The Antler Queen makes the first appearance in the pilot episode of ‘Yellowjackets.’ After the Pit Girl dies in the snowy Ontario wilderness in the 1990s, blood is drained from her body. She is then butchered and roasted, and the meat is brought before a masked person wearing a crown of deer antlers. Since then, the identity of this person has become a major point of speculation in the fandom. We know that Misty can’t be the Antler Queen as she is one of the other girls in the group of cannibals. As the series progresses, we learn that it can’t be Jackie or Laura Lee either, as they both die before the advent of winter. It also becomes apparent that the creators want us to think that it’s Lottie (Courtney Eaton). Here is everything you need to know about the Antler Queen. SPOILERS AHEAD.
Who Is the Antler Queen?
Because she was introduced in the pilot episode itself, the Antler Queen has been part of ‘Yellowjackets’ developing lore from the beginning. And her identity has been shrouded in mystery. To find out who is wearing the antler crown, we need to discern first who the Antler Queen is and what her role is in that makeshift society of stranded individuals. It has become increasingly clear that the Antler Queen serves the role of a religious leader, whose primary job seems to be ensuring the survival of the group in the harsh environment they are trapped in.
The show heavily implies the Antler Queen leads the group in their hunts. In the season 2 finale, Nat (Juliette Lewis as an adult; Sophie Thatcher as a teen) succeeds Lottie as the leader of the survivors, effectively becoming Antler Queen.
Is Lottie the Antler Queen?
In the season 1 finale, a mysterious group kidnaps Nat in 2021. She never receives the message from her former sponsor Suzie that Lottie took out all the money from Travis’ bank account. In 1996, Lottie emerges as the leader of her own fledgling cult, with Van and Misty being her first two disciples. Earlier in the episode, she seemingly performs a miracle when a bear appears out of nowhere and offers itself as a sacrifice. Lottie subsequently takes the knife from Shauna and kills the animal with one strike. The voices of two of the most rational persons in the group — Jackie and Taissa — get drowned out.
Jackie’s death seems to have reinforced some of the survivors’ belief that Lottie has supernatural abilities. When they were surrounded by civilization, Lottie was diagnosed with schizophrenia and was taking meds for that. Shortly after the crash, she runs out of her meds, and her visions return with a vengeance. And they turn out to be eerily accurate in one way or the other.
In season 2, it is revealed that Lottie is indeed alive in the present day. After spending 19 months in the Wilderness along with the other survivors, Lottie returned to civilization. Her parents subsequently institutionalized her in Switzerland, where she presumably underwent electroconvulsive therapy treatments. It is revealed that she is indeed the head of the cult that kidnapped Nat. She founded Camp Green Pine after her release from the mental health facility, and it seems to have grown exponentially since then.
When Nat accuses Lottie of killing Travis, the other woman refutes this, claiming she tried to save their mutual friend. In episode 5, with Lottie’s help, Nat accesses her memory of the last time she and Travis were together. She recalls that she and Travis took cocaine, and she overdosed. While she was under the influence of the drug, she had a vision in which she was back on the plane. However, this time none of them survived. She saw herself in the Antler Queen outfit before the paramedics brought her back.
According to Nat, there was something dark in the Wilderness, and it came to the civilization with them, now residing in each of the Yellowjackets. As Lottie hears this, she turns and is horrified to discover her shadow depicting her with antlers. Now it’s possible that what Nat witnessed was caused by the cocaine, and what Lottie sees is her schizophrenic brain confirming Nat’s story. But if it’s indeed a dark entity, it’s the true Antler Queen.
In the season 2 finale, we learn that Lottie is not the physical representation of the Antler Queen; Nat is. After Javi’s death, Lottie states that the group needs a new leader and picks Nat. Other survivors agree to this and bow before her one by one. According to Lottie, the Wilderness has chosen Nat. Before the winter, she was the one who brought the food; it’s only fitting the same person performs the task during the winter. This means it is now up to Nat to decide when they will hunt again. Given how the power has been transferred, we are likely to get other Antler Queens in future seasons. Director Karyn Kusama, who helmed the season finale, admitted that Nat’s sudden turn surprised him in an interview with Harper Bazaar.
“Well, I think it was pretty brilliant to be setting up Natalie as the antagonist to this whole experience,” Kusuma explained. “In her adult life, she’s the person who has the most open hostility, aggression, and regret for the whole experience—like a chip on her shoulder. Then to reveal that, in fact, she became the next in line to ascend the throne of some kind of psychological power over everyone. It’s so tragic to me. And it explains so much about Natalie, and I hadn’t anticipated how powerful that was going to feel for me.
Read More: Is Jackie Dead or Alive at the End of Yellowjackets?