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    Confirmed 
Byleth can be customized
  • They're just showing them as male for marketing purposes.
    • Could also be downplayed; you'll be able to select Byleth's gender, but his/her appearance is fixed due to the improved graphics making avatar characters more difficult to implement.
      • Maybe it'll be customizable, but not to the extent of Awakening and Fates.
      • Confirmed. Nintendo released a statement around June 2019 that outside of gender and outfits (due to the existence of the DLC outfits), Byleth's appearance is fixed.
Byleth is a Reverse Grima
  • One of the lines in the trailer is "the crests [of the goddess] are to blame", implying that the goddess is actually the Big Bad of these games. It could be possible that the Church of Seiros is actually a Corrupt Church and the protagonists are unaware of this. Initially, it will be set up that Byleth (whose name means "legions of hell") is the vessel for whatever demonic entity is there in these games... but in reality, that "demonic" entity is designed to defeat the goddess and put a stop to her evil plans.
  • The blonde/green-haired woman hugging the sword in the trailer appears to be some sort of priestess of the Church, plus, she wears flowers in her hair like the Goddess. She's also seen at the beginning of the trailer, where she's standing in Dissonant Serenity during a battle even while troops die and blood flies.
    • The 2/13/2019 Direct has the gender select screen give the odd wording of "Choose Your Form"; which could correspond with this theory.
    • There is also a scene in the same Direct where Byleth has dark energy emanating from the pendant on their chest and shortly before, they had a premonition where they were stabbed by a brigand. Byleth also has visions of a supernatural woman Sothis, and it's stated only they can see her. So building on this...
    • Half-and-half on this one. The church does become an antagonistic force, depending on whose house you chose, but Byleth is the vessel for Sothis, who is the goddess worshipped by the Church of Seiros. Sothis may be a bit snarky, but she's genuinely benevolent.

Byleth had a supernatural entity (possibly Sothis) inserted into their body via some sort of ritual a la Naruto
  • This can tie into the "Reverse Grima" theory with there being a prophecy that the Church of Serios would eventually go bad and/or cause ruin and the "demonic" entity designed to stop it needed a human host to properly do its work. As to why Byleth was chosen to be the vessel for Sothis, there are two possibilities:
    • Jeralt was part of the group of people who knew about the prophecy and willingly offered his son/daughter to be Sothis' host.
    • The prophecy said that the vessel would be the son/daughter (depending on the gender the player chose) of a knight. The Church caught wind of this and ordered all male/female babies of knights to be killed. Jeralt escaped to protect his child from being hunted and was made the vessel in this manner.
    • And the verdict is... Confirmed.

There will be three paths to take.
  • The trailer showed Byleth prominently following Edelgard, but if Dimitri and Claude are just as important, then it stands to reason that Byleth could follow them, too, at the player's discretion. The other two would then join later in the path, but would be Out of Focus.
  • Seemingly confirmed. The 2/13/2019 Direct indicates you can choose which house to focus on, although it's still unclear just how divergent this choice is.
  • Half confirmed, half jossed. There's at least four.

Byleth and Edelgard will be each other's Implied Love Interest
  • The trailer suggests Edelgard has known Byleth for a while. And if Byleth really is a customizable character, then the two will be continuing an apparent tradition set by the last few games. Otherwise, it'd just be more in the same vein as Eliwood/Ninian or Eirika/Seth.
    • Partially confirmed. They are on the Black Eagles path, but not on the others.

Same-sex S supports will be improved and retooled
  • After Fates' divisive take on same-sex pairings, this game will probably be an Author's Saving Throw in that regard. More characters aside from Byleth will be able to have same-sex love interests, and building on the Elegard and Byleth being the implied canon pairing WMG, it will be possible for a female Byleth to also achieve S support with her (thereby satisfying the crowd who shipped Azura/Female Corrin indirectly).
    • Confirmed. Byleth has multiple people of the same gender they can S support with, including Edelgard for Female Byleth. And while Byleth is the only one who can S support people, several paired endings for other characters more than raises a few eyebrows.

The Flame Emperor will be a Disc-One Final Boss.
Based on the gameplay footage released, we know that the Flame Emperor's forces serve an antagonistic role during the pre-timeskip portion of the game. In addition, the trio known as "Those who slither in the dark" don't seem to be affiliated with the Flame Emperor as far as we know. I think that the Flame Emperor will be the main villain for the pre-timeskip portion of the game. He will likely be defeated prior to the timeskip and "Those who slither in the dark" are going to be the main antagonists of the post-timeskip part of the game.
  • Confirmed for 2 out of 4 routes. Rhea acts as the Disc-One Final Boss for the Black Eagles route, while the Flame Emperor remains the Big Bad for the entire Blue Lions route even after being unmasked.

The main characters' personalities develop differently depending on which house you pick
Byleth's influence will allow the main characters to respond to various plot points better, and grow into better people. The other two houses, on the other hand, will start Jumping Off the Slippery Slope and take a darker path after the time skip, growing into more villainous characters who you'll have to stop.

As such, the house/country you pick will generally be the "good side", or the lightest shade of gray, since the leaders will grow less extreme thanks to Byleth's influence.

  • Good Edelgard could be a stern but caring Good Is Not Soft leader. Evil Edelgard could be a Knight Templar or a repeat of Arvis.
  • Good Dimitri could be a rebel fighting for the people. Evil Dimitri could be an Ax-Crazy Revenge Before Reason maniac.
  • Good Claude could be a crafty Guile Hero. Evil Claude could be a backstabbing Opportunistic Bastard.
    • Confirmed for Edelgard & Dimitri, but Claude is arguably still a good guy even in routes where he's not playable.

Plot Twist: The crests aren't to blame.
The Goddess will turn out to be a subversion of the Medeus archetype, and Edelgard is just an idiot or a dupe.
  • Partially correct. The Crest system is very damaging, but the Goddess is the benevolent Sothis, and Edelgard's understanding of the whole thing is biased and not entirely correct.

The Medeus archetype won't be the Final Boss.
The heroes waste the big bad dragon/demon/god(dess)/whatever and figure killing it will immediately solve all of the world's problems. It doesn't.

Claude will be the game's flirtatious character.
He gives off a bit of a playboy vibe to me, so it wouldn't surprise me if he turned out to be The Casanova or a Casanova Wannabe.

There will be a Time Skip a la Genealogy of the Holy War.
At the end of the reveal trailer, Edelgard (and possibly Claude or Dimitri, if you chose one of them instead) sadly tells Byleth that she's leaving, but she will return someday and begs them not to forget her, and then she lets out a weak moan, like she's going to sleep, all while we're treated to a mysterious image of another woman sleeping on a throne. Maybe your student will fall into a coma and will wake up a few years later. It could possibly be decades later if Edelgard is so concerned that Byleth may forget her. And like one of the above WMGs, Byleth will be the Decoy Protagonist.
  • The song in the reveal trailer seems to be about the listener leaving "into the dawn" to protect it, even though she wishes she could stay, and asking the listener to come with her.
  • The moan is coming from Sothis, as clarified by the 2/13/19 Nintendo Direct. What if Byleth was the one who 'left'? Maybe Byleth passed away or was sealed away, and Edelgard promises to return to their resting place with some answers on how to save them. This could relate to the "unknown power hidden within", or Byleth’s connection to Sothis.
  • Confirmed. Byleth ends up falling into a coma for fives years with the war going on.

Byleth is related to the man with the whip-sword in some capacity.
The symbols on their clothes look vaguely similar. If true, this will continue the trend of the Avatar being related to the Big Bad (assuming the old man IS an antagonist).

Jeralt (Byleth's dad) will either die or be evil (or both).
Nearly every main character's dad is either dead or evil, so it seems likely.
  • Confirmed in that he dies.

The major nations of the titular three houses will not be the only players in the plot.
The map shown at the beginning of the February 2019 teaser has some suspiciously shadowed landmasses on its edges, located just outside of the main three nations explicitly mentioned in the narration, and four of these landmasses actually have namesnote , indicating that they are separate nations. These nations are: Albinea, an island in the northwest corner of the map, separated from the Adrestian Empire and the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus by an English Channel-like segment of oceanic water; Sreng, a small peninsula located to the north of the Holy Kingdom of Faerghus, with a small mountain range on the border between them; Almyra, a peninsula located to the east of the Leicester Alliance, separated from it by a large mountain range; and Morfic, an island in the southwest corner of the map, with smaller islands between it and the Adrestian Empire and the Leicester Alliance.
The Law of Conservation of Detail dictates that all of these shadowy nations are named because they're going to be important to the plot. Given that the main three nations are explicitly at peace and none of them show any signs of aggression towards the othersnote , at least one of the smaller nations is likely to be an antagonistic force. My guess is that Morfic is going to be an antagonistic nation, due to it being the second-largest of the fournote , isolated enough from the others to cook up a diabolical plot without much fear of sudden, large-scale investigation or retaliation, and having a name that sounds suspiciously similar to Mordor. The other three nations may or may not have unfriendly relations with the main three that will warm up during the story due to the actions of Byleth and their students. Also, Morfic being an antagonist does not nullify the earlier WMG about the Church of Seiros possibly being an antagonistic force. It is entirely possible that Morfic is a Disc-One Final Boss and/or Unwitting Pawn, with the Church of Seiros either being The Man Behind the Man or a tenuously-related Greater-Scope Villain that steps into the role of Big Bad when Morfic is defeated. If the Church of Seiros is not actually evil, then it might be a Red Herring that is mistakenly believed to be engaged in shady business by Byleth and their students (read: Edelgard) before a gigantic misunderstanding is cleared up and Morfic is revealed to be the true villain.

Characters from the houses you don't select can be recruited later
However, unlike the characters from your initial house, some of their classes and skills will be locked in, giving you less control over their customization.
  • Confirmed! You can recruit certain characters if you have high enough stats and weapon mastery for what they like. However, some characters are locked to a certain route and they won't be at the level as some of the current characters in your house.

The Church of Seiros undergoes a schism during or shortly before the events of the game

In the second trailer, the affiliation of one of the enemies is listed as "Western Church". This could mean that the church splits into multiple branches over or shortly before the events of the game.

  • This is supported by bits of prerelease footage, where we've seen dialogue from a Western Church Soldier calling people "heretics", and dialogue from Lord Lonato (who we were told was starting a rebellion against the Church) expressing enmity toward people from "the Central Church" and claiming that he will visit the justice of the Goddess upon them - implying that he still worships the Goddess and is only against a specific faction of the Church.
  • Confirmed! Throughout the first half, there are church defectors your house will have to deal with.

The game will have a Time Skip midway through.
Your class graduates, and the story jumps ahead years. The situation in the world will change depending on the choices you made and what you taught your students. If it jumps far enough ahead, this may be a way of including a second generation in the game.
  • To avoid student-teacher romance controversy, you might see them graduate, and if you have an A-rank with one of them, the student confesses to Byleth right after the graduation scene a la Chrom proposing to a lady after chapter 13 in Awakening.
  • Confirmed by the E3 2019 trailer, though it appears the skip will only be five years.

Rhea will be the Big Bad.
She's the head of a church that's hinted to be behind the problems of the world.
  • Possibly confirmed; a Facebook post by Nintendo of Europe refers to the Church of Seiros as the game's antagonist.
  • Confirmed for Black Eagles true route, jossed for the other 3 routes (she doesn't appear at all in the Blue Lions route after the timeskip, and she's locked away in the Empire's capital in the Church and Golden Deer routes).

The Whip-Sword used in the trailer is the Bone-Sword Byleth gets
Byleth has an unknown Crest that is also bore by Sothis & Nemesis (the Old Man), and since a leak came out that stated that not only is it a flashback to an ancient conflict, but Nemesis is Byleth's ancestor. And the Bone-Sword even looks like the Whip-Sword known as the Sword of Creation if the leaks are to be believed.
  • Seemingly confirmed or at least strengthened by Byleth showing off the bone-sword's whip capabilities in the 2019 E3 story trailer.

Sothis is the Goddess
Both Sieros, Rhea as the leader of the church of Seiros and Sothis share the same headdress and color motiff, not to mention Sothis' promotional art has her sitting on some kind of throne while holding the same sword that Seiros clutches in the opening cinematic. Sothis is also amnesiac... While the Goddess is absent from the world.
  • Confirmed.

The Flame Emperor is female
Just because Samus Is a Girl is still a trope.
  • Jossed. The Flame Emperor has a very male voice in the gameplay revealed in the 2019 E3 segment.
    • Unless they're using a voice changer. Cast as a Mask is still a trope, after all.
    • Actually confirmed. She's Edelgard.

Edelgard will be the only one killable no matter which route one takes
Given how in the E3 2019 Trailer had her (at least post-timeskip) spouting words against justice, she'll probably end up the most antagonistic of the lords, and as such may be among the first options to defeat in battle.
  • Somewhat confirmed. She dies regardless of route, and she can even die in her own route if certain conditions aren't met.

The Flame Emperor is someone important that we already know.
The trailer shows a scene of someone trampling on the Flame Emperor's mask, breaking it in a downwards-pointing close-up shot. This implies the Emperor's identity is meant to be a twist. Leave your predictions as to who it is below.
  • Jeralt, since The Paragon Always Rebels.
  • Hanneman, hoping that provoking battles will help him learn more about Crests.
  • Bernadetta, because her hobbies include cosplay and she tends to get Lost in Character.
    • Confirmed in that they are someone we know. Edelgard.

The Flame Emperor is related to Edelgard in some way.
There does seem to be some similarities, given that the Flame Emperor also has a red-and-black color palette and wields an axe. They also call themselves "Emperor", which could suggest a connection to the Adrestian Empire.

Maybe the Flame Emperor is Edelgard's long-lost sibling, and the revelation of his true identity will contribute to the rifts that develop between the three houses.

  • Confirmed; the Flame Emperor is Edelgard.

Hanneman and Manuela will be playable, and romanceable, after the Timeskip.
They'll be available on any route.
  • Confirmed

The game will have characters available as DLC.
Echoes had Cipher characters available as DLC; maybe Three Houses will have them again, or maybe Heroes characters.
  • Confirmed! Wave 4 of the game's DLC, launching by April 30, 2020, will include new characters, but no word on who yet.

Byleth will be forced to kill Edelgard/Dimitri/Claude, depending on who you chose as your student/house.
  • Confirmed! Edelgard and Dimitri are killed on each route not their own, and Claude can optionally be killed.

Gilbert is Annette's father.
Their hair is the same shade of orange, and at one point Byleth receives a letter in the Advice Box from a distant father who wants to reconnect with his daughter, but has no idea how, with the silhouette being in the same shape as Gilbert's portrait.
  • Supporting this is that he disappears after the timeskip, and (at least on the Golden Deer route) Annette mentions that her father was not only a knight, but left the church after the Empire attacked.
  • Confirmed! The Blue Lion Route reveals he is her father, and he left after the Tragedy of Duscur.

Byleth’s Crest comes from their mother.
Jeralt doesn’t seem to have one himself unless there’s some big reveal during the story. But otherwise, perhaps their Crest comes from her as part of some hidden heritage that even her family didn’t know about (or perhaps, forgot about) until Byleth rediscovered it. It would make a nice contrast to Robin and Corrin, since what made both of them important to the plot was because of their fathers.
  • Confirmed. In fact, Byleth's crest stone is the exact same one as their mother's.
    • It’s also a bit more complicated than that. Jeralt does have the Crest of Flames. However, it’s implied that it’s because Rhea used the power of her blood to save his life in the past before Byleth was born. But it’s not clear if he knows he has this. And he just happened to fall in love with, and have a child with Byleth’s mother, who was a failed vessel for Sothis, so she had the Crest Stone before Byleth. So it’s less of one parent being responsible, more like it’s both and Rhea took advantage of that.
      • Jeralt does not have a Crest of Flames, he has a Crest of Seiros, AKA Rhea's Crest.

The battle between Seiros and Nemesis was Written by the Winners
Largely just because the Church of Seiros is hinted to become an enemy faction. Either Nemesis really was as bad as he’s made out to be and the church became corrupt in recent years, or there’s a lot that was written out to make Seiros and the Ten Elites look better and there's far more to the story.
  • Half-confirmed. Seiros forged his backstory and conveniently omitted that the Crests were his doing so she could use them, but half-jossed in that he really was an enormous ass who caused her Start of Darkness to begin with when he razed her home to the ground, and literally took Sothis apart to use her bones as weapons.

One of Edelgard's long term goals is to bring Faerghus and Leicester back under Adrestian control
Her Heroes description paints her as ambitious, and she expresses dissatisfaction with the current political landscape of Fodlan.
  • Confirmed. It's not her only goal, but she definitely wants to take them over.

Anna will be playable through DLC
Might as well get this one out of the way. Anna’s been a DLC character in both Fates and Warriors. Maybe they’ll make it three for three (if we’re not going to count Heroes).
  • Two for four. She's not DLC in Awakening (she joins in Paralogue 4) nor Warriors (you have to collect all of Anna's Mementos and then beat the tar out of her).

Hubert will be the student's Token Evil Teammate.
Seriously, look at the guy. He does not look trustworthy.
  • Confirmed. Even on Crimson Flower, he has no compuctions about anything, including murder, if it helps Edelgard.
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    Jossed 
A character will be renamed to Willow in the English version.
Because we've already had characters renamed to Cordelia and Xander.

Kellam will be in the game as a secret character.
You recruit him by talking to a seemingly empty spot in your base.

That old guy with the whip chain sword is an Anti-Villain.
  • At the time of writing, there's literally nothing to go on other than his design and that he's a badass that's capable of handling a bunch of soldiers by himself. But Fire Emblem is no stranger to noble Anti-Villain types, so it's possible this guy might be exactly that.
    • Jossed. He's Nemesis, the Church of Seiros' Satanic Archetype. The church is keeping a lot of secrets about Fodlan's history, but if anything he's an even bigger bastard than they say.

The whip sword used by the older man in the trailer indicates that sword whips will be a new weapon.
  • Given that the series has rarely made long-range swords that weren't magical, the game could create whip swords that could be used as long-range weapons to match Javelins and Hand Axes.
    • Jossed. It's a legendary sword.

Byleth will eventually be able to reset back to the point where s/he picked a house to teach.
  • Similar to Radiant Historia the game will involve navigating the time stream to solve whatever crisis comes up.
    • Jossed, Sothis says she can't reset time back too far.

The Supports will involve Teacher/Student Romance
  • Because there are screenshots that appears to be a Relationship Values meter while teaching someone, the game may allow supports with characters with this instead of the old games' "gain support during the battlefield" or the modern games' "Pair up, get supported during battle, watch support cutscene" mechanics.
    • Jossed. You are only able to achieve S support with characters post-Timeskip, when you are no longer their teacher.

Byleth's origin will be customizable
Fates had an avatar that is a Vallite but raised in both Nohr and Hoshido. The avatar in this game will have an option in the creation stage on which house they hail from. It will affect who their starting lord is as well as their class, weapons, and/or skills.
  • Jossed. The 2/13/19 Nintendo Direct confirms that Byleth is a mercenary traveling with their father who becomes a teacher at the school.

There will be a route that lets you keep all three countries on friendly terms with each other, but at the cost of widespread destruction in each one.
To rub salt in the wound, the new antagonist will really lean into their role in the story, noting that sure, they've ruined their crops, demolished their buildings, and slaughtered their people, but the Garreg Mach alumni are still friends with each other, so it isn't all that bad. To prevent things from getting too miserable, the land would eventually fully recover, but it would take so long that only a few of your troops would live to see it.
  • Jossed, and jossed hard.

"Those who slither in the dark" are a cult that worships Nemesis
They resurrect him because they believe he was actually the good guy or that there needs to be balance in the world between the forces represented by him and the Church/Seiros or something to that effect.
  • Jossed. They're a technologically advanced organisation that live underground. Nemesis was actually a weapon of theirs.

First-gen characters from Fates will appear.
  • Birthright Arthur and Conquest Oboro will show up as wandering ronin, having left Fateslandia in a haze after the deaths of their respective masters.
    • Considering how difficult it is to avoid killing Oboro in Conquest, it's more likely that we'll get Kagero.
  • Selena and Subaki on their honeymoon. Bonus points if they have another child and mention Caledori a couple of times.
    • This bit is unlikely, given InSyst has avoided making anything the player chooses concrete, despite implications, since Jugdral. Just look at the lengths Fates went to avoid naming Selena (Severa), Odin (Owain), and Laslow (Inigo)'s fathers.
    • Jossed, no mention of Fates.

You will be able to choose what color your army is.
Red team for the win!

The three kingdoms form into a Tactical Rock–Paper–Scissors of a sort.
This will be primarily established by the main weapons they use (such as Sword-Lance-Axe).
  • While Claude is shown using a bow, it doesn't rule out each of the kingdoms being associated with a non-weapon triangle tool (staves, bows, and daggers, assuming they're returning).
    • Jossed. The Weapon Triangle has been removed.

The Support System in these games:
  • Pair ups and stat boosts from S support will be there, but modified. As for second generation characters, at a certain stage in the game, Byleth will travel to the future and be able to recruit the children of whatever characters are already married (as opposed to them traveling back in time). This would be a good way to have a second gen without just being a carbon copy of Fire Emblem Awakening.
    • Alternate idea: what if there's a timeskip instead, but unlike the one in, oh, say, Genealogy of the Holy War, it's more of a Putting the Band Back Together situation, as you'll believe that you dealt with the main threat initially, only for it to resuface later (I doubt that they'd end the first generation with a Kill 'Em All ending, especially if they have a Genealogy remake in the works). Granted, this would mean that they'd have to either put Byleth in some form of suspended animation if they plan on having the second gen-kids romance-able, or the second gen would be off-limits (unless the game pulls a Dragon Quest V and has Byleth be a Decoy Protagonist, with his heir being the real main character).
    • Jossed. While there is a time-skip there are no child characters or time travel mechanics.

Second-gen characters from Fates will appear.
Forrest is one of the most likely candidates due to his popularity. It would be even more hilarious if he has a daughter that looks like a female version of Leo.

Byleth turns out to be the Big Bad, and his/her child is the true main character and avatar
This could be an interesting twist with call-backs to Genealogy of the Holy War, where the true hero doesn't emerge until the second generation. This would also give more of a purpose to child characters (who felt kind of shoehorned into Fates).
  • Jossed, no child characters.

Byleth's skin tone will be customizable.
Seeing as we have an Ambiguously Brown main character in Claude, it wouldn’t be a surprise if IntSys is making an active attempt at heading in the right direction when it comes to representation in video games. What better way to do so than to have a protagonist with darker skin?
  • Jossed

A character will be renamed to Willow in the English version.
Because we've already had characters renamed to Cordelia and Xander.

Kellam will be in the game as a secret character.
You recruit him by talking to a seemingly empty spot in your base.

This game will be the first since Radiant Dawn to be voice acted in more languages than Japanese and English.
Given how the Italian version of the E3 trailer noted that the final version would be "completely in Italian," that implies this includes the dubbing. In contrast, pre-launch trailers for Xenoblade Chronicles 2 explicitly stated only the subtitles would be translated. As for why the 3DS games weren't like this, the answers are probably budget and storage space.
  • Jossed. Nintenderos got their hands on the game early, and in a comment revealed there would only be dual audio.

Byleth's "special power" is rewinding time, and it will function as this game's equivalent of Mila's Turnwheel.
The February 2019 Nintendo Direct shows a scene where Byleth appears to get stabbed, then it rewinds to a bandit striking at Byleth, only to be parried.
  • Jossed—rewinding time is Sothis's ability, though it does indeed provide this game's turn rewind mechanic, and she does only interact with Byleth.

Byleth has multiple personality disorder
Byleth has had to face war since early childhood. In order to deal with the many traumatic experiences, his/her mind "created" Sothis as a representation for his/her desires.
Sothis' personality will be therefore be based on the decisions the player makes.
  • While this is jossed, there ironically is a character with multiple personality disorder (Jeritza/the Death Knight).

The man with the whip sword is actually a church defector
He and Sothis have the same symbol on their outfits.note  Maybe the church turns out to be evil, and he was a respected member of the church who fled with the sword after discovering the church’s true nature. Then Sothis could manipulate Byleth into getting the sword back. This could explain how the man, the green-haired church lady, and Byleth all wield the whip sword at some point in the game.
  • Unless the Church of Seiros is just a normal church after all. The old man might have joined the church under false pretenses and rose through the ranks to be powerful/influential enough to get away with stealing the whip sword.
  • Jossed hard. He's a bandit who murdered Sothis, used her remains to build said sword, and committed genocide. Unquestionably a bad guy.

The name of the green-haired priestess will start with an A
With Edelgard, Dimitri, Claude, Byleth and Sothis, we have confirmed main characters' names starting with the letters used for weapon ranks, with the exception of A. Given that the green-haired priestess from both trailers will likely play a major part in the plot, she might be the one to fill the gap.
  • Jossed. It's Rhea, which starts with an R.

Jeralt is not Byleth's biological father
Byleth could still be a demon, like several theories suggest, if their mother and her first husband were full demons and their mother only married Jeralt later.
  • Alternatively, Jeralt was given Byleth to raise, in a similar vein as Alm for reasons to be discovered later. As there’s been no news on whether or not Jeralt and Byleth have the same Crest, as they appear to be hereditary. It’s also worth pointing out that no one else in the Commoner class has a crest.

If Sothis is recruited, she will be a special unit for the final chapter just like Gotoh and Nagi or Athos
She's inside of Byleth's head, and seems pretty powerful. Also, appearance-wise, she's pretty much just Nagi with twintails.
  • This might've been planned at one point, given that unique battle animations and quotes for her do exist, but jossed in the finished game, since she's not recruitable whatsoever.

Bond Units will return.
Since its a way of bringing in the interesting mechanics associated with a second generation without having to deal with the narrative hurtles it brings in.

Sothis and Fodlan are engaged in a Proxy War
Related to above, Nemesis/Jeralt/Byleth And Seiros/Rhea are just their pawns. Maybe Seiros managed to beat Sothis into her current amnesiac state?

Jeralt is the Reaper Knight
He has about the right build, and it would make for a rather predictable plot twist that it's him.
  • Jossed. All signs point to the Death Knight being Jeritza.

One of the Blue Lions is a Sweet Polly Oliver.
It's the only house that doesn't appear to be a Gender-Equal Ensemble. The Blue Lions have three girls (Mercedes, Annette, and Ingrid) and five guys (Dimitri, Dedue, Ashe, Sylvain, and Felix). A plot twist will reveal that one of those five is actually female.

How Dimitri loses his eye
  • He trips while holding something sharp and pokes it out by accident.
  • His eye is actually perfectly fine, and he just wears it to look more intimidating.
  • On the more serious side, he loses it in a fight with Edelgard, considering the two are the most violent post-timeskip.
    • Jossed...? We never find out how he loses his eye, just that it happens during his exile.

Brigid will be a Fantasy Counterpart Culture to Ireland.
It's on an island to the west of a larger piece of land; under control of a country from said larger neighbor; has a different language from the mainland; shares a name with one of Ireland's patron saints; and Petra, a character from Brigid, has the Irish-sounding surname McNairy. The English dub may give Petra an Irish accent.

Mercedes is not being entirely honest about her backstory.
She was born to a noble family in the empire, and she was living as a commoner in Faerghus. But when she says she's "a little older" than the other students, she's underselling her age. By quite a bit. Similarly to Nyx, she was involved in a big magical misshap that caused her to stop aging. She had a big falling out with her family, who knew something happened but didn't know the long-term effects, so she left home and started moving around on a regular basis to hide it. Her family knows that their Minor Crest has been missing for generations, but they don't know the actual reason. She'll either reveal it to Byleth once their support level is high enough, or after the time skip when she's clearly the only one who hasn't changed at all. Annette may or may not already know.
  • Jossed.

Kronya will do a High-Heel–Face Turn or at least get a backstory of being abused.
They've done that with every other female antagonist so far since New Mystery of the Emblem and we've already seen Solon strangling her in one of the trailers.
  • Jossed. She dies pretty early on.

Edelgard's goal in the war chapter will be to wipe out every crest-bearing bloodline.
She wants to get rid of "outdated" ideas of justice, and believes that crests are to blame for Fodlan's problems. Her goal will be to hunt down and kill every family that has a crest, leading her to put some of her own subjects to the sword, possibly including her own housemates if the weren't scouted to one of the other houses. She then invades Faerghus and the Leicester Alliance to kill the others, now with the reputation of a bloodthirsty tyrant. She plans to remove her own bloodline last.
  • Partially jossed. She does want to remove the Crest system, but not via genocide.

Claude is (one of) the bi male option(s).
Of course, I firmly believe there are going to be more (because let's face it, having just one bi option per gender is so two games ago), but aside from any leaks, Claude is the only one with much of a leg to stand on at this point, so let's unpack the possible evidence, shall we?

  • First of all, from what gameplay footage we've seen, he has some very noticeably flirty dialogue with Byleth, no matter which gender the player chooses.
    • Hell, he even flirts with you at the end of the Golden Deer introduction video!
  • Then there's the ballroom scene everyone has been talking about, which has two versions: one with a smaller, ungloved hand on Claude's shoulder, and one with a slightly bigger hand wearing a glove. With this in mind, it could be inferred that this scene can occur no matter which gender the player chooses for Byleth.
    • Jossed. He's straight.

There will be a route that involves not choosing a side in the war.
Fates allowed players to stay Neutral in the Revelation route, it doesn't seem out of the question that Nintendo would allow a similar choice here. Granted, it is possible that, like in Fates, the route will be DLC.
  • Jossed.

The war chapter will introduce at least one Crutch Character.
Just in case the player got most of their students killed in the first half. It could be some of the Knights of Seiros joining up and/or Flayn joining as a healer.
  • Jossed. The Knights of Seiros and Flayn do join, but they do so before the timeskip. The Blue Lions route is the only one to add a new playable character post-timeskip, and that's mostly to replace Dedue, which that route removes from your team for a while (and depending on your actions, it can be permanent).

    Voice actor guesses 

Post-release

    Confirmed 
Edelgard has a shortened lifespan because she has two crests.
After all, Lysithea does. There is no reason for Edelgard not to.
  • She doesn’t have time. That’s why she’s doing it this way. That’s why she quickly establishes a successor and then steps down in her endings. Unlike Lysithea, she never, EVER tells anyone. She never pursues removing her crests in her endings because there is no place for her in the world she created.
  • Her character ending with Lysithea confirms this, as it is outright stated that "they discovered ways to recover the years of life that had been stolen from them." Lysithea estimates her own life won't make it past age 25. The only question is if Edelgard is on that same clock if she isn't cured, or if she has a little more time due to being a later (and likely more refined) double Crest transplant experiment. Because if she isn't, she's already 22, possibly 23 by the time Crimson Flower ends. Rebuilding a whole continent and reforming the entire imperial political system in only 2-3 years is... quite the tall order.

Jeritza will be a Gay Option.
Not only it could be an Author's Saving Throw for limited male gay optionsnote , but it runs in the family.
  • Confirmed

    Jossed 
A DLC will involve 'tying loose ends' to the respective routes
Rather than aiming for Golden Ending like Fates, a DLC scenario will involve continuation of the stories to highlight loose ends present within each routes. However, some of the past tragedies couldn't be fixed. For example:
  • Black Eagles and Blue Lions will have a route where they actively hunt down what remains of "Those Who Slithers In The Dark" (While the Black Eagles' default ending imply that they'll do it anyway, you are actually given control this time). And in the case of Blue Lions, they also learn about Rhea's issues, but managed to kept their level-headedness together.
  • Golden Deer is basically an adaptation to Claude's S Support ending. Remnants of Those Who Slithers In The Dark mount one final assault, and then Byleth (and Claude) had to actually appeal to the Almyrans for help.
    • Jossed. The devs have said their fourth-wave DLC "won't feature the narrative following the conclusion of the main story."

The “story” content that comes out in the final DLC wave is a fifth completely new storyline that alters even the Academy half of the game.
This is because, as mentioned below, Jeralt gives Support points despite there being no way to actually use it. He has no Support chain with Byleth, but certain dialogue options will earn points anyway. He kicks off the Lost Items quest, just like how most of the other side events are started with potential party members, yet he is the only proper character who is an NPC. However due to Jeralt dying in the Academy half of the game, that has to also change.
  • Additional, separate part: This fifth route also possibly allows players to save everyone, much like the DLC-exclusive Revelation did for Fates, which is also why the Supports for Dedue, Dimitri, Gilbert, Edelgard, Hubert, Claude, and Hilda aren't disabled when you pick a side and lose the ability to recruit them (Hilda cannot be recruited into a Black Eagles playthrough, Gilbert is exclusive to the Blue Lions along with Dedue and Dimitri, Edelgard and Hubert are exclusive to Black Eagles, and Claude is exclusive to Golden Deer).
  • This fifth storyline possibly starts off even before you choose a House, and doesn't involve choosing a side, but being hired to a general position, like combat instructor.
    • Alternatively, you have to choose Golden Deer, as Claude's goal is unification and peace, and he is the least willing to kill of the three leaders, which would fit if you can save everyone.
  • Jossed. The dev team has already confirmed that the "additional episodes" in the final DLC waves will be spin-offs unrelated to the main or post-game.
    • It is not Jossed. "Additional episodes" seems to be Wave 2 or 3 of content. Wave 4 is explicitly described as "new STORY content", and the word "episodes" never appears in their DLC statement. "Additional" does, and it's alongside the words "auxiliary battle" and "quests". The Auxiliary battles include the Paralogues, which have been called "episodes" in the past. "New story content" would imply it's related to the story of the game.
    • Wave 2 and 3 specifically use the words "auxiliary battle MAPS" and "quests" when describing the content that will be released. "Episodes" is still a term that can mean "new story content", and the furthermore, the specific wording used in Japanese is the same used for Paralogues. In fact, the translator notes one line is literally saying "It won't feature the narrative following the conclusion of the main story."
      • If it isn't a fifth storyline, then how does one explain Jeralt giving Support points but not having a Support chain, and him being gone off and on during the period you can earn Support with him? Unlike Sothis, it would be unreasonable to S-Support him. There isn't enough time to earn even a C-Support with him unless the Academy half of the game changes.
      • Simple: the game could be trying to fool you into thinking he's going to stay around, by avoiding an Interface Spoiler of him never gaining support points. And while most veteran Fire Emblem players would expect his death even with that, the newcomers wouldn't.
      • Then why does Sothis do the same when she doesn't have any supports except the S-Support and she, Rhea, and Jeralt have unused lines for level ups, weapon ranks, group tasks, or class change? Saying they didn't want an Interface Spoiler also seems kinda contradictory with Monica, since she never gains any support points or even joins the BE House despite the game says she does. Also, it is reasonable to think new players would find it odd there are no supports with Jeralt yet ones with Rhea (an NPC) or Seteth (who, aside from one paralogue), isn't playable before Jeralt's death. It simply seems to add up too much, that it's hard to not help but assume that either this is a big story DLC or some Ass Pull with dimensional/time travel or something.

As a playable character, Jeritza will have Dark Spikes T in his spell pool.
When he uses it to roll over enemy cavalry, Jeritza (who is almost certainly the Death Knight) will be thinking along the lines of "YES! THAT'S HOW IT FEELS!"

Jeritza was kidnapped and framed by the Death Knight for Flayn's kidnapping.
This is the theory I had for the vast majority of my first playthrough, and while it's long since been jossed, I still find it to be quite fun.

  • The tunnel underneath the monastery had been there previously, but was not originally connected to Jeritza's room. It was deliberately connected to Jeritza's room by the Death Knight after Jeritza discovered more of the Death Knight's plans. The Death Knight himself dug the passage a la Galdo Garzuom.
  • Jeritza disappeared around Flayn's kidnapping; he was trying to investigate Flayn's disappearance on his own, explaining how he too went missing. The Death Knight realized that Jeritza was on his tail and attacked him, defeating him after a fierce battle and knocking off his mask before locking him up somewhere away from the monastery.
  • When Manuela found the mask, the Death Knight realized he had left evidence and decided the easiest way to take care of the witness was to deal with her too; he ambushed Manuela, knocked her out, dug the tunnel to Jeritza's room, and deliberately placed her unconscious body inside of it to frame Jeritza. He did not kill Manuela specifically for this reason.
  • The Death Knight did not originally plan to do either of this to Jeritza nor Manuela. But after people caught wind of his presence around the monastery, he found an opportunity to take action in tandem with TWSITD's plans regarding Monica, with the same end goal: to arouse suspicion and distrust throughout the monastery, showing the students that nobody could be trusted, not even the figures of authority.
  • I genuinely believed Jeritza was going to break out, come back and get revenge on the Death Knight during my final confrontation with him, but he never came...

Silver Snow was added very late into development
This set of theories assumes that the Black Eagles route split wasn't originally planned: rather, choosing to lead Edelgard's house would always lock you into the Conquest-style Anti-Villain route where your goal is to defeat Seiros, whether you wanted it or not. Blue Lions were outright supposed to be the pro-Church path (seeing how they're from the Holy Kingdom), dealing with fighting El to save Rhea and restore the order, and Golden Deer were a neutral path focused on the current state of Fodlan. The latter was considered something of a Golden Path and got a lot of resources directed towards it, which is why it is so cutscene-heavy. There was a fourth route already planned to be added later via DLC, probably involving the Ashen Wolves and meant to be Byleth's personal route since the main paths all focus on their respective house leaders post-timeskip.
At some point, the devs realized that forcing the player to side with El after all she's done as the Flame Emperor was not a good idea; after all, her house could've been chosen because of other characters. To offset this, they needed to implement the fourth route right away and have it split off from the Black Eagles path. Since Byleth works for the Church by default, they decided to just have them and the Black Eagles fight Edelgard, with the Church staff remaining on your side. Borrowing content from the already mostly done Verdant Wind was the easiest way to handle this, since it was a neutral path by design. However, despite the heavy resource sharing between the routes, some of them still ended up going in a different direction:
- Crimson Flower, thanks to following a unique plot, was forced to scrap the majority of the early post-timeskip maps made for the remaining routes, leading to it being the shortest. The decision to have the battle against Rhea take place in Fhirdiad (so that the Black Eagles could still reside in the monastery) resulted in the Alliance's defeat being rushed and ultimately prevented Gronder Field II from happening on that route at all. The planned fight against TWSITD got cut entirely and left to happen offscreen in the epilogue. The route's inability to use shared resources led to it being low priority in terms of cutscenes, which backfired when the game could no longer be delayed.
- Azure Moon, while also getting somewhat budget-screwed, actually got surprisingly lucky. Despite its version of Gronder Field II having its issues, it already had the Fhirdiad, Arianrhod and Derdriu maps to borrow from Crimson Flower, plus Enbarr and the Imperial Palace from Verdant Wind. It's possible that Claude was supposed to die or go missing in Chapter 17, but that got changed. Ironically, focusing more on Dimitri led to the route being the only one where Rhea is completely irrelevant save for the story still using her as an excuse to go to Enbarr. Also, despite Rhea surviving the route by default, the option of romancing her was made exclusive to Silver Snow, so instead she gets anticlimactically rescued offscreen without even so much as a reunion CG (which instead was used for Verdant Wind and Silver Snow).
- Verdant Wind was supposed to have Rhea as the Guest-Star Party Member near the end. That part got cut when Silver Snow was added... except it didn't make it there, either, thanks to Rhea becoming the Final Boss of that route, because the devs planned each route to have a unique boss, and El was already reserved for Azure Moon, so something else had to happen after her defeat.

  • There are some issues with this theory however. While on paper it makes sense, some cutscenes on both VW and SS look like they were initially intended at first to be used only for Silver Snow, which would normally indicate the complete opposite (as in, SS came before VW). For example, on Verdant Wind, the Fort Merceus Destruction and Shambhala cutscenes have generic soldiers with the colors of Silver Snow's Resistance Army (grey and red), which isn't consistent when all cutscenes with Claude are thrown into the mix since they show soldiers with the Alliance's colors (bright yellow).
  • Still, I do believe as well Silver Snow was indeed done last development wise. Or rather, that the Black Eagles route as a whole was finished last, as there are far too many oddities found in SS that can't be explained if we assume it was done before Verdant Wind:
    • Once the player begins Silver Snow proper (after chapter 11), they lose one of their deployment slots permanently for almost every story chapter moving onwards and the story plays out like Verdant Wind but without Claude (literally, as his deployment slot where he would've been in the following chapters is missing in SS). While it is an interesting example of Gameplay and Story Integration as your main lord ditches the party, at the same time, it's suspicious that the only story map where this does not apply (aka you get the full 12 slots) is in the Final Chapter. The only unique map Silver Snow has. This at the very least could imply that, internally, most maps used in Silver Snow were repurposed from Verdant Wind and the last chapter is the exception to the rule because it was made for Silver Snow.
    • It is also quite interesting that Silver Snow only has 21 chapters instead of the standard 22 set by Azure Moon and Verdant Wind. While this could be explained by saying SS came first and then VW not only copied it, but also made use of the Gronder Field 2 Battle Chapter from Azure Moon to fill its 22 chapter quota, it still doesn't change the fact the game outright skips Lone Moon and provides nothing to fill that gap. Even more striking is the fact the game actually does not balance the difficulty around this, as in Hard mode, the minimum level suggested for chapter 16 and 17 in both AM and VW is 31 and 33 respectively, while in Silver Snow, the recommended levels for its chapter 16 and 17 are instead 31 and 35, which creates an actual (if minor, due to how the leveling up system works) Difficulty Spike.
    • After the Time Skip, Silver Snow uses the Adrestian Empire's double headed eagle for the background instead of the Church of Seiros' dragon (or even the Crest of Flames' icon) for when a new chapter is introduced, which sticks out like a sore thumb for three main reasons: 1. From Chapter 11 onwards, Byleth and the remaining students choose to side with the Church rather than the Empire, so it makes no sense for the logo to show up when they're the enemy faction, 2. The save file's icon changes after clearing the first chapter of Part 2 of Silver Snow, swapping the Adrestian Empire's Emblem used before the timeskip for the Crest of Flames' (due to the change of allegiances), and 3. The solo/paired endings of the characters correctly shows the Church of Seiros' symbol in the background rather than the Adrestian Empire's logo.
    • Ultimately, I think it's also important to mention that one of the reasons Silver Snow is considered a weaker variation of Verdant Wind is not only because of gameplay, but also plot-wise. One of the most common complains I've seen about SS's story (other than the ones mentioned in the YMMV page) is that Seteth and Flayn become a Spotlight-Stealing Squad while the rest of the Black Eagles aren't explored much nor are given any plot relevance. The interesting thing is, this issue is also present on Crimson Flower, but with the obvious difference it's Edelgard and Hubert the ones who steal the show instead. Considering how the other routes give the rest of the students more presence and important roles other than just the lords, it becomes odd that only both Black Eagle routes happen to be the only paths to fall into this trap, in particular if Silver Snow was indeed created pretty early.
      • One thing that further adds to the confusion is that Verdant Wind and Silver Snow share a number of quirks that aren't present on the other two routes. Which, assuming one of them "came first", means that the "source" route somehow strayed away from the formula... in a manner that happened to be incredibly convenient.
        - For starters, both Crimson Flower and Azure Moon have two-part final maps, which is not the case for Verdant Wind and Silver Snow - and considering the final map is literally the only difference between those (not counting Silver Snow's justified loss of the Blood of the Eagle and Lion chapter), this is suspicious. Also, Verdant Wind's final map is a unique one, while Silver Snow reuses the outer monastery of all things.
        - Both Verdant Wind and Silver Snow have final bosses that more or less come out of nowhere, which doesn't happen on the other two routes. Silver Snow in particular stands out because you'd think Edelgard would be the main villain, with all the relevant drama, but she just ends up as a Climax Boss. (Again, it could be that they wanted unique final bosses for each route, and it makes sense for El to be one for Azure Moon. The interesting thing is, given Faerghus's ties to the Church, she is the final boss of that route in a very different context than one would think initially. If that was deliberate, then the very existence of Silver Snow becomes slightly questionable.)
        See, the basic idea behind Verdant Wind is that you're siding with the Only Sane Man who is not involved in either of the two key conflicts (those being El vs. the Church and Dimitri vs. El) and just wants to figure out what the heck is going on. Silver Snow, in contrast, seems to be setting things up for a great personal drama between Byleth (+the Black Eagles) and El... which then fails spectacularly since she barely even shows up in that route, especially compared to Azure Moon where things do get personal. Sure, she gets a proper reunion cutscene here (which in itself is odd because why in the name of Sothis's bare feet didn't Crimson Flower get one?), but her actual involvement in the story is very low despite Byleth directly siding with her enemies. Add in the possibility that you might not have even bothered with her supports - since not getting her C+ in time railroads you onto Silver Snow.
        While there are reasons for Gronder Field II to not be on Silver Snow, that map somewhat infamously actually makes more sense on Verdant Wind than it does on Azure Moon. Because on Verdant Wind, Claude's army is fighting El, and Dimitri ends up fighting them because he is also fighting El and wants to end her personally. While Azure Moon had to jump through more hoops to justify Claude fighting you. That said, the fact that Azure Moon's version of the battle also somehow manages to end with all three Lords alive instead of mirroring Verdant Wind and killing off Claude is interesting, because on Silver Snow Claude goes MIA for... literally no reason other than leaving the Church the only remaining anti-Imperial force. (Though the Blue Lions path as a whole has a lot of weird moments.)
        Crimson Flower bizzarely derives more drama from "borrowed" students (especially the Blue Lions).
        There's also something else about Silver Snow that is very unusual, which is that it's the only route where Rhea reveals the truth about Byleth. While it's not at all difficult to imagine that this was originally meant to happen on Verdant Wind, Seteth's supports with Byleth seem to have been written with those revelations in mind even though both he and Flayn are units you get automatically on all non-Crimson Flower routes. Even then, however, the actual reveal amounts to one scene at the very end. (Rhea's supports are another can of worms...)

  • Jossed. A new interview revealed Silver Snow was actually the first route the developers worked on and that it served as a template for the Azure Moon and Verdant Wind routes. While this doesn't explain every oddity surrounding the path, it does provide an explanation as to why Silver Snow ended up the way it is; it's content was cannibalized by every path that came after it (and the fact each one built up new content over SS' foundation didn't help).

The Crimson Flower route was added fairly late into development.
  • The original plan was for the game to have three routes, but choosing Black Eagles would eventually steer you onto Silver Snow with no choice in the matter. Edelgard and Hubert were decoy characters, complete with dummy support levels in the menu that could never be unlocked, and it would be a shock to series veterans that even when you select her, your main Lord is still the villain and still leaves your party forever. When prerelease media went out and Edelgard proved incredibly popular, this had to be addressed to avoid fan backlash (the game was clearly made with an eye on avoiding Fates' criticisms, including any sense of forced morality) and so she was given a full route you could jump on, and more fleshed out to give her a sympathetic angle when you see things from her side. This is why Crimson Flower is the shortest route by four whole chapters - not because of a lack of dev time, mind, but because it's effectively playing out The Bad Guy Wins with a Sympathetic P.O.V.. Edelgard's plans go off pretty much without a hitch, with only one counterattack that serves mostly to write out a few characters who needed to be gone before the final confrontation for cross-route continuity reasons, which brings the war to a swift, brutal end; drawing it out with more months of content would have been blatant Padding. Those points also explain why several points critical to the other plotlines are never revealed or resolved, as the player is essentially in control of one giant Conflict Killer that renders them moot when Edelgard succeeds. Those who slither in the dark are never confronted for the same continuity reasons, as well as not being able to fit in the narrative without breaking the pacing (momentum plays a crucial part on her campaign). All in all they did an exceptional job of the route if this is the case (everything's still voice acted, Edelgard and Hubert have paralogues, and there's several pieces of optional dialogue that acknowledge the tangled motives recruits such as Felix and Lysithea would have at that point) but the pieces fit together well enough to justify the theory.
    • Another point I couldn't fit into the above text wall: it would also go a long way to explaining why Edelgard can be Unintentionally Unsympathetic after The Reveal - she was never intended to be sympathetic at all, and the Flame Emperor's actions are so central to White Clouds' plot that even when the option for a Sympathetic P.O.V. was added later, there was no way to write her atrocities out completely, or even fully justify them. This is why the player is given two separate checks before they end up on Crimson Flower - the first, only if they're close enough to her that they might want to side with her at all; the second, so players choosing Black Eagles as their first route would have a chance to stand against her if they're appalled by The Reveal (which happens after the first check is locked in).
    • One detail that makes me believe this theory is likely true to some extent is Dimitri's appearance on that route. His post-timeskip design was very obviously made with his "wild boar" stage in mind. Here, he was explicitly spared from the hell he went through on Azure Moon, and yet all that changed is that he doesn't have the eyepatch? (I expected him to look more like Lambert, especially with how Rodrigue points out the resemblance.) And if the devs didn't have the time to make an extra model/portrait set for a major character like him and resorted to making small edits, well, that does imply things about how this route's production went.
  • Datamining suggests that, in terms of characters and quests, the routes were added in the order of Black Eagles > Blue Lions > Golden Deer > Church of Seiros, though. In the release version, that is; we know there were changes made since the first revealed version. Which seems to imply a much more curious situation: that Crimson Flower was in fact treated as the "primary" route, but somehow got screwed up during the development anyway - there's really no way to justify its near-lack of cutscenes as "deliberate design choices", and even most players who like it tend to agree that it feels low-budget compared to the rest. Possible explanations I can think of:
    - The devs realized too late that it wouldn't make sense for its post-timeskip half to follow the same key points as the other three routes. Which doesn't explain a lot of things, as even pre-timeskip the Black Eagles side is a bit fishy, especially with how the Flame Emperor is handled; it would explain Dimitri, however, as well as the route being the shortest. (Actually, Dimitri not having an eyepatch on that route is interesting in itself, as it seems to break a bit of symbolism associated with the character, but that's a different topic.)
    - There was a case of mid-development Executive Meddling forcing them to focus on the more "classic" stories. This raises more questions; if they couldn't afford a couple more cutscenes even with all the reused resources on other routes, how much of each route's plot was planned ahead? Obviously it would make sense to prioritize shared scenes, but this being the only route to have the post-timeskip reunion - something that occurs on all routes - being a CG instead of a cutscene is certainly suspicious.
    - Crimson Flower underwent a very serious rewrite (fairly plausible, given how there are signs of Azure Moon being a victim of late-stage changes which seems to have similarly resulted in its post-timeskip half being low on cutscenes). Notably, one of its more controversial points is how the route split itself is presented, which some believe was completely unnecessary and forced, since Byleth already had personal reasons to distrust Rhea (namely, Jeralt's diary). With how much of a Base-Breaking Character El ended up being, maybe the devs did struggle to keep her sympathetic.
    * On that last point: many fans appear to criticize the route for falling straight into the typical "evil JRPG church" trope, the issue being that it gives the player exactly the wrong impression of why Rhea is bad (she is unstable and her rule isn't good for Fodlan, but the reasons for that are very different from what El believes) while making El look like a hero despite her doing very questionable things on her own. There's a theory that this was deliberate, and playing the other routes was supposed to make you rethink your opinions, as learning the backstory sheds light on a lot of things. But if that's the case, the whole thing seems to have backfired horribly.
    • If that order is correct, then rewrites to Crimson Flower and Azure Moon may have led to budget problems. If Silver Snow were the last route added, it's also by far the least, with no unique character, little plot difference from Vedant Wind, and having the only month in the game with no battle at all. Unexpected complications in development may have forced the developers to cut corners to come in under budget.

  • Something that throws a huge wrench into the theory is that in the 2018’s E3 trailer for Three Houses, Edelgard (around 1:41) says a line in the final game is used only after you've chosen to do Crimson Flower instead of Silver Snow: “Do you dare to walk this path with me? One misstep, and we fall into ruin. So take your first step, it’s now or never!”. Not only that, but the japanese version of said trailer revealed the final title for the game: Fire Emblem: 風花雪月 (Wind/Flower/Snow/Moon), which has been noted before it indirectly spoils the existence of the 4 routes: Verdant Wind, Crimson Flower, Silver Snow and Azure Moon. This indicates that, at the very least, Crimson Flower was already in development in some form almost one year before the game’s release.
    • That title does, indeed, reveal the existence of the fourth route - but if Black Eagles were always meant to have two routes, how come one was added first and the other one last? Considering all the marketing, wouldn't it make sense to prioritize both of their routes, and not have one be a "whoops, we can't afford more cutscenes or even chapters" case and the other one a clone of a different route? And if Crimson Flower was meant to be the "primary" route, why does the game go out of its way to make sure you can't side with El unless you've bonded with her? Not even Azure Moon makes supports have this much effect, and that route is the one pretending it's a Persona game.
      And something else to consider. Because the events of Part I mostly happen identically for all houses until the final chapter, there's a good chance they put together the White Clouds portion of the game before working on the actual routes. With White Clouds, each house gets a bit of a different focus during missions: Black Eagles get the "wait a sec, am I working with the Flame Emperor?" trick, Blue Lions get personal connections + Dimitri, and Golden Deer get background/lore. Sure, from the Blue Lions perspective, those early missions do seem to have been created with that house in mind, and, again, that route is a more personal story. But they also, interestingly, make the Church - and by extension Faerghus - look kinda bad. Now, recall how the marketing, on top of focusing more on El, spoiled Dimitri's fate post-timeskip, and it kinda starts looking like they were red-herringing Faerghus as the "evil" side. And suddenly the "Loathing" cutscene being Blue Lions-exclusive makes a ton of sense: you get to see more of Dimitri's "dark side" because his character arc revolves around it, but without that knowledge you'd be forgiven for thinking that it's the "villain route".
      And that raises more questions. Because not only is Crimson Flower the one route where Dimitri is not insane post-timeskip (and the only route where he directly works with Rhea), the Black Eagles side never gets to participate in the Gronder Field rematch while playable. That "Kill every last one of them!" bit from a later trailer never happens on either of their routes. Unless they were trying to invoke the Trailers Always Lie trope (hard to tell due to the trailer showing bits from different routes without context), this is quite suspicious. Actually, Crimson Flower as a whole "cheats" quite a bit by relying on a different scenario than other routes, rather that simply offering another point of view.
      Also, those two "cloned" routes? Post-timeskip, they beat the remaining two in terms of cutscenes, despite being "neutral" paths by design, seemingly only existing for lore, and apparently being added last.
      ...Yeah. Still going with the Executive Meddling guess, especially since the game was delayed from its planned late 2018 release. Honestly, the idea of Crimson Flower being part of the game from the start makes things worse (like I pointed out above, budget-botching the most marketed route makes no sense).
      • It can be argued from a development standpoint it's far easier and practical in the long run to work on Silver Snow first rather than Crimson Flower since doing so allows you to reuse far more content (namely, the main cutscene leading to the timeskip and chapters 13-16). In that case, it would be plausible to explain Crimson Flower’s state as a result of being considered a low priority internally, and corroborating this is the fact the internal order for character portaits shows that the portrait of the eyepatch-less Dimitri from CF can be found "at the very end of the playable character's portrait list" (this doesn't explain the lack of a proper CG reunion cutscene though).
        -Outside of the lack of the Second Gronder Field Battle for both branches (which in itself sparks more theories on it's own), there's also far more oddities regarding how the Black Eagles' stories were made. For starters, their version of the Holy Tomb ceremony cutscene (Chapter 11) is missing an entire scene dedicated to build up the importance of the event which by comparison is present on the Blue Lions and Golden Deer routes, and that's highly suspect since said scene could've been easily tweaked in Black Eagles to alleviate existing complains about how the route split was handled to begin with.
        -Second, both timeskip branches give very little lines to non-plot relevant characters (mostly the Black Eagles themselves) compared to the amount the Blue Lion and Golden Deer cast get in their own paths (which is more noticeable if you watch Silver Snow and Verdant Wind's stories back to back, thanks to both sharing a similar narrative), which in itself is a strange design choice to have if we take into account CF was a last minute addition.
        -Lastly, every point mentioned so far doesn't explain how Crimson Flower is the only route in the whole game (without DLC) which uses the Tailtean Plains map (the other route with a similar distinction is Verdant Wind and its Swamp map for the final chapter).
        While it is likely some Executive Meddling did happen during development (the game did get delayed many times after all), trying to explain the current state of the game with this theory creates far more questions than the answers it solves.
        ...That, and from a gameplay standpoint, a game whose entire point is having multiple path give you the choice to join every faction but the secretly antagonistic one (despite also giving you the chance to provide tutelage to the future leader of said faction) seems like a very blatant missed opportunity in hindsight, in particular because the previous main entry in the franchise did provide this "choice" of sorts.
      • Again, it's one thing to let the player join the secretly antagonistic faction. It's another thing to heavily advertise said future leader of the secretly antagonistic faction, and then fail to put enough effort into her route. Anyway, finally more data to analyze, and that archive is interesting:
        - Dimitri's eyepatchless portrait being where it is actually explains a lot. Namely, his appearance doesn't really make sense (he wasn't exiled on Crimson Flower, so why would he still have messy hair as the king of Faerghus?). If it truly was a last minute "dirty Photoshop job" type change, however... The question is, why did that happen? I mean, you'd think giving one of the main characters an extra portrait/model set isn't exactly "low priority". Especially since he actually has a bit of a role on Crimson Flower, unlike on Verdant Wind (where he shows up like once and proceeds to pointlessly die offscreen) or Silver Snow (where he shows up once after he - maybe - pointlessly dies offscreen).
        - The S-rank images with Byleth having their original hair color, including the unused ones, are all at the end of the list internally (and, curiously, so are female!Byleth's with Edelgard and Rhea). Even with the Black Eagles. Given that El's and Hubert's CGs are first-person (and Jeritza's was added way later), this is very interesting since it implies the hair color reversal was a late addition and definitely wasn't meant to happen on the non-Black Eagles paths (as Claude, Dimitri and Dedue each have a single CG where Byleth explicitly has her Sothis-colored hair). Furthermore, since El's attitude towards the Nabateans makes it very unlikely that Seteth and Flayn were ever meant to be in your party on Crimson Flower, it seems possible that - as suggested in another WMG below - Silver Snow was meant to be another route where Byleth would regain their original hair color.
        There's also something that doesn't get brought up a lot, which is that a large portion of the anime cutscenes had to be rendered twice to account for both Byleths. Which makes El not getting much of them a bit ironic. So it is plausible they would run out of budget, but I still have a hard time believing Crimson Flower's lack of cutscenes is due to prioritizing shared resources. They made exclusive cutscenes for Verdant Wind. They made that cutscene for the Blue Lions (even if that route inexplicably starts favoring CGs post-timeskip). It's almost like they worked on the routes in the opposite order from what the data suggests.
        People have speculated that Crimson Flower lacks Gronder Field II because its iconic starting cinematic doesn't make sense on it, but that's a bit of a weird excuse, because the battle itself still could've worked. It's not like skipping over cutscenes isn't already a thing there. Silver Snow would have issues with that chapter, but the way that route just skips the entire month screams "we didn't think that through".
        Regarding the Tailtean Plains map, well, the only other route where it would've made sense story-wise would be Azure Moon (...actually, it probably would've made more sense than Gronder Field II does when played from the Kingdom's perspective).
        Silver Snow as a whole is weird. Seteth's supports with Byleth look like they've been written with this route in mind, but they're available on other routes as well, where that leads to the questions regarding Byleth's nature remaining unresolved. The game also never exactly makes it obvious that Rhea's S-support is Silver Snow-exclusive (even though it's like the one thing you can't do on other routes). And the most memorable moment on that route is that one Mind Screw scene with Dimitri, if for the WTF factor. Interestingly, though, a few of the Black Eagles have A-rank supports with characters who leave your roster if you side with El, and those are only obtainable outside of Crimson Flower. So, technically, there is some point in giving them an alternate route, as otherwise they'd have to be recruited to another house just to finish those support chains (which, while relatively easy to do thanks to the New Game+ mechanics, is not exactly smart game design).
        There's one thing that needs to be confirmed, though, which is how much of the supposed Azure Moon route split is actually present in the data. I've seen people talk about that Fhirdiad vs. Enbarr choice leading to a different scenario like it's a fact, even though there are similarly pointless choices on other routes - most notably, Seteth overriding your decision to help the Kingdom forces on Silver Snow, since we know how that ended (and if that route was added last, it's unlikely that choice was ever meant to have consequences) - and the most I've seen of it is that one video with Annette and Felix as enemies (which also implies the scenario was supposed to be tied to their paralogues). Now, typically, the presence of Dummied Out content indicates that the relevant part of the game has been around long enough to be changed mid-development, which implies that Azure Moon was one of the first routes they worked on - but if that is true, why does a great deal of the shared chapters work better on Verdant Wind, which also clearly has more budget? It really doesn't seem like the development was linear, which is what theories such as this one tend to assume. They would probably have to figure out the plot of each route first to know for sure which maps would be reusable. And Crimson Flower is ironically probably the most straightforward scenario of all routes, but with a lot of the earlier shared maps rendered useless due to the plot differences. Azure Moon in particular has you retake Fhirdiad and then sends you to Derdriu for the heck of it (because they needed to do something with Claude since it wouldn't make sense for him to die on that route) - those are maps that were very likely created for Crimson Flower originally.
      • Something else that is probably worth mentioning is the fate of TWSITD on Crimson Flower, which raises a lot of questions. Specifically, El makes it clear throughout the story that she only works with them for the sake of her own goals and is planning to get rid of them after she is done with her war. This seems to be setting up a plot where she would eventually have to fight them, since it's also implied that TWSITD have some further plans on their own. Instead, the route has Rhea as the Final Boss and TWSITD are anticlimactically fought offscreen. Considering that Azure Moon also drops the related subplot right before the finale, there's a possibility that TWSITD being explicitly fought only on Verdant Wind/Silver Snow was a late design decision and Crimson Flower got shortened as a result.

  • Thinking about it, Crimson Flower could've been made at the last minute because the developers realized late into development that content-wise, there wasn't much justification for choosing the Black Eagle House over the Blue Lion and Golden Deer's.
    Let's imagine the initial plans for the game were very similar to what we got (as in, Azure Moon would deviate from Chapter 17 onwards and the main difference between Verdant Wind and Silver Snow would be the latter skipped Gronder II, filled that month with another chapter and the endgame led to a different Final Boss), with the key difference that CF doesn't exist, meaning Catherine, Cyril and Hilda can be recruited early just like in the other routes. Once all planned paths were completed, the developers started testing the game when they noticed the Black Eagles...kinda ended up with the short end of the stick:
    • Content wise, Blue Lions starts with a roster of 8 characters, 2 of which (Dimitri and Dedue) are exclusive to the route and have their own separate paralogues. Once the timeskip happens, Dedue either dies or is replaced for a while with Gilbert, who's also an exclusive unit for Azure Moon AND also happens to have a paralogue with his daughter, meaning Dimitri's route has 3 paralogues that can't be done in the others. Add it up the 22 story chapters count, and you've got yourself a pretty solid route on its own, whose only flaws lie in the lack of exploration of the main lore and having the evil cult of the week being never directly fought onscreen.
    • Meanwhile, Golden Deer only has Claude as an exclusive character from the roster of 8 students (since Hilda can be poached in the other 2 routes), which also means the path gets only one exclusive paralogue. To offset this, the Golden Deer gang is the only one of the three houses which sticks together from start to finish since Lorenz doesn't ditch the party temporarely compared to the AM/SS. And since their route also has 22 chapters, they figured out it was an enough different experience compared to Dimitri's path, mainly due to revealing all the lore and actually letting the player fight the shady dubstep molemen plus a zombified Nemesis.
    • Then there's the Black Eagles, which at first glance seem to be just like the Blue Lions, with a roster of 8 characters from which only 2 are exclusive. The issues begin showing around midgame (Chapter 11) where, due to Edelgard being the Flame Emperor and thus the main antagonist of Part II, she and Hubert end up leaving the party permanently and the rest of the plot and chapters follow Verdant Wind's beat almost to a tee, which means that the slitherers are defeated in the end, your former lord ends up slain on the way and Rhea potentially dies after the final battle should the player had missed her A support during Part I.
While the idea behind the route is legit intriguing, this decision had the nasty side effect of having BE be the only path where the game punishes the player for picking the "wrong side". Unlike BL, not only there's no way to have the lost characters back without a huge rewrite of the main conflict, the game also give them nothing to make up for the lost content. The devs figured this would jeopardize the route as a whole - in particular once word of mouth made the Flame Emperor reveal well known - because from gameplay standpoint, there aren't many reasons to pick Black Eagles over Golden Deer when their main selling point (Edelgard and also Hubert I guess?) is merely temporary, the unique story experience it provides - the reveal about Byleth's mother and the final chapter - comes far too late to play a huge factor into people's decisions (that, and Edelgard's backstory is covered during Part I), and lastly, the other 6 students can be recruited into the other houses anyway if the player wants to use or save them.
  • Once the devs noticed the problem they had, they started considering some alternatives that could solve this problem:
    -1. Make Seteth, Catherine, Cyril and Rhea's paralogue (Eternal Guardian) exclusive for Silver Snow: Since they figured out the route had few things going for it, they considered doing what the title says. This idea likely didn't get far because there's little justification in-universe to lock out the Blue Lions and Golden Deer routes from these, as the Church allies with them.
    -2. Give Edelgard and Hubert a pre-timeskip paralogue: Unlike Claude and Dimitri, Edelgard is not available in Silver Snow, so they likely considered the option of giving her and Hubert one pre-timeskip paralogue to compensate their future absence. The idea was likely shoot down with the mentality that on subsecuents playthroughts, any players who did the Black Eagles would just simply ignore both characters, as they would see the idea of training them a waste of time due to losing access to them later. They would also end up becoming The Load during those paralogues for anyone who tried doing them just for free exp., which would somewhat ruin the whole purpose of the side chapter in the first place.
    -3. Make Rhea playable for a few chapters: The developers heavily considered the idea of making Rhea join the party for a few chapters to make up for a lack of lord and retainers in SS. While the idea likely did get pretty far (as it has been discovered the existance of data for a playable Rhea in the game's files), it was eventually scrapped in the end because not only she would be - in hindsight - only available in one chapter (the one where Byleth and the students invade Shambhala), it would also make no sense in-universe for Rhea to not be playable in Verdant Wind as well when both routes share the exact same plot point.
  • Despite everything, the devs were still clinging to the idea of giving the Black Eagles something unique for them, and since the game's deadline at that point was still a few months away, they chose to discuss the matter in detail and came up with 2 possible solutions:
    • 1.Rework Silver Snow from scratch so that Rhea can be playable for more than one chapter: One of the plans was heavily altering Silver Snow's story arc so that Rhea would become available as soon as possible and thus be usable for most of Part II, making her unavailable only for the final chapter where she still would end up going berserk.
    • 2.Give the Black Eagles a route split leading to Part II: Based on a scrapped idea of the Azure Moon route, the other proposal was creating a story branch for the Black Eagles where the player would join Edelgard on her crusade against Fodlan and the Church on a possible smaller campaign.
  • In the end, after taking into consideration which option would be the most feasible under their circunstances (namely, commisioning new cutscenes and creating new maps), the devs chose to go with the route split as it not only would let them keep the content they had already done for Silver Snow, they also figured they could afford to make her path shorter compared to the other routes while making it have sense in-universe (the Empire almost conquers Fodlan by the time Byleth comes back in the other routes, and Edelgard claims that her path is the "shortest way to change" in AM). They also likely considered giving CF a chapter where the empire would defeat the Slitherers, but since the route was designed to be the antithesis of Azure Moon (where they are also never defeated onscreen), they scrapped the idea.
    - Oh, and Silver Snow likely ended up with 21 chapters because when making CF they needed to use a location still not inserted in the game for a climatic battle (Tailtean Plains), so they likely wasted all the time they had left making that map. Jeritza was likely decided to be added as free DLC later due to this as well.
Okay, so...
This interview flat-out confirms that the Black Eagles house - and only the Black Eagles house - was always meant to have a route split. Which only makes the way the route order goes data-wise and the issues surrounding both of the Black Eagles routes even more confusing.
What I think happened was that Crimson Flower was hastily put into the game very early on specifically so that its content could be used for marketing purposes. They probably planned to work on it some more afterwards (given how Jeritza was added early as a free DLC), but the sheer amount of stuff that had to be put in prevented that from happening. This still doesn't explain why most of the cutscene budget went into Verdant Wind, or why Verdant Wind and Silver Snow ended up being near-identical.
What is more interesting, though, is that technically Crimson Flower is the "hidden" route, since it requires bonding with El and passing two explicit choice prompts. Seeing how, for quite some time, the Western fanbase regarded Silver Snow as the "secret" path (though it doesn't help that the English version lacks the Spoiler Title), I'd say they didn't hide it very well. Or maybe it's just the cultural Values Dissonance at work. Either way, we have the answer.
...Actually, thinking about it, the Japanese version having a Spoiler Title probably contributed even more to this. The English subtitle refers to the houses, not the routes, and the houses are equated with their leaders. With the Japanese version, stumbling upon the Black Eagles "choice" probably would clue one into it specifically being a route split. With the English version, being literally asked to kill your house leader instead comes off as something from the realm of a Non-Standard Game Over.
Or maybe the devs underestimated how fast players would bond with El. Both checkpoints for unlocking Crimson Flower happen within Chapter 11, and the only "hidden" thing about those is that the first one is accessed via a monastery conversation. IIRC, El's C+ support rank, which is required for the latter, unlocks starting from around Chapter 6. You pretty much have to deliberately avoid her in order to be railroaded onto Silver Snow.
  • This may have already been mentioned many times before, but there are high chances Crimson Flower was saved for last during development due to the amount of content it would require that other routes wouldn't be able to use (it's story and map progression happens more or less backwards compared to the other 3 routes, so for practical purposes it's a better idea to start developing the others first). Azure Moon then was likely finished first, with Silver Snow and Verdant Wind coming soon after, and both were chosen to be fused at some point in order to conserve time and development resources, all while a slot was deliberaly left empty for when the team was finally able to start working on Crimson Flower. Of course, this doesn't mean development was strictly linear per se, as many theories below on this page detail how Azure Moon likely suffered some changes through development and how Silver Snow being worked before Verdant Wind doesn't make much sense despite the premise in itself being fairly logical at first glance.
  • About the second point, the main reason the fanbase (at least the western one) considers Silver Snow the secret route is mostly due to a combination of 2 factors; the way the post timeskip phase of the game was advertised, and the spoilerific nature of Edelgard's character.
    • The E3 2019 trailer started showing up the custcene used for the Second Battle at Gronder Field, where Byleth's position in it is framed in a way it can seem like they could be siding with any of the three factions for the event, just as they do in the first iteration of said battle in the Academy Phase (Part 1). This by itself gave to many the impression Byleth would stick by default to their chosen lord for their route's timeskip no matter what, which in the final game it is always the case except for the Black Eagles because...
    • Edelgard. Regardless of your chosen house, she's always revealed at the end of part 1 to have been the Flame Emperor AKA the the main bad guy up until then, which is something marketing went a long way to hide (the only hint you could get was from a japanese trailer showing a shot of Silver Snow's reunion cutscene). Sure, before release, many fans speculated about a possible twist involving Edelgard being evil due to her color motif and allegiance, but as far marketing and official info about the game was concerned, not much indicated she was going to be the exception to the rule. See Three Houses's entry on the Never Trust a Trailer page for a more clear explanation: [1].
    • Long story short, the fanbase likely considers Silver Snow the secret route because its mere existance - plus the fact it's name does not align with your chosen house's colors compared to the Blue Lions and Golden Deer houses - sets up huge red flags regarding one of the game's biggest twists, in particular if the situation was reversed and Crimson Flower was the route which ended up getting hidden instead.

  • Ultimately Jossed. Taking into account these interviews, it's all but stated the game was always meant to have four routes since, while Silver Snow was indeed created first, the idea of the Black Eagles story having branching paths was there from the beginning. Interestingly, at the start of the interview's 8th page, Kusakihara mentions at one point he "wanted to write the righteous route (Dimitri's route) as the conquest route’s opposite (Edelgard's route)", which in itself implies Crimson Flower was conceptualized before Azure Moon. As to why Crimson Flower lacks so many assets the other routes have? Unless we get another interview which details it's creation, that will remain as a Riddle for the Ages.

Related to the above, the Blue Lions route was developed first, followed by Silver Snow
Like the above theory, this presumes only three routes were initially planned. Of them, the devs decided to prioritize Blue Lions—because it's the most "classic" Fire Emblem story—and Silver Snow—because of the heavy marketing for Black Eagles. Comparing the two routes, Blue Lions has more unique content, such as the unique movie for the Flame Emperor reveal and a unique CGI of Mercedes and her brother, so I theorize it was worked on first. Silver Snow certainly has more cutscenes, but a lot of them are shared with Golden Deer, which is why I wouldn't call them "unique".
Anyway, when IntSys decided to make a route for Edelgard, development time had to be taken away from the other routes for Crimson Flower. Blue Lions was either already or mostly done, so it was fine. Silver Snow had good progress, but its ending still had to be rushed (hence Rhea being a Giant Space Flea from Nowhere). Golden Deer had its own unique route planned, revolving around Alliance politics, racism, and uncovering secrets, but it was too early in development for those ideas to be fully implemented. Not wanting to push the game back a third time, the devs decided to copy almost all of the Silver Snow content onto Verdant Wind, leaving Claude's personal goals to feel somewhat separate. Why do I say they copied Silver Snow to Verdant Wind instead of the other way around? Because of the shared cutscenes between the two routes. Claude is never in any of the shared cutscenes, and several, such as Edelgard's defeat, make much more sense on Silver Snow (where Byleth has personal history with Edelgard). Developing four unique, fully voice-acted routes is no mean feat, and if this is true they still did a great job, but it explains the problems people have with SS being "GD without Claude" and CF being too short.
  • Additionally, many of the Blue Lion units have personal connections to the main plot unlike the other houses; Lonato is Ashe's adopted father, Sylvain's brother Miklan is one of the chapter bosses, and even the Death Knight is revealed to be Mercedes's younger half brother.
  • The main problem with the "Blue Lions was done first" theory is, IMO, that several major plot points post-timeskip (including the whole "rescue Rhea" subplot and the second Gronder Field battle) make more sense on Verdant Wind than they do on Azure Moon. Heck, on Azure Moon, Rhea doesn't even appear at all after being captured and is basically used as an additional excuse to go to Enbarr, since Dimitri eventually gets over his "kill Edelgard" phase. Take into account the Dummied Out content, and the impression I'm getting here is that all the routes - except possibly Crimson Flower, and even then there's a lot of questions regarding its development - wound up having their contents mixed together in some manner late into production to save time and resources, while also becoming less unique in the process.
    Another detail - though this point fits more into the "Crimson Flower was added late" theory - is that on Azure Moon Dimitri actually makes a reference to his Undignified Death on Verdant Wind. Which is doubly interesting because that death isn't even a major event (Silver Snow curiously draws a bit more attention to it despite the whole battle happening offscreen), and because on Crimson Flower he technically dies protecting Rhea and his country rather than pulling a Leeroy Jenkins out of his misguided desire for revenge.
    Finally, from the "production values" standpoint, while Crimson Flower only has one unique anime cutscene (the ending), Azure Moon has the unique pre-timeskip reveal cutscene (+reunion and ending, but those are kind of a given), but surprisingly its post-timeskip half seems to favor stills instead, which is very noticeable compared to the cutscene-heavy Verdant Wind. This seems to further suggest that something happened to the post-timeskip portion of the Blue Lions route during development.

  • Jossed. As it has been previously mentioned, Azure Moon's creation precedes Silver Snow, not the other way around.

At least one of the Ashen Wolves, probably Yuri, is a Token Heroic Orc Agarthan disguising themselves to fit in with abovegrounders.

Come on, they're already mole people who are described by the official release as a Ragtag Bunch of Misfits, an exile from TWSITD slipping in is even part of a pattern if the other three characters are exiles from the other House nations. Given how Yuri's the leader and looks most sinister in his official portrait, it makes sense if he ends up turning out to be an enemy of Thales trying to recruit his own La Résistance army. Thus, his post time-skip self will be him showing his real ethnicity, having long since been accepted no matter what Route he joins (yes, even the Church of Seiros, since on that path Rhea's in a good enough mood to Pet the Dog and let him prove himself).

The Ashen Wolves route will be an Omnicidal Neutral route
And no, it's not like Revelation which pits all sides against a common enemy, but a genuine one in which Edelgard, Dimitri and Claude all have to be killed, by your hand. After all, the Abyss rejects the society that rejected them...
  • At this point, it seems like the story is completely independent from the main game, so it isn't a fifth route, nor does it seem to affect the plot outside of the new units apparently carrying over into the regular savefiles. The Ashen Wolves are confirmed to have supports with select characters other than Byleth (as well as with each other), though it remains to be seen whether they have any kind of unique activity/battle conversations. It's still a major step up from how Anna and Jeritza were handled.
  • ...Admittedly, the house name does imply that they might've been meant to be "Byleth's house". Maybe Silver Snow was originally supposed to feature them instead of the Black Eagles?
  • As for how it will start, should you have recruited them, Yuri would attempt to convince you to turn on your initial chosen lord in the Holy Tomb by pointing out their flaws. Taking him up on his offer would initiate the Ashen Wolves route.

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    Unconfirmed/Extra 
The next Fire Emblem game will have an Old Save Bonus for this game.

There IS a Golden Ending, we just haven't found it yet because it's a meta Earn Your Happy Ending
Given that rewinding time to fix mistakes is an actual mechanic in this game, and that the picture added to a New Game Plus file is Sothis, it wouldn't surprise me if that's the logic of how New Game Plus is working in the world as Byleth goes back in time to see if anything can be diffrent. And because only needing to do it once would feel strange for a game this large, you have to play through every route the game offers at least once and max out all your Support levels in each route (including characters that leave or get killed off early), and then play through the game one more time in a House of your choosing.

From there, the game plays like normal until the beginning of Part 2, where upon reuniting with your chosen lord they notice how much despair and tragedy the war has caused and seek to bring peace through deplomacy. Part 2 then plays out diffrently to all other routes, where battles against the former students leads to recruiting instead of death. The final battle against Edelgard turns into a one-sided affair (since you have her units), and ultimately leads to her actually surrendering. The three leaders reach an agreement, and peace is returned to Fodlan.

This game will result that an eventual Genealogy of the Holy War remake to be Darker and Edgier
Not to a level of Bloodier and Gorier, but Three Houses had a lot of dark tones that may give the original Genealogy's darkness a run for its money. Back then, they made Echoes: Shadows of Valentia DARKER than Gaiden, so because of this, I believe that Genealogy (and maybe Thracia in the future) might also improve its 'dark tones' once it gets a remake, if only to match up with Three Houses, which was inspired by Genealogy.

The Master of Arms class will be available as DLC
It just seems fitting.

An additive to the above; there will be more classes that will be added as DLC.
Such as an Armoured Magic class, flying magic class and opposite gender counterparts to gender exclusive classes such as Pegasus knights, dark mages and War masters.

A DLC will delve a bit more into Jeralt and Rhea’s history
Not totally unlike the Hidden Truths DLC in Fates, but the player gets to experience it a bit rather than being told about it through an info dump. Maybe even give us a proper identity for Jeralt’s wife.

The Four Saints' dragon forms are based on the Four Gods.
Macuil is an avian dragon and Indech is a turtle-like dragon. Cichol and Cethleann's are never seen, but most likely resemble a tiger and an eastern dragon.

DLC Character guesses
Self-explanatory. It's been confirmed we're getting them, so we might as well speculate - feel free to add your guesses here.
  • Monica (the real one): Although it's implied she was a victim of Kill and Replace, they could reveal that she was Not Quite Dead.
  • Anna: As previously guessed.
  • Sothis: A glamour could prevent certain people like Rhea from realizing just who she is.
    • Datamines have found that Sothis seems to have battle animations, so this is very, very likely, and she doesn't necessarily need the glamour, since Rhea hides her non-human characteristics under her hair.
  • Rhea: A character that can transform into a dragon has always been a playable character in Fire Emblem.
    • Similarly to Corrin, Rhea will get a Dragonstone that keeps her emotions from going out of control when she transforms, at the cost of her transformation being weaker (and most likely smaller).
  • Jeralt. You can earn Support points with him in conversations, but he oddly does not have a Support chain, even with Byleth. So even though he dies, it’s possible he’s a DLC character through a fifth gameplay route, as this is the only way you COULD have him as a party member.
    • Jeralt's support points are a Red Herring; they're not actually tracked. He does have some Dummied Out interaction lines, but not enough to suggest he was meant to be anything but an Ally unit.
  • Kronya. With the ability to support her before she kills Jeralt, allowing for you to save him and recruit them both. Due to the prominence that she was shown off before the game, including as one of the first TH characters added to Heroes, it's rather odd she's so replaceable.
  • Nemesis. A prequel where we see what, exactly, happened during his time is not out of the question, and would give him and the Elites more characterization than just "generic villain to kill off." Alternately...
  • Seiros. Gives many of the same benefits as Nemesis, with the bonus of playing as the side that won.

The DLC will include additional story routes.
  • The Nabatea route: somewhat different from the Church route, this one is specifically about building on Rhea's experiments with Crest Stones, with the goal of reviving the Nabateans as a race. Rhea, Macuil, and Indech will be recruitable, and Seteth and Flayn will play a more direct role. After a certain point in the story the heroes will start removing the Crest Stones from any Relic weapons they have, but in exchange the stone will be implanted into a body, giving you a new unit with each. The final battle will be between the Nabateans, Byleth and their allies, "Those who slither in the dark" trying to wipe out their old enemies, and Edelgard and the imperial army trying to kill both other sides.
  • The Slitherer route: Byleth joins up with "Those who slither in the dark". This would be an unambiguous villain route, with almost all the recruitable characters from the other routes becoming your enemies. Byleth goes on to conquer all of Fódlan, destroy any recognized power structure, and finally overthrow Thales and become the undisputed ruler of the continent.
  • Rebel Agarthan route: Byleth discovers a group of "Those who slither in the dark" refugees who despise Thales for being a Bad Boss and decides to ignore Rhea's objections about them being enemies of the Church, letting them stay at Garreg Mach. Over time, they warm up to the surfacer civilization and having actual freedoms, eventually killing Solon and breaking ties completely, building a new capitol for Agartha in the ruins of the Monastery after the time skip. It branches off Golden Deer, with Kronya becoming playable when one of the rogue Agarthans turns out to be a close friend of hers and convincing her to not kill Jeralt (only for Thales to step in), and most characters in the route are Golden Deer who decide to support the new nation with a few new Agarthan characters. Final boss is against Thales in a Super Prototype mecha meant to kill Rhea in her dragon form, after being forced to kill both Dimitri and Edelgard trying to protect the new nation and getting the reluctant Church of Seiros to accept New Agartha's existence, with the ending involving the newborn country becoming the heart of a new industrial revolution that retains humility and respect for the Natabeans and other humans.

The DLC will be a prologue set in the distant past of Fodlan.
  • The Devs have stated that their won't be DLC that will affect the main story or be an epilogue, so the next logical guess would be the past, potentially shedding more light on how Sothis was like before her rebirth, the Agarthans, Seiros, and Nemesis. Nemesis in particular as his character was not expounded on in the Golden Deer and served merely as the obligatory final boss.

Byleth intentionally allowed Rodrigue to die in the Azure Moon route.
One of the prime examples of Byleth seemingly forgetting to use Divine Pulse is Lord Rodrigue's death at the hands of Fleche in the Azure Moon route. Once it was clear what was happening, it should have been trivial for Byleth to rewind time and prevent his death. However, consider this: Lord Rodrigue's death is what shocks Dimitri into coming out of his Ax-Crazy Roaring Rampage of Revenge. Without that catalyst, it's likely Dimitri would have continued down the same path that led to his destruction in every other route. Perhaps Byleth did use Divine Pulse off-screen to save Rodrigue, realized what would happen, and used Divine Pulse again to undo the previous usage; perhaps they were able to see how things would play out without using Divine Pulse at all. Regardless of how it might have happened, it's possible that Byleth decided that, in order for Dimitri and Faerghus to survive, Rodrigue needed to die.

Byleth's lifespan is up to them
  • Just trying to reconcile how they can spend the rest of their days with their spouse whether that spouse is Seteth/Flayn or a human with a natural human lifespan. Basically, Byleth can do what Arwen did—choose to have an extended dragon-like lifespan, or a normal human one.

After the end of the game, an opera was made about the war.
In each route, certain liberties were taken:
  • In Crimson Flower, any possible sympathetic trait in Edelgard's enemies is removed, making Dimitri a bloodthirsty fanatic, Claude a backstabbing snake, and the Nabateans as a whole Always Chaotic Evil. The Church of Seiros is portrayed as a Religion of Evil with no redeeming qualities, and the story takes the stance that Belief Makes You Stupid. Edelgard is portrayed as a clear, upstanding hero and her morally dubious actions are glossed over.
    • In Edelgard's support with Dorothea, this is actually discussed, and if the hypothetical opera would be an action piece or a more somber drama. Granted, Dorothea's lyrics in the same support imply that Edelgard's more dubious actions won't be glossed over, but used to make her a more tragic heroine.
    • Much like below, post-timeskip Dorothea will also tell a male Byleth he'll get played up as Edelgard's love interest even if that's not what actually happens, since it just writes itself.
  • In Azure Moon, the idea of a possible romance between Edelgard and Dimitri is played up far more, and Edelgard takes a more active role in the plot to give the conflict a more personal note. Byleth is Dimitri's love interest, even if she wasn't in reality, or she wasn't a she. Edelgard and Byleth are shown as foils to each other, representing Dimitri's internal conflict and his potential of either greatness or ruin. Claude is the bumbling Adaptational Comic Relief who foists his country off on Dimitri because he can't be bothered to lead it. The real Claude was very amused.
    • If you recruit Dorothea on the Blue Lions and play female, she does mention that any future operas will probably create a romance between you and Dimitri whether or not it's historically accurate (male gets told he'll be played by the most handsome actor), so there might actually be credence to this.
  • In Verdant Wind, Dimitri is Adapted Out due to not having a major role in anything. Claude is given Dimitri's history with Edelgard to make their conflict more personal. Exactly ten named characters die throughout the opera, and the actors for those characters also play the Ten Elites. Some of the songs use musical styles from Almyra, and the story has a clear message that Fódlanders should connect with the outside world.

Claude and Marianne are cousins

To quote the Register of Alliance Nobles:

The current Duke Riegan's heir, Godfrey, died in an accident while on duty. While he did leave behind a surviving daughter, she is presently unaccounted for.

Most people read the he in that sentence as referring to Claude's grandfather, but due to grammatical ambiguity, it can also refer to Godfrey. Marianne was adopted by Margrave Edmund after the death of her biological father, about whom she is very vague. Marianne being the daughter of Claude's uncle does fit all the facts as presented.

  • Claude and Marianne can get a paired ending where they fall in love, though, if you get them to A rank with each other. That makes them being cousins improbable (but admittedly not impossible).

Sothis disapproves of Rhea's actions.

Why else would Sothis not object to Byleth going against her in the Crimson Flower route and even wake them up from the coma despite already making enemies of her daughter? Even early in the game, she is quite critical of Rhea and the Church in general, calling them out for sending teenagers to fight and for failing to realize Tomas was a mole. And overall she seems quite distant towards Rhea, even giving you disapproval points if you tell Rhea about her in her supports. I suggest that Sothis does not approve of Rhea's actions regarding Byleth's birth and lying to an entire continent by propping up the Church, and that their relationship even when living was distant.

  • The above seems a bit unlikely, given Sothis has no memory of her relationship with Rhea at the time she says those things, but what we know of her suggests they were close. She wrote a song she sang to Rhea, Rhea recalls being held in her arms, and she even speaks with Rhea, apparently amicably, presumably during some sort of near-death experience when Rhea nearly dies in the Church of Seiros route. The mere fact that losing Sothis hurt Rhea so much also implies closeness. However, Sothis is certainly not above being critical of Rhea, and disapproves of Byleth telling Rhea about her because they don't yet know what is going on or what the consequences could be.
    • Further, Sothis is critical of pretty much everyone, by that logic she didn't like Byleth either. Even then, she didn't seem to so much disapprove of sending the students into battle so much as stating she would feel guilty if they died. She sounded more unsure rather than disapproving. Further, she is quite pleased in the end that Byleth and the students got rid of the bandits, even though she doesn't conciously remember why Zanado is an important place to her.
    • Sothis' main desire for Byleth is for them to make their own choice, choose their own path, etc. regardless of what anyone else thinks is right, including herself. She regards the war as tragic and terrible regardless of which side Byleth chooses, and just wants to see the bloodshed end. Plus, given the tormented state Rhea ended up in if Byleth supports Edelgard, Sothis may well have wanted Byleth to put her out of her misery (Seteth remarks to Flayn on the Crimson route that he doubts there is any way to restore Rhea's sanity by that point, even if she gets her revenge).

Edelgard set up the bandits to fail to set up Jeritza as the new Black Eagles teacher.
Self-explanatory, if Edelgard really wanted Claude and Dimitri dead, she'd try harder than just one attempt. And after replaying a couple of times, there was a lot of chatter that Jeritza was supposed to be the new Professor but then just ended up becoming a fencing instructor, and considering that Jeritza is one of the few of Edelgard's people that answers to her directly, that would be a clever maneuver. Additionally, if the Bandit's goal was to kill Claude and Dimitri, then why would Edelgard follow Claude when he fled? Also recall,that Edelgard as a student must have known that the Knights of Seiros were with them during training and Kostas explicitly said that they weren't warned that the knights would be there, furthering the idea that the entire bandit ploy was meant to fail. Basically, the bandits were supposed to have attacked the students, the planned professor would have fled as stated in the game, Jeritza would have killed them, and looked like a hero.
  • Jeritza wasn't even there, though, and the reason Edelgard doesn't attempt to kill Claude and Dimitri again is because it would look too suspicious. A random bandit attack could happen once, sure. Constant bandit attacks getting into the monastery? It'd clue people in that there's a traitor somewhere. This is also probably why the bandits don't know the Knights of Seiros are there, because that information could only come from people on the mission.
  • As for why Edelgard followed Claude, the most likely answer is self-preservation. Since Kostas isn't aware she's his employer, there's nothing to stop the bandits from killing her. Sticking with a group provides more safety in numbers than fighting them alone. A darker interpretation could be that she followed them to see if she could kill them herself, since they were separated.
  • Finally, what would even be the point of making Jeritza her teacher? He already answers to her, and if he ever got outed as the Death Knight—which he did—it could bring her and her house under suspicion.

  • : 1: you just answered your own question, Jeritza answers to her, it would help put the Black Eagles under Edelgard's control, and knowing her control freak tendencies would appeal to her. And Jeritza answers to her directly and not Those Who Slither. 2: Claude mentions that the bandits attacked during a training exercise, as the fencing instructor Jeritza most likely would have been there. 3: Edelgard had no reason to pursue Claude, according to him, ALL the Bandits went after him, and Dimitri assumed Claude was acting as a decoy, and went after him, if she really wanted him and Dimitri dead, she just needed to stay back, if she wanted to kill them herself, that would lead to suspicion on her, and would make no sense, considering they made it all the way to Remire village despite Edelgard having all the chances to back stab them. Notice how angry she sounds when she mentions Claude ran off? It makes sense when you think that her plan was to have those Bandits killed wherever the training exercises happened. Her chasing after Dimitri and Claude might have been an attempt at getting the Bandits to follow her instead and back to the training location, instead of Remire village.
    • Jeritza is hardly the only instructor at the Academy. If the devs had wanted to hint at him being there, they could have just had him show up with Alois. Instead, it seems as if Alois or the to-be professor was the one overseeing the exercise. No, Claude's words are that they followed him, and THEN all the bandits came after them. Edelgard could not have stayed behind because the bandits were still there, and did not leave until all three lords fled. We also don't know how far the training ground actually is from Remire Village. Edelgard's anger makes more sense as being directed at Claude for ruining her assassination attempt, rather than moving the location of where the bandits are to be killed (why does that even matter?). And if Edelgard really wanted the bandits to follow her, she could have just split off and circled back to the training ground. No, she was running for her life, same as Claude and Dimitri.
    • Alois as an actual knight, has the duty to lock down the battlefield, if there is an actual threat to the students, as stated by Seteth, so Alois likely wouldn't let the teachers follow along. The location matters as Edelgard likely wants Jeritza to impress any authority there, as the to be professor got themselves fired because they ran in full view of at least Alois. 2: Edelgard likely wanted to circle back to the training grounds, but since they were also after Dimitri and Claude, she didn't have the chance. If it was an actual assassination attempt, Edelgard would not have chased after Claude like Dimitri did, Bandits would have chased after Claude, and Dimitri would have followed, dividing up the bandits, Edelgard is in a position to stay back, kill any bandits at the training grounds, and let the bandits do their job, but instead, Edelgard chased after Claude, when by staying back, she puts him and Dimitri in a perfect position to die in a way that leaves her free of suspicion, and chasing after Claude when he's pursued by bandits is not the action one would take if she wanted them dead? Bear in mind, this is not a post defending Edelgard, i just think hiring the bandits to prop up Jeritza is a brilliant move, and characters like Caspar assumed Jeritza would have gotten the job before Byleth showed up.

In the future of the non-Black Eagles routes, following generations will be making fun of Edelgard's height.
Like Napoleon, she was a leader and conqueror who, despite demonstrating skill and taking a considerable area, was ultimately defeated. Edelgard is also not very tall, being (if memory serves) 158cm, or about 5'3''. Overly aggressive short people in Fódlan from then on were said to have an "Edelgard Complex".
  • Historically, Napeleon earned this reputation despite being of average height, was because of different height measurements between the French and English, the English portrayed him as short to deflate his image, and the fact he tended to have taller bodyguards. Fodlan likely doesn't have a difference in measurements, Edelgard was never mocked for her height, and even in the time skip period, no one ever comments on her height in a disparaging manner. So this is kind of a stretch.

Nemesis' backstory
He was an ordinary villager with a wife and child, until they fell ill from a disease. Unable to pay for medicine and unable to secure aid from the Nabateans, he turned to banditry to survive. He stole enough to buy medicine or just stole the medicine outright, but on his way back to his village Seiros ambushed him and killed all his dudes. The injuries sustained from that fight prevented him from returning in time, and his family died. Nemesis promptly lost his shit and went on a Roaring Rampage of Revenge, culminating in the Red Canyon Tragedy.
  • Nothing in Nemesis' stated backstory indicates this. Moreover, during their final confrontation he's clearly surprised when Seiros implies she's a Nabatean, indicating he doesn't actually know anything about her as a person.

Ruler Byleth has the potential to go crazy and become a tyrant.
Think about it, Byleth was just a mercenary, and then suddenly become a teacher, and then ruler of all Fodlan in less than a decade, what proof do we have that they won't go mad with power and become like Rhea? Unlike most P Cs, Byleth wasn't trained to lead a country, just mercenaries, it's a different scale, and there is the implication on the Silver Snow ending, that Byleth has the Goddess's power and thus control over souls and the afterlife, and they've been suddenly thrust into a leadership position because everyone else is dead. Even in the other endings, they most likely will outlive their respective lord assuming they have a super long lifespan, the balance of power between Dimitri and Byleth will fade, if Dimitri dies, and the church will once more have power over Fodlan, Claude and Byleth's alliance of their nations may turn to Byleth ruling over both nations once Claude dies, and assuming Byleth still has years to live in the Crimson Flower route, will likely take over the empire since they are the strongest fighter in a meritocratic system once Edelgard dies. Even in the slides where they retire with their spouse, retirements can be temporary if the retiree can live for centuries. Will Byleth become an eternal ruler over Fodlan, broken by outliving their comrades, determination to keep the peace, and hampered by their inexperience and sudden thrust into kingship, just like Rhea?
  • Course, depending on the nature of their reforms, said reforms may help protect against such a scenario (some form of elections, democracy and such are indicated in the Blue Lions route for instance). In many cases Byleth would also still have Seteth and Flayn, sometimes Rhea (or even Sothis herself) to help keep them grounded. And being the arbiter of souls is almost certainly not a literal thing. Byleth also will often have the past example of Rhea to learn from and be willing to confide in others, as they lack the traumas that rendered Rhea so tormented and lonely for much of her life.

Crests are an alternate evolution to Dragonstones.
Sothis, Seiros and the others are dragons or dragonkin, manakates. However they never communicated with the other continents and came up with different, alternate methods of deriving their powers. Crests existed before Those Who Slither In The Dark. However, with their cruel experiments; Those Who Slither found ways to fuse crests to humans. With side effects.

Nabateans lose their ability to transform if they have children with a human.
Similarly to the Laguz. Seteth is the only Nabatean of his generation who never shows that he can transform, even in situations that should be past the Godzilla Threshold. What sets him apart? He's most likely the only of them who has a child; Rhea has severe trust issues, Indech is bad with social interactions and tends to hide at the bottom of a lake, and Macuil hates humans. He lost his power to transform around the time he had Flayn.
  • Adding to this, Seteth explicitly states he lost his ability to transform. He doesn't specify when or how, though. He does, however, seem somewhat surprised that Rhea still had the ability to transform. Make of that what you will.

Dimitri's anger is partially due to his Crest.
Dimitri definitely has trauma and quite a bit to be angry about, but part of the reason it's so bad is the influence of his Crest. The item that grants characters the Crest of Blaiddyd is called the Grim Dragon's Sign. "Grim" has an archaic meaning of anger or wrath. The German version uses the word "Grimm" for it, which is cognate to the english word and also means wrath. One effect of the Crest of Blaiddyd is amplifing the bearer's anger. Dimitri's recollection of his father's last words could have been accurate, and a sign of his Crest's influence.note 
  • Lambert definitely had a Crest. It's why his older brother Rufus was removed from the line of succession.

One of the DLC stories will reveal what exactly happened to Patricia
In the Blue Lions route, Cornelia all but confirms that Patricia did not die at Duscur as everyone believes, and is likely still alive. However, it is never revealed exactly what happened to her, other than the implications of Those who Slither in the Dark being involved. As one of the few plot hooks that gets absolutely no resolution in any route, it's prime material for a DLC story.

Sylvain needs glasses.
Sylvain ties for the second-lowest Dexterity growth, ties for the lowest base dexterity, and his only skill weakness is in bows, which requires good eyesight.

The game takes place in the far future of XCOM 2
The Ethereal "Sothis" helped build the Advent/Agartha civilisation. However the arrogant XCOM caused a rebellion, destroying Advent and causing the end of the world. The surviving Chosen, calling themselves the Children of the Goddess, helped rebuild the world. The slithers are the remnants of XCOM, with Shambala the XCOM HQ, while Byleth is Rhea's attempt to restart the Avatar project.

Edelgard was subconsciously sabotaging herself in the Blue Lions route.
To tie in with the Code Geass elements, Edelgard had a Zero Requiem planned out without realizing it. One thing that got me thinking this, was Edelgard's boss line to Dimitri in the Battle of Eagle and Lion, if one pays attention to her last line, I wonder when you’ll be able to stomach facing me in battle… Do you need a few moments? it comes off as her encouraging him to be prepared to kill her if need be, when it would be in her best interest to have Dimitri be as unwilling to fight her as possible. Edelgard not telling Dimitri she wasn't behind the Tragedy, could also be read as her fueling Dimitri's resolve to kill her. It's also interesting to note that Edelgard herself states Dimitri could have been a magnificent ruler if not for Arundel's machinations, and additionally, in her boss line with with Dimitri in the blood of the eagle and line, she actually accepts the idea of her death, but declares she will decide when it's time, this suggests Edelgard might have seen Dimitri as her successor. It also helps that Edelgard knew Byleth was on Dimitri's side, and subconsciously knew that they would pull Dimitri from his madness. This also puts Hegemon Edelgard in a different light, she had Rhea captive the entire time, she could have easily used her blood to become a more powerful beast, but doesn't, it also helps that her Hegemon form is obviously evil and would make painting her as a total villain by historians easier. I'm thinking the reason why Hegemon Edelgard is such an anti-climax is that deep down, Edelgard wants Dimitri to strike her down and become the savior king that Fodlan needs, and she has to be the villain for him to strike down to win over all of Fodlan. This also ties in with the original Rudolf, who played the role of the villain to spur Alm into becoming the hero king Rigel needed.
  • While I think Edelgard was definitely goading Dimitri into killing her in the final cutscene rather than attempting to kill him, I think some of this is a bit far-fetched. For one, Edelgard tried to tell Dimitri she wasn't behind the Tragedy, but he refused to listen, so she eventually gave up. While this is YMMV, Edelgard's line in the Battle of the Eagle and the Lion came off as mocking rather than trying to encourage him (there would be better ways to do that, since they aren't even at war yet). For Hegemon Edelgard, how do we know that wasn't the strongest beast she could become? Finally, Edelgard makes it clear in her pre-Enbarr discussion with him that she genuinely believes she's doing what's best for the world, so for her to be sabotaging herself even subconsciously doesn't fit with that. It's more likely that when she saw Dimitri triumph, she pulled a "Zero Requiem" to make it easier for him to move forward as ruler of all Fodlan, but it would be against everything in her character to be planning one all along.
  • Well on the part about Edelgard's line in the battle of the Eagle and Lion, take a look at her portrait, she looks somewhat saddened, and her boss dialogue with Byleth, she gives quite a bloodthirsty threat to them, but admits she was trying to rouse their spirits for battle sheepishly, so it's not too much of a stretch she was trying to subtly prepare Dimitri and Byleth to kill her if need be, she just has a weird way to coping, as her famous get well soon speech to Byleth after Jeralt dies can attest to. As for her not continuing to tell Dimitri she wasn't behind the tragedy, it just seems strange to me that a control freak like Edelgard would just give up on trying to stop a threat to her like that so easily, like if she convinces him she wasn't responsible, then he loses a significant amount of hatred of her, and thus reason to kill her. And for the last point, the BE makes it clear, despite willing to crush anyone for her ambitions, she does regret it has to come to bloodshed, even if she's willing to do it, so it's not hard to see that Edelgard had Dimitri winning as a back up plan, should she fail, she knows Dimitri's character, and thus, knows he would be a worthy successor, because one could view her abdicating the throne as a sort of, no place for me there scenario.

Each Lord's future Fodlan.
Now as we all know, the three lords have their own policies and vision for the Continent, and i think it would be interesting to imagine a modern Fodlan where each of the lord's won and their ideals prevail.

Dimitri: Fodlan is a peaceful Arcadia, where people live in harmony under the holy kingdom and the Church. The Church in particular has been reformed to be a much more benevolent organization that takes more active steps in charity work and stamping out corruption, with trials being held instead of immediate executions, and the leadership are much more in tune with the people. The Kingdom's lands have been healed with cooperation from the defeated mages of the Empire, and now are a much more bountiful land. A monarchy still exists and the Archbishop still has significant power, but the voices of both nobility and commoners are heard and have a say in major decisions. Crests still exists and elevate one to the top of society but the Church and Kingdom emphasis more on treating crestless with love and have laws to prevent future incidents like Miklan, where they would have some inheritance in order to keep them from feelin alienated.

Edelgard: Fodlan is a solar punk continent thanks to Edelgard reverse engineering technology from the Agarthans after their defeat, symbolizing mankind has moved on from it's past and forged a bright future free from the manipulations of both the Agarthans and the Church. And merit rules all but the masses are given much more tools and education to rise to their fullest potential, Hanneman's crest invention combined with the tech of the Agarthans have given the people access to crests, giving rise to a superpowered Fodlan. The Emperor is decided by their competence, leadership, contributions to society, and character. The current nobility system has been reformed to prevent corruption, and acts as a check and balance to the Emperor's power to prevent corruption.

Claude: Fodlan is a melting pot of culture, it's foreigners and immigrants do not assimilate into the continent include their own cultures. With an exchange of cultures and ideas, industrialization and trade have taken off and Fodlan is in a more steam punk era of advancement. Fodlan and it's surrounding neighbors are part of a coalition of nations that governs itself, but with the well-being of the collective in mind thanks to Claude and Byleth's actions and alliance setting precedence for future nations.

Several characters were supposed to be Gay Options, but were cut late into development.
  • Ashe: His S-rank artwork does not show Byleth (just her hand), and his confession does not make any reference to Byleth's gender. He's also Ambiguously Bi towards Dedue.
  • Annette: Similar reasons as Ashe, except replace "Dedue" with "Mercedes." This is also one of the few supports where Byleth actually "speaks" unprompted.

If the "cavalier quartet" was encountered later, they would all be different master classes.
  • Sylvain: Great Knight. This is actually his canonical master class, as he shows up as one if not recruited on the penultimate chapter of Crimson Flower. He can also request to be trained as a Great Knight.
  • Leonie: Bow Knight. Her proficencies line up perfectly for the class, and she can request to be trained as a Bow Knight during the academy phase.
  • Lorenz: Dark Knight, for the same reasons as Leonie and Bow Knight.
  • Ferdinand: Holy Knight. Given that he's the Token Religious Teammate of the Black Eagles, this makes sense, and it would fit the Knight in Shining Armor image he tries to project.

Byleth was supposed to regain their original hair color on the Silver Snow route unless they romanced Rhea.
Among the S-Support CGs, including the ones rendered inaccessible in the final game, the only characters whose pictures explicitly have Byleth with their Sothis-fusion hair color seem to be Claude, Dimitri and Dedue - all of whom happen to be characters who can't follow a Black Eagles-aligned Byleth regardless of which side you take on that playthrough due to them being locked to other houses. The rest of the CGs are either first-person or come in two versions (Jeritza was patched in after the release and is exclusive to Crimson Flower anyway).
Thus, it's possible that Byleth was meant to lose Sothis's "makeover" unless Rhea survived that route. Not only would this reinforce the In Spite of a Nail situation between Crimson Flower and Silver Snow, it would also provide a second route where Byleth gets Brought Down to Normal. To some players, part of the appeal of Crimson Flower is having Byleth freed from their ambiguously Nabatean nature they didn't ask for, so it bizzarely would be logical (given how much this game relies on Grey and Gray Morality) for its counterpart to provide the same outcome for balance purposes. The fact that saving Rhea requires S-Supporting her would make that outcome the "default" one. Still doesn't explain the exact mechanics, however.

A future update/DLC will add supports for some existing characters without making them playable.
Potential options:
  • Jeralt: Despite his unavoidable Plotline Death in Part 1, Jeralt remains at the monastery long enough to possibly have a C/B rank support with Byleth. He doesn't have to actually be recruitable as a unit, but he has Dummied Out tea time lines, can train Byleth, and those Red Herring support points from conversations could be made real. Giving him a support chain would help him stand out less in terms of "something's totally gonna happen to this guy", and could be a good opportunity to reveal some more information on Byleth and their mother.
  • Sothis: Sothis is a really weird case, because she has no support chain, yet building up enough points with her lets you S-support her. The main issue with her is that unlike Rhea she can't be showered with gifts or train you, but she could simply require less points to progress through the ranks or even have them unlock automatically based on how far you're into the plot. While she could possibly be made playable in a side story (which doesn't have to be a new route, just something akin to a multi-chapter paralogue accessible in Part 1), it would also be interesting to see her interact with Byleth outside of her usual commentary.
  • Judith and Rodrigue. The former would really benefit from being made fully playable for a few chapters, as the Golden Deer house lacks unique party members when the other two houses have a pair each (Hubert and Jeritza for Black Eagles, Dedue and Gilbert for Blue Lions). The latter is locked out of playability for plot reasons, but like with Jeralt his lack of interactions makes him stick out like a sore thumb (he doesn't even bother being an ally unit anymore after he returns to the monastery in Part 2).
Speaking of supports, a few of the existing support chains look like they could use another rank or two because of how abruptly they stop. Not necessarily to the point of new paired endings (characters having limited pairing options is a good thing, the pairings have to make sense), but on the level of C+/B+ ranks. It's entirely possible that some of the planned ranks were cut at some point during development, and thus they could be re-added via an update.

Ferdinand kills his father if not recruited on Azure Moon or Verdant Wind.
Given that he stays with Edelgard despite her disposing of his father and his willingness to die rather than surrender the bridge to the Kingdom/Alliance forces, he probably learns one way or the other that Duke Aegir handed over Edelgard and her siblings to be experimented on. He can't stomach this, and murders his father as a result.

The 1st and 2nd battles at Gronder Field between the Empire, Kingdom and Alliance were planned very early in development.
Back when the developers hadn’t even set in stone how the post timeskip would play out, it was planned that 2 battles would happen between the titular Three Houses in Gronder Field for all routes. One would happen during the Academy Phase (Part 1) and the other in the War Phase (Part 2), and each one would get a cutscene where Byleth would be framed in such a way they could be siding with any of the 3 armies. This would go a long way in explaining how in the final game, not only the first battle works perfectly in all routes since it's a huge mock battle, the execution of the second one by comparison feels very contrived on the Azure Moon and Verdant Wind routes while in the Crimson Flower route the battle simply never ends up happening.

  • In the case of the former, the Alliance and Kingdom have no reason to fight against each other story wise when they both have a common enemy in the Empire, and the only reason they end up doing so is because there’s Fog of War (which is never translated into gameplay even though Fodlan’s Locker map shows it’s possible to add fog without obstructing the player), Edelgard blasts fireballs against each side to create confusion and, only in Dimitri’s route, Claude happens to grab the Idiot Ball at the worst possible time.
  • Meanwhile, in the latter’s case, Crimson Flower shakes the standard status quo of the War Phase by not only making Edelgard not use Demonic Beasts and slitherer goons in her main ranks, Dimitri also never becomes Ax-Crazy after the timeskip, and both of these elements ''are shown'' during the cutscene leading to the battle in the other routes. Add up the theory that Crimson Flower was added/finished late into development, and it becomes likely the battle was cut as it would require a unique cutscene for the route which, due to budget and time constrains, the devs weren’t able to afford.
I didn’t mention Silver Snow in all this because in hindsight, it’s the only route where it makes sense story wise for Byleth and his army to not participate in it. Unlike the other routes, the Church of Seiros is practically on it’s own and attempting to get involved into the battle in such state would be borderline suicidal for all involved.
  • Quite likely. Though Verdant Wind is, somewhat ironically (being a "neutral" path and all), the only route where Gronder Field II actually makes sense; it's still contrived, but it's much easier to justify fighting Dimitri (who is Ax-Crazy and is willing to fight anyone he sees as an obstacle) than fighting Claude.
    The Black Eagles paths not having the battle is an interesting matter:
    - Silver Snow, if I recall correctly, straight up skips the entire month and goes directly to the next chapter without even attempting to fill the gap with anything, which for a route that is essentially cloned from Verdant Wind (and Azure Moon only strays from the same scenario due to adding two extra chapters between Gronder II and Fort Merceus, both of which use maps that also appear on Crimson Flower) is an unfortunate decision that suggests it was added late enough that coming up with a unique chapter was out of the question.
    - Personally, I have serious issues with the idea that Crimson Flower cut Gronder II because of its intro cinematic being rendered unusable on it. This is the route that didn't even bother with an animated reunion cutscene. It could've left the map itself in, heck, it would've been interesting to play it from the Empire's perspective as it takes place in their territory (so same map objective, but framed as a defense mission). No, the reason it doesn't happen on Crimson Flower is because the final battle of that route takes place in the Kingdom while the Alliance was destroyed almost immediately. Which raises questions of how much of each route was planned ahead.
    There is also some... interesting context surrounding that battle. On Verdant Wind, Dimitri dies offscreen directly afterwards, which solves the issue of somehow needing to get Faerghus out of the picture on a route where you're technically on the side of their allies. That event is actually referenced in Dimitri's dialogue on Azure Moon where he muses what his fate would've been without Byleth by his side. Even more interestingly, on Crimson Flower he still dies in Chapter 17, just under different circumstances. On Azure Moon, however, that map is primarily used as an explanation for why you have to save Claude two chapters later (as the Alliance is in no condition to fight off the Imperial Army on its own) and to set up the event that results in Dimitri abandoning his revenge quest. While it wouldn't make sense for Claude to suffer the same fate on Azure Moon as Dimitri does on Verdant Wind, it's still odd that this route's version of the battle is the only one with all three Lords explicitly surviving it. And Silver Snow notably still has the battle happen, entirely offscreen, for seemingly no reason other than to conveniently get rid of both of the friendly countries.
    Crimson Flower, for the most part, messed itself up simply by being a Perspective Flip. Because the only way to pull it off while still having Garreg Mach as the main base was having Rhea remain free, and there's only one country that would willingly give her shelter. While this works as an interesting mirror of Azure Moon (where the final battle takes place in Enbarr thanks to El being promoted to the Final Boss), it also required a completely different scenario, and Gronder II just happened to not fit into it.

  • I was checking the Nintendo Dream's interview regarding the game when I noticed something interesting Kusakihara mentioned regarding the game in general, which raises the possibility the Second Gronder Battle might've never been planned to happen in all four routes to begin with:

    Kusakihara:I tried to set up a little prank where you go through the game once, really feel what the world has to offer, then share your experiences with someone else and go, “Wait, we played the same game, so why are we talking about two totally different things?” For instance, I thought it’d be interesting if even if you pick the same house, your stories might differ based on the characters you recruited, or you’d get excited and say, “I didn’t see that scene...

Future DLC will show Cichol and Cethleann's dragon forms and Indech and Macuil's human forms

It's pretty unlikely that we will get to use Seteth and Flayn as Manaketes, or be able to use Indech and Macuil at all, but it would be nice to see them as flashbacks. It would round out their characters, especially since we don't know a lot about the latter two

Sitri was frail because she was incompatible with the Crest Stone.

If only because, unless I missed it or I’m completely blanking, the game never confirms it. But given that the Crest Stone served as Sitri’s heart and she was incompatible with it, she was essentially born with a heart condition.

Wilhelm was a False Friend to Rhea.
He played the part of the supportive friend to her face to get her help in overthrowing Nemesis and becoming the ruler of Fódlan, but privately saw her as just a monster. He wanted to get rid of her himself, but never got the opportunity during his lifetime. The royal family being taught a version of history that blames everything on the Nabateans came from his view on them, even though he got all the political power from the war.
  • What's strange is that the information Edelgard relates actually paints Wilhelm as a traitor to the human race and her family as willing puppets of Seiros for centuries.
  • Jossed, Cindered Shadows revealed they were lovers, and Wilhelm did actions that benefited the Church. In fact, the DLC actually implies that Rhea really was the shadow ruler of Fodlan.
  • Not Jossed. The "revelation" in Cindered Shadows that they were lovers was stated in-universe to be a passage from a novel written at an unknown date. Historical fiction often takes liscense with history in the name of making a better narative.

The Four Apostles fought against Nemesis in the War of Heroes with weapons he had given them
Judging by a memoir found in Abyss that seems to have been written by one of the Ten Elites (or Maurice), Seiros and her followers were pretty adamant about killing them as the war turned in their favor (albeit their followers and children were guaranteed safety). So then why were the Four Apostles not judged the same way? That is, given they seem to have been human, and had Hero's Relics, they could have been seen as complicit with Nemesis as the Ten Elites were. So then, perhaps they were instead people who were suspicious of Nemesis' offer of power, and after accepting a relic from him they were able to figure out some part of the truth at least and turned themselves over to Seiros, perhaps offering their allegiance in exchange for mercy, or perhaps Seiros was not as angry with them as they had not actually used her people's bodies to wage war against her. Either way, perhaps their desire to make amends was so strong that they offered their blood to try to resurrect Sothis, and Seiros was touched enough that she let them go even though the ritual failed.

Constance has porphyria, exacerbated by inbreeding.
The reason she becomes so withdrawn in direct sunlight is that the sun is literally burning her skin, but she's so focused on grace and poise that she keeps it cool, becoming depressed because she's not comfortable and because most of her mental energy is focused on ignoring the pain.

Aelfric is a Take That! to a certain subset of the fandom
He is obsessively in love with someone he can never have, makes a misguided effort to change that at the expense of others and refuses to listen to everyone telling him that his delusions are impossible. Sound familiar? It's the way Japanese Otaku act out towards the idols and 2d characters that they worship. Hell, it wouldn't even be the first time the series tackled this subject matter. Many Japanese creators have expressed disdain for these types of fans, and there are countless pieces of media criticizing their behavior. Alternatively, he could be a jab at fans who want remakes of older Fire Emblem games (such as Binding Blade and Genealogy of the Holy War) with an Avatar character inserted into existing plots and relationships where they don't belong.

Edelgard’s Heroes Relic was originally the Relic of Timotheos, but modified by Those Who Slither In The Dark.
Edelgard’s relic was custom made for her, or at the very least not originally Seiros’ relic since she’s still alive. So a couple pieces of evidence from the main game and “Cindered Shadows” can suggest who it belongs to.
  • First, the story line: Aymr can only be repaired with the use of Agarthium, unlike the other weapons. In the “Verdant Wind” storyline, the Dark Creator’s Sword is made with Noa and Timotheos’ crest stones, which imply that the possible correlating relics have been lost.
  • Further evidence is shown in the Ashen Wolves DLC. While Yuri (Aubin’s Crest) and Balthus (Chevalier’ Crest) had heroes relics, Constance and Hapi don’t have any, and they have the relic’s of Noa and Timotheos respectively. Also, Hapi notably has a proficiency in Axes, which is out of place for being a magic user, but also the weapon that Aymr is, possibly meaning that the axe was suppose to be hers.
  • If the above holds true then it’s highly likely that to help Edelgard, TWSITD got their hands on Aymr and reconstructed it for her, while using it’s crest stone for their own purposes.

Post-game, Edelgard's explanation for what happened at Fhirdiad at the end of Crimson Flower will be disbelieved by many people.
"My enemy lit her own city on fire and then turned into a giant monster so I had to kill her" would probably sound to Edelgard's enemies like she's just trying to posthumously demonize Rhea and shift blame for the resulting death and destruction.
  • Course, at the very least they would have Rhea's draconic corpse as evidence (unlike demonic beasts, Nabatean bodies do not disintegrate after death), assuming Edelgard would preserve or show any of it.
  • True, but there won't be much direct evidence that it's Rhea. People have built revisionist histories off of less ambiguity.

Fodlan wasn't held back from the rest of the world regarding technological progress, rather it was kept from getting too far ahead of the rest of the world.
The Nintendo Dream interview describes the reason for Rhea and company banning various technologies was because (among other things) progress was happening "too fast." So perhaps some factor unique to Fodlan (like the Agarthan civilization that developed due to Sothis and Nabatea giving them knowledge) enabled them to develop many things well ahead of when they would have otherwise, and after what happened with Agartha, the Nabatea decided that such rapid progress was too dangerous and needed to be slowed down. This is also supported by how even in the present day no character from outside Fodlan makes any indication that the technology of Fodlan is more primitive. Instead they seem roughly equal, despite Rhea having no influence on them and their development presumably having been at a normal rate.

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