The great 1993 movie Groundhog Day with Bill Murray is easily one of my favorites.

Mostly minor Spoilers Ahead for Groundhog Day, Edge of Tomorrow, and the book Replay.

Within the movie, I believe that Groundhog Day never really ends and it’s a parasite that gets passed from person to person.

Let me explain:

There’s a theory on reddit that Phil Connors is in hell/purgatory and that Ned Ryerson is/was the devil (need link). This video covers that idea but doesn’t link the post. I remember reading it years ago here too. It’s interesting but I think it’s completely false mainly because an insurance salesman being the devil but only temps him the one time? With insurance? Ha. Sure. The theory goes on to say that it’s not until Phil signs a contract with Ned is the loop broken for Phil. It’s compelling but again… who’s tempted by insurance?

I think Ned plays a much different role. A little backstory first.

Groundhog Day borrows many concepts from the brilliant book Replay by Ken Grimwood. In this, Jeff lives 30+ years over and over. It’s pretty cool. There are a couple spoilers for this book in this post but even with this knowledge I promise you’ll enjoy the book.

The Tom Cruise movie Edge of Tomorrow (aka Live/Die/Repeat) borrows ideas from both Replay and Groundhog Day:

  • Looped time period over and over
  • Selfish protagonist that has to become selfless and serve others
  • Emily Blunt’s character is named Rita just like Andie MacDowell’s character in Groundhog Day
  • The single day loops allow him super-human abilities in learning a variety of tasks.

These two have something major in common that is seemingly absent from Groundhog Day: another “looper” whom has/can experience the loop resets.

  • Rita on Edge of Tomorrow definitely did. That’s clear early on.
  • Pamela in Replay joins Jeffs in the loops eventually becoming aware that their lives were both looping.

Groundhog Day…. who’s the looper along with good old Phil?!

First a hint…

“Now Phil, don’t tell me you don’t remember me because I sure as heck remember you…I dated your sister a couple times.” link

“Nancy… Nancy Tailor… I used to sit next to you in Mrs. Walsh’s English class…. I even asked you to prom.” link

Yup, first one was from good old Ned Ryerson. Second was from Phil, mid-loop.

Nancy doesn’t recognize Phil because she didn’t know him. Phil didn’t recognize Ned because he didn’t know him either.

Okay, just stay with me that Ned is a previous looper.

So, let’s jump into Ned’s loop. Not Phil’s. Ned relives the same exact day as Phil but Phil is unaware until it’s his turn. In other words, Phil is on day 1 on repeat while Ned goes through his loops.

Ned goes through just as many loops as Phil. Maybe more. Ned starts out as a self-centered jerk like Phil which shows how radical his transformation is by the time we (and Phil) see him at the start of the movie. With enough time, maybe 20+ years in a same-day loop, a person is bound to change.

Edge of tomorrow did this exact thing. Rita was done with looping by the time Cage (Tom Cruise) started looping.

Stuck in loops changes people. It changed Rita Vrataski and Phil Connors.

Ned changed too. He re-adopts a goofy happy-go lucky persona but maintains his job (just as Phil does). His final day in his loop is the day we/Phil meet him. Ned has moved on from the loop but he is unaware he’s stuck in another one (like like Ms. Vrataski) and since we barely see Ned, he would have no way of knowing that Phil is another looper.

So… how does Phil get trapped in this loop?

The loop is a parasite that moves from host to host. Ned breaks the loop parasite and the parasite finds the new game piece to Punxsutawney: Phil Connors.

The movie is shows us Phil breaking the loop by finally becoming a better person at his core. Not pretending he was truly a better person.

So now you’re probably thinking… who’s after Phil?

I think it’s nothing but good old Larry.

After Phil is auctioned, we can see the seeds of Larry’s jealously. He wishes he was more like Phil and is pretty delusional in thinking he would be bid for at a premium like Phil.

Larry is also shown trying to date Nancy and being just as fake as Phil was: I.e. picking up the tip and jumping at any moment to try and creepily get close to her or follow her.

Perhaps the “loop” parasite moves from deadly sin to deadly sin.

Ned: greed Phil: pride Larry: lust

Anyways that’s my theory. It all started when I realized Groundhog Day never had a loop buddy even though the book it drew inspiration from definitely did (Jeff and Pamela).

What do you think of my theory?