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Ateez Storyline: What (I Think) We Know So Far

Updated: Feb 5, 2023

Fever Series, Kingdom Stages, Treasure Series, and Don't Stop

We have gone all over the place with this storyline so I am going to try to recap what I think we know right now today. I don’t know if this is right, but I wanted to give it the good college try.

Fever Series

We start in an alternate future dystopian dimension, Strictland, where the people’s emotions have been suppressed by the central government through advanced technology and banning the arts. Yellow smoke that causes hallucinations is also used by the central government of Strictland to allow them to steal memories of the people under the influence and burn them for energy. Through these things, the central government achieved high growth and people enjoyed material affluence. Ateez doppelgängers in black fedoras (who will henceforth be called Halateez) appeared one day and sang/performed to stimulate the people who watched them and allow those people to escape from the control of the central government. They formed a resistance against the government calling themselves “Black Pirates''.

The central government put Halateez on their wanted list (see Awakening of Summer)

but since Halateez broke into the central government’s vault and stole the Cromer,

they were able to teleport and avoid arrest. The central government then created new giant AI (the Android Guardians) who were able to capture Halateez and imprison them.

Back in our dimension (see Diary Film), Ateez befriended each other in high school and used an abandoned warehouse as a hideout, of sorts, to hang out, sing, dance, etc. Wooyoung found the warehouse first and showed it to the friends he met while watching street dancers (Hongjoong, Seonghwa, and Yunho). Hongjoong dreamed of being famous to bring his family back together, Seonghwa was ruled by lists and to dos and saw dancing as a way to be free, and Yunho saw music/dancing as a way to honor his brother who recently died. They all spent time dancing in the warehouse together and each helped Wooyoung with his stage fright. San, a lonely boy who constantly had to move around, befriended them and joined them in the warehouse as well as Jongho who, after a basketball injury, discovered his love of music through the group. Wooyoung also was the one who brought Mingi to the group as he had forced a friendship with Mingi throughout the years even though Mingi often cut himself off from others through listening to music since he was often bullied for being poor. Yeosang was the last to join the group, as he went to a different school and was highly controlled by his father, but he too found joy and freedom with the group.

However, the group did not stay together and happy for long. San had to move again, Mingi, fearing his grandmother’s health, pushed the others away saying their time together was meaningless, which made Jongho mad enough to punch him because this group had given him new life and he couldn’t understand why Mingi would say something like that. Yeosang’s father found out about the warehouse, and since he owns it, he closed it for good and forced Yeosang to stop hanging out with the group. Hongjoong snuck in and was sitting alone when he was contacted by Halajoong in a dream.

While imprisoned, Halajoong was able to keep the Cromer and use it to travel to Hongjoong in the warehouse. He gave the Cromer to Hongjoong telling him, “Follow your heart. The map is there.” Hongjoong turned the Cromer and the sand started flowing backwards. When that happened, all of the members returned to the warehouse with confused expressions on their faces.

We learn from Ateez Fever Road how each of the members ended up back in the warehouse. Yeosang decided to defy his father, broke his violin, and returned. Yunho decided to deal with his grief in order to follow their dream, he then saved Jongho who was about to take his life because, after losing basketball and then their group falling apart, he didn’t think he had anything left to live for. Seonghwa decided not to let the lists control him again [I guess he had gone back to his old ways after they broke up.] Jongho, with a new lease on life, saved Mingi from people who were chasing after him and they reconciled. The boys then went and found Wooyoung and brought him back, and San decided not to move with his family after all and returned. I think Hongjoong turning the Cromer somehow “delivered messages to the members through dreams” of his longing for them to be together again (see Inception)

which allowed them to break free from the adult control in their lives (see Thanxx)

and allow them all return to the warehouse through the aforementioned actions.

Once they did return, the Cromer sent them to Strictland where the Android Guardians attacked them to steal the Cromer back. Hongjoong distracted them and they were able to escape. The Android Guardians followed them and captured Wooyoung by his ankle while they were running away. He was able to get away but they lost the Cromer in the process. He was healed by a little girl who took him and the rest of Ateez to her cave home where her brother explained what Strictland and the Black Pirates were. The Grimes siblings were part of the Black Pirates and the girl had lost her voice to the Android Guardians. They asked Ateez to help them retrieve it so the group decided to split up to both look for the Grimes girl’s voice and find Left Eye, the only person the Grimes siblings knew who had knowledge of where the Android Guardian’s bunker was, which was where they were holding Halateez captive (see Fireworks).

Group 1 went to find the Grimes girl’s voice, a shining blue bead inside thick yellow smoke. They sent Jongho into the smoke to collect the bead but inhaled it and started to hallucinate (see Eternal Sunshine).

He walked towards a cliff, thinking he was playing basketball and feeling a sense of déjà vu, and almost fell off before he was saved by Yeosang by giving him a gas mask. Yeosang told Jongho the Grimes girl reclaimed her voice and they left the yellow smoke to meet up with the others.

[I actually think that the ending scene with Wooyoung and San might be a representation of being saved from the illusion the yellow smoke causes but I'm not 100% sure.]

Group 2 went to find Left Eye in the junkyard in order to ask him where the Android Guardian’s bunker is (see Déjà Vu).

He tells them it is an old museum on an island so they go off to break into the museum in order to save Halateez and get the Cromer back. Hongjoong meets Halajoong for the first time in real life and Halajoong tells Hongjoong that he called him there to continue their work and change their world. Halajoong asked Hongjoong to put his hand against the glass wall and he transferred his uniform to Hongjoong and the rest of Ateez. They now looked like Halateez.

They were told to run before the smoke receded and the Android Guardians could see them again. As they ran away, San saw Android Guardians drunk on the smoke from people’s memories they were burning to create energy. They also noticed that Yeosang wasn’t there. Once they got to the lobby, Yeosang caught up with them again with the Cromer in hand. He threw it to Seonghwa just as an Android Guardian captured him and threatened to kill him if they did not return the Cromer. Hongjoong took the Cromer and threw it back to the Android Guardian but Yeosang caught it first, turned it in order to send Ateez back to their dimension, and smashed it.

Ateez realized they were back in their dimension without Yeosang and knew he had been captured by the Android Guardians. They were depressed because they thought he might be dead but then Yeosang’s drone appeared to the members cluing them in to the fact that he was still alive and able to contact them somehow by sending his drone (see Turbulence).

Giving them renewed hope to keep fighting and to find a way to save him.

Interestingly enough, they boys actually returned to the past, to a time before Yunho’s brother died in the car accident. After a week in the past of their dimension, Seonghwa saw an article about people trying to steal a Mayan artifact, their dimension’s version of the Cromer. Ateez decided the only way to get back to Strictland to save Yeosang was to steal the Cromer themselves but Yunho decided to stay back in order to be with his brother. While they were trying to get the Cromer, Wooyoung got taken hostage [again, gah!] by the leader of the religious group, Sciensalver, who was originally trying to steal the Cromer. Yunho and his biker friends appeared and helped distract the members of Sciensalver and Wooyoung was able to grab the Cromer and escape. During that event, Yunho’s brother was again hit by a car, driven by the leader of Sciensalver, Henry Jo, at the exact same time he was originally hit, 5:07. He told Yunho that neither of the times he was hit by a car were his fault and that he needed to live his life without regreting the past. Ateez then used their new Cromer to return to Strictland in order to save Yeosang (see The Real).

Back in Strictland, Yeosang was imprisoned like Halateez, in a glass case. He was forced to look at a line of resistance fighters who had their biological energy stolen from them by the Android Guardians, including the Grimes siblings.

He was in so much pain that he wished he could lose his emotions but knew that was not the right way to think. He then heard the sound of a trumpet and the Android Guardians ran out towards the sound and started to fight a group of men in black fedoras (see Say My Name).

[How much do you want to bet that these black robed people are the line of resistance fighters who had their biological energy stolen from them.] Anyways, while they were gone, one of the men came to save Yeosang.

He removed his mask and revealed himself to be Seonghwa. He then helped Yeosang escape from his glass prison.

Meanwhile, in the underground hideout of the Black Pirates, a morse code message was received and translated by Left Eye saying, “SAY MY NAME, ATEEZ” informing the Black Pirates that Ateez was back. [This ends the Fever Series explains how it fits with the Treasure Series through Say My Name.]

Before we get into the Treasure Series, I want to take another look at the Kingdom stages now that we know the whole Fever Series timeline. Here is what we know for sure:

  1. Halajoong gives Hongjoong the Cromer in the warehouse and he uses it to send Ateez to Strictland.

  2. Yeosang is captured in Strictland and saved from the Android Guardians at the end of the Fever Series/Say My Name.

Kingdom Stages

Taking these two things into account, and the timeline of when Kingdom aired [during the Zero: Fever Part 2 (Fireworks) comeback], I would like to propose a new storyline for the songs. I still think Awakening of Summer is Halateez stealing the Cromer from the central government’s vault. I also stand by my theory that Halajoong gives the Cromer to Hongjoong at the beginning of Symphony No. 9 “From the Wonderland '' and how that represents the end of the Diary Film. SO we have hit the first thing we “know for sure”: Halajoong gives Hongjoong the Cromer in the warehouse and he uses it to send Ateez to Strictland.

I think the rest of the Kingdom stages actually take place between this touchpoint and when they save Yeosang from the Android Guardians. Using the Fever storyline also helps to explain some of the things I noted but couldn’t theorize about in some of the stages like the black clothes vs. white clothes of the dancers in Wonderland. During one of the behind the scenes of this stage, Hongjoong mentioned the part where he saved Wooyoung from getting kidnapped. This actually did happen in the Fever diaries when one of the Android Guardians had Wooyoung by the ankle as they were running away and that is how they lost the Cromer. This is also the only part where the dancers are wearing black in the stage.

So that would mean that Wave: Overture could be representing how they felt when they came back from Strictland without Yeosang and knowing the Cromer was destroyed and then how they decided to go after him again. Another thing I noted before, but didn’t theorize about, was the flag attached to the torch San thrusts in the air at the end of that stage. I stated it was the flag from the bugle in Say My Name, and we now know that Yeosang hears the sound of a horn when he is rescued. I think this is representing them finding a new Cromer (the torch) and how they are about to leave to rescue Yeosang (as the bugle flag waves to “sound their return”).

From my Kingdom Theory day I started my explanation of Answer: Ode to Joy with this, “It starts back in the museum from Say My Name with Yeosang in a box. What we now know about Yeosang being in a box is that, of the boys, he was the most trapped by his parents and his letter to his father in the diaries was the first time he was able to escape that trap. That happened in the Fever Road epilogue when Hongjoong turned back time with the Cromer. We see an Android Guardian keeping guard and then the Cromer inside a full moon which tells us someone is using it to travel across dimensions. The Halateez then joins him in the box with the Cromer and they turn it together signalizing this Yeosang’s escape...”

Oh sweet Paisley, how kind of right and totally wrong you are!! So now that we have the full story, we know Yeosang is not symbolically trapped by his father but LITERALLY trapped in Strictland by the Android Guardians. I got that the Cromer was used with the full moon to get back to Strictland, but look at what I missed the first time!! That is Seonghwa in the box with Yeosang in Halateez attire! You can tell he is an Ateez member because you can see his white clothes under the Halateez hat and jacket. You can also kind of tell it is Seonghwa by his face shape. We know it is Seonghwa who saves Yeosang in the diaries by dressing up like Halateez and rescuing him from the bunker of the Android Guardians. How did I miss that?

So knowing Yeosang escaped from the bunker of the Android Guardians, this scene also has new meaning [note the black clothes of the dancers]:

This is not Yeosang reenacting San’s scene but additional portrayal of his escape! I still think the scenes recapping Wonderland and Awakening of Summer are valid because Halateez does set up a lot of this for Ateez since they know Ateez is their only chance of saving Strictland, but I think the ending battle scene is not the end of the entire storyline, just the end of the Fever series. Ateez does come out victorious from their battle with the Android Guardians and is able to save Yeosang. They also have a new Cromer so, in essence, they came out on top of this scenario. Based on my knowledge, I think Halateez may still be locked up in the Android Guardian’s bunker so that is what them being on the ground may also symbolize, they have not won their battle yet.

So the Kingdom stages are basically their way of spoiling their entire Fever storyline without us knowing. THEY ARE SO SLY!!

Treasure Series

The Treasure Series is harder to pin down since there aren’t diaries to help us figure out what is really going on. Additionally, no one has really gone back yet to try to relook at the Treasure Series now that the Fever Series is complete. So, from here on out, I will be doing a lot of guessing.

We are going to start with the ending sequence of Say My Name.

We know that Say My Name is all about saving Yeosang from the museum bunker of the Android Guardians, but the other major plot point we see is the changing of Ateez to Halateez in the ending sequence. Originally we thought this meant they were two sides of the same person but we know now that is not true. What we didn’t know when we discovered that Halateez and Ateez were different is that Halateez can somehow transfer their clothes to Ateez. So I think this scene is Ateez taking on the mantle (and clothes) of Halateez to continue their work to save Strictland. Like I said previously, I don’t think Halateez has been rescued yet, so I think these “men in black” are Ateez. They are also not wearing masks which leads me to think that as well.

If we use the song order of Ateez albums to know how to organize music videos [like with Thanxx/Inception and Eternal Sunshine/Déjà Vu] then HALA HALA actually comes before Say My Name in the rotation. I am going to opportate under the assumption that this is true. HALA HALA takes place in a warehouse very similar to the hideout Ateez uses in the Diary Film and we know they arrived in a warehouse when they originally got to Strictland. Let’s assume this warehouse is also where they arrived when they came back to Strictland to save Yeosang. Hongjoong has a lyric that says:

"Our starting point is still there."

If so, dawning the Halateez outfits and putting on masks is their way of preparing to go into the Android Guardian’s bunker on their rescue mission. [Also notice that when they put on their masks, they are in plain clothes and then during the dance we see them in full Halateez garb.]

Their dance is a way to hype themselves up for the battle they know they are about to face. Additional things I noted was the part of the song/dance where Yeosang is featured:

He sings:

"Raise me up, take me up, everyday a bit more. Raise me up, take me up to that far away."

He is asking them to save him!! We also have two types of communication devices used in this song by Hongjoong and Mingi. The air horn (akin to the bugle in Say My Name) and we know Yeosang hears a horn when he is rescued. And the ham radio (which was used to send the morse code message that Ateez was back in the diary entries).

Also some of Mingi’s lyrics now make sense in a different kind of way.

“I feel like that beat bopping, pop. Will change. Just like the gods. Changing those words around. Yes changing that value. God putting me in this scene. Just like an assassin.”

Maybe this is about how they are about to enter the fight to change Strictland. We end the song with Wooyoung as the only one left standing. [Could this be a reference to the part he plays in getting the new Cromer?]

So if HALA HALA is them getting ready to save Yeosang, and Say My Name is them saving Yeosang and accepting Halateez’s plea to help save Strictland from the central government, then maybe Pirate King is them talking about starting their journey to reach that goal and asking people to join then [possibly the Black Pirates → remember that is the name of the entire resistance group, not just Halateez, who I think are still captured]. They have officially taken on the role of anarchists! Here is part of the chorus that is saying that:

“Raise the anchor, put away your dark hearts. Wherever it is, we can go. We can be whatever we want, just follow us. Raise your hands up high. You and me, under these burning lights, to the bright place. Step 1,2,3 and 1,2,3 Let’s go. Will you be my friend?”

[Also, look how the song starts! Yeosang is captured and then freed!! MIND BLOWN!! This was their debut, y'all!! They were laying the groundwork of their storyline from the jump!

OMG!! I also just realized that their original choreography had a different start!!!

They actually changed a lot of the choreography but I found the beginning Yeosang part most interesting. I can’t believe I had forgotten about that until specifically looking at Yeosang. I remember being surprised by the change but I didn’t think anything of it. (It also looks like the choreography the boys made up was harder than what they ended up doing, especially the Jongho part). So by changing the start of the video to Yeosang captured and then freed, I think it does a good job connecting Pirate King to Say My Name.]

Ok, back to the storyline. After Ateez gather together to start their mission of changing Strictland by inspiring the Black Pirates and others to keep dancing and singing, they start searching for their "treasure” which involves them being able to stay together and with ATINY and going back again to the idea of life-sustaining memories from before after they finish their quest [and also brining emotions back into the world; there is that too].

“I won’t stop, rush. I’ll turn the world upside down. To a place no one can find. My treasure. Let’s leave to a far place. It calls to us, that treasure. Hurry, let’s leave, let’s go find it. Oh every day, every night”
“It’s beckoning to you, that treasure. Everyone’s chasing after pleasure. Going more and more blind, crazy”

Could these lyrics be referencing the great material affluence the people of Strictland enjoyed by sacrificing their emotions (going more and more blind after chasing after their pleasure)? They also use the yellow smoke to cause hallucinations which allows them to chase after pleasure. I don’t know, just a thought.

Since we don’t know if they go back to their own dimension or not after Say My Name, I am going to theorize that they are still in Strictland. If that is the case, they could fall victim to the yellow smoke again which causes them to fall into an illusion.

They think they are searching for their treasure but they are really just living in an illusion.

But maybe since Yeosang was in Strictland for a longer time right next to the Android Guardian burning people’s memories, he might have started to develop some resistance to the illusion since it looks like he is trying to wake up here. You also see that the other two people who have ways to look off of the ship, Seonghwa and Jongho, are looking towards the ship or towards the sky. Yeosang is the only one looking out. Interesting!

Additionally, Halateez is still imprisoned so they are using the Cromer to beg the boys to “Let them free” using the crescent moon [remember the Cromer communicates on a crescent moon and moves people through dimensions on a full moon].

So instead of Halateez asking them to let them free (come out as Hyde in a Jekyll and Hyde situation), they are reminding them of their quest to free them from the Android Guardians. At the end of the video, Ateez starts to run towards Halateez and that leads them to begin to “Open their eyes”.

At the beginning of Wave we see Ateez waking up from being asleep, which leads us to believe that they have come out of their illusion. However, I feel like they are kind of groggy, based on lyrics like these:

“Think, think, think. We’ve already overcome so much. Remember, remember, remember. Time keeps passing”


“Let’s take a trip to the sea. Throw it all away, drink. Enjoy this moment. I know y’all feelin’ me. Go into the waves. Mindlessly, click. Are you ready to find it? The light under the sun”

Also, Hakuna Matata means “no worries” so I think for most of the song they are still relatively under the influence of the yellow smoke.

But then, at the end of the song, these lyrics appear:

“Where you are. I’ll be there. Hold my hand, hold my hand. We just need each other. The rougher it is, the better. Cuz we’re just gonna play above that. We just going oh. If this moment is our wave (our wave). Don’t be afraid, face it with more strength. Because we’re hotter than anyone else under the sun. Don’t worry (don’t worry). Don’t worry. Jump over that wave”

At this point, I think they are fully conscious again and have overcome the fear they were facing while coming out of the influence of the smoke. Hakuna Matata has taken on a new meaning. They are not going to worry about what lies ahead because they are going to get through it together.

This takes us to Wonderland, their battle hymn. I think this represents them going back to break Halateez out of the Android Guardians' bunker. Consider these lyrics:

“Let’s go. Let’s go. To the beginning that the ending is waiting. On my my way. Everyone keeps pace. On my my way Run after counting one, two. On my my way Make the way. Hurry up Hurry up. To the beginning that the ending is waiting.”

They are on their way to the beginning because the ending is waiting → they first met Halateez in the bunker but weren’t able to set them free. Now they are on their way to do that.

But this time, they are not alone. They have the Black Pirates behind them so they don’t need to dress like Halateez, they are an army of anarchists now.

“Breaking the wall, oh oh. The place where someone has to go. Although it’s not easy. We like the reason why.”

Although their task is hard and they have to go back to a place they have already barely escaped twice, the reason they have to go is important to them so they will do it.

Answer is their celebration song. They have been successful in freeing Halateez and can now finally “enjoy a delicious meal” [Ha! Finally got to use that clue they kept giving in their behind the scenes.] together. But the final scene with the Android Guardian standing in the destroyed room they were just dining in does not bode well. Something happened and we have to wait to see what it is.

That is all we know right now. I originally ended my recap with this, “I know Don’t Stop has been released, but I honestly have no idea how it fits into the storyline so until I know more, I am not going to try to add it. I hope some/all of what I theorize is actually true but I guess time will tell.” but then I thought back to this scene:

Don't Stop

What if this is a clue to how Don't Stop connects? We end Answer with a destroyed room and an Android Guardian holding Ateez’s spyglass. Don’t Stop is all about them getting their pirate paraphernalia back in order to restart their journey towards their goal/treasure. Obviously something happened to them and they lost everything. Hongjoong said “I was a pirate who had everything but lost everything so I’m very angry. I’m mad from the start. Right now, this [points to his black eye] while losing everything, I got a wound and it hurts a little. I’m a pirate with pain.” [AWWWW!!! HJ!!]

So they boys do everything they can to get back what they lost. Mingi gets kidnapped and released so he can blow up a car that has their compass in it. San and Wooyong play poker until they win their spyglass back, Seonghwa, Yunho, Jongho, and Yeosang break into a pawn shop vault to steal the deed to Hongjoong’s ship, and Hongjoong breaks his model ship to get the key to something.

They meet up and give their collected items back to Hongjoong and then go to find their ship.

This is officially where their story ends as of now. We don’t know what took place that made them lose their belongings. We don’t know what this “official” pirate stuff means since the only music video that has all of these things gathered together like this is Illusion and that was an illusion. I guess we will have to wait and see.

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