Is Cave Johnson Chell’s Father? [closed]

About around the time of the Portal 2 Announcement ARG, to the best of my knowledge it had become well established that Cave Johnson was Chell’s father (with the latter being abducted by GLaDOS on Bring your Daughter to Work Day).

However, many months later, with the release of Portal 2, all such references seem to have disappeared, and I can no longer find any proof of (what I thought) was well-established fact. Can anyone provide any canonical evidence that Chell is Cave Johnson’s Daughter?

Specifically, I am wondering if, during the course of the two pre-release ARGs for Portal 2 (one for the announcement, the other just before launch) Cave was officially credited anywhere with specifically being Chell’s father.

P.S. Please do not bring discussions of Caroline into this question, as I am chiefly concerned with information from the ARGs, and not Portal 2.



This could be considered too localized. At this point, there’s no official ‘canon’ answer.

Short Answer

As of Portal 2, speculation tends to lean in the direction of Cave being Chell’s father.

Long Answer

From the Combine OverWiki article on Chell:

Players exploring the Aperture facility in Portal 2 can discover a presentation from the Bring Your Daughter to Work Day science fair signed with the name Chell. Several girls seem to have made potato batteries; none of them have rotted over the years, but Chell’s potato has actually grown out of control, sprouting through the ceiling. One of the steps described in her experimental procedure is using a “special ingredient from Daddy’s work.” This strongly implies that Chell was the daughter of a male Aperture employee, was trapped in the facility during GLaDOS’ takeover on Bring Your Daughter to Work Day, and spent her entire adolescence as one of GLaDOS’ prisoners.

Virtually no other reliable direct evidence about Chell’s background appears in the games, although players have speculated based on vague hints. In the Lab Rat comic, Chell’s surname is redacted on the list of test subjects, while no other information is missing; this may indicate some sort of secret concerning her family background. However, the possibility that there is no in-story explanation for the missing name and Valve simply did not want to give Chell a canonical surname yet cannot be dismissed.

GLaDOS often drops hints about Chell’s background, but since her comments are obviously intended to manipulate Chell or damage her self-esteem, they may not have any basis in fact. In the first game, GLaDOS said that she possessed a backup of Chell’s brain, which she later claimed to have deleted in a fit of rage. Although the comment may have been a complete fabrication, some players speculated that Chell might be a clone (although the game’s writers have now confirmed that this theory was not intended) or an android. GLaDOS also asserts once in the first game and repeatedly in the second that Chell was abandoned by her birth parents and subsequently adopted. In context, GLaDOS’ intent is clearly for Chell to find this information upsetting – even when fighting on Chell’s side, she not only repeats the allegation but adds, “and that’s horrible.”

If we ignore the Caroline-based evidence, we must rely on the following:

  • Chell got help from “daddy” with her science project on “Take Your Daughter To Work Day” at Aperture Science.
  • Cave Johnson not only worked for Aperture Science, but owned it.

Outside of the above, most of the speculation on Chell’s father comes from this series of connections (which, despite your initial request, require us to mention Caroline):

  • The song the turrets sing at the end of Portal 2 implies a familial connection between GLaDOS and Chell.
  • Portal 2 establishes very clearly that GLaDOS, at a minimum, has Caroline as part of her personality/intelligence.
  • Several voice-overs and a hidden portrait imply a familial connection between Caroline and Cave.

Adding all of these items together and you get the basis of the speculation about Chell’s father.

Source : Link , Question Author : Raven Dreamer , Answer Author : Community

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