We recently got a sneak peek at the new Legend of Zelda game, with the information that it will be a direct sequel to the 2017 game, Breath of the Wild. While the trailer was barely over a minute, there was a lot of information. This trailer sheds some light on some questions for the previous game, as well as some hints for the next. I want to take this opportunity to go over some theories I have involving timeline placement, who Ganon was, and some ideas about this new game plot.
How can Ganon still be alive?
At the end of Breath of the Wild, Ganon was eradicated by the combined might of Link and Zelda. Or was he? In the trailer, we see a mummified individual with familiar long red hair, and Gerudo symbols. This leads many people to conclude, myself included, that this is the body of Ganondorf. But how? Did we not destroy him at the end of the last game? No, actually. We defeated Calamity Ganon. Not Ganon, not Ganondorf, Calamity Ganon. We are told that this is the form of Ganon who gave up incarnation. Is this accurate though?
This information comes from Zelda, who is not an infallible narrator. This was her understanding of what was going on. Keep in mind, the last time Ganon was seen was over 10,000 years. Lots of information is lost to time. So what happened? We see a body that has malice spilling out from a wound as it is held in place by a mysterious hand. (No, not toilet hand.) This malice is the key. This is the hatred of Ganondorf made physical, and due to something that is keeping him in place, he can no longer act on the hatred that drives him. But that hatred still needs to be fulfilled, so it spills out of him to cause the chaos that we see. Thus, all we destroyed was the malice that was growing and becoming more powerful in Hyrule castle. The source of that, however, still lives.
It also makes sense that, due to this Malice, that it is Ganondorf from the events of Ocarina of Time. While there are technically two Ganondorfs, I believe this to be the original one. The one from Four Swords Adventures was turned into Ganon by interacting with the Trident from the pyramid. Ganon is depicted as using a trident, even though we never see his human counterpart using it, Phantom Ganondorf uses one in Ocarina of Time. Presumably, Ganondorf prefered using it in his battles. His malice, the dark power contained within it, is what corrupted the new Ganondorf, transforming him into Ganon. Ganondorf from Ocarina of Time is filled with the hatred from Demise. That is what drives him forward. Compelled and overwhelmed by it. It makes sense to see it eternally spilling out from his wound when he is dead. And when the seal is broken, he is now driven by Malice.
When does this take place?
The Hyrule Historia revealed for the first time, the official timeline for the Zelda games. With Nintendo stating that Breath of the Wild and, by logical extension, its sequel take place “at the end of all timelines.” This is a weird way of saying this, which has lead some to conclude that this game takes place after an event that has brought all the timelines together. This seems unlikely to me, as we have yet to see evidence of such an event. A more plausible explanation is that this game was made to take place at the end of all the timelines, as in, whichever timeline you theorieze it to take place in, it’s at the end of it. So which timeline? With the absence of Ganondorf, many concluded that this game took place at the end of the Dark Timeline, where Link failed to stop Ganon in Ocarina of Time. With the introduction of Ganondorf, I believe this was a premature placement.
The adult timeline does not seem likely as this is Hyrule, not New Hyrule. It could have been after the flood receded and people returned, this seems unlikely however. The most likely placement seems to be the child timeline. But now, we come to another problem, which Ganondorf is it? Recall, there are two of them in this timeline. The original from Ocarina of Time, who was killed in Twilight Princess, and a new Ganondorf that was introduced in Four Swords Adventures for the gamecube. Which Ganondorf could this be then?
Due to the wound discovered on the body, I suspect that this is the original Ganondorf, not the one from Four Swords. Some more evidence, the Ganon from Four Swords was sealed away in the Four Sword, while this Ganondorf is found underground. Yes he is held in place by some kind of seal, but its not the seal of the sword. Assuming that he is under the castle, which is supported by the claim that the malice came from directly underneath the castle, and the castle rising into the sky in response to his awakening, that would place him right in the center of Hyrule Field. Where did Ganondorf die in Twilight Princess, but in the middle of Hyrule Field. This would also explain a mystery from Breath of the Wild. Why did Hyrule Castle move? It used to be at the temple of time, which was on the Great Plateau. The royal family might have moved the castle in order to help seal and preserve Ganondorf from ever coming back to his reign of terror.
What is next?
While the only thing confirmed about this game is that it is darker then Majora’s Mask. But, there are some hints and clues I think to give us some ideas as to some factors that might be in this next game. The first being that strange hand. We see some strange glyphs floating from it at the beginning of the trailer. At least, they appear to be glyphs. One of them appears to take the form of the Gerudo letter J. But that is the only recognizable one seen, and it could simply be a coincidence. The jewelry is more interesting however. I have three possibilities.
The least likely is that this has something to do with the lost tribe. Responsible for the Zonai ruins, the cave entrance shown in the trailer that, presumably, holds the body of Ganondorf bears a resemblance to these ruins. However, the barbarian armor, which is the only known clothing of this mysterious tribe, bears no jewelry. It also bears a humanoid/demon figure at its entrance, and not an animal as we see elsewhere. While still plausible, this seems unlikely to me. What does put a chance for this possibility is to further explain a mystery in Breath of the Wild. However, Nintendo is known for putting things in their games and never explaining them.
Another possibility is the Gerudo. If it is the Gerudo alphabet that we see, it is possible that this spell was done by the Gerudo to help atone for the sins of one of their own. Both in Breath of the Wild and in Four Swords Adventures, we see the Gerudo ashamed at the crime committed by Ganondorf. We also know, thanks to the existence of Twinrova, that the Gerudo can cast magic. The jewelry bears a slight similarity to the thunder helm in Breath of the Wild. But, we can actually compare it to actual Gerudo jewelry. Ganondorf wears some in that very same trailer. While both are gold, the Gerudo jewelry is lightweight and flowy with no hard edges. The ones on the hand are ridged and heavy. So why the script? As I mentioned, it might have just been a coincidence, but I can’t shake the feeling that it is important. Maybe the Gerudo helped this next group with the spell? Maybe the letters are in that form because they are holding a Gerudo in place? Time will tell.
Twili. Yes, the mysterious people from Twilight princess. While we never see jewelry from the Twili; the style of their decorations, hard, angular circles, matches the style found on the hand. This Ganondorf also was trapped in the Twilight Realm. The final “blow” was also done to this Ganondorf by Zant. Zant is a sorcerer so this spell is possible for him. We do see him interacting with Ganondorf before he died (standing up no less and how do we find this Ganondorf?). This will also continue the theme from Breath of the Wild where they hinted to Fi. Will we see hints of the Twili in this game? The biggest flaw to this theory is that, if Zant is responsible for this, why would his spell save Link? He hated The Hero of Twilight and seems unlikely to save him. I would love this theory to be true, maybe the Gerudo working with the Twili, but the most likely seems to me to be the Gerudo being the source of this spell.
We do see Link absorbing the energy of the spell, while willingly or unwillingly remains to be seen. But I assume it was willingly, even though it was painful. We see the spell is not as effective as it once was. Malice seems to be spilling out of Ganondorf at a much faster rate than ever before, which is what probably prompted Link and Zelda to investigate.
As for Ganondorf himself, I believe that he is dead. In a sense. The body is his and will be our threat. But the mind of Ganondorf, I suspect, is gone. Now, he is only a shell driven by Malice, the hatred of Demise. Maybe, at the end of all timelines, we will see Demise, who started all timelines, and is now there at the end of all timelines.