A datamined World of Warcraft cinematic has shone a light on Sylvanas - and teased a significant storyline development for the controversial villain.
THERE MAY BE SPOILERS AHEAD.
As Wowhead reports, the cinematic shows Sylvanas troubled by a difficult choice that hints at a potential redemption for the veteran Warcraft baddie.
The cinematic kicks off with the Jailer ordering Sylvanas to turn the captive Anduin to the dark side, while reforging what appears to be Shalamayne, Varian Wrynn's weapon.
Sylvanas approaches Anduin and gives him a choice: willingly join the bad guys' cause, or be forced to. Anduin, who points out this isn't much of a choice at all, realises "it's the choice you never had".
"Despite all your grand designs, there's still some shred of your mortality haunting you. As if the Banshee Queen hasn't entirely eclipsed the Ranger-General," Anduin says.
Then: "Now I understand why you brought me here. Why you tried so hard to persuade me. Because if you can get me to let go of hope, you finally can too."
Mirroring Warcraft's famous Arthas wielding Frostmourne pose, Sylvanas points her sword at Anduin. But she is wavering. "I've not come this far to falter now," she says. "Then why do you hesitate?" Anduin replies. "Make your choice, Sylvanas Windrunner."
That's where the cinematic ends. Could Sylvanas be on a redemption arc? Or will she force Anduin to the cause? What happens next is currently a hot topic within the World of Warcraft community, which has for some time now questioned developer Blizzard's decision-making when it comes to Sylvanas' storyline and character development.
Cast your mind back to 2018, when in World of Warcraft Sylvanas was on a genocidal rampage that caused a schism in the Horde. Some fans were miffed Blizzard was turning yet another Horde leader into Warcraft's big baddie. We later chatted to Blizzard about its masterplan for the character, with creative director Alex Afrasiabi telling us: "there's a lot more to Sylvanas' story that hasn't been told yet."
Two years later and we still don't know what Sylvanas' endgame is. Shadowlands kicked off with players chasing her through the veil into the afterlife. Sylvanas has a number of war crimes under her belt. Can any redemption - if it happens - be believable?