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    Given that the Puppet Master series is filled with a wealth of plot holes and continuity errors, fans have often been forced to come to their own conclusions on many details in the franchise’s fictional history; details both big and small. Luckily, the comic series from Action Lab has made it its civic duty to answer many if not most of the questions that have plagued fans for decades. But not all of them have been answered quite yet. Plenty of them still linger. Even if the comics have finally given us closure on the cliffhanger ending of Puppet Master II and the origin of Torch, one of the bigger, most maddening loose ends still has yet to be tied up: where was Six-Shooter during Puppet Master I & II?

    There’s a very obvious practical reason for this, of course. The grinning, six-armed cowboy puppet was not introduced until Puppet Master III, which just happened to be a prequel. That could have been all well and good, but the producers loved him so much that he became a core member of the gang and was simply inserted into Puppet Master 4 & 5 as if he’d been there the whole time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m grateful for that, but it doesn’t do anything to answer any of the larger questions from a story perspective.

    Given that the comics haven’t fully addressed it yet and the film series certainly never will, we can only come to our own conclusions on exactly what Six-Shooter was up to during his intermittent hiatuses from the rest of the puppets. After diving deep into the mythology both on the screen and on the comic page, I’ve come to a possible conclusion that’s wound up surprising even me. It’s certainly a shock for fans, something that changes the dynamics, even tones of the early films slightly, but still one that I believe makes sense.

    And that theory is simply this: Six-Shooter’s a traitor.

    Six Shooter in Puppet Master 5Or at least, he might have been in the past. With the detailed bits of backstory we’ve gotten on the other puppets in comic stories like “Rebirth” and franchise entries like Puppet Master III, we know a great deal about the other puppets at this point. Even Torch, who was a mystery for years, now has a clear backstory. We’ve seen Six-Shooter as a person, but his identity is basically the same as that of the puppet. He dresses the same, and the puppets only know to call him Shooter. And that’s the thing that intrigues me most about him. Other than Andre, who knew him enough to turn him into a puppet in the first place, they still don’t really know who he is.

    He’s enigmatic, self-serving. Appropriately, he kind of fills a role as the wildcard of the group. But much of his past remains unexplored. What we have gotten, though, is incredibly intriguing. When Six-Shooter is sent out on a task by the demon Anapa in the comic series, the demon’s servants make a few references to Shooter’s history as a human. They note that he still has a few skeletons in his closet, things that the other puppets would look at him differently if they knew about. He was a spy in World War II. He sold information to both sides.

    Thinking about that, I can’t help but wonder: what if he never stopped being a spy?

    His appearances in the film series are infrequent, but when you look at them all together—as long as you take into account that Curse of the Puppet Master is widely regarded to be set before Puppet Master II—they all follow one similar thread. They’re all set pre-present day. His infrequent appearances are all prequel appearances. With that in mind, let’s think about what was going on for the puppets in those days. They were in the chaos of World War II, Andre Toulon was losing all of his friends and was forced back into a battle he never really wanted to be a part of in the first place.

    Six ShooterBeyond the revenge, and the wars, and the running, though, there had always been a consistent threat dating back to the very beginning: Sutekh, the demon that this magic was stolen from in the first place. He’d been after Toulon since he was a young man, as is the basic plot of Retro Puppet Master. After that, he would not return as the primary antagonist until Puppet Master 4 & 5 (if you look at the franchise chronologically). So, what if Six-Shooter was a mole for Sutekh throughout that entire time?

    He could have fed him information about the puppets, about Toulon’s further applications of the magic as he got older and more skilled at it. He could have made a classic deal with the devil, no doubt under the pretense of one day becoming a real boy and returning to human form. If he disappeared to convene with Sutekh or his servants, it would explain the puppet’s infrequent appearances in not only Puppet Master I and II, but even Retro Puppet Master and possibly Axis of Evil as well. All of these were prequels set after Puppet Master III—the bookend scenes in Retro, that is—that Six-Shooter should logically have appeared in, but did not.

    So let’s say that Six-Shooter kept this up, checking in every now and then over the course of around fifty years, which to an ancient demon like Sutekh is virtually no time at all. Then Sutekh decides the time is right. He’s finally got the puppets in a vulnerable state—at the beginning of Puppet Master 4, they’re on their own in the hotel with no puppet master of any kind—and there has never been a better time to strike. If he’d been out there all this time, why pick that night in particular? How would he know to strike at that moment unless he had already been told?

    Six-Shooter, who had spent years by the other puppets’ side and become a genuine part of the group by that point, couldn’t actually turn his back on the other puppets and side with Sutekh. There’s no way. So when that fight finally begins in earnest, Six-Shooter sides with the rest of the puppets’ against the Totems and Sutekh himself. At the end, Sutekh is finally killed. And Six-Shooter has appeared in every present-set entry since.

    In the comics, the puppets are currently facing off against Sutekh’s heir, Anapa. This demon has already made it explicitly clear that he has no interest in reviving any old deals that his father had made, and that could easily expand to Six-Shooter as well. He has a vendetta against the puppets, but not for killing his father, so he has no reason to target Six-Shooter, specifically.

    Even the other puppets have shown their distrust over time. When their brief time in human bodies—see the brilliant “Rebirth” arc—and their newfound psychic connection allowed them to have actual conversations with one another, they brought up his frequent absences in the past. They made note of his many disappearances. When they mention that they still have trouble trusting him, he flat-out tells them that they shouldn’t.

    That doesn’t mean that he’s still hiding anything new from them, only that he might be hiding something in his past—which, that much is already clear—that would make his comrades see him in an entirely different light. A past history with Sutekh definitely fits the bill—and would provide the comics with a nice Gambit/Mister Sinister dynamic. Six-Shooter could very well have been loyal to them ever since he helped them kill Sutekh, but that doesn’t change the fact that they would want nothing to do with him if they ever found out about a past history like this one. It’s something he would want to keep buried, if true.

    The upcoming final arc of the comics, “Curtain Call,” will finally touch on where Six-Shooter was during the events of Puppet Master I & II. It may turn out to be something similar to this or it could turn out to be completely different. I really can’t say. This is only my own interpretation, my own theory, but looking back over the course of eleven films and over twenty comics, I think there’s certainly enough evidence to support it.

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