Abigail is known for being a hulking brute of a character. His entire persona is of a muscle-bound gearhead who acts like a child, flying into rages when things don’t go his way. What makes writing a theory on Abigail even more difficult is that he has very few connections with established characters. Being a Final Fight character, one would expect him to have stronger ties with Cody, Lucia, Zeku, and Poison. Unfortunately, this just isn’t the case. When he does appear, he appears strictly as a goofy side character. He’s the butt of many jokes and his own Story Mode is played for laughs. It must be said: Abigail has no relevance to the main plot, no connections to bad guys not named Belger, appears to be a completely legitimate businessman, and just seems to be the most random character thrown into Street Fighter V.
It leaves us with the only question we have at this point: Why is Abigail in the game at all?
Certainly, the developers wanted to surprise the fans and bring in an extremely unlikely character. By bringing Abigail in, though, they brought in the tallest character in the entire game. Standing at eight feet, Abigail is a behemoth, making Zangief look tiny in comparison. The most likely thing the developers wanted was to show that they could go bigger if they wanted to, in this case to show off the graphical power of the PS4. Abigail is a good way of demonstrating that considering he takes up nearly a quarter of the screen during a match.
Considering Abigail is a rather popular character among the FGC, Capcom knows they have a winner regarding his design and impact. However, Abigail lacks any sort of mystery or story that could make him a staple in the future. Even if he is meant to be goofy, Dan fills that niche far better. What would be the reason to ever bring him back?
As I looked deeper, I realized that Capcom likely doesn’t have a plan for him in the future; he seems to be rather independent compared to nearly every other character in SFV. However, this could also be the reason he ends up playing a bigger role than at first glance. With no ties to anyone, Abigail also has the most potential storywise. In other words, he’s a blank slate that Capcom can do almost anything with, and it’s this that makes Abigail the most valuable asset lorewise in the game.
Moreso, while there is a lack of mystery surrounding Abigail, there are at least two questions that can be asked regarding his story:
1) Why does he fight who he fights in his Story Mode?
2) Why does he claim he’s Dutch, as stated in his Character Guide? https://game.capcom.com/cfn/sfv/column-130390?lang=en
Let’s answer the first question by examining the five people he fights. In order, they’re Ibuki, Zangief, Juri, Vega, and Alex.
It appears that the fighters are simply passing by while Abigail is carrying out his emotional rampage, but Abigail’s behavior offends most of them as they believe he’s acting vulgar around them – Ibuki thinks he’s passing gas, Zangief thinks he’s jeering him, Juri thinks he’s insulting her looks, and Vega thinks he’s acting like a pig. Only Alex identifies that Abigail is imitating an engine…
…and he proceeds to get beaten up for no good reason.
Now, Alex has the best reason to fight Abigail: he’s a fellow grease monkey and was watching Abigail fight the others the entire time; he was already part of the City in Chaos stage as a background character anyway so it made the most sense that Alex and Abigail would cross paths canonically. Plus, considering that Abigail’s own stage overlooks New York City, the setting of the City in Chaos stage, they’re basically neighbors.
So, why are the other four involved? Why did the developers pick those characters to be the ones to fight Abigail? Ibuki and Zangief seem to have the simplest answers: their sizes. They wanted to show the massive size disparity between Ibuki, the smallest character in the series, and Abigail, the biggest. They also wanted to show how much Zangief, one of the biggest characters in the series, was dwarfed in comparison to Abigail. Juri and Vega, however, are trickier. Vega was put there as a sort of foil to Abigail manners-wise: Vega is refined, but Abigail isn’t. Juri, however, was the biggest question mark of all. The most likely reason was that the screeching noises that Abigail made in the original Japanese version could be perceived as insults (“busu”, one of the car noises he uses in the original, also means “ugly woman”), and Juri was simply the one female character that would be the most offended (although being called “flat” is subjectively worse).
Now that Abigail has run into all of these characters, though, it makes things a bit muddled. What does this mean for the lore now that Abigail has crossed paths with all of these characters? Like I said, probably nothing as I find it unlikely they’ll use Abigail again going forward. That being said, if they do put him into another Street Fighter game, they have several places to start. Interestingly enough, by running into Abigail, some things are actually revealed about the other characters.
First of all, Ibuki is the only person wearing her story costume instead of her default one. Yes, the obvious answer is that she wouldn’t wear ninja garb around the city. More than that, though, is that since they met in New York, this means she isn’t anywhere near her home. The dress suggests she’s sightseeing and on vacation… but there’s another very logical explanation for her being in New York: finding information about a certain man in a top hat.
With Ibuki’s involvement in G’s plot line, the possibility that she was sent on a fact-finding mission is pretty strong, and Abigail’s ending could confirm that she’s in New York for that reason considering New York is also where G fought Rashid and Menat. Yes, Alex would have witnessed those fights too, but he doesn’t seem to care about anything G is doing at all (otherwise, he would have spoken up like he did with Abigail) and G is just doing what he normally does (speaking to his online audience). Sure, there’s a chance they canonically faced off at some point considering they’re in close proximity, but mostly Alex tends to keep to himself and his car.
Ibuki and Alex aside, there’s at least one other person whose motives can be determined: Vega’s. Since Vega’s fight follows Juri’s fight, we can determine that Vega is possibly following Juri around, but after her fight with Abigail, Vega was disgusted enough to fight Abigail himself (and lose). What I find really interesting, however, is what Vega says about the city before he fights Abigail.
Vega is not a fan of New York, so it makes you wonder what he’s doing there in the first place. Because he hates the city, unlike Ibuki, he wouldn’t be sightseeing. Spying on Juri seems to be the only reason he’s there at all, and as seen in Cinematic Story Mode, there’s precedent.
As for Zangief and Juri, there doesn’t seem to be much evidence of either of them doing anything but walking the city. Granted, they both could be looking for G and found Abigail instead. Only Zangief, however, has been confirmed to know of G’s existence.
So, based on the evidence we have, we can conclude that Juri is just walking around New York City, Vega is spying on her, and both Ibuki and Zangief might be looking for G, but both are probably also just walking around.
Since Abigail has so many run-ins, it’ll be interesting to see what direction Capcom may decide to take with him, if they take any steps at all. However, there is still one question with Abigail that I find confusing: why does he claim to be Dutch when it’s stated in his passport, and confirmed by Capcom, he’s Canadian?
The answer may stem from his background. As stated in my previous theory, I stated Poison likely joined the Mad Gear Gang because she came from a poor family. In all likelihood, the same happened with Abigail, considering his manners, occupation, and wardrobe. If he was raised in a working-class family, then based on everything we know about him, it’s likely his hometown is Windsor, Ontario, which is not only known as Canada’s car capital due to its proximity to Detroit, Michigan (colloquially known as “The Motor City”) in the United States but, just like its sister city, also has a reputation for being a terrible place to live. https://www.vice.com/en/article/xd7bbd/windsor-ontario-residents-tell-us-why-its-not-the-worst-place-on-earth
By making this assumption, we can conclude that even though he wears his hair in a maple leaf pattern, Abigail would rather not be associated with Windsor. Since Metro City is clearly an expy of Jersey City, New Jersey, as his Street Fighter V stage shows (itself ripped from the original Final Fight and posted here again for reference)…
…for Abigail to call himself Dutch in an American city allows him to attempt to create a new life for himself, far away from his difficult past. Why Dutch in particular? To be honest, as much as I’ve looked, there’s nothing really pointing as to why. Abigail’s design is based off of heavy metal rocker King Diamond, who is Danish rather than Dutch, so if Abigail was looking to copy the singer, he picked the wrong nationality. However, being into heavy metal as much as he is, he would know this. It could be that Abigail himself is of Dutch origin, as the name Abigail is used the same in The Netherlands as it is in the English-speaking world.
Moreso, he could simply be wanting to give himself a Euro-centric flair. Also, since my research indicated that the Netherlands was an automotive hub, it could be that he has a thing for luxury Dutch sports cars. This is somewhat alluded to in Abigail’s dialogue to Vega during Abigail’s story mode.
For Abigail, a car like the Spyker C12 La Turbie, with a top speed of 202 mph, would be right up his alley. It’s all show AND all go. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spyker_C12_La_Turbie
Why would a guy who makes loud car noises and loves monster trucks care about a sports car he can’t even fit in? One word: class. Despite his etiquette, Abigail has class, taste, and a far more refined sensibility than he lets on. Because of his expanded automotive palette, he would know how to work on everything from a Ford F-150 to a Maserati Granturismo. His knowledge on vehicles would be unsurpassed.
In other words, Abigail is an automotive genius, and there’s proof in-game.
Sodom, Rolento, and Belger all use Abigail’s services to fix their vehicles, equipment, and weaponry. Whereas Sodom and Belger inquire about their vehicles, a semi and a motorized wheelchair respectively, Rolento asks Abigail to fix a missile and a tank, which only people in the military would know how to make. Considering the sheer variance of what Abigail is being asked to do, and the confidence of the people making the orders who are relying on him, it’s safe to say that Abigail has a wide knowledge of every type of vehicle ever made, arguably making him the smartest character in the entire series.
You have to be pretty smart to create a sentient spare tire.