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WMG / Middle-earth: Shadow of War

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Talion is going to be the next Sauron.
As said in the main page, another ring of power will create another Sauron. The game will show the progress of Talion trying to defeat Sauron and succeeding, but since power corrupts Talion will be corrupted by the ring's power and just replace Sauron as another tyrant.
  • Jossed. Talion has a Heel Realization and rebels against Celebrimbor, who is the one that goes off in the deep end and literally becomes one with Sauron when they fuse together and become the Eye of Sauron. Incidentally, Talion becomes a Ringwraith instead.

Talion and the wraith are no longer connected.
Talion's eyes glow a light blue whenever the wraith controls him, and glow yellow when tainted by the power of the One Ring. At the end of the trailer, his eyes are brown; their natural color. And his last words are: "Wraith! I'm coming for you." And we never saw the wraith return to Talion. Instead, becoming or being engulfed by the smoke stuff.
  • Unlikely. The gameplay trailer shows Celebrimbor still reaching out of Talion, and in fact more independent than ever (he can even leap out of Talion briefly to synchronize kills).
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  • The gameplay trailer was noted to be far into the game, with their combined abilities plus the new Ring of Power; perhaps forging the Ring of Power is done in the beginning (or near so), then some sorcery takes Celebrimbor away, and Talion (likely not dying due to the New Ring's power) vows to get him back... and later does.
  • Shelob stole the Ring. Make of that what you will.
  • In the actual story, Shelob kidnaps Celebrimbor shortly after the Ring's creation, requiring Talion to wear it in order to survive. She holds the Elf-lord hostage so Talion can hand over the Ring in return of him. Its not until the end of Act I that Shelob willingly returns the ring to them.
  • Confirmed. Celebrimbor decides Eltariel is "trading up" and discards Talion like a wet sack of socks.

It will be revealed that Talion coming to be a rebel against Sauron was all according to plan.
Sauron is really intelligent when his ego and temper aren't getting in the way, and Celebrimbor is the kind of power-hungry "hero" he understands. In truth, Sauron wanted Talion to have another Ring of Power, as his reliance on it will turn out to be exactly like the
other nine kings who had Rings of their own. Talion weeds out the weaklings, and then his competence as a commander and Orcish legion will be added to the Nazgul. This, of course, will backfire because Sauron doesn't understand there is more to Talion than vengefulness, but it will turn out he's completely a nobody to the Fellowship of the Ring (at most, it will turn out that Talion's army decided they liked him better and desert Sauron, leading to a much easier quest than it otherwise would be for the Fellowship).
  • Wait... so it's the Tolkein equivalent of Equilibrium?
  • Jossed, though Talion does rebel as long as he can as a Ringwraith.

Your Warchiefs can betray you because Sauron calls them back to the dark side.
During his boss battle in The Bright Lord, it was shown that he can cancel your brainwashing in a second if he feels like it. This time, rather than letting Talion run amok, he has decided to take active steps in preventing his entire army from 're-election'. The reason he can't do it to all your Warchiefs at once? He's too far away.
  • Confirmed. The Relationship Values meter affects whether Talion's hold on an Orc's loyalty is strong enough to resist Sauron's call.

Lithariel and Marwen will return.
Their ultimate fates were left hanging in the first game, as their base is found raided but nobody is found. They will make an appearance in the next game.
  • Jossed.

Ratbag will return!
More seriously, he was such an Ensemble Dark Horse that he ends up being the first Uruk revived and given a Dark Curse by Sauron, serving as the tutorial boss for the Curse mechanic.
  • Alternatively, Az-laar will get a role similar to Ratbag once the game releases, and will just like ratbag in the first game reveal a gameplay mechanic and then be killed off to make room for the normal gameplay.
  • Surprisingly, he does come back though in his normal and friendly self. Turns out he was merely knocked out by the Hammer instead of killed off.

There will be a Karma Meter that likely effects the ending.
Based on how much you rely on the New Ring or creating genuine relations with your minions. Bad ending: Talion becomes the next Sauron, or Celebrimbor gains enough power to be the Bright Lord on his own..
  • Jossed.

At start-of-game, the New Ring won't be at full power.
In order to avoid immediately having a God-Mode, and perhaps sync with Bag of Spilling, the New Ring will start off with one/a few small-ish abilities, or perhaps just a simple power boost. Overtime though, as we grow our army and/or unlock abilities for it in the skill tree (or even both), then it starts becoming more in-line with how Celebrimbor used the One Ring in The Bright Lord DLC.
  • Semi-Jossed. The ring is taken from them, but you still have to level up to get some new powers.

Talion will fall victim to The Dark Side Will Make You Forget.
There's already signs of it in the ending to Shadow Of Mordor, seeing as Talion chooses to remain in Middle-Earth to forge a new ring and fight Sauron, even though he has already killed the Black Hand, thus fulfilling his original goal of avenging his family. Plus he would be within his rights to not want anything more to do with Celebrimbor, seeing as how he was the reason Talion was kept from death (and his family) in the first place, but he's sticking around anyway. As for this game, anyone's who's familiar with Tolkien lore knows how trying to use a ring of power, for any reason, will corrupt you (as has already been discussed here). Pretty easy to see how Talion could lose sight of who he is, and why he originally started this path.
  • Half-confirmed He holds on to his morals longer than Celebrimbor, even after he becomes a Ringwraith during the post-game Shadow Wars mode, where he dedicates himself to resist Sauron's counter-offensive to reclaim Mordor... Until he too succumbs and becomes one of Sauron's minions.

Talion will jump into Mt. Doom.
Alternatively, Talion will give both Sauron and Celebrimbor a middle finger and destroy the Ring by jumping into Mt. Doom, with the nice side effect of allowing him to join his family in death, which is what he wanted in the first place.
  • The Bright Lord DLC has Galadriel telling Celebrimbor that only with the One Ring's destruction will he be freed from being a wraith and allowed to join his family in death. It could be Talion finally convincing Celebrimbor to do it.
  • Jossed. Celebrimbor abandons Talion and attempts to fight Sauron using Eltariel as a host. Sauron cuts the New Ring from their hand and consumes Celebrimbor, but Eltariel survives and takes the Ring with her. Talion takes Isildur's Ring and becomes a Nazgul (though he resists Sauron as best as he can for many years), and is (eventually) freed to rejoin his family when the One Ring is destroyed.

In the "Good Ending", Talion sacrifices himself and Celebrimbor to end the Rings once and for all... and then his improved, souped up, Power of Friendship developed Uruk-And-Troll army takes over anyway
Because Talion leveled them up, and taught them how to siege, and dominated them so they would truly learn the meaning of friendship instead of constantly backstabbing each other every five seconds, they were able to take over Middle Earth without a dark lord. Talion And Celebrimbor, Destroyers of Worlds!
  • Jossed. The Golden Ending shows Talion joining the Nine and none of his armies play a significant role in the story. They do show Talion being killed when Gollum destroys the One Ring at the end of Return of the King.

The woman in black is Ungoliant or at least related to her
In the story trailer, we see Talion confront a giant spider who seemingly transforms itself into a pale-skinned woman in a black dress. This could very well be the Primeval Night herself, Ungoliant, or at the very least, one of her daughters.
  • Half-confirmed. The woman is Shelob, Ungoliant's daughter.
    • For Want of a Nail because of the changes in this timeline, Shelob has discovered a "spark" of her inheritance via Ungoliant. It is Ungoliant's power awakened in Shelob.

Late in the game, Talion battles Celebrimbor - with Talion owning the New Ring and Celebrimbor having taken the One Ring for himself
With Celebrimbor taking Talion's branded Uruks and allies from him, and he must muster his own army to face off against him — with Sauron waiting to pounce on the depleted victor.
  • Partially Jossed. Talion and Celebrimbor sever their alliance, but the two never fight each other. Talion does indeed need to muster his army to fight against Sauron, who has fused with Celebrimbor in the end.

When Shelob says "the Great Deceiver shall pay!", she's not referring to Sauron.
She's referring to Celebrimbor.
  • Jossed in Shelob's final cinematic where it's very clear she's enraged beyond being able to keep her form together with Sauron. Notably, it's different and more personal than the prior explanation (Shelob feeding orcs to her spawn) for why they were at odds.

Shelob Knows Exactly What Celebrimbor Is Up To And What His Fate Is But Is Careful Not to Say
We know she can show accurate visions of the future and several of her remarks have a sharp irony in hindsight. She remarks that Celebrimbor lacks vision beyond confronting Sauron while offsetting that with the fate of Middle Earth (Celebrimbor is blinded by a desire to supplant Sauron), that "he and Sauron are one" (guess what happens to him...) and when Celebrimbor snaps that "She is not our ally," Shelob is quick to reply "Certainly not of yours" (foreshadowing that Talion's and Celebrimbor's desires are no longer in line). She also later (if you take her at her word and she doesn't seem to lie) confirms some of this when pulling Talion back from death. Why not do more up front? Shelob wants revenge against Sauron and if Talion/Celebrimbor/Eltarial blows up too soon, she'll never get it.

And then it goes nuclear and everyone dies.Because why the hell not? It would make an awesome Dark Side ending

Shelob's attractiveness didn't seduce Talion. Her magic did.
In the intro, when Shelob exchanges the ring for Celebrimbor, she changes into her humanoid form, no doubt to "entice" Talion. However, Talion already turned down Lithariel with only minimal persuasion from Celebrimbor, plus it's clear from the opening cutscene that he still misses Ioreth. While Shelob might be better-looking than either of them, it's clear that Talion still has some degree of self-control. However, Shelob also has something to fall back on when her appearance fails: mind control, or some form of mental manipulation. If she's as powerful as the game portrays, it isn't too far of a stretch to imagine that she's capable of her own form of branding....
  • Jossed. Her motivation is vengeance against Sauron, and doesn't need to convince Talion of that.

Talion was the Nazgul on the Fell-Beast in the movie only confrontation with Frodo at Osgiliath.
Frodo's being charmed by the One Ring; the Nazgul seems to be aware of it; they're interrupted never comes up again. We know there's enough goodness in Nazgul-ified Talion, even though he obeys Sauron without hesitation (trying to grab Frodo); he still goes to the happy afterlife in the end. His last act of rebellion, not actively telling Sauron about this.

Eltariel's DLC will be her stand-alone adventure
Specifically its set after the final boss and takes place simultaneously with Act IV. Her final fate will be explained and she will likely survive to let everyone know about Talion's sacrifice in holding back the forces of darkness for decades.
  • It will also explain what happened to the New Ring after it was cut from her hand.
  • Confirmed.

The original Nine Nazgul did not include Isildur
However, he was a replacement.

From this game, we know it is possible for a Nazgul to be permanently killed, but it seems to require the killer possessing a Ring of Power of their own. Isildur, who held the One Ring itself, the most powerful of the Twenty Great Rings and master of the Nine Rings of Men, was probably more than capable of destroying Ringwraiths. At some point during his reign as King of Gondor, he may have run into one of the Nazgul seeking its master's Ring and obliterated it, but neglected to (or perhaps couldn't) destroy the wraith's ring, which was probably recovered by one of its brethren. After his death... well, the Nine had a slot open for a newcomer, and Sauron is definitely the sort for Ironic Hell punishments, especially when it comes to the man who humiliated him in his moment of triumph and paraded his Ring around as the ultimate war trophy.

Shelob took Frodo deliberately to engineer the One Ring's destruction.
No one can willingly and intentionally destroy the One. Like how she made agents in Shadow of War be at just the right place and time using her seer powers. She took Frodo at the right moment so that Frodo would be strong enough to get to Mount Doom, but not strong enough to beat Gollum.

Celebrimdor's motives for branding Isildur
It was an experiment to gauge the full power of the New Ring. It's well known that the Nine Rings of Men are the most strongly connected to the One Ring, as it controls those who possess them and binds them to the will of its own master, Sauron. Celebrimbor probably wanted to test if he could successfully dominate someone so deeply connected to Sauron. He may have even wanted to dominate all of the Nazgul before facing Sauron, using the psychological warfare of pitting the Dark Lord against his most treasured and loyal lieutenants. Seeing the Nazgul broken and stripped of the Great Rings that once bound them likely would've gone a long way towards dominating Sauron himself, since it would plant the seeds of fear and doubt into his mind, that maybe even he, one of the Maiar, might be vulnerable to this 'mere' High Elf spirit and his New Ring. One can't deny that having both the Dark Lord and all nine of his greatest champions at his disposal would've made Celebrimbor extremely powerful and dangerous.

In relation to the above; Permanently Dominating Sauron is impossible
Celebrimbor is a powerful Elf spirit, but he's still just an Elvish Soul, while Sauron is Maiar. The ending of their fight and Celebrimbor's attempt to brand him only to be caught off guard and maimed seems to solidify that. Although I can't explain what Shelob's vision may have meant since she saw the opposite.
  • Sauron may be Maiar, but he also poured most of his power into the One Ring, which is still missing as far as he knows. Dominating him in his weakened state isn't that far-fetched, any more than dominating Tar-Goroth would be. As for why it didn't work this time, my take on it is that the New Ring contains not only Celebrimbor's life force but some of Talion's, as well, so when one of them is out of the picture, it weakens the other. (Celebrimbor + Talion + New Ring) could dominate (Sauron - One Ring) permanently, but take Talion out of the equation and it's a toss-up. Celebrimbor may have needed Talion a lot more than his arrogance would let him admit.
    • Confirmed: Shelob says that if Talion had stayed with Celebrimbor they would have branded him successfuly, and Sauron himself will say that "abandonning the Ranger was a mistake" during his Boss Fight

In Eltariel's DLC, Galadriel isn't Galadriel; it's really Celebrimbor deceiving her.
  • Galadriel is remarkably out of character in the DLC, being stern, abrupt, condescending, and seems to be cajoling Eltariel at some points.
  • First and foremost, she outright orders one of her most loyal underlings to exploit the New Ring, when she was wise enough to reject the lure of the One Ring in the main trilogy.
  • She demands Talion's murder when he is at his most weak and vulnerable without any remorse or sorrow in her voice, showing remarkable callowness that's very unlike her.
  • She even repeats one of Celebrimbor's lines word-for-word should Eltariel die too often; "Then perhaps you should stop dying".
  • If you look closely enough in the intro cutscene, you can see that she's wearing armor with a striking resemblance to Celebrimbor's in place of the dress she's been seen wearing in every other appearance throughout the franchise.

The next game in the series, if there is one, will focus on the conclusion of Celebrimbor's story after the films.
  • But, the Central Theme will be what happens to people and cultures who've known and/or specialized in war for as long as they can remember. The Orcs and Ologs will have no idea what to do now that Sauron is really gone for good, maybe trying to contact/revive him, maybe finally trying some primitive kind of diplomacy. Even the other races will have a lot of hostilities and compromises in the aftermath of the universal Big Bad's final death.
    • Sounds good. How about "Middle-Earth: Shadow of the Ring" for the title?

Bruz enslaved Ratbag and Ranger.
  • Which is why both hate his guts, and how Ratbag rescued Ranger; he somehow freed himself and freed Ranger too.

The Next Game will be about Ratbag taking what's left of Sauron's Forces and trying to survive.
  • Ratbag, and probably Ranger and maybe even Forthog, will gather what's left of Sauron's forces (Uruks, Ologs, Trolls, Wargs, etc.) taking place After Return of the King And take them somewhere uninhabited, or perhaps more extremely, to a new continent, to try and prevent them from going extinct. The game might be called 'Shadow of Ratbag'.

Castamir thought the bargaining with the Witch-King was a good idea because he used the Palantir
  • You know how those things are, everyone who uses them falls under sway of Sauron. Castamir was probably no different than Denethor, and probably used the Palantir for the same reasons.

Talion was the Black Rider who talked to Hamfast Gamgee
  • In Fellowship one of the Black Riders asks Sam's dad Frodo's whereabouts, Hamfast tells him Frodo's not there, and the Rider leaves without a fuss. That rider was Talion, who left without doing anything to the gaffer because he still had a sliver of his humanity in him.

If there is a third game, Gandalf will be involved.
  • Why? Because he has one of the three elven rings, Narya, which was made by Celebrimbor. The books give a two-year gap between the fall of Barad-dur and Gandalf's departure with the other ring-bearers for the Grey Havens. The film continuity seems to expand this gap even further, giving plenty of time for Gandalf to have one more adventure to find out why his ring still has power after the One has been destroyed.

Eltariel will be a villain in the third game.
  • The Dark Eltariel skin, which has Galadriel's "You will wear the New Ring. You will finish what you started." quote as its description, all but confirms Eltariel is being corrupted by the New Ring, just as Sauron's rings have corrupted men in the past. This will almost certainly lead to her becoming Celebrimbor's Dragon.