It seems that the hype train for World of Warcraft’s latest expansion Shadowlands is beginning to take off. The excitement has us all itching for new content, and luckily for us Blizzard has started to deliver some more information on who we might see once we cross over into the realm of the dead. WIth so many ties to the land of the living, we will most likely see a ton of closure between the alive characters and the ones who have passed on. I am expecting a lot of heartstrings to be strummed.
In the latest teaser trailer for the newly announced Afterlives animated series, we get little clues on who we might see grace our screens once again. After the drop of the “Bastion” short, we learn about two souls who will definitely be in the Shadowlands, but we don’t know to what extent. So let’s get some predictions going on who we might see once we cross over into the Shadowlands.
Before we start though, I would like to give fair warning that there may be spoilers for content up to this point.
By now we should all know the tragic story of the Paladin turned Death Knight. Everything about Arthas was so magnificent that I discussed how he is the best villain in all of WoW’s history. How could we venture into the land of the dead without bringing up this infamous villain? Especially since he killed so many legendary characters within the lore.
Blizzard has already gone on record saying that if Arthas was to arrive, they would need to do something impactful with him. They are right about that - you can’t have a huge character like this give you quests akin to killing boars or retrieving small items. We don’t know exactly what could be done with Arthas, but helping him realize the errors of his ways when he was alive could really help bring closure to the character. Is he aware of all the trouble he caused? Does he care?
We have already seen Arthas in the latest Afterlives animated short, where the awkward relationships seem to be at a great start. We have already seen Uther’s insatiable need for justice by being the first one to claim Arthas’ soul and toss it into the Maw. We still don’t know how much further this could go. Will Jaina see Arthas and experience the wave of emotions that she originally had when he was alive? Will Sylvannis see Arthas and attempt to destroy his soul even further? Is that even possible? If she can destroy the Helm of Domination then all bets are off.
How could we not forget about good ole Saurfang and his infamous mak’gora with Sylvanis? Granted that he was defeated by the Banshee Queen, his death perpetuated a minor divide within the horde, having players choose if they still supported Sylvanis. Aside from the more recent events, Saurfang has a long history spanning back into the first war. He was there with us during the invasion of Icecrown Citadel, the Siege of Orgrimmar, and even pulled Thrall out of retirement and back into the fray.
Suarfang’s death could only deliver some more emotional moments within the Shadowlands, as he could be reunited with his son who became a knight under the influence of the Lich King. He also has strong ties to Thrall, as we have seen before. Getting one last moment out of Saurfang would be amazing, and a great way to lay his soul to permanent rest.
Those who were around during the Wrath of the Lich King expansion will always remember Highlord Tirion Fordring. He was a mighty paladin and one of the first of the Knights of the Silver Hand and Supreme Commander of the Argent Crusade. Most of all, you will remember him as the man who was turned into a block of ice during the Lich King battle. He broke out at the last minute, shattering Frostmourne into pieces, freeing the souls held within, and ending Arthas’ reign once and for all.
Like many others, Tirion has a long list of triumphs and faced a rather brutal death. During the battle for the Broken Shore, Tirion was captured, blasted with fel energy and dropped in a pool of lava. But in his last moments he was able to give Ashbringer to you in the legendary quest in the Legion expansion. So seeing Tirion again and having to tell him about the fate of the legendary blade might end up being the second most awkward moment in the game. Although, I think Tirion would be much more understanding than others.
The former King of Stormwind, leader of the alliance, and father of Anduin Wrynn. Varian had a long and complicated history that involved his abduction by the Defias Brotherhood, becoming enslaved by the Horde, and earning the name “Lo’Gosh” - meaning “Ghost Wolf;” which is the most awesome nickname in all of WoW history.
Since his death at the Broken Shore during the Legion expansion, Varian’s son Anduin has had a hard time leading his people. Anduin having to struggle leading while having the shadow of his father hang over him has been something difficult to deal with. It would only make sense to have an interaction with Varian and Anduin. This emotional connection could possibly help Anduin regain confidence in himself and grant him the power to move forward as a leader.
There is no orc more intimidating than Garrosh Hellscream. Since he sat upon the throne in the Mists of Pandaria expansion, the now former Warchief has been nothing but a problem. He abused his power, made risky calls that would cause considerable damage against his own troops, and even committed several war crimes. He was eventually captured, but it didn’t stop there. He did escape and attempted to alter time in the Warlords of Draenor expansion. Thrall made sure to nip that in the bud by killing Garrosh, making sure that the timeline was preserved.
Garrosh did terrible things, and thanks to the Afterlives trailer, we can see what we can only presume to eb Garrosh being tortured for his crimes. I do not suspect that he will break out, or have any sort of meaningful interaction with him that would be as grand as any time he was alive. But if this trailer is to display something, it’s how much in pain Garrosh is in, which is well deserved in my opinion.
For a brief moment after Garrosh was forcibly removed as Horde Warchief, the trolls finally had someone in a leadership position. That was until he died along with practically everyone else on the Broken Shore. His death in Legion was only the beginning for this soul. Although his brief rule wasn’t as impactful as many wanted, Vol’jin still remained important even in his death.
Thanks to the loa of death, Bwonsamdi, Vol’jin was still able to advise from beyond the grave. He guided Princess Talanji as well as warned the horde of the Old One named G’huun. It is pretty evident that we might run into old Bwonsamdi as he permeates the aura of death. Vol’jin at the very least deserves a little bit of our attention and perhaps will play a big part within the Shadowlands, as he has the connection between life and death.
Perhaps the very first boss we all encountered on the Alliance side in our vanilla days of WoW. Edwin VanCleef was the leader of the Defias Brotherhood, and conducted his business from his secret lair within the Deadmines located in Westfall. Vancleef was originally a member of the Stonemason’s Guild that helped rebuild Stormwind. Due to a dispute with some of the nobles, riots broke out leading to the murder of Tiffin Wrynn. Since then, he was seen as a major threat to the entire alliance.
Van Cleef was a staple to all players who ventured into the deadmines. Right up until Cataclysm, Edwin was replaced by his daughter Vanessa VanCleef. The Vancleef name still echoes in the classic and retail versions of WoW. It would be a wonderful throwback to see Edwin appear somewhere in Shadowlands trying to antagonize Varian. It would be great to see his hatred for the alliance stir up, calling us all lapdogs once again.
If this name doesn’t jump out at you, that is fine, because you would most likely know her as Mankrik’s Wife. The story goes that Olgra and Mankrik were slaying some quillbores before they got separated. Mankrik gives you a quest where you must find her, and he doesn’t give you any directions at all. This could leave you scouring the barrens looking for her, only to ask chat and they might not be as helpful as you’d like. Eventually you do find her, and since Cataclysm, you can find Mankrik standing in front of a monument dedicated to her.
Olgra wouldn’t necessarily be a huge character in Shadowlands, but it would be nice to get more of her story. Blizzard has always been a fan of continuity as we have seen with Old and Young Blanchy. The great thing with seeing Olgra is how it doesn’t have to be something big and important. It could be a reference that old school players (and those who are reading this) could now understand and appreciate. Plus giving her a line of “oh, you found me!” would be too good to pass up.
Father of Thrall, leader of the Frostwolf Clan, and the first Orc to realize that Gul’Dan was not such a good guy after all. Durotan was there for many events in Warcraft’s history, going as far back as year 0. Not only was he around for so long before his untimely death, He was even a main character in the Warcraft movie. You learn more about Durotan during the Warlords of Draenor expansion, where you interact with him and members of the frostwolf clan. At one point Thrall starts to interact with Durotan, but the mention of their relationship is not mentioned due to Blizzard not wanting to mess around with time travel too much.
If Varian and Anduin can have a touching moment, then we could expect the Horde to experience a moment between Thrall and Durotan. Having a proper reveal of allowing Thrall to step forward and tell Durotan would make a nice little moment for us. Even though Warlords of Draenor takes place during an alternate timeline, we still might get something out of this.
The man that taught Kadghar everything he knew, and then went crazy and helped the Burning Legion invade Azeroth is yet another person we wish to see in the Shadowlands. The main question that persists in time: Is the great old mage alive or dead? Similar to how we suspect Vol’jin will live in the afterlife, Medivh might be in the Shadowlands, plotting his next move.
Interestingly enough, his death has been portrayed at least four different times with some altered details here and there. The main thing to think about is how his shade keeps on hanging around various areas of Azeroth, even in the Battle for Azeroth expansion. Will he be in the Shadowlands, waiting for us? Did he perhaps use a power granted to him by a covenant? Medivh has been such a wildcard that it’s really hard to pinpoint where he would be, but it would be disappointing if Blizzard passes by such an important character.
So there you have it, some of the characters I would like to see in Shadowlands. I’m sure that we will see some of these characters plus way more. I haven’t even touched on characters like Draka or Uther, but these characters are so important to the lore of WoW that I am sure Blizzard has something awesome planned for us.
Who have I missed? Anyone in particular you are looking forward to seeing? Let us know below!