Thank you to an unknown user for the inspiration!
We know about Cloud’s mother through the flashbacks he has of here. But where is his father? We really don’t know much of him, outside of that it’s logical to assume that he has one. But then, who is Cloud’s father? A certain user came up with a theory that:
Cloud Strife’s Father = President Shinra. President Shinra owns a mansion walking distance from mama-Strife, fact. President Shinra and Cloud Strife have blond hair, fact. Cloud Strife and Rufus look like they could be brothers, subjective opinion.
Schwahn points out that this idea was already circulating on Reddit, as “u/gwood314 went in depth about it an year ago (entitled Who is Cloud Strife’s father?):”
Since the Final Fantasy VII remake was announced, I have wondered if any additional elements may be implemented into the story as we know it. Thinking back on the story, I have found one element that has I have always considered missing. There is never any mention of Cloud’s father. Being the main protagonist of the story, I always thought this was odd. We learn of other major characters parentage. Aerith is the child of Ifalna and Professor Gast. Sephiroth is the child of Hojo and Lucrecia. We see Tifa’s father, and her mother is referenced after her death, but we only see Cloud’s mother in the flashbacks to Nibelheim. So, in honor of MatPat’s 6 million substream, where he stated that one of his favorite theories is the Rosalina theory, I thought that I would submit a theory here.
I believe Cloud Strife’s father is President Shinra.
In support of this theory, let’s establish a timeline. The most important elements of which, in my opinion, is the birthdates of Aerith and Cloud. According to the Final Fantasy Wiki, Aerith was born February 7, 1985. We also know that Professor Gast and Ifalna fled from the Shinra Company to hide their relationship and their child. They were eventually tracked down at Icicle Inn by Hojo, but it isn’t really stated how Hojo knew to find them there. I theorize that when Professor Gast fled, the Shinra Company dispatched a team to a location that contained a large amount of Professor Gast’s research to look for more clues as to where he would go, the Shinra Mansion at Nibelheim, and that one member of that team was President Shinra, who at the time may have had a lessor position within the company, much like the later Vice President Rufus.
Cloud’s birth, again according to the Final Fantasy Wiki, is either August 11 or 19 of 1986, which is a full 18 months after Aerith. This would mean that, in order for my theory to work, President Shinra would need to be with Cloud’s mother around December 1985, which if he did go to Nibelheim to research possible locations of Professor Gast, I believe to be likely. In Final Fantasy 7 Crisis Core, it is established that President Shinra has two illegitimate sons, so we know faithfulness to his spouse isn’t something that he is really known for. We also know that the Strife family resided in one of the buildings closest to the Shinra Mansion, so President’s Shinra’s propinquity (to borrow from MatPat’s Dating Sims theory) to Mama Strife was relatively higher as well, if he was at the Shinra Mansion.
While it is difficult to tell some physical characteristics with the sprites of the original game, it is established that President Shinra and Cloud both have Blond hair. I won’t compare the eye color, as it is established that Mako exposure has some lasting effects to a person’s eyes, and we know that Cloud at least has been exposed to Mako on multiple occasions.
There are other story elements that lead me to this theory as well. President Shinra, in the events of the game, is shown to have an obsession with the Promised Land and the Ancients. This may have developed after his time at the Shinra Mansion and the research contained there. This is similar to the obsession that Sephiroth developed after examining this same research.
One consistent element of Cloud’s flashback is that his mother believes that he should date an older woman. I believe this is because she harbors deep regrets about being a young single mother, or even some anger towards the older father of her child who left her behind when he returned to Midgar.
We see in another flashback that the children of Nibelheim treat Cloud as an outsider. This may be the product of Cloud’s mother being given something similar to a Scarlet Letter, and therefore, her child may be seen as unworthy or unclean. This could have stemmed from the town residents having some resentments towards the Shinra Company, which somewhat abandoned the town for the city of Midgar. Cloud’s mother and Cloud himself may be seen as sympathizers or symbols of the town losing its future.
I also feel that Cloud being the son of President Shinra would give the Shinra family something of a redemptive arc. A member of the family which founded the company that is slowly killing the planet is eventual one of the key warriors that fights to save the planet.
Anyway, as this is Reddit and well, the internet in general, let me know if you agree, or if you think that I am completely insane. keep in mind though this is Just a Theory.
This theory would follow a lot of common tropes in Final Fantasy. It usually turns out that the main character is somehow related to “royalty”, or at least a very important person. For example, Cecil was the son of Kluya, and thus not like the rest of the people on the Blue Planet. Bartz’s lineage was also from another world. Terra was half-esper, both in the Esper World. And Squall’s father became president of Esthar.
So what if President Shinra fathered Cloud? This might add another layer of meaning to Cloud’s battle with Rufus Shinra. What if they sensed they were related?