WARNING: The following contains spoilers for Detective Pikachu, in theaters now.
Ditto has never been the most imposing Pokemon. Despite having the ability to morph into any other Pokemon, it's never proved to be an especially dangerous creature. But Detective Pikachu changes that by making a truly horrifying revelation about the pocket monster.
The Ditto that belongs to the villainous Howard Clifford (played by Bill Nighy) is revealed to be able to duplicate humans as well as other Pokemon. It quickly morphs through a variety of people during the final battle, with the only sign of its real identity being the strange, beady eyes Dittos usually possess. It comes out of nowhere for an effective twist ... that, coincidentally enough, was predicted in 2016 by a Pokemon parody.
For much of the film, Tim (Justice Smith), Detective Pikachu (Ryan Reynolds) and Lucy (Kathryn Newton) are under the impression that Roger Clifford (Chris Geere) is responsible for trapping Mewtwo and experimenting on Pokemon. However, the villainous acts were actually carried out by Roger's father, Howard. His Pokemon partner, a Ditto, is revealed to have been posing as a variety of human characters, including Roger. Although the duplicates are always silent, they are otherwise pretty convincing replicas.
The only way to tell that a person is Ditto is to look at the eyes: Instead of approximating human eyes, the Ditto retains the little dots of its original form. By the time Tim discovers that tell, Ditto is already confronting him in Howard's office, and morphs into a series of people and Pokemon to attack him. That includes an unsettling approximation of Lucy, which looks just like her, except for those eyes that come straight out of a nightmare.
A side quest in the 2017 video game Pokemon Ultra Sun reveals a pack of five Dittos has been replicating people around the Alola Region. The Pokemon fanbase was understandably creeped out by the revelation, and Detective Pikachu showcases why that would be such a frightening discovery. It's basically John Carpenter's The Thing!
But funnily enough, someone else pointed out the terrifying implications of Ditto's shape-shifting abilities three years ago.
In 2016, video game parody site Dorkly posted a video outlining why Ditto is actually actually terrifying. Titled "Why Ditto Is the Most Dangerous Pokemon," it plays out like parody of Invasion of the Body Snatchers. The Dittos quickly transform into various humans who inhabit the world, dragging the remaining people to daycare as they spread throughout the region and silently conquer it.
For a purple smiling glob, that's pretty nefarious. And now, with Detective Pikachu showing how well these creatures can duplicate humanity, it's not all that far-fetched.
The idea of Dittos turning into people is disturbing, especially if they were as effective at subterfuge and combat as the one featured in Detective Pikachu. This is a Ditto that knows how to operate technology, and is fast enough to move between locations with ease. Seriously, the only reason Tim isn't killed by the Ditto twice in the climax is because of the timely intervention of the real Roger Clifford and a fortuitous gas pipe that reduces the Ditto to a puddle of gunk.
Before that, the Ditto was casually wrecking Tim, at one point nearly dropping him out of a window. It also proved capable of duplicating techniques from other Pokemon, and not just the ones in front of it. That makes Ditto into the perfect versatile fighter.
Detective Pikachu, much like the Dorkly video, makes a pretty compelling case for why Ditto is actually a far more formidable Pokemon than even the genetically modified super-telepath Mewtwo. If it can duplicate anyone, then anyone could be a duplicate. That could easily be fodder for a genuinely creepy story set in the Pokemon world. Between that and the brief (but awesome) appearance of Gengar the ghost Pokemon during the illegal cage match, Nintendo and Legendary have all the proof they need that a horror film set in the Pokemon world would be absolutely terrifying.
Directed by Rob Letterman from a script written by Dan Hernandez and Benji Samit, Detective Pikachu stars Justice Smith, Kathryn Newton, Ken Watanabe and the voice of Ryan Reynolds.