Fans have tried to figure out Dr. Wily‘s whereabouts in the Mega Man X and Mega Man Zero series for decades. Whenever a robot with a sinister-looking mustache appears in-game, fans incorrectly assume the robot is Dr. Wily. However, there’s no need for random guesses. This mystery could have been solved a long time ago with a little detective work. Over time, the games have given us hints about the evil scientist’s whereabouts. Fans should’ve taken these hints at face value.
Before Mega Man 11 was announced, it appeared as though Mega Man 10 would be the end of the series. As such, Capcom dropped some of the biggest clues of the saga, and nobody noticed. In Mega Man 10, Dr. Wily creates Roboenza, a disease that only infects robots. The virus causes robots to malfunction and want to conquer the world. Wily then suspiciously contracts the very same disease. Instead of questioning his humanity, players assumed that the virus evolved to affect humans.
Here’s the thing, though …
The Real Dr. Wily’s Been Dead for Years
In Mega Man 3, we learned that Dr. Wily has fake robotic copies of himself running rampant and doing his dirty work. The game ends with Wily — a senior citizen — being crushed by falling stone and metal debris. That debris fell from castle-ceiling heights! No one could survive that sort of trauma — not even a diabolical mastermind like Wily.
At the very end of Mega Man 3’s epilogue, Dr. Wily’s watches Mega Man from afar in his aircraft. However, that’s no longer the original Dr. Wily. It’s a robotic clone (from now on referred to as “Robo-Wily”). Robo-Wily is simply doing his homework by plotting an attack on the robot who killed his original body.
Dr. Wily Created a More Powerful Body for Himself
At the end of the Mega Man fighting game, Power Fighters 2, it is revealed that Dr. Wily built Zero, the red, heroic robot from Mega Man X (which takes place 100 years after the original series). Popular fan theories posited that Zero killed Dr. Light and the original Mega Man crew. As a result, he was locked away in a capsule for 100 years for being too dangerous. Not only does this make little sense, but it has also been officially denied by Mega Man’s creators.
It makes more sense that Dr. Wily built himself a new body (i.e., Zero) to compete with his mortal enemy, Mega Man. We know Zero’s body contains Wily because of the signature “W” that appears on his head. That “W” never appears on any of Wily’s other robots. The “W” only appears on his vehicles and his castles, you know, things that physically hold Dr. Wily. For further proof, check out one of the multiple endings in Mega Man X5. An image of Dr. Wily appears in Zero’s dream, and Zero says that the image is his own.
But Zero’s a Good Guy, Right?
Dr. Wily may have begun as an antagonist, but he eventually sees the light in Mega Man 10. In that game, he actually helps Mega Man by curing Roboenza. Wily’s sudden change of heart explains why Zero is a good guy in the Mega Man X timeline.
Unfortunately, Robo-Wily/Zero cannot control his original sinister personality. (He flip-flops between good and evil for more than ten games.) Realizing that he can’t trust himself, Robo-Wily/Zero wipes his own memory and locks himself in a capsule for 100 years to heal his fractured mind.
It all makes sense when you consider that he did the same thing in Mega Man X6 after regaining his memories. So, Zero’s visions in Mega Man X4 were the original Wily’s reemerging urge to kill. This explains why X and Zero wake up at the same time (in both the Mega Man X and Mega Man Zero series). Dr. Light created X to keep an eye on the highly unstable Robo-Wily/Zero.
Dr. Wily’s Evil Personality Escapes and Lives On
Sigma, the leader of the Maverick Hunters, a group of robot police, was the first to encounter Zero in the year 21XX. During this confrontation, Sigma became infected by Zero. This was likely an evolved form of Roboenza, which explains Sigma’s sudden aggression and urge to conquer the world. The disease is then referred to as the “Sigma Virus.” In Mega Man X5, Sigma’s schemes to awaken the “true Zero” by reinfecting Zero with a large amount of the Sigma Virus. The “true Zero” that Sigma was trying to awaken was, in fact, Dr. Wily.
Robo-Wily/Zero then becomes the main protagonist in the Mega Man Zero series. He even fights his own wicked descendant (Dr. Weil) and an evil clone of X. In a complete role reversal, Robo-Wily, a good clone of a once-evil antagonist, now has to teach everything he has learned to Copy X, an evil clone of a once-good protagonist. This means that the entire Mega Man saga is actually about Robo-Wily’s search for redemption.
Zero was Robo-Wily’s chance to start from scratch. Or as some would say — start from zero.
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