*spoiler alert: the speculation is based on leaked Torghast questline cinematics, so approach with care
As the [presumed] finale of Torghast quest chain leaked into the internets, we now have enough material to muse about the future development of Shadowlands – and beyond.
Where We Are Now?
In 2 weeks the Covenants will finalize their first block of lore. With many reveals during current step 7, it is safe to presume that their local problems would be more or less resolved by the final step 9, and their forces along with champions of Azeroth would now focus on joining forces, assaulting the Maw and restoring the flow of souls. That means: reviving the Arbiter and defeating the rogue Zovaal/Jailer, saving Runecarver/Primus and all that things. As Blizzard have announced the Jailer to be the final big bad, we can see this as an ultimate goal saved for the final raid. In the next block of Covenant campaign we might see them working together, lending each other means and joining armies to solve the common task.
At the same time, the big bad is not idle. He is strangely oblivious to champion carnivals and parties in the lobby of his domain, as well as Runecarver’s oubliette now forging power ups for them in industrial scales. This is weird, but probably he just does not see us as a threat to care about. He and Sylvanas are now focused on Anduin – to bend him to his will and turn him into the ultimate champion of the Maw/Death.
What Are the Jailer’s Reasons and Plans?
Yes, there is a lot of discussion about Sylvanas/Anduin development. Does Sylvanas’ reasoning make any sense? In my opinion, it does not at the very least. Will Sylvanas be redeemed? She better would not, cause too many crimes. How masterfully Anduin – as a true priest – taps into her soul and invokes whatever speckles of good left in this mess? Will he be turned into Arthas 2.0. (by force, obviously) and how would he struggle the curse, as, unlike Arthas, there are simply no levers to push his soul down this path? Finally, who would take Jailer’s place as the mayor of the Maw when he’s gone? I’d say Bolvar or Sylvanas (if Blizz writers fail everything and send her down the redemption path).
This is all amusing to think about, but it does not answer the question: what are Jailer’s ultimate goals, and why does he need Anduin at all, as he already has an imba champion Windrunner?
The answer lies in cosmic powers.
See the chart. Whatever you may say, we can tell that Order and Fel by now are effectively destroyed. Their major architects and agents are dead, or incapacitated, and they do not influence the cosmos of Warcraft in any meaningful way since the end of Legion expansion.
Four powers are left now: Life, Death, Light and Void. And this is the “order” the Jailer seeks to destroy: to make Death one and the only force in cosmos.
As for now, the Jailer has grown Sylvanas as a champion in his crusade against the natural enemy – Life, and she has done a lot in this direction on our home planet. To eradicate Life, you should just kill and/or arrange mass murders and wars: there are no cosmic authorities that could govern and arrange a Life resistance against Death. Jailer does not take into account the crawling pawns that simply want to live – denizens of Azeroth and other worlds (he does not yet know what nerds are capable of during their RT).
But Void and Light are quite organized and super dangerous powers that would need a thorough approach. And probably why the Jailer is so intended to turn Anduin into his cause is the Little Lion’s relationship with the Light. Brittle and old Velen aside, Anduin is the most powerful being attuned to the Light in current history. A champion of Death that can handle the Light.
Otherwise, his fixation upon the king of the Alliance does not make a lot of sense. They do not really need Arthas 2.0. to kill Azeroth and other worlds – with him trapped, Sylvanas so overpowered, and armies of the Maw enhanced to unprecedented scales, this is just not such a valuable asset in his crusade against Life. But against Light and Void? I think so.
Developing that theme naturally brings us towards the cosmic adventures and dealing with the Light/Void powers to ensure the safety of Azeroth. As it always works in Blizzard’s universes: the story gradually grows more epic with every next iteration… Until it ends.