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Resident Evil: Village [SPOILERS] The Duke theories

Giantslimyfetus

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Hey everyone, this is my first post here. Does anyone have a theory about how the Duke knows Ethan and how he is able to move so quickly. The Duke says to Ethan that he isn't sure how to answer the question of who and what he is. Is he possibly another failed creation of mother Miranda? Or perhaps he is part of the mycelium of the mutamycete and is able to form wherever he likes?
 

Teen Tyrant

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His appearance is not consistent with anything we’ve seen from infection by any of the Progenitor virus variants, or any version of Las Plagas infestation, so he’s got to be a mutation based on the Mold. He could be a result of secondary infection due to being in the area as Miranda’s experiments slowly infected the region over time. Maybe he was even offered the same gifts as the four lords but chose not to be part of the group. Miranda may have thought he was harmless enough, may have even liked him, and allowed him to continue on so long as he didn’t compromise the others, maybe staying in touch with him. That could explain how he knows so much about what’s happening in the village and about Ethan.

I don’t think his moving around fast is anything beyond a game feature, much like in RE4 when you could run from one area where the merchant was to another and he was there already; he’s not moving fast, the gameplay is just segregated from the story, which does not account for the merchant always being exactly there. I think Ethan canonically encounters Duke in each area only during the times when he has a scripted conversation with him, and so as you move from one area to another in story, he’s got plenty of time, likely hours, to relocate to another area.
 

Hardware

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In the early version that was beta-tested, the Old Hag was a "witch" that would chase you around like Lady D's daughters. Then her character was altered and the became the merchant (I reckon with the same plot twist as we saw in the final build or something close) and, eventually, the Duke was created to separate the character from the gameplay mechanic. So I think there's no real backstory to him, just a lot of smoke and mirrors to give an impression of world-building. Maybe they'll retcon everything in RE9 and the Duke will be the new head of Umbrella: Capcom is capable of anything,
 

MrTC

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His appearance is not consistent with anything we’ve seen from infection by any of the Progenitor virus variants, or any version of Las Plagas infestation
I dont think the duke is infected by progenitor virus or las plagas, but in RE4 there where people that could control the plagas inside their bodies like salazar/saddler/krauser/the chief. On the other hand its logic that he knew a lot of the things where going on since he was the merchant of the village, hes just doing business so hes harmless for Mirandas plan. Now there where some scenarios where it was physically imposible for him to reach the area, if you ask me if he haves powers or something like that i would say yes, but i dont really think its fun to find any explanations for him, hes just a cool character of the saga.
 

justliketheplant

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I feel like the implication is that he is affected by the megamycete (?), given he's from the village, but isn't a creation of Miranda. The megamycete seems to manifest uniquely in everyone it doesn't turn into a lycan, so maybe it just made him really big and nothing else. I feel like Lady Dimistricu (or however you spell it) being tall as well is too big of a coincidence. Miranda attributes her need to drink blood to a genetic disorder mutated by the megamycete--maybe if she didn't have that she would just be tall too? But like Hardware said, Capcom probably didn't think too hard about it, they just needed a merchant character.
 

SpaceOwlHoot

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In the description of one of the concept arts, the Duke was originally supposed to be a 5th Lord. They always wanted the character to be huge and considering all the other 4 lords were infected, it would be safe to assume that he would be infected as well.

Of course they dropped the whole 5th Lord thing and made him just a merchant, but I guess you could make the argument that his design was created with him being infected taken into consideration.
 

Ark2000

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I think there definitely was something more to the Duke. I'm about to go into some big spoilers here, including some info revealed in last year's leaks, so you've been warned.

In the final game, after Ethan's dream/nightmare where he talks to Eveline, he wakes up in Duke's carriage who already knows that Ethan wants to go to ceremony site. They talk for a little bit, Duke obviously knows that Ethan is about to die, and depending on dialogue after final deal with him, even says goodbye to Ethan. But, in one of the leaked videos of unfinished beta of the game, this scene was very different;

After the scene with Eveline, Ethan has a flashback where he remembers talking to Mia about something, then he wakes up in Duke's carriage and talks to him, and for some reason, there is a suitcase (or box) with small dead mold creature like the ones in RE 7 which Ethan used to create the "cure" to destroy Eveline. There was more dialogue in the entire scene between Ethan and Duke but in the leaked video it was all in Japanese subtitles so i don't know what they were talking about. Anyway Ethan does the same thing again with this creature, and later when he confronts Miranda, he injects her with it after Chris shoots her, and that's why she starts losing her power. It seems like Capcom for some reason changed entire scene, but even this could mean that Duke was involved into the entire story lot more than it seems like in the final game.
 

Kapon

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I have a theory that the Duke we see in game is actually the personification of the Megamycete itself. This came to me mostly from the fact that the Duke knows EVERYTHING. He knows more than Ethan, Mia, Chris and Miranda combined including everyones most guarded secrets. Megamycete is presented as superorganism with combined knowlege of everyone and everything that came into contact with it (mostly by perishing and getting burried) and it is also indicated that all infected by mold have some kind of psychic conection. This could mean that megamycete could have all this information.
I also considered Duke's motivation to help Ethan. The Duke claims that his motive is monetary gain but I highly doubt he has anything to gain from Ethan who is just plundering massacred village in which he came empty handed. The duke even expends more money by buying corpses of fallen enemies (I din't count this but I come from Ethen usually having lot of surplus money at the end of the game). It is true that the Duke might sell those corpses later for profit but I am not convinced. Even Ethan doesn't trust the Duke's explanation but he does not have time to solve this mystery when he has Rose to save. But claiming monetary interest is easy explanation to deflect other questions and hide Dukes't true motive. While Miranda and most of her creations are clearly mad and evil, the Megamycete is neither of those. I would argue Megamycete personality is benevolent and non agresive. When Miranda first found it, she was sick and nearly dead. She got infected by mold but she got healed and gained powers. I thing everything bad then came from Miranda and her mad quest of revivng her dead dauther not from the Megamycete. If that is true then the Megamycete would se Ethan as an opportunity to save itself from Miranda abusing it for her means and it would try to help Ethan by providing guidance, support and sanctuary from other infected as the Duke does. Collecting corpses for the Duke now makes more sence because Megamycete uses corpses of the dead to absorb them into his network.
I looked further for evidence to support or disprove this theory. There are few mentions of the Duke namely villiger's diary and guest book in the castle. From those it is almost clear that there was merchant named The Duke before main outbreak in the village, but you actually never see anyone other than Ethan to interact with him during the game. My theory is that the merchant died during the oubreak before Ethan arived and his consciousness and personality got absorbed by the Megamycete. Megamycete then chose the Duke as his avatar to communicate with Ethan.
This would also explain all of Dukes amazing feats like being able to get anywhere faster then Ethan despite being virtually immobile. Ethen is also unable to shoot the Duke just like he could not shoot at Eveline(AKA the Grandma) in RE7.
When duke helped Ethan one last time before the game final Ethan asked him who or what he really is knowing Dukes previous claimes just don't hold up. Duke replied that even him can quite answer that. In this theory that answer actualy makes sence because explaining nature, origin and motivation of a organism such as the Megamycete would be probably imposible in general.
Last thing I want to mention is fact that Megamycete got destroyed during the finale of the game. I believe that this outcome was intentional by the Megamycete. After Chris managed to defeat monster guarding the Megamycete (clearly creation of Miranda) there was no further resistence from the core iself despide it being clearly able to control the mold tentacles. Secondly the Megamycete (considering it is in fact benevolent and non-agresive) would see that his continual existence would in time led to another evil person abusing it and/or using it to hurt others. In that case would be logical to seek and welcome its own demise.
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Ufff that was longer then I intended. someone please someone point me to some clear evidence that disproof this so I can forget about all of this :D Thank you :D
 
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