As we all look forward to Destiny 2: Beyond Light, my lore brain has kicked into overdrive. One of my favorite things about Destiny is how easy it is to take little pieces of narrative and spin them out into grandiose theories — so what if they never come true? And so, I’ve Pepe Silvia’d my way into a theory about what’s coming that will shake the very foundations of the Tower and change everything we know about Destiny.
The trailer for Beyond Light focuses on a trio of characters — Eris Morn, the Drifter, and the Exo Stranger — as they explore Europa. They’re kind of a new Vanguard, formed up of an ex-Guardian, a classless Lightbearer, and a time traveler with mysterious powers. It seems like this new trio will be leading Guardians into Beyond Light‘s challenges, as well as pushing us towards the use of Darkness-related Stasis powers. There’s a nice symmetry here with the Tower’s Guardian leaders — or, there would be, if we had a third Vanguard member right now.
Cayde died back in Forsaken and we still don’t have a Hunter Vanguard. Lately Ikora and Zavala have been teaming up with folks like Asher and Saint-14, though neither of them are fit to fill the position. And given how bad shit is getting for humanity, leadership is becoming more urgent than ever.
Which brings us to Zavala. Our fearless blue leader has been kind of cranky ever since the Red War, and found himself increasingly at odds with those around him. When we discovered Rasputin on Mars, he wanted to destroy him. When Uldren killed Cayde, he broke with Ikora on her insistence that Guardians storm the Reef. When Ana wanted to work with Rasputin to stop the Almighty, he balked. And when Eris started communicating with the Darkness, Zavala urged her not to. In every one of these cases, we basically told him to fuck off and did the opposite.
Under the circumstances, anyone would be annoyed. I mean, you’re supposed to be the leader of the Consensus, and your Guardians are running around getting revenge, consorting with dark forces, and helping out the exiled Cabal emperor whenever he promises them some sweet gear. You’re underappreciated, stressed, and effectively the parent who always has to say no. Wouldn’t that make you mad?
So maybe Zavala gets sick of it. Maybe he’s so rigid that he just snaps and decides that if nobody’s going to listen to him, he needs to take matters into his own hands. He’ll do whatever it takes to protect humanity and the Last City, and he’ll do it his way. And if other Guardians disagree, well, sacrifices have to be made.
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Think about how fun an “evil” Zavala would be. Imagine Lance Reddick getting to cut loose and ham it up, delivering speeches about how only he truly understands the threats facing humanity. Zavala would finally become an interesting character, instead of a blue popsicle whose most notable contribution to the world of Destiny is a much-memed series of lines from the first game.
Admittedly this is all speculation and wishful thinking, but I do have one little piece of in-game evidence to suggest that Zavala might go his own way. The lore for the Coda armor sets found in the Prophecy dungeon follows a different theme for each class, with Hunters focusing on light, Warlocks on the “in-between,” and Titans on darkness. If we match these up with the Vanguard, we’ve got Ikora as the Warlock cautiously willing to follow Eris into the shadowy gray areas and Zavala as the Titan who falls to Darkness.
So what about the Hunter? Well, that would be a great opportunity to finally bring back Uldren. Saint-14 takes over Zavala’s position, and bam, new Vanguard that maintains the Awoken, Exo, Human balance of the old one. Now they’re positioned against the Nine’s triad of Eris, the Drifter, and the Exo Stranger, and the stage is set for all kinds of interesting conflicts, even potentially launching a new faction system à la Alliance/Horde in Warcraft.
Is any of this likely? It’s hard to say. But given how much Lance Reddick has been posting about Destiny lately, a Guardian can hope for some Lunaris-style action.