WoW Shadowlands Cinematic Brings Back A Classic Warcraft Villain, But Not In The Way You Expect
The World of Warcraft Shadowlands final raid is now available with the Eternity’s End game update. While players won’t be able to stand up to The Jailer himself and put an end to his plans to rewrite reality until next week, players have had the opportunity to take on the Alliance king who turned the Jailer’s pawn, Anduin. Defeating Anduin revealed a previously unseen in-game cinematic, and it’s safe to say that the community was more than divided over what was shown, especially in regards to the arrival of an important person from Warcraft lore. Spoilers below.
The video shows the heroes of Azeroth fighting Anduin. Just as the corrupt leader of the Alliance appears to be completely consumed by the magic of the Jailer’s Ascendancy, the spirits of his father Varian and his friend, due to Varok Saurfang’s passage, lay their hands on him. By telling Anduin that with him both the legacy of his blade Shalamin and their personal legacy, Anduin can break free from the Jailer’s influence.
Arthas’ soul then appears in the form of a blue orb. Arthas has long been speculated to play some role in Shadowlands. He appeared in the animated short Afterlives prior to the expansion’s release, and his mentor Uther played a large role in the history of Shadowlands. It’s been hinted in Shadowlands that the Jailer is ultimately behind Arthas’ corruption, but it remains to be seen if the character will actually show up in some meaningful way.
After Anduin was freed from the Jailer’s magic, he apparently released Arthas’ soul fragment, which was locked in Shalamin, and turned the weapon into Kingsmorne. Arthas plays an important role in the battle against Anduin: at some point, players must confront a ghost called the Remnant of the Fallen King, who looks exactly like the former Lich King and uses many of his iconic abilities.
Characters such as Jaina and Sylvanas look at what is left of Arthas and reflect on his legacy, with Sylvanas noting that she once hated Arthas and hunted him but eventually became just as much of a monster as she was he. She then dismisses the spirit, calling for the name of Arthas Menethil to be forgotten.
Even leaving aside the fact that fans don’t quite understand what role Arthas was supposed to play in Anduin’s evil transformation from the start, fans are divided too about such an important character from the history of Warcraft, who was crammed into the cinema as a silent blue ball only to then be fired, probably never see you again. Arthas had a powerful send-off back to The wrath of the Lich King, and this cinematic doesn’t seem to do justice to the character that many fans think he deserves. There is also confusion surrounding Anduin’s triumph over Domination magic, which has long been considered unstoppable. Did Anduin just find the strength to break free after seeing his father and friend? Or did Varok and Varian help him in some more tangible way? This will likely be explored ahead of the final confrontation with The Jailer, but it still leaves some fans scratching their heads.
When players take on the Jailer next week, they will be completely in the dark about a possible plot reveal or even a boss mechanic. Blizzard has taken the rare step of splitting the latest Shadowlands raid in two while also not making the last three boss encounters available for testing on the public test realm. This, combined with the fact that a new WoW expansion has yet to be announced, means that the final cutscene at the end of the raid should reveal both the Jailer’s fate and what’s next for the Warcraft universe. The three final bosses of the Tomb of the First raid will become available on March 8th.
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