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What Happens To Captain Planet When He Gets Sucked Into The Rings? Reddit Has Ideas

"Captain Planet and the Planeteers" wasn't subtle with its message of environmentalism. However, there are still plenty of things only adults would notice about the cartoon, such as its episodes addressing substance use and the AIDS crisis. A far more innocuous thing you may have only wondered about the series upon becoming an adult is what exactly happens to Captain Planet (David Coburn) when he's not out saving the world. 

Of course, Captain Planet, one of the best animated heroes from the '90s, can only be summoned using five special rings, which were given to five children around the globe by the earth spirit, Gaia (Whoopi Goldberg/Margot Kidder). When they come together, Captain Planet arises to save the day, but then he has to go somewhere when he's not summoned. Does he go to another dimension, or is he just kind of chilling in one (or more) of the rings? Reddit had a field day speculating about what the hero gets up to, with some decent theories rising to the surface. 

Redditor u/atticuslodius turned to the theme song to find an answer, specifically the lyric, "He's our powers magnified." Taking that into consideration, they posited, "Captain Planet is conceived through these five constituent parts then once withdrawn he would restore back into the initial structure in which he was first constructed. Therefore, upon dissipation Captain Planet once more become a distribution of Earth, Fire, Wind, Water, and Heart." It's a decent theory that Captain Planet would simply be an amalgamation of what makes up Earth, but it's far from the only one.

Some other Captain Planet theories get pretty ridiculous

Another Redditor also tried to consider something reasonable for the state of Captain Planet's existence when he's not actively defending the planet from the Eco-Villains. They theorized, "To be as pragmatic as possible I bet its a superposition like when the Crew of the Enterprise is beamed down to a planet's surface. Are you a person or a sum of your parts, if those parts aren't assembled are you still that person?" It's downright philosophical to an extent, as Captain Planet may not simply exist unless he's been forged through the five rings. 

At the end of the day, it's a fairly silly question that ultimately wouldn't matter to young kids watching the show. Quite a few responses are just jokes, like this one from u/Darrenwho137: "He assumes his secret identity of former vice president Al Gore." Naturally, some people couldn't help but reference Funny Or Die's excellent Captain Planet sketch starring Don Cheadle, like one Reddit user saying that when the environmental hero isn't out and about, he's in "Don Cheadle's basement."

To be fair, it's difficult to ascertain any information on Captain Planet's whereabouts when he's not summoned from the show itself. It likely wasn't a major source of contention for the creators, as the Season 1 episode, "The Conqueror," really throws a wrench into many theories. The plot sees Zarm (Sting) imprison Captain Planet even though he wasn't summoned via the rings. Does this mean Captain Planet is in some physical space even without the rings? The true answer to all of this is that we've all thought way too hard about it and that it's a children's cartoon.