How is Cayde Back in Destiny 2: The Final Shape?

Yesterday, Bungie released a teaser trailer for The Final Shape. It’s quite short, but it includes a hell of a surprise — Ikora is talking to Cayde-6, the former Hunter Vanguard who’s been dead since the Forsaken expansion in Destiny 2. Just how is Cayde back? And how might he figure into The Final Shape? Time for some wild speculation!

For those who don’t remember or started playing Destiny 2 after Forsaken, Cayde-6 was an Exo Hunter who became the Hunter Vanguard after taking out Taniks, a Fallen mercenary who killed the previous Hunter Vanguard, Andal Brask. Cayde was, depending on who you ask, either a jokester who added some needed levity to the world of Destiny, or an annoying, over-the-top panderer to the cheap seats. Regardless, he was killed in the opening of Forsaken by Uldren Sov while under the influence of Riven, kicking off the revenge story of that expansion.

In the time since, Uldren Sov has returned as Crow, Savathun has died and come back, and even Asher Mir and Sloane turned out to still be around, at least in some capacity. But Cayde remained dead in Destiny 2. In comics, there used to be a saying: nobody stays dead but Bucky and Uncle Ben. For a long time, it seemed like Cayde was well and truly gone too — he appeared as a Nightmare in the Season of the Haunted, but that’s about it. In The Final Shape, though, Ikora is talking to him. How is that possible?

Well, The Final Shape seems to take place inside the Traveler. In the opening cinematic for the Season of the Deep, the Guardian Reed-7 attempts to follow the Witness inside the kaleidoscopic portal it created on the Traveler’s surface, but ends up dead and fused to his ship. Presumably, the events of the next few seasons will see the Vanguard discover a way to make it through this portal.

But what is inside the Traveler? A vast, green land for one thing — and possibly the spirits of Guardians who die their final deaths. Note Cayde’s eyes and mouth in the trailer, which are glowing with a pale flame. This suggests to us that this isn’t Cayde as we know him, but rather an echo or shadow of him. If Guardians return to the Traveler after they die for the last time, that would also explain how Ghosts are able to call them back to life, by channeling their original essence inside the Traveler. It’s possible that whenever Guardians die at all, their “souls” return to the Traveler, and when their Ghosts are destroyed they’re simply stuck there.

Destiny 2 The Final Shape Cayde

Who knows, maybe Guardians who die are conscious when they’re inside the Traveler, but simply don’t remember their time there when they’re resurrected. That would fit in with the Light’s emphasis on amnesia and forgetting, anyway. Maybe that, then, is how we’ll get inside the Traveler — by dying and not having our Ghosts resurrect us. If there are Guardians running around inside the Traveler, it would explain why the Witness hasn’t found what it’s looking for yet, too — maybe they’re mounting a resistance against it.

But what does the Witness actually want? We’re still not entirely sure. Most likely, it either wants to bring about the absolute end of reality in order to cease the cycle of life and death, or else to escape to a “higher” plane — something like our world, maybe. Until we get more information on The Final Shape, we’re simply speculating.