Yellowjackets Season 3 Theories: What the Antler Queen Coronation Could Mean

The Yellowjackets have anointed an Antler Queen, but her season 3 reign could be shorter than you thin.

Sophie Thatcher as Teen Natalie, Courtney Eaton as Teen Lottie and Kevin Alves as Teen Travis during Natalie's coronation in YELLOWJACKETS, "Storytelling".
Photo: Kailey Schwerman | Showtime

This article contains spoilers for the season 2 finale of Yellowjackets

The identity of the Antler Queen first seen in the Yellowjackets pilot has been one of the most intriguing mysteries of the series so far. We first see her during what has become known as the “pit girl” scene that shows an unknown survivor being hunted through the wilderness until she falls into a pit and dies. She is then butchered and offered to another unknown survivor wearing a crown of antlers for approval before the others are allowed to partake. This Antler Queen has long been thought to be Lottie Matthews (Courtney Eaton), but the season 2 finale shows that might not be the case going into Yellowjackets season 3.

After learning of the hunt that took place while she was recovering from being nearly beaten to death by Shauna (Sophie Nélisse), Lottie decides to relinquish her role as leader. She argues that they don’t need her to connect with the wilderness any more and that the wilderness has already chosen someone to guide them “for the rest of the time” they’re out there. Because Natalie (Sophie Thatcher) drew the Queen of Hearts and survived the hunt, Lottie believes that she is who the wilderness has chosen to lead them.

Even though Nat isn’t officially adorned with the Antler Queen crown, the other teens bow to her ceremoniously, pledging their fealty to her as their new leader. But, this doesn’t necessarily mean that Nat is the Antler Queen we see in the pilot. Young Nat actor Sophie Thatcher doesn’t think that her character will “fully take over that role.” Thatcher also believes that Nat’s coronation of sorts will cause a divide within the group, saying “I think there’s going to be tension between her and Shauna, because Shauna obviously has endured so much and felt like she was the natural one to fall into that role. I think it’s just going to start more conflict. Not that things were going well, but they had a leader that people agreed on and now everything is thrown out of sorts. People don’t even like Natalie that much. They trust her, but she’s not giving them what Lottie was giving them.”

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Courtney Eaton also believes that there will be more than one Antler Queen, telling The Hollywood Reporter “Sure, there might end up being a specific Antler Queen. But I also think there’s an ever-shifting energy within the hierarchy of our group that it might be something that changes or might be fought over. And I do think it’s representative of an idea and what those characters need in that moment.”

Looking back at the end of season 1, Lottie is similarly positioned as the next leader of the group through her connection to the wilderness. She may not be formally anointed as Nat is this season, but between the twigs in her doomcoming crown looking suspiciously like antlers and her ability to tame and kill a wild bear, it was pretty clear that Lottie would have an important role in the group in season 2 after Jackie’s death in the season 1 finale.

So far, each season finale has given the stranded teens a new leader to guide them, whether explicitly or not, so it seems likely that Thatcher and Eaton are correct and there will be another change in leadership by the end of season 3. As the harsh winter fades and spring returns, Natalie’s hunting skills will be essential for the group’s survival and may give her and the others a way to connect with the wilderness without cannibalism for a bit, but the more bloodthirsty members of the group may not see hunting animals as enough to appease the wilderness and insist on appointing a new leader. Lottie’s devout followers could try to convince her to take back her crown, or could decide to anoint someone new.

It doesn’t seem likely that Natalie is the “pit girl” Antler Queen given how traumatizing Javi’s (Luciano Leroux) death in the last hunt was for her. She carried his sacrifice with her into adulthood, so it doesn’t feel right for her to push that trauma onto someone else by carrying on with the hunts. She may still participate, but that doesn’t mean she would willingly instigate them. But regardless of how long her reign as Antler Queen lasts, Natalie has her work cut out for her next season, with Coach Ben (Steven Krueger) burning down their cabin and everything. It will be interesting to see how she handles the pressure of leadership and if another Antler Queen will be crowned by the end of the season.