Back when Pokemon Sun and Moon’s trademarks first came out, giving trainers the heads-up about the new titles before their official reveal, some additional names were trademarked. Among these were Mokuroh, Nyabby, and Ashimari, which turned out to be Rowlet, Litten, and Popplio, respectively. In addition, trademarks were filed for the legendaries Solgaleo and Lunaala as well as Gigareki, which some leakers believed was another Mythical Pokemon that would be present in Sun and Moon. However, just a few days back, it was confirmed that the trademark was in fact for Gamefreak’s new platforming title, Giga Wrecker, which is available in its early access state on Steam.
However, the one mysterious trademark that has not been solved is that of Marshadow, which left trainers like myself thinking–could this be the third Pokemon that stands alongside Solgaleo and Lunala? The options are plenty, so let’s explore some evidence that can lead to making an educated guess about this creature’s appearance.
Lots of Pokemon names are based on etymology, some of which are evident right away, and others which require more interpretation and language shifting. In terms of Solgaleo, it comes from the Latin word for sun, sol, and the Latin word for lion, leo. Some believe it could also have ties to astronomer Galileo, who was responsible for the claim that the Earth revolves around the Sun. Being as this Pokemon is the Sunne Pokemon, and is described in its Pokedex entry as the “emissary of the Sun,” ties to Galileo may not be too far off.
As far as Lunala goes, it comes from the Latin word for moon, luna, and the Latin word for wing, ala. In its Pokedex entry, it is described as the Moone Pokemon and “the beast that calls the Moon.” Both of these legendaries have names that tie directly to their appearance and Pokedex entry as well, which makes it important to break down the name first.
Looking at Marshadow, assuming that retains its English name, it may be based off of the Spanish word for sea, mar, and the more obvious English shadow. It could be based off of the planet Mars, looking at the beginning portion of its name, giving it a primarily red design. However, unless there was another planet-based legendary, it would not make much sense for this Pokemon to be in the same Legendary group as Solgaleo and Lunala. Finally, it could be based on the English word marsh, setting it up for a potential Poison typing.
Assuming Marshadow is based on Mars–who is the God of War in Roman Mythology–we could expect it to be a Fire/Psychic type, having an advantage over Solgaleo and neutrality towards Lunala in terms of the type chart. Assuming it is based on the sea and a shadow, we could expect it to be a Water/Dark or Dark/Psychic-type. If it is based on a marsh/swamp, it could be a Poison/Psychic-type, one that we have not seen thus far. This would be in accordance with a Chinese leaker’s claim that Marshadow will have a unique typing.
For those who are not aware, a Chinese leaker posted seemingly accurate images of Rowlet, Litten, and Popplio’s final evolutions. These gained credibility after the supposed final evolution of Litten featured a drawing of Mallow, the Grass-type Trial Captain on Akala Island, which was officially revealed a few weeks back. Ash and Pikachu also made an appearance in that leaked depiction, gaining an incredible amount of credibility.
Among the claims the leaker made, including there being no Gyms and a Poison/Fire-type Pokemon (both of which were true), he/she stated that Marshadow would have a unique type combination, making Poison/Psychic a viable option (assuming it based on a marsh). However, that would not fit in with the Sun and Moon theme that the Legendaries have already put into place.
One theory that definitely makes sense is Marshadow being the Eclipse Pokemon. In astronomy, both Solar and Lunar Eclipses can occur when the Earth passes between each respective celestial body. Perhaps the plot will have to do with Solgaleo or Lunala inflicting eternal sunlight/darkness upon the world, bringing it into an eclipse phase that requires it to be taken down by the trainer. This surely goes hand-in-hand with the Team Skull Rumor I posted about last Tuesday, but how would this be handled from a typing perspective?
An eclipse Pokemon would surely need to have the Dark or Ghost typing, but it surely would not be single-typed. Currently, Dark has not been partnered up with the Bug, Electric, Fairy, or Normal-type, and Ghost has not been partnered up with the Fairy, Fighting, Normal, or Rock-type. From a storytelling standpoint, a Dark/Normal Marshadow could explore the story of a Pokemon that was forced to lurk in the shadows after the Earth went through a Solgaleo/Lunala-intiated eclipse. This would, as the Team Skull Rumor mentioned, mean that the Legendaries are evil for the first time in a Pokemon game, but with all of the breaking of tradition Sun and Moon are doing, it would not be completely impossible.
A Dark/Fairy or Ghost/Fairy Marshadow could explore the story of a Pokemon torn between help and revenge, as it is torn away from the Earth it once loved due to a Solgaleo/Marshadow-initiated eclipse. It wants to go back to helping those who once cared for it on the Earth, but wish to put the Sunne and Moone beasts to rest. This would surely bring the connection between a trainer and Pokemon to another level, as you work with one Legendary to take down another. Where could Team Skull fit into all of this? Could they be the ones behind the eclipse, and could Marshadow fall under your control, causing a legendary battle between you and Team Skull? Or would the eclipse be completely due to Solgaleo/Lunala, yet you and Team Skull have different intentions for how to utilize Marshadow? The possibilities with an eclipse Pokemon are truly endless, and we will have to see just how accurate my predictions end up being.
I’ve discussed what Marshadow’s typing could be, as well as how it could play into the story. A more pressing question, however, is what will Marshadow look like? There are plenty of myths driven by mythology that can give us an idea of what Marshadow could look like.
Based on how the Inca viewed astronomy, an eclipse was a very negative sign. Myths told of a jaguar that would attack and eat the moon during an eclipse period, explaining the blood-red color that the moon turns on occasion during a total lunar eclipse. A jaguar-based Eclipse Pokemon could surely be the unused Ghost/Fighting-type, but it would also have to make sense from a storytelling perspective.
Another myth from the Batammaliba people in Togo and Benin (Africa) states that the Sun and Moon are fighting during an eclipse, though people encourage them to stop and come together. Could Marshadow be a fusion of Solgaleo and Lunala, or some kind of strange Sun/Moon mutation? It surely would have a strange typing, but it would be interesting to see nonetheless.
Some Korean folklore states that solar eclipses occur because mythical dogs are trying to steal the Sun, so could we see another Entei/Raikou/Suicine-style Legendary stand alongside Solgaleo and Lunala? Another myth from the Pomo, an indigenous people from the northwestern United States, explains that a bear started a fight with the Sun and took a bite of it. Afterwards, it went on to meet the Moon and took a bite of it as well, causing a lunar eclipse. As I speculated before, could there be a Sun/Moon mutant in the form of a bear?
It may be long before we know exactly what Marshadow is. It could be a secret kept hidden until Sun and Moon’s official release on November 18, or we could find out about it soon enough. Until we know for sure, its name will lurk in the shadows…