There’s a lot going on in the world of MY CHEMICAL ROMANCE at the moment since their reunion announcement on Halloween last year, which is why we compiled this handy recap of every cryptic detail that’s occurred so far. Perhaps if we all put our single brain cells together we can figure it out…
First of all, here’s a quick breakdown of the various theories related to the year 2019 and why it always seemed fated that they would return in that year. However surprising it may have been considering the band’s constant denials of any reunion plans, perhaps the clues have been there all along?
The Smashing Pumpkins Theory
It’s no secret that My Chem were inspired by Smashing Pumpkins. Gerard and Mikey Way have both spoken about it interviews multiple times, with Gerard specifically and allegedly saying at one point that he wanted MCR to follow “the same path” as the Pumpkins.
Smashing Pumpkins were together for twelve years, broke up for seven and then got back together.
My Chemical Romance were together for twelve years before they broke up. Eager fans of this theory pointed out that if they were following the same path as the Pumpkins, they’d stay split up for seven years then get back together…in 2019. Guess they were right. Or perhaps it was just a coincidence.
The Teenagers Theory
This is entirely based around a single line from My Chem’s huge hit ‘Teenagers’, probably the most famous line – “teenagers scare the living shit out of me.”
The theory states that MCR would get back together when the band was no longer “a teenager”, which fans concluded was 2019, since the band would be eighteen years old and technically considered an adult by law. Guess this one also kind of came true??
The Shrek Theory
Probably the most outlandish and amusing of the lot, this theory has its origins on Reddit with full credit to user ‘shadow_dwagon_rawr’ for coming up with this gem, explaining how MCR’s timeline fits in perfectly with that of Shrek.
2001 – MCR first form. Shrek 1 released.
2004 – MCR release ‘Three Cheers For Sweet Revenge’. Shrek 2 released.
2007 – MCR’s epic and iconic world tour of ‘The Black Parade’. Shrek 3 released.
2010 – MCR release ‘Danger Days’. Shrek 4 released.
2019 – ???, Shrek 5 release date.
Clearly this theory predicted that something MCR related was going to happen in 2019, and whilst it did, Shrek 5 is still to be released.
The Danger Days Theory
The most obvious and most likely of the bunch, this centres around My Chem’s fourth (and technically final) studio album ‘Danger Days: The True Lives Of The Fabulous Killjoys’ released in November 2010. A high concept album following the lives of a group of rebels, the Killjoys (a.k.a. MCR), as they fight against the evil corporation Better Living Industries who now control the world after some kind of apocalypse, the record is set in…you guessed it…2019. Not only that, it’s specifically set in California 2019, the exact location and year of My Chem’s return.
Frank Iero later basically confirmed this theory to be the correct one in a reply to a fan on Twitter, as well as denying all knowledge of the other theories.
i’m gonna be real with you. i don’t know what any of these are… but you have been wearing a t-shirt that said “California 2019” on it for 8 years. https://t.co/jCfla64yhZ
— frnkiero: Party Dad (@FrankIero) December 20, 2019
It’s true. California 2019 has adorned Danger Days merch for the past nine years, providing fans with the biggest clue all along, although the band themselves explained they’ve only been planning the reunion since 2017.
In 2017, we got in a room together to see what would happen. A couple more jam sessions and 39 days of rehearsals later, we’re ready to show you what we’ve learned. See you soon. pic.twitter.com/1c4FJrTI45
— My Chemical Romance (@MCRofficial) December 20, 2019
Yeah, ‘only’. That’s still quite a long time, boys. Well done on keeping that one quiet.
As we all know, the mayhem began with a series of mysterious images posted up on a random Instagram account on October 31st 2019 (of course, it had to be Halloween). Prior to that evening, My Chem had never utilised their Insta, although it later emerged they’d had the account for some time and just kept it unused. Since it hadn’t yet been verified (it has since) there was some initial speculation about whether these images – and the account – could be trusted.
Much debate ensued. Were the four symbols representing the four band members? Or representing the four albums? And which one represented which? And what did the words mean? Clarity…courage…sacrifice…devotion. All very emotive words. Mysterious too. Web searching of the images gleaned no results – they had obviously been designed from scratch although they have hints and elements of tarot symbols and mysticism.
Those four symbols were shortly followed up by a brand new full logo which incorporated all the symbols together.
This sparked a whole new theory about My Chem’s mythical unreleased fifth album ‘MCR5’ a.k.a. ‘The Paper Kingdom’.
The Paper Kingdom
To get some understanding, let’s take it back to before the band’s breakup, where Gerard Way spoke about the band being in the studio working on their next album, and describes the concept as being “very dark”. (Watch the first minute and the last couple minutes to get the juicy details). They were even working with designer Colleen Atwood, who had designed all their costumes for ‘The Black Parade’:
He later discussed the scrapped album in further interviews post-breakup, including this comic con panel with Grant Morrison (below), where he revealed the concept centred around a support group for parents who’d lost their children in horrible ways:
And in a radio interview in 2014 promoting the upcoming release of solo album ‘Hesitant Alien’, Gerard talked in even more detail about MCR5 and its origins and inspirations. After the release of ‘Danger Days’ and in response to some negative feedback from fans of the more traditional My Chem vibe and aesthetic, he reflected that perhaps audiences weren’t ready for them to “turn up the colour” so he retreated back to the darkness, in fact deciding to give the fanbase MCR’s darkest creation yet.
As he explains, his heart wasn’t really in it since he was essentially only creating the album because he thought that was what the fans wanted, and ultimately the whole thing got shelved and the band broke up. (Listen from around 8 minutes for all the details):
It’s also in the above interview (around the 13 minute mark) where the concept of witchcraft is first discussed – the parents in the support group make up a story to help them to cope with their loss, about the children all being lost in the woods fighting a witch.
Now let’s go back to the new logo:
From the very night this was posted, fans were screaming MCR5. The hand (with five fingers) comes right after the ‘MCR’ part. Could this mean they’re hinting at a new album? “There may be a time in my life where I might want to do The Paper Kingdom.” Could this be that time? Has Gerard changed his mind? Or perhaps they’re just taking the elements they liked from a scrapped project and bringing that into the new era with them ie. the witchcraft stuff.
Only time will tell…
Around 45 minutes after the first post on Instagram, the band released a full announcement across all socials – they would be playing a Return show at The Shrine LA on December 20th 2019. Needless to say the fandom went into complete meltdown and they haven’t fully recovered since, and so, with the eyes and ears of the world trained on them, My Chemical Romance hit the stage at The Shrine for their first show in seven years.
But we’re not here to talk about the show itself. Oh no, we want to talk about the patch Gerard Way was wearing on his jacket AND his T-shirt, as seen in the following photos both on stage and backstage at the aftershow party:
This unusual symbol was confirmed by the fandom detectives to be a witch’s sigil and everyone began theorising:
The symbol that Gerard has on his patch (and apparently shirt) is a sigil created from the words My Chemical Romance.
And it's a Witch's Wheel, so..
Frank said "Magick" and Gerard teased to release a witch-inspired song in 2019..
Do what you want with thin information.. pic.twitter.com/vTGxlcqyOj
— AmbarRodriguez* (@Arod_a_) December 22, 2019
they played at the SHRINE… gerard kept using the word “MAGICAL” and had that SIGIL on his jacket, the TAROT symbols on the truck… framk just said the show was pure MAGICK…
— ez 击 (@honeycarnage) December 21, 2019
Then, as if the weird new symbols weren’t enough to hype everyone up that we were entering a whole new MCR “era”, we got given a few other new symbols courtesy of their souped up trailer parked outside the venue:
A better look at the new symbols on the merch trailer! pic.twitter.com/Y0XEIgh98w
— Cassie The Venomous 🕯 (@PoisonAndFire) December 20, 2019
Thanks to another Reddit user, we got a full decoding of these symbols in relation to tarot cards – Reversed Ace Of Swords, Reversed Moon, Upright Tower and Upright Ace Of Wands. They also provided an interesting reading of what they could mean and concluded we could well be getting new music from the band soon. You can read the full details HERE.
Safe to say, this only added fuel to the fire with speculation rife as to this new era, which seems to be bringing in elements of witchcraft and mysticism. Again, this links in nicely to their scrapped album MCR5/’The Paper Kingdom’. Could they be bringing that concept back?
Here’s another piece of evidence…
Gerard Way’s Witch Song
Early in 2019, way before the reunion announcement, Gerard put out a statement on his official website recapping 2018 and describing it as “a dark year full of black magic” and that it had got him thinking about witches again. He also revealed he’d “just written a song called ‘I Am The Hag’ which I haven’t finished yet. It’s kind of heavy. Maybe I’ll release it in 2019.” He didn’t release it in 2019, but this all ties in wonderfully to MCR’s return, their apparent new witchcraft theme and the potential return of ‘The Paper Kingdom’.
But wait, there’s even more…
The Hooded Figure
After announcing a series of festival dates in Australia, New Zealand and Japan in a fairly relaxed, unceremonious fashion, My Chemical Romance got back on their cryptic shit last Friday 3rd Jan with the release of this image, accompanied only by the UK flag.
— My Chemical Romance (@MCRofficial) January 3, 2020
Of course, the fandom erupted once again. Could this be a UK date or a UK tour? Why didn’t they just announce it like the others with a poster? Why the teasing? And what’s with this mythical figure in a cloak and a weird skull mask?
Earlier that day, Gerard Way had posted this picture to his Instagram.
Zoom in closely and you can see a long wire/lead spread out across the floor, indicating this was no innocent stroll through the woods but that some kind of photo shoot was being done there, and putting the two photos side by side, it does certainly look like the same location.
THE PAPER KINGDOM
FIGHTING WITCHES IN THE FOREST
THE WHOLE MAGICK THEME THEY HAVE GOING ON
A PICTURE OF A FOREST
IT ALL MAKES SENSE
— destroya live (@EmoDistorted) January 10, 2020
This shoot being done in a misty forest location definitely ties in with the backstory of ‘The Paper Kingdom’, and the dagger this eerie figure has attached to his belt is an athane, a ritual blade used in…you guessed it…witchcraft. You can even buy it online from a black magic store for a fairly reasonable price.
The UK Teaser-Trailer
After making us wait for a week for new information, the band posted the following video clip last night across their socials:
— My Chemical Romance (@MCRofficial) January 9, 2020
This caused a further fandom breakdown as everyone went crazy trying to decipher the symbols. Eagle eyed fans will notice that we’ve seen four of them before – on MCR’s gear truck at the Shrine (see earlier in this article for a pic). The others were quickly recognised as being from the Theban alphabet, an alphabet used in witchcraft.
they're using theban which is a witches alphabet pic.twitter.com/lAOIVXQ46u
— Blair is DROWNING 💧//GEECULT (@yozri_) January 9, 2020
Deciphered, it seems as though MCR are trying to tell us something is happening in June…in the UK.
— Cassie The Venomous 🕯 (@PoisonAndFire) January 9, 2020
Some people said it was June 10th (based on the letter X being used – 10 in Roman Numerals). Others said it was June 2020 (based on the usage of MX twice, which in roman numerals means 1010 therefore times by 2 would be 2020).
It says june 10th 2020 in theban alphabet, the symbols in tarot mean the birth of a new idea or concept, I think it's a new album and they probably do like they did with TBP and make a show before its release
— Paula🦄 (@ppaauullaa2003) January 9, 2020
Could it be a full tour? Or just a one off show? Perhaps two shows? And maybe some new music to go along with it? The amount of teasing and cryptic clues that have gone into this presumably forthcoming UK announcement would hint at it being something more than just a simple festival show like the previous once they’ve announced.
At the moment though, it’s all guesswork and theories, but it certainly seems as though we’re in for a new era and a wild ride with the My Chem boys, and that witchcraft is the thread holding it all together.
NB. Always practice witchcraft with caution and respect.