|Content Subject To Speculation
The content in this article is subject to speculation and though the Adventure Time Wiki does not usually allow speculation, in this case there are numerous pieces of evidence presented by the show, and fan speculation would be unavoidable on both the articles for Marceline and "Memory of a Memory".
To avoid this, all the speculation is being collected on this subpage instead.
This article presents an analysis of Marceline's origin.
On Marceline and Ice King's Wiki page, Marceline is found to be 1003 years old and Ice King to be 1043 years old. (Note: This edit was made after the episode "Simon & Marcy," therefore clearing the controversy over their ages.) "Memory of a Memory" shows Marceline aging over time. During a period which is presumably during or shortly after the Mushroom War, she is shown as a young girl. In "Simon & Marcy", she is shown exploring the remains of a city with Simon. This is most likely right after or during the Mushroom War. Later, during an the incident where her father ate her fries, she appears to be in her teens. In the scenes where she is with Ash she appears to be closer to her current age.
Young Marceline has the same pale skin, pointy ears and fangs that she has as a teenager or adult. However, little Marceline hops through trees instead of floating over them, appears outside in the daytime without protection, and has no bite mark on her neck. The older Marceline during the fry incident also does not have a bite mark. The mark only appears on her neck when her memories of Ash begin.
In "Return to the Nightosphere," pictures on the walls of Hunson Abadeer's house show Marceline with her father at the same age as the earliest memory of her in a post-apocalyptic city. Whether this is a result of bad parenting, her running away, or her actual heritage being questionable, no one knows. However, it is likely that for some reason at that point her parents were out of the picture due to unexplained circumstances.
According to the episode, "I Remember You," she met the Ice King as Simon Petrikov, though it does not state how they met. It is also revealed that he gave her Hambo. She looks a few years younger than her youngest appearance in "Memory of a Memory."
In "Finn the Human" and "Jake the Dog," a universe can be seen where events transpired differently, and Marceline is never bitten, and appears physically very old. She still refers to her age as 1000. Also, in this episode, she refers to herself as "a half demon" instead of a vampire.
Marshall Lee states in "Bad Little Boy" that he is the son of a demon and the Vampire King. It is very much more likely, however, that Marshall Lee meant his line as two separate attributes, as in "I am the Vampire King and also the son of a demon" rather than "I am the offspring of these two people." If not, though, this statement means that the demon Hunson Abadeer is female and Marshall Lee's father, the counterpart to Marceline's mother, is the Vampire King.
In the "Stakes" mini-series, it is revealed in flashbacks that Marceline's mom was human and thus Marceline was born a mortal human/demon hybrid. It is also shown that after parting ways with Simon, in her early teens she began hunting vampires to protect the humans who survived following the Mushroom War. Using the soul sucking ability she learned from her father, Marceline was able to absorb the souls of the Vampires she killed to obtain some of their unique abilities, allowing her to become powerful enough drive the vampire race to the verge of extinction.
Also during this time she befriended a tribe of surviving humans lead by Two Bread Tom and protected them from vampires. She was eventually confronted by the Vampire King who she fought in a epic battle. During the climax of their fight Marceline was bitten by the Vampire King as she killed him with a stake to the heart, which she discovers was his way of making sure his species survived, by turning Marceline into a vampire. In the present, Marceline decides she no longer wants to be a Vampire anymore and asks Princess Bubblegum to cure her of her vampirism. Bonnibel manages to remove her vampire essence turning Marceline back into a mortal human/demon hybrid.
However by doing so the vampires she absorbed in the past are revived including the Vampire King and she loses all the abilities she absorbed from them forcing her to hunt them down. Though initially she tries fighting them alone, after Princess Bubblegum helps her defeat The Empress, she lets Bonnibel, Finn, and Jake help her hunt down the remaining vampires. After reabsorbing most of her powers she once again confronts the Vampire King who claims to have changed though Marceline is initially skeptical, though eventually learns that the Vampire King also wishes to be free of his vampirism as well and she has Bonnibel remove the Vampire King's vampire essences turning him back into his former self, a lion.
However when the Vampire King's essence is accidentally unleashed it creates a mindless Dark Cloud in the form of a Lion resembling the Vampire King which begins terrorizing the Land of Ooo and threatens the Candy Kingdom. However Marceline blames herself for all that has happened, having realized that it was her hunting vampires that started it and loses her will to fight, leaving Finn, Jake, and Bonnibel to deal with the Cloud without her.
However she regains her will to fight after talking with Ice King and rushes to aid her friends in defeating the Dark Cloud by absorbing it. However as she is absorbing it, it bites her neck before being completely consumed by Marceline, transforming her into a Vampire once more. However Marceline decides she is okay with life as a vampire and implies that confronting her past has helped her mature.
Source of Marceline's physical traits
Marceline's pale bluish skin, pointed ears and fangs are all similar to those of her father and could have been genetically inherited from him. According to writer Adam Muto, Marceline's father is a demon, not a vampire. In the episode "Daddy's Little Monster" there are many paintings, and one shows young Marceline with Hunson Abadeer and an unidentified woman, who could be her mother. In another painting, Hunson is holding Marceline as a baby.
Marceline appears to prefer clothing and hairstyles from the 1970s through the 1990s the most. This may be simply because it is the time frame that she grew up in as an adolescent/teenager/young woman, or she may just like the fashions and hairstyles from those eras.
Marceline was born half-human and half-demon, and additionally became a vampire later on. She stated that she was half demon in "Finn the Human," so her extra non-vampire powers might be a result of this (like her ability to change into various monster forms including bats, wolves and tentacle beasts).
She was most likely born a humanoid with vampire-like features and got bitten, turning her into a vampire. It is possible that not all vampires have all her abilities, the Adventure Time Spooktacular #1(Boom Comics) suggests certain vampires have unique powers, which is later proven to be true in the Stakes minseries. However some abilities (e.g. the ability to eat souls) are inherited from her father, eating souls can give Marceline more powers (e.g. self-healing was inherited from a vampire who's soul she ate).
It is unclear when Marceline became a vampire (though she doesn't have bite marks in "Memory of a Memory" until she is with Ash, and looks about 18/19) or how Marceline is able to age over time, since typical depictions of vampires have them remain frozen at the age they are bitten, and are only able to reverse the appearance of time, to give the appearance of looking younger, instead of progressing in age to become older in appearance. Character designer Andy Ristaino has stated she is "kinda a shape changer" though, so this could explain her growth.
In the "fries" memory, the teenage Marceline wanted to eat fries, something that vampires presumably would not be interested in except for the ketchup, since they commonly consume shades of red, if not blood, in this current universe. She also doesn't appear to have bite marks, both these factors indicating she is not a vampire yet.
The full version of the song "Daddy, Why Did You Eat My Fries?" (performed by Marceline and Finn in the episode "It Came from the Nightosphere"), written by Rebecca Sugar, contains the following verse:
- "Daddy, why did you leave me?
- You created me, so don't you wanna see me?
- Daddy, why did you make me
- if you're not gonna take me to get a burger and shakey?"
The line "why did you leave me" may have to do with Marceline's father's absence during the flashbacks when she was shown in the post-apocalyptic city. During the scenes in "Memory of a Memory," "I Remember You" and "Simon & Marcy," Marceline appears to be abandoned and/or being watched over by Simon Petrikov instead of her father. The song suggests Marceline does not understand his reason for leaving her, and goes on to imply that he is always off on "business trips" [see below], which may be a metaphor for his duties in the Nightosphere. However, the song lyrics in general may just refer to his not being very involved in her life altogether. Also, since the original lyrics were not aired, they might not be entirely credible in the context of the show.
Throughout "It Came from the Nightosphere," and in other lines from the complete "Fry Song",
- "I can count your visits on my fingertips,
- Come back and give me presents from your business trips"
Marceline emphasizes that she sees her dad very rarely. The incident during which he eats her fries might be one of his rare visits, and even then he finds himself hurting Marceline's feelings. Overall, the feeling is conveyed through Marceline's dialogue and songs that she wishes her father was more present in her life, and implies he could make more of an effort to be with her. Hunson Abadeer's apparent lack of responsibility and involvement might be accounted for by his responsibilities and personality as The Lord of Evil and ruler of the Nightosphere.
In "Henchman," Marceline says that she "kinda likes" the pain she feels when she's in sunlight because it reminds her of when she would scrape her knees when she was a kid and her mom would "patch her up." This both confirms she actually had a mother, and points out there might be a possibility that she feels love or some type of affection towards her mother. It is because her mother is human (and not immortal) that she wasn't with Marceline during or after the war. In "Memory of a Memory" and "I Remember You" she is shown, as a child, outdoors and not being burned by the sun. Being able to move about without protection could be explained by a large quantity of fallout in the atmosphere, which could have blocked out a large amount of the ultraviolet rays. This is supported by the burning city viewable in the back ground, or may have somehow been caused by a nuclear explosion, yet it may be because she was not a vampire at the time. It would also explain why Farmworld Marceline continues to age, because she probably never was bitten by a vampire.
In "Everything Stays", it is revealed that at some point during her childhood she lived with her mother who is revealed to be human, proving that Marceline is half-human/half-demon hybrid.
The "Adventure Time: 2015 Spooktacular" revealed that Marceline's healing ability isn't a result of the vampire bite. She received it when she ate the soul of a vampire who had healing abilities. The ability to eat souls is because of her half-demon heritage, her father taught her the skill when she was younger. In the "Adventure Time Mini-Series: "Stakes"", it is revealed that her powers of levitation, invisibility, shapeshifting, and regeneration where obtained from absorbing the souls of the Vampires she killed during her career as a vampire hunter, before she became a Vampire herself.
Marceline's age/heritage and the Mushroom War
Marceline has commented several times that she is "over a thousand years old," which makes one think, based upon "Memory of a Memory," that the Mushroom War occurred around a thousand years ago. One could argue that Marceline could be fibbing about her true age. However, based upon the evidence regarding the Ice King and his origin as revealed in "Holly Jolly Secrets Part Two," Marceline is more than likely telling the truth about her age.
In the episode, the Ice King is revealed to have been a human living in civilization before the discovery of the Ice Crown, which mutated him into his current supernatural state. As previously revealed by Pen Ward, the Ice King is at least 1,000 years old, which means that humans and civilization were in existence around 1,000 years prior to the start of the series, to the point that national cultures and boundaries still existed (with him mentioning he found the crown in "Scandinavia," which is an actual location on modern Earth).
"Marceline's Closet" revealed that she has kept a journal for at least 500 years that she was going to write into a song and create an album from, but Marceline merely said she had "500 years worth," leaving that she could have worked on the journal even longer and just wanted to write the song based on 500 years worth of material. The journal says Gunter on the front, meaning it is possible that Simon Petrikov gave it to her and mistaken her name for Gunter's like he did in "Simon & Marcy."
In "Daddy's Little Monster" Marceline says, "Dad, I'm 1000 years old," and he responds, "Ha! Yes you are sweetie, daddy's little monster." Being her father, he would know her age and if she was lying, however due to the fact that he rarely spent time with her, he may not know much about her age.
In "Simon & Marcy," Marceline was revealed to be 7 years old while with Simon, and which occurred 996 years ago prior to the episode. 7+996=1003, meaning she would be over 1000 years old and exactly 1000 years old by the start of the series.
From this evidence, a few possibilities can be formed regarding Marceline's age, when she was turned into a vampire (or if she was born one - which is very unlikely due to the bite marks on her neck), and, likewise, the time of the Mushroom War and its aftermath:
- The first is that the War did occur a thousand years prior, and that the Ice King is older than the 600 previously mentioned, closer to Marceline's age which, as stated, is at least 1000. It is shown in "I Remember You" that Ice King is physically older than Marceline, because when he finds her she looks to be around 4 or 5 and he is in the final stages of his transformation into the Ice King.
This would most likely mean he found the crown before Marceline's first flashback, because he lived in pre-war civilization and Marceline was first seen during/after the war. This was later confirmed by Pen Ward when he revealed that the Ice King is 1,000+ years old, maybe even a little older than Marceline.
- Marceline's father, Hunson Abadeer, is a demon, but not just a demon: the Lord of Evil. He rules the Nightosphere, a hell-like place. He probably fell in love with a human and they had a child, Marceline. Marceline was part demon, from her father, which gave her a vampiric look, including pointed ears, almost white skin, and fangs as a little girl as seen in her memory as a little girl in "Memory of a Memory."
She didn't have the bite marks that turned her into a vampire in that memory, showing that she probably wasn't a vampire when she was little, just part demon. In the same episode, she didn't float like Marceline does as a vampire, she hops from trees in a non-human like way, probably because of her demon side. Marceline grew up around the era of The Great Mushroom War, and she and her father survived because of their magic powers, but her mother most likely died in the war because she was a human.
We think she is deceased because in the show, she is rarely mentioned and only seen in a family photo, whereas her father is mentioned and seen multiple times on the show. Marceline does have some memory of her though, because in "Henchman" she says she likes the pain the sunlight gives her because it reminds her of when she was little and got injured and her mom would "patch her up." She says this with fondness, so she must have had an somewhat affectionate relationship with her.
Marceline's memories of her mother seem to only be from when she was little, which fits because in "Memory of a Memory" she is seen as a little girl playing in the burning ruins of a city, probably the aftermath of The Great Mushroom War, and her mother shouldn't have survived. In "Memory of a Memory" it is shown that Marceline is very emotionally attached to a beat-up teddy bear named "Hambo."
She is seen playing with Hambo as a little girl after the mushroom war, and she states that Hambo is her only friend, probably because almost nobody survived the Mushroom War and it would take a long time for society to re-create. In another memory Marceline is seen to have grown up and appears a teenager and still doesn't have any bite marks, proving further that then she wasn't a vampire because vampires don't age. Since her father is an immortal demon but her mother was a human, she probably aged very slowly.
- In one of her memories her father is eating her french fries (even further proof that she then wasn't a vampire, because Marceline only eats red things so she would probably not desire fries if she was a vampire) in an abandoned diner. She catches him and gets upset. This along with other things caused Marceline and her fathers relationship to be strained for a long time, and in the future Marceline would write "The Fry Song," a song about that situation and other things to hurt her and her father's relationship.
- In her next memory Marceline and her wizard then-boyfriend Ash, are moving in together in a tree fort that would later become Finn and Jake's home. In this memory she does have bite marks, and from this memory on her physical appearance remains the same, so Marceline must have turned into a vampire between when her father ate her fries and when she moved in with Ash. There are no clues that point to how she became a vampire, though.
- Because Marceline's father was a demon and not a vampire, it's possible that her physical characteristics of grayish skin, pointed ears, fangs, immortality, and shape-shifting abilities are actually demonic, not vampiric. She appears to not be as intensely demonic as her father so perhaps her mother was only a human and died long ago (she's seen playing by herself with Hambo in front of a house that looks war-ravaged. Her mother isn't around which is evidence that she was perhaps killed). She has a Christian painting on the wall of her house (confirmed to be the Virgin and Christ-child), which doesn't seem like something a demon would want to own, so perhaps she got it from a human, Christian mother.
- One possibility as to how Marceline became a vampire is that she was bitten by the Vampire King and transformed so that he could make Marceline his queen. If this theory is true, this probably is the reason that she calls herself the Vampire Queen. Going along with the theory that she is half demon and half human, it's possible that aside from the physical appearance inherited from her father and perhaps some supernatural strength, she otherwise would've aged normally (or at least close to normal). This is supported by the similar backgrounds between the scene of her as a small child and the scene of her as a teenager.
If this is true, then we can assume that some years after the scene where Marceline finds her dad eating her fries, she was bitten and turned into a vampire. This would've stopped the aging process and place her at her current appearance of late teens to mid twenties. Since vampires (classically) only feed on victims and don't normally turn people into vampires, it is reasonable to assume that whoever turned her into a vampire intended to make her their companion.
This is especially true if vampires in the Adventure Time universe don't need to drink blood to survive. Marceline also would've been an unlikely candidate to feed on, given her demonic appearance. This leads me to believe that it was the Vampire King who turned Marceline into a vampire, intending to make her his bride (or possibly to save her from certain death). Pendleton Ward has stated that Marceline killed the Vampire King, so it follows that either immediately or some time after she was transformed by him, she killed him for biting her or for another reason.
If we can assume that the memory of Marceline as a teenager (seeing her dad eating the fries) happened over nine hundred years ago, and the scene with Ash happened fairly recently (Marceline is seen with bite marks, Ooo looks the same as it does in the show, etc.) then the gap between these scenes could be many centuries. This implies that aside from Marceline being bitten and turned a few years after the Fries scene, the killing of the Vampire King could have happened at any point in that time span.
- In "Finn the Human," Farmworld Marceline, bare of bite marks on her neck and thus presumably not a vampire, explicitly states that she is 1000 years old and that she is a half demon. Although not directly stating that her mother is human, it can be assumed that she could be. This also implies that her mother is not a demon. Looking much older than her regular self, understandable as she is not a vampire in this altered reality, she is however still alive despite her old age.
This may mean that she gained immortality, has a very long life span, or inherited immortality from her father. Due to the inheritance from her mother's side and the fact that she does not have shape shifting abilities that were displayed, she still ages in appearance. This may suggest that her appearance displayed in "Finn the Human" could be her actual physical appearance if she was not bitten.
- In "Simon & Marcy," a cutscene is shown reading "996 Years Ago" when Marceline recounts her relationship with Ice King (Simon) to Finn and Jake while playing basketball. Later, Simon freezes a deer in a fit of insanity with the Crown on (The Crown is only beginning to take over his mind.) He screams "You will never frighten a 47 year old man and a 7 year old girl again!" By adding this up, the fandom has arrived at the conclusion that Marceline is technically 1003 and Simon (Ice King) is 1043.
- A common trope in vampire fiction is the person who becomes or is involuntarily made a vampire in order to save whose life in extremis. Note that the world Simon Petrikov shares with the Young Marceline is not a safe one, and he might not be able to save her some day.