NOTE: Originally, this article was written based on a tweet by Christie Golden. I mistakenly thought she was referring to Warcraft. Instead, she was talking about Supernatural Season 12 finale. However, there are some points of interest in the article. Read with caution. Everything henceforth is theorycrafting. You will also find Warcraft book references and quotes.
There are several NPC heroes that are no longer among the living, or are suspected deceased that could potentially come back from beyond in a different fashion than Illidan did in World of Warcraft: Legion. Let’s flesh out some context into how some of the dead Warcraft heroes might be able to return.
This one is tricky in that we saw Varian’s body explode in a burst of fel. So there is absolutely no way that Varian is back, right? Wrong.
We absolutely know that Gul’dan is a warlock, and what is that thing that characterizes warlocks? Ahh, yes… they capture and manipulate souls. The original Gul’dan brought Teron’gor and other members of the Shadow Council back to life by summoning their spirit during the reanimation of Stormwind knight’s corpses to create the first Death Knights. So we don’t know if Varian’s soul is trapped in some kind of Warlock shadow sphere among Gul’dan’s belongings awaiting to be found. Maybe he didn’t get the chance to do anything with it.
In that respect, what if the Horde finds that shadow sphere? What if Sylvanas decides to bring Varian back to serve the Horde? Would Varian stay knowing he can never return home, or would he flee his way out to return to his son in his new undead form?
The Acherus is floating near the Nighthold. What if Darion Mograine sensed Varian’s soul, and decides to rise him as a Death Knight? Or even worse, what if Gul’dan collected Varian’s soul and gave it to Kil’jaeden?
There is one thing that we know for sure. Last time Kil’jaeden came ahold of a soul … he imbued it into a magical armor and helmet and hurl it into Northrend. Maybe we get to see Varian the Lich King 3.0 vs Fordragon the Lich King 2.0? Or Gul’dan the Lich King 3.0? Kil’jaeden didn’t have a Ner’zhul this time around after all, since he swapped allegiance with the voidlords in Warlords of Draenor.
On the other hand, maybe the Varian who Gul’dan killed never returns. Surely we have forgotten something about Warlords of Draenor. The Horde was defeated, and they did never get to invade AU-Azeroth. What would Sargeras-Medivh do without his planned Horde invasion? Chill out in Karazhan staring at the ceiling frescos? Or search for an alternative local race as plan B … I don’t know, one such as the Amani? Eventually, that AU-Sargeras-Medivh will raze Stormwind, and if AU-Varian survives, he will need help. What if AU-Varian comes to our Azeroth, in search of help to prevent his AU-Sargeras-Medivh from eventually spilling into our world? Maybe his world is lost already, and Varian and other heroes stay in our universe. So many interesting possible plots for the return of Varian.
Vol’jin’s body was literally cremated in a funeral pyre. There is no coming back from that, either, except returning as a spirit ally. The novel World of Warcraft: Vol’jin, Shadows of the Horde probably gave us a hint of how Vol’jin could return as a spirit guide NPC. Same hint appeared during a world event prelude at the end of World of Warcraft: Mists of Pandaria (Siege of Orgrimmar).
Vol’jin: A fittin’ end for so foul a troll. Bwonsamdi; you have my tanks, and dat of all de Darkspear. We will continue to honor you, as is proper.
Bwonsamdi: It’ll be good to hear de Darkspear drums once more. You take care now, Son of Sen’jin. Bwonsamdi will be waitin’ for ya… on de Other Side…
Obviously, after Vol’jin died, his spirit was claimed by Bwonsamdi. Maybe something stirs the shadow realms, and that prompts Bwonsamdi to send Vol’jin’s spirit to seek help from the Horde. There are four things that could stir the shadow realms: Sargeras, the Old gods, Hakkar the Soulflayer, and the Void Lords. We already got a glimpse into the Void Lords in Shadowmoon Valley (Warlords of Draenor). Eventually, Blizzard might have to delve more into them once the Legion and the Old gods are defeated, as a new threat.
Come to think of it… Blizzard hasn’t properly introduced a hierarchy nor the shadow realms in the Void Lords mythos. So there is a lot of room to just do that. Maybe we get to see a Shadow Hunter playable hero class too?
From the pages of World of Warcraft: Chronicle Vol. 1 (Cosmology)
RHONIN AND KRASUS
Back in 2012, I wrote an article about the dead of Rhonin and Krasus, and how they could return.
The return of Rhonin and Krasus theory has fascinated me ever since, because their “apparent” deaths were so sudden, and off-screen, as if put there as a hiatus mechanic to use later: so to speak, there is no corpse. If there is no corpse, there is no death. Thus, the plot is left as a indefinite cliffhanger where you are induced to believe the character died, but behind-the-scenes something happened and you are told the character survived … many years later in real-life time.
From the pages of Christie Golden’s World of Warcraft: Jaina, Tides of War, we know that Rhonin had found a scroll written by Krasus where it is evident that Krasus had knowledge of future events.
Krasus foresaw the destruction of Theramore, and the rise of Jaina as new leader of the Kirin Tor. The thing is … Krasus had died months before Rhonin found the scroll.
During Cataclysm, Krasus mysteriously wanted to stay behind in the Ruby Sanctum, skipping the dragonflights summit. We saw Archbishop Benedictus’ forces trying to corrupt all the dragonflight eggs to create chromatic dragons, and Krasus’s apparent sacrifice imploding some of the Wyrmrest Temple’s sanctums. Yet, we did never see Krasus’ corpse.
What if the implosion merely severed the access in or out of the Sanctums. We have already seen Krasus create tesseracts before in War of the Ancients. What if Krasus survived? If he survived, he is likely half-chromatic, as his hand became infested by the same goo that was infesting the eggs. Some of that goo landed on his hand. So unless he quickly severed his arm to survive, he is infested. The question is… if Krasus returns: will he be an ally, or an evil chromatic-dragon sorcerer commanding vast numbers of chromatic dragons?
With Rhonin, things are a bit unclear. The last time we saw Rhonin, he was channeling the magic of the Mana bomb to draw the bomb into the tower to lessen the impact of the explosion; but before that, he pushed Jaina through a portal.
Did we ever see Rhonin’s corpse in World of Warcraft: Jaina, Tides of War?
Ever since they got “apparently” killed, I have wondered if there is a way to bring them back. For instance, the fact that Krasus had knowledge of future events serves as an amazing mechanic tool. If Krasus knew about the assault on Wyrmrest Temple in advance, then that means he stayed behind in the sanctum on purpose, and orchestrated the whole thing, in order to alter the Hour of Twilight substantially by negating the Twilight’s Hammer access to the myriad of eggs from each dragonflight.
Krasus might have instructed Rhonin in that scroll as well how to survive the Fall of Theramore. For example, right before the mana bomb exploded, he could have cast a time stop spell. If Krasus has been alive all along, he could have replaced everyone in Theramore with magical duplicates to be left behind as corpses, transport all Theramore inhabitants to the Sanctum tesseracts, and let everyone think the mana bomb killed Rhonin and all the Theramore inhabitants.
The reason for all the cloak and dagger tactics would really need some good storytelling. For all this to work, we would have to first know how-in-the-world Krasus acquired knowledge about the future. How did Krasus know about the mana bomb dropped in Theramore long after Krasus himself supposedly died? How did Krasus know Jaina was going to become the new leader of the Kirin tor? If Krasus had that much heads up into the future, and he prepared for the assault on the Wyrmrest Temple… what’s the end-game of his plan?
I can only think of a few possible scenarios: a future Chromie or future Nozdormu post-Legion went back to alert Krasus. Another possibility is that Medivh is putting together a secret team by pulling heroes from across the timestream at the moment of their deaths. Think of it as DC Legends of Tomorrow. Medivh comes in, stops time, plucks the hero before he dies, let’s everyone think the person died.
Now, what does this accomplish? If Blizzard decided to launch a World of Warcraft: Timewalkers expansion, we would need a Timewalker faction, and NPCs (Medivh, Krasus, Rhonin, Varian, Vol’jin, Arthas, Maraad, Orgrim, Tirion, etc.). People we thought dead. Plucked from the timestream by Medivh to serve a greater purpose. The Legion is gone. The cycle has been broken. New threats have risen that threaten the fabric of time.
Medivh is certainly a timewalker, and he is visiting alternate timelines. For instance, during Cataclysm, Thrall was given the mission to search for Nozdormu in the timestream. Nozdormu had been missing for some time. During this journey through time, Thrall came across Medivh in an alternate timeline, and Medivh knew he was Thrall, and knew he had come in search of Nozdormu. It is because of Medivh that the Hour of Twilight was averted, by helping Thrall find Nozdormu.
It is as if Medivh had stepped forth to take the mantle of Nozdormu as guardian of time. Knowing that Nozdormu would one day become Muronzond.
Arthas had a tragic story: a noble paladin who gave up everything to save his people, then spiraled down into despair and hopelessness before the carnage of the Scourge and the Legion, seeking vengeance. All to end up serving the very source of his people’s demise, in the end. Then becoming the Lich King.
Is there a sense of redemption for Arthas? Maybe. Illidan is alive once more, and it turns out he was not the evil sonovagun that we thought he was. Actually, we were the bad guys for stopping his plans in the Black Temple. Illidan is the child of Light and Shadow, according to the naaru Xe’ra, destined to scour the Great Beyond and erradicate the Legion. Wait, whoa? Ok. So maybe there is a way to redeem Arthas. Somehow.
Was Arthas the Lich King really a bad guy? Or was he the jailor of the undead armies left behind by the Legion? Was Arthas trying to save Azeroth from the Old gods? If all spirits are used by the Old gods to feed, what if all Arthas did was an attempt to break the cycle?
We don’t know where Arthas’ corpse is. It has never been revealed where he was buried after his defeat. Is he buried in Icecrown? Is he buried in Light’s Hope Chapel? Doubtful. Will Arthas be given a second chance as a champion of the Light? Who knows. Maybe because of his domain over death as the Lich King, his body can’t decompose, and his soul could be brought back and resurrected with the power of the Light.
As Illidan is destined to end the Legion, maybe Arthas is destined to end the Old gods?