe in the initial timeline, the death of Cid’s aunt (whom he thinks is his mother) caused him to go bad, and in the looped timeline, the showdown in the field at the end of the movie was the cause of Cid’s evil nature. But I think this explanation is a bit flawed, since it’s clear that the people in Looper have free will. The future isn’t written, as proven by the fact that Joe can escape his death at the hands of his younger self the second time he’s sent back to 2044. I have a better explanation, and one that I think is sound. Feel free to disagree.
Cid wasn’t the Rainmaker. Sure, we’re given clues to it being Cid. Old Joe mentions that the Rainmaker has a prosthetic jaw, which supports the idea of Cid being the Rainmaker because Cid is shot in the jaw at the end of the film. Cid’s insane telekinetic abilities also provide a pretty good reason to fear him, and, well, Rian Johnson has basically stated that Cid is the Rainmaker. But who cares what THAT guy thinks?
The child who grows up to be the Rainmaker is actually the daughter of Suzie, Piper Perabo’s stripper character. And here’s why:
1. I thought that it was a pretty big coincidence that one of the three kids on Old Joe’s hit list was Suzie’s child. But that wouldn’t be so big of a coincidence if that kid turned out to be the Rainmaker! For one thing, Suzie works for Abe. Abe (presumably) works for the Rainmaker in the future. So it would make sense for the Rainmaker to send Abe back in time to look after the Rainmaker’s mother when the Rainmaker was only a child. Maybe Abe was charged with not only organizing the Loopers, but making sure that Baby Rainmaker was safe from them.
2. Suzie being the Rainmaker’s mother also gives the Rainmaker a good reason to hate Loopers. Suzie is, essentially, a prostitute to the Loopers. She uses, or is around, drugs. She takes her clothes off for money. We also don’t know who the father of Suzie’s child is – could it be a Looper? All of these things could easily contribute to the Rainmaker deciding that the loops should all be closed, thereby forcing the Loopers to kill their future selves.
3. Here’s the big piece of evidence: Suzie’s kid doesn’t die. Old Joe kills the first child on his list, but when he gets to Suzie’s apartment, Kid Blue ambushes him before he has a chance to kill her child. We’re given a clue that Cid might be the Rainmaker when Young Joe witnesses Cid’s crazy powers, giving Old Joe the memory of it simultaneously. Old Joe says “The Rainmaker?” right before Kid Blue tazes him, but this is incidental. Just because Cid has crazy powers, doesn’t mean he’s the Rainmaker.
4. If the Rainmaker is Suzie’s child, the Rainmaker from the future might have even tipped off Kid Blue that Old Joe would be at Suzie’s apartment. It’s one of the few moments of competence that Kid Blue has in the movie.
5. If the Rainmaker is Suzie’s child, the child who didn’t die, then it makes perfect sense that the evil Rainmaker of the future exists regardless of what goes on at Sarah’s farm. This explanation allows the Rainmaker to exist in both versions of the timeline, with or without Joe’s involvement.
So there you have it! Am I crazy? I’d love to hear some thoughts on this one, because I think it makes sense. Rian Johnson, are you out there? Care to shed some light on this idea?
Oh, and please go see Looper, because it’s friggin’ amazing.