For a while now, speculation been floating around the internet concerning the character Lillie. Her bio on the game’s website calls her “mysterious” and says that she will have “an important role in the story.” Beyond that, we don’t have much more to go on. Which, of course, means that rumors and theories have been popping up everywhere. Some say that Lillie will be working with the villainous team, recently revealed as the gangstas of Team Skull. (Although, let’s face it, PMD Team Skull is OG.) Others say that she has a connection to the Kalos region. Some theories say both, or close to it.
Since Lillie’s initial character reveal several months ago, The Pokémon Company has focused more on revealing new Pokémon and characters rather than adding to what we know about already-revealed characters. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since it means less story spoilers coming our way, but it does mean that we’re probably not going to learn anything more about Lillie until Sun and Moon release this November. Thanks to the lack of info, most theories and speculation about Lillie’s character and her role in the story are based mostly on rumors, and maybe a little bit on wishful thinking. Which means that most of these Lillie theories come out sounding a bit… wait for it… Farfetch’d. (Yes, I went there.) So, I thought it would be fun to come up with a theory based on what we do know.
Right now, the only solid information we have on Lillie is from her bio on Pokémon Sun and Moon’s website and the gameplay clip shown at E3 2016. Her bio says that she’s an assistant to Professor Kukui “for personal reasons,” she’s a huge bookworm and she doesn’t like making Pokémon fight in battles. In the clip from E3, she seemed worried that the player’s and Hau’s Pokemon would get hurt in their battle during the village festival.
The question is, what kind of “personal reasons” are Lillie’s motivation in working for Professor Kukui? Most theories assume that this part of the bio must mean that Lillie is actually working for the Professor out of selfish motives. But how boring would it be if the innocent, anxious young girl who everyone expects to be secretly a villain actually turns out to be secretly a villain? The main series Pokémon games aren’t exactly known for their brilliant storytelling, but Gen 5 threw us a few curveballs (Pokémon GO reference not intended), and personally, I’d like the plot to be less obvious more often.
Every Pokémon Professor so far has had a specific area of expertise, and Professor Kukui is no different. According to his bio on the Pokemon Sun and Moon website, his research focuses on Pokémon moves. It also says that he’s even willing to take hits from Pokémon moves if he thinks he can learn something from the experience. A Pokémon Professor’s area of expertise usually has to do with some new feature introduced in the new games, and with Sun and Moon introducing Z-moves, this generation looks like it’s going to be no exception. However, if Lillie’s concerned about Pokémon getting hurt by Pokémon moves, she would probably also be concerned about people getting hurt by Pokémon moves. To be fair, this isn’t completely unreasonable for her to be worried about. Pokémon can let loose some really powerful elemental energy, and the stronger the Pokémon, the greater damage it’s capable of. What if Lillie’s “personal reasons” for assisting with Professor Kukui’s research into Pokémon moves are that she’s trying to find a way to neutralize moves in order to keep people and Pokémon from getting hurt?
If a Pokémon’s moves were neutralized, then that Pokémon wouldn’t be able to battle, which would really upset the premise of the game series as a whole. And with Team Skull running around Alola wreaking havoc, things would work out pretty well for them if only their Pokémon could battle. It’s possible that Lillie might still be involved with Team Skull, either out of pure intentions or as an unwilling victim. It could be that Team Skull might trick Lillie into sharing her research with them by convincing her that they’ll help her in her quest to keep Pokémon and people safe, only to have them turn on her and use her research for their own selfish goals. However, Team Skull is so obviously bad, even for Pokémon villains, that Lillie would have to be ridiculously naive in order to fall for it. It’s more likely that Team Skull will hear about her research and steal it from her so that they can neutralize the moves of any Pokémon that dares stand against them. With the results of Lillie’s research in hand, Team Skull would be invincible – except for the only moves strong enough to break through their new defenses, Z-moves. This puts the game’s new feature into the story, with the player having to master Z-moves in order to beat Team Skull.
Or maybe I’ve completely missed the mark. We won’t know for sure until November.