This fall marks the 10th anniversary of Metroid: Other M for the Wii. It's one of gaming's more uncomfortable anniversaries—the kind that makes us tug at our collars while we desperately search for something interesting to look at on the ceiling. Some passionate Metroid fans even raise themselves halfway from their chairs to shake their fist at Team Ninja's controversial take on beloved bounty hunter Samus Aran.
Other M's gameplay was passable, but its story direction was a droning disappointment. Unlike her Nintendo brethren Link, Samus was never really a silent hero—but for a long time, she never really had much to say for herself, at least not in her games. Super Metroid starts with a brief monologue wherein Samus explains her mission. 2002's Metroid Fusion for the Game Boy Advance shows us a chattier side to the heroine, but the game isn't really story oriented. Other M, on the other hand, has two hours of cutscenes, and Samus isn't afraid to fill up about half of that runtime with pained soliloquies about her past and her complicated feelings for her father figure, Adam Malkovich.
Director and Metroid creator Yoshio Sakamoto was gung-ho about fleshing out Samus's story when he made Other M, but it's not clear if he knows who he wants Samus to be. Does anyone? I've written about the myriad depictions of Samus Aran across her games and supplementary media, including manga and Western comics. Depending on where you look and whom you ask, Samus Aran is a bounty hunter driven primarily by greed and an unsettling lust for Captain N, the teenage Nintendo game master. Or she's a waifish renegade with serious daddy issues. Or she's a stoic but gentle-souled warrior who battles her PTSD as often as she battles her nemesis, the alien Ridley—and she consistently comes out on top in both struggles.
To muddy things up even further, there are ghostly threads of half-canon that suggest a wilder personality: A solitary hunter who travels in the company of a son who was born of a one-night stand.
To answer your immediate cries of "What?" and "How? and "Are you high?" I should specify that there is indeed an interpretation of Samus that matches the one above, but its canonicity is shaky. At the same time, it's not invalid. In 2009, the long-running Metroid fansite Metroid Database posted a real curiosity: A "dream profile" cooked up for Samus by Japanese astrologer and fortune teller, Ariadne Yuko. The profile, in which Yuko interprets Samus's recurring nightmares and builds a profile of her accordingly, was published in the official Nintendo Japanese strategy guide for Super Metroid. You can find raw scans of the profile on Metroid Database's expansive library.
If you're an admirer of Samus, it's worth checking out the profile for the adorable illustrations alone. I advise you to stick around and read the text. Canon or not, Yuko builds up a fascinating profile of Samus that I have since absorbed into my personal fanon. Here's a gem:
[In response to a dream where Samus is slowly crushed while in Morph Ball form]: "If we explain this in the style of Freud, the ball should represent the male sex organ. If you go in the wrong direction, you won't escape! If there is someone you care deeply about, someone other than yourself, you have fallen into a trap. So, I can diagnose it's possible you are having an affair. Please be careful."
Putting aside how most of Freud's psychological publications are severely outdated, Yuko hangs on to the prospect of Samus having an affair. She warns Samus of a potential future where said affair—or another—ends with Samus getting knocked up. It's a difficult situation, as Samus has genuine feelings for her lover, but can't be with him. The son he leaves her is a bittersweet compromise:
"Samus, your isolated soul, tightly wrapped in your fighting spirit, seeks warmth. This encounter with a man is not that far away. When you first see him, even though he looks clumsy, there is abundant tolerance in the folds of your delicate emotions. In that encounter you will feel for a moment the bonds of fate.
"While it's a disappointment, you can never live together. From the circumstances, there will be no more than a parting suggestion. However, your heart won't feel lonely. The reason why is you will have your boy by your side. He will look a lot like his father. You will pass on through your son and continue to feel 'his' love from a long distance."
Crazy stuff, but potentially a lot of fun to mess with if you like to write fanfiction. [Cough.] I don't know if Sakamoto signed off on Yuko's dream profiles, but even if he did, this morsel of semi-canon was penned alongside the release of Super Metroid. Samus has gone through a lot since then, including the X-parasite infection in Metroid Fusion. I don't necessarily object to the idea of Samus having a kid—lord knows Other M reassured us over and over that she has unanswered maternal yearnings—but I'm curious about the genetic make-up of anything that might tumble from her loins. Samus was infused with Chozo DNA as a child, plus there's whatever space magic the baby Metroid fed to her when Mother Brain had her on the hopes in Super Metroid. (Side note: Apparently Samus has a recurring dream where the baby vomits on her instead of feeding her its energy.) There's the X-parasite to worry about, too. I don't know what kind of child Samus would bear if she did indeed kindle after a fling, but I won't lie: I wanna see them.
Samus's video game presence is a little scattershot recently. Metroid Prime 4 is coming (eventually), and we recently enjoyed the solid Metroid: Samus Returns for Nintendo 3DS, but otherwise Samus is laying low. That said, the bounty hunter had a small flash of glory at E3 2018 when she co-starred in the Super Smash Bros. Ultimate reveal trailer for Ridley. When Samus suddenly comes face-to-snout with the villain who killed her parents, she's clearly frightened and disbelieving—but then she literally jumps into action and kicks Ridley in the face.
Whatever kind of warrior Sakamoto wants Samus to be in Other M, the fans, previous game designers, and apparently fortune tellers have their own interpretations. Like most Metroid fans, I'm disappointed in Other M's story. I can understand Samus's subconscious longing for a father figure, given her history, but the game expects us to believe the relationship between Adam and Samus is a loving bond between a surrogate father and his wayward daughter. It tries to present Adam's subtle abuse of Samus as tough love, but I don't buy it.
Bizarre as it is, I prefer Yuko's prophecy about Samus traveling around the galaxy with her space bastard son. It's off the rails, but Yuko sells it to the point that I explore that possibility in my head from time to time. Who am I to turn my back on a potentially fertile Lone Wolf and Cub narrative?