It’s been four months since worldwide K-pop stars, BTS, made a comeback and wrapped up their Hwa Yang Yeon Hwa series. Their release of ‘Forever young’, ‘Fire’, and ‘Save me’ broke records and stayed at the top of multiple charts for several weeks. Now they’re back with a new series: Wings. Known for their thought provoking and theory-inducing concepts, it comes as no surprise that these short films have raised more questions than BTS will be answering and also contained many links back to the HYYH era.
On September 4th, the first of the films started off with Jungkook and was titled #1 Begin.
Immediately you are met with Rap Monster reciting what seems to be a quote, in English, followed by a whistling tune.
“The realms of day and night, two different worlds coming from two opposite poles, mingled during this time”
The film then continues with various scenes including a painting which catches on fire: a distressed Jungkook who calls out “hyung” while seemingly remembering a car crash, and a flutter of wings.
When the film ends, we zoom out to see wings that have fluttered out from the sides of his shadow and four black circles. The first of which turns into a vague shape of a bird, indicating that Jungkook’s teaser has been completed.
Since this was the first film, I was quite unsure of what to decipher. Perhaps it was Jungkook unable to come to terms with what had happened to him. The recurring nightmares and the painting that catches on fire could represent the incident he has tried to forget but cannot. The wings he gain at the end could mean that he’s embraced what has happened and has evolved, since the drawing he held changed from a boy to that of a bird in flight.
Jimin’s short film followed the next day with the title #2 Lie.
As with the previous film, it starts with Rap Monster reciting yet another quote regarding his parents and the themes of love and behavior.
“My parents’ house made up one realm. This realm was familiar to me in almost every way. Mother and father, love and strictness, model-behavior and school.”
Jimin’s film differed greatly from Jungkook’s. Scenes of his passionate dancing, a short audio of him singing, and the return of the tub from “I Need U” and “Run” era all happened in his film. However, some similarities to #1 Begin included: the piano on fire, Jimin being drenched in water, and the changing of scenes in the way you would take apart a set.
It also appears that he is in an asylum of some sort and his film ends with him taking a bite out of an apple, which is what the second of the four black circles transforms into- a bitten apple. After the release of this film, I was reminded of American Horror Story, but perhaps this was just because of the asylum setting.
My interpretation of this film is that after Jimin’s tub incident during ‘I Need U’, he is institutionalized for treatment. They use various tactics to treat him but he his adamant and keeps lying- represented by the apple and his over-confident appearance. The only way to express himself is through his dance and the two beds represent that someone he’s supposed to be with is not present. Him becoming apart of the painting could symbolize him trapped within himself and refusing to admit what he actually feels, therefore unable to overcome his issues.
Following them, #3 Stigma was released with Taehyung being the central character.
“It was the first fissure in the columns that upheld my childhood, which every individual must destroy before he can become himself. Such fissure and rents grow together again, heal and are forgotten. But in the most secret recesses they continue to live and bleed.”
After Rap Monster’s recital we see Taehyung being arrested for vandalism, which doesn’t seem to bother him in the least. This film played out more like a movie than the previous two and we get to see the acting skills that Taehyung has been hiding.
His film also contained more links to the HYYH era such as the scene with drunk man who abuses a girl- which was deduced to be Taehyung’s father and sister- the arrest, and even a scene from the Danger music video, in which he cuts his hair. With this film, it’s becoming clearer that BTS’s intention for this series is to follow up further on the past themes they’ve covered and truly give a definition to BOY MEETS ____.
Of the three teasers, #3 Stigma was my favorite and not just because it revolves around my bias- there were so many emotional scenes in this film from him being beaten up, to him comforting the woman who suffered the same fate, and even scenes with the most adorable white puppy.
During HYYH era, I was most drawn towards Taehyung’s story line and, like many other Army’s, I didn’t have all my questions answered. So seeing Wings, pick up on that story line has reignited those emotions and the need to know more. One part of the film that seems to have shocked fans is hearing Taehyung hit a high note as part of his overhead audio, as he known for his lower and deeper notes. The audio also carries a very soulful and mellow tune which fits the atmosphere of the film. As with the previous films, one of the black circles was sliced in two, indicating that Taehyung’s teaser was complete.
The next installment of the films was released on September 8th, focusing on Suga and titled #4 First Love.
By now, I had noticed that each quote Rap Monster recites links to the film in a specific way.
“There are numerous ways in which God can make us lowly and lead us back to ourselves. This was the way he dealt with me at that time.”
This time he speaks of the way he was dealt with by God and led back to himself, and we see Suga who breaks into a music shop to play the piano.
However he quickly gives up when he hears the whistling tune that we first heard in Jungkook’s film. As the film continues it seems that Suga and Jungkook are connected with the aspects of the car crash, whistling and the piano on fire.
First Love concludes differently than expected as this black circle transforms into piano keys, then combines with Jimin’s black circle and transforms into tyre tracks, instead of taking the place of the fourth. In this way, theories of a 4-member sub-unit were dissolved as the empty fourth circle indicated more teasers to come.
Analyzing Suga’s film I found that he links back to his character during “I Need U” with the fire and seemingly aimless attitude at the beginning. The fact that he abandons the piano to go in search of the tune represents that he’s still searching for something else. His near miss with the car is a link to the same scene with Jungkook during “Run” and can represent a near death experience or witnessing someone they care about die tragically and not being able to stop it.
Instead of Rap Monster’s film being released last, it was released fifth and titled #5 Reflection. The quote he recites for his own film follows up on the quote from Jimin’s film.
“The other realm, however, overlapping half our house was completely different. A loud mixture of horrendous intriguing, frightful, mysterious things including slaughterhouses and prisons, drunk guards and screeching fishwives, calves and cows, horses sinking to their death, tales of robberies, murders and suicides.”
We start of with scene of him tattooing a bird on himself, which is a throwback to their ‘Danger’ music video. He also seems to be in a room lined with mirror that shatter. He then runs out towards a telephone booth- the same chained glass booth from Taehyung’s film.
#5 Reflection also carries similarities to Jungkook’s film with the picture of the bird that Rap Monster burns, which Jungkook picks up in his film. And the rainbow of colors that engulf Rap Monster’s arms in the opposite way to which the colors drain from the painting in Jungkook’s film.
At the end, Rap Monster’s black circle shatters and combines with Jungkook’s circle, similar to how Suga and Jimin’s combined.
My conclusion of this film is that Rap Monster struggled to deal with his issues from the previous series that has escalated into him being trapped by this reflection of himself that he doesn’t wish to see. The chained booth that he runs to symbolizes his inability to get help even though he desperately wants it, and the word “WAR” painted in red on the glass represent this war within himself.
On September 10th, the sixth film was released, titled #6 Mama as started off with yet another excerpt by Rap Monster.
“With a face that resembled her son’s-timeless, ageless and full of inner strength- the beautiful woman smiled with dignity. Her gaze was fulfillment, her greeting a homecoming. Silently, I stretched my hands out to her.”
As fans speculated, it revolved around J-Hope who was shown to be trapped in a white, padded room- or rather a cell. As the clock strikes 1pm, pills start flooding in from two vents on either side of the cell. The pills are reminiscent of J-Hope’s apparent overdose during HYYH era. A doctor scribbles on a clipboard and the words Munchausen’s Syndrome, which is defined as a psychiatric condition where a patient feigns illness to create attention or draw sympathy to themselves.
As we continue watching, J-Hope swallows a pill which drops into a martini glass, opposite to the pill rising out the glass in Jimin’s film. It then becomes clear that these two are linked. But the pill is not the only link as the same scenic painting from Jimin’s film appears in #6 Mama, after a very trippy scene in which the white cell is transformed into a neon paint-splashed room.
As J-Hope exits his cell, he stares at the painting and smiles while snacking on a Snickers bar (can anyone say product placement?). The painting then transforms into that of a mother embracing her child- the same image we saw reflected in Taehyung’s eye in his film.
#6 Mama concludes with a black circle, with the repeated markings that spell EVA, combining with Taehyung’s circle.
This sixth film provided no more insight into what is happening than the others did, which is no doubt BTS’s intention. Concerning J-Hope, I saw this film as a representation of his supposed struggle that he overcomes when he leaves the war-zone like cell. He no longer has to fight for attention over the trauma he experienced as he has come to terms with it.
On September 12th, BTS released Jin’s film, #7 Awake, after a very long wait and after watching it, I had more questions that what I had started with. As fans predicted, six of the members would be paired up while the seventh would stand alone and this member was theorized to be Jin. It seems that fans were quite right in that respect, not that it comes as a surprise since Jin has always been the standalone member in BTS’s music videos.
“The bird fights its way out of the egg. The egg is the world. Who would be born must first destroy a world. The bird flies to God. That god’s name is, Abraxas.”
As a mellow piano tunes plays, we see Jin sitting alone at a dining table. Before him is a red apple, much like the one Jimin bites into. He picks it up, and lets it fall to ground after briefly examining it. Maybe this was his way of trying to let Jimin go.
He then tries to take a Polaroid picture of the flower on the table but the flash seems to blow out the candles. This is the first indication that he isn’t in the real world- perhaps it’s a dream. The Polaroid is also a throw back to HYYH when he spends his time filming and taking pictures of the other members during ‘Prologue’.
A shadow is cast over the room and then the apple seemingly “leads” Jin to double doors that open into a bedroom- similar to the one we saw in the ‘I Need U’ music video. When the door closes, we see multiple scratches on it, as if someone was trapped and trying to get out. This reminded me of J-Hope in his cell or Jimin in the asylum.
Jin then sets down petals, like he’s done once before, and lights them on fire. It could be that’s he’s trying to forget the boys because he had died- this was theory that was popular during HYYH era. He then lays down again and the room becomes distorted as if he’s dreaming or hallucinating. When he wakes up at opens the curtains- like he did in a previous HYYH video- and instead of a window he finds a mirror. Tapping on it causes a ripple, as if he’s touching the surface of water.
When he leaves this surreal room, he walks down a lengthy hallway and pauses at the end. Standing before a painting of a black bird in flight- the same drawing we saw in Jungkook’s film, he picks in and places in an envelope and also the same bird that Rap Monster tattoos on his arm.
As the camera moves backwards into the room we see six polaroids on the floor with images that relate to each of the previous films indicating that the burned petals did indeed resemble the boys and Jin trying to forget them. Other connections to previous films found in Jin’s film include Suga’s burning piano which was untouched, the chains on a wardrobe similar to the glass booth in both Taehyung and Rap Monster’s films and the painting of the boy from Jungkook’s film, hidden behind a chair.
Jin’s film seems to confirm the long-standing theory that during HYYH, he was the character that had died in a car accident and that everything the other members do is a consequence of losing him. And it’s those consequences that are elaborated on in this new series.
I found an excellent series on YouTube that analyzed each music video during HYYH that explained this theory in detail. If you’re curious, you can find the channel here.
It was discovered that Rap Monster had been quoting from the book Demian, by Herman Hesse and that these quotes are providing a basis on which this follow-up concept is being built. It is also clear that previous concepts will be playing a larger role and the possibility of gaining long-awaited answers has sprouted hundreds of fan theories. Due to the use of the quotes in the films, this book has even sold out at stores!
It’s possible that the series, Wings, tackles the issue of Boy Meets Adulthood, since the book also covers that theme and being reborn. Additionally, the recurrence of the black bird seems to resemble the deity Abraxas who is mentioned in the book. Since rebirth is associated with him, it is fitting that the series is titled “Wings” and adds to the theory of growing up and becoming a new person after many trials.
Each film is linked to a chapter in the book which fans theorize represent the story of each member.
#1 Begin: “Beatrice”, as Jungkook’s painting links to the main character Sinclair, who also painted someone he was trying to remember in this chapter.
#2 Lie: “Two Realms” due to lying associated with apples, which Jimin’s circle evolves into.
#3 Stigma: “Cain”, a chapter that explores the murder’s side of the story which correlates to Taehyung who murders his father during HYYH era.
#4 First Love: “The bird fights its way out of the egg”, a chapter in which the character Sinclair meets a musically inclined boy, who is also a pyromaniac, which links to the piano on fire and Suga breaking to a store to play that piano.
#5 Reflection: “Jacob Wrestling” due to this chapter including a boy who eats the ashes of something he burned and falling asleep, much like Rap Monster did.
#6 Mama: “Eva” which is quite an obvious link as J-Hope’s black circle included this name. In this chapter it also revealed that the character Eva– the mother- gave Sinclair chocolate as a reward for behaving well or when he was sick. This links to J-Hope and his Snickers bar.
There are eight chapters in the book so there is the possibility of another film being release. Hopefully one with all the members will give us a more crystal view of everything that has happened, and how each pair of members relate to each other.
News also broke of producer and composer Philtre, working with BTS on their new album. Philtre is known for arranging songs such as Red Velvet’s ‘What I Wanted From You’ and Crush and Loco’s cover of ‘Perhaps that’. Reply 1998 OST ‘A little girl’ was also one his own arrangements, sung by Hyuk Oh, and remaining at the top of charts for a lengthy period.
Additionally, BTS’s second Japanese Album ‘Youth’ has topped the Oricon Album Daily chart and sold more than 44 thousand copies on release day alone. Wings is set to drop in October, so with teasers being released this early we can expect the Army theories to plentiful before we get any answers from the kings of thought provoking themes.
Do you have some theories of your own or things that were missed in the short films? Leave a comment down below and let us know!
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Edited By: Sarah Smith