Palm Springs made a splash on Hulu over the weekend, providing what seemed to be a lighthearted rom-com but was really a deep story about human nature, time loops, and quantum physics. With this much rigor in its worldbuilding, Palm Springs leaves behind a rich universe that could definitely support a sequel, and one convincing fan theory suggests a minor but mysterious character may be the key.
Warning: Spoilers for Palm Springs ahead!
Redditor u/curvysquares theorizes that Sarah's Nana, who's only featured in two scenes, is actually Sarah's older self. Confused? Let's slow this down for a second. Basically, the theory claims that after Nyles and Sarah break out of the loop at the end of Palm Springs, multiple versions of them are scattered across time, and one of those alternate versions grew up to become Sarah's own grandmother.
There's actually a decent amount of evidence to support this theory. It explains why, towards the end of the movie, she seemed to know why Sarah was about to leave and what she planned to do. It also helps clear up that bizarre line about how Nana has been to more weddings than "you would now," which makes sense if she's a future version of Sarah who attended that wedding every day for years.
It's also supported by Sarah's own theorizing that blowing herself up in the cave could have any number of consequences. That could include traveling through time or dying. So why not duplicating yourself and sending different versions to different points in time?
However, this does open up a number of paradoxes. First of all, it's genetically impossible for a character to be their own grandparent, even if it's a common trope in time travel stories from Netflix's Dark to Futurama.
Plus, the ramifications of multiple versions of Nyles and Sarah being catapulted across time would be widespread. It may seem unfair to hold what is a very fantastical film to such pragmatic guidelines, but the script proves this is a world where science exists and matters.
If we keep the happy ending, there's another way to prove that Nana is Sarah but older. Sarah could take the knowledge she learned while attempting to escape the time loop and use it to actually invent time travel in the future. From there, it's not such a leap for her to figure out she was also Nana and realize she has to travel back in time to become that old woman at the wedding.
The Inverse Analysis — If this theory is somehow true (or the people who made Palm Springs decide it's true in the future) it could be the key to a sequel. Instead of a further rom-com where Nyles and Sarah live their life together — which sounds pretty boring — Palm Springs 2 could be a Back to the Future-esque time travel adventure movie as brilliant scientist Sarah travels through time while testing her new technology (with or without Andy Samberg along for the ride).
It might not be a typical rom-com sequel, but Palm Springs isn't your typical rom-com.
Palm Springs is now streaming on Hulu.