40K: Predictions for Guilliman’s Return

Roboute Guilliman is back and he makes it to Terra – So what happens now?

We learned yesterday that the Primarch of the Ultramarines is going to make it to Terra and have a “soul crushing” experience at the seat of the Imperium. So let’s unpack that a bit a based on what we know so far.

image via miniwars

Guilliman might not be as angry as we initially thought. However, he sounds…disappointed. On top of that it looks like he’s traveling to Terra with Yvraine (which means the Aeldari Triumvirate & based on the story so far we can also assume Cawl, Greyfax and St. Celestine) Cypher (& Fallen?), and the Grey Knights. So basically a Trio of Triumvirates! Now, I’m not 100% sure that the forces on Terra would permit the “Filthy Xenos” to step on Holy Terra so maybe they part ways somewhere along the way…but for the sake of argument let’s assume all Three Triumvirates make to at least Terra.

So what happens next?

Get your tinfoil hats on because it’s time for pure speculation and conspiracy theory time!

I think there are a few ways this could go so let’s paint this picture with some broad strokes.

Everything is fine, We’re fine…How are you?

Guilliman and Co. land on Holy Terra having just fought their way from Macragge to Terra. They make their way to the Imperial Palace and they just let him waltz right up to the throne room and he goes in. At which point he has this “soul crushing” experience. Maybe it’s just the realization that the Imperium is a mess and the Emperor has become more than just his “father” – this is the “happy” scenario after-all. Guilliman assumes control of the Imperium and all is well! There is a new alliance with the Aeldari, the Imperium now has a “new” leader that pretty much no-one can argue against, and things are looking a little less “Grim” in the Grim-Dark.

Son, I Am Disappoint

Guilliman makes it to the throne room (same as before) but has a long (probably psychic) chat with his father. This is that “soul crushing” experience that was mentioned. The repercussions of this chat are that Guilliman has new orders from father and they are to clean house. He is to usher in a new age of “For Science!” attitude and get rid of all this bureaucracy that has sprung up. He first goes after the High Lords of Terra and explains they have been doing a terrible job and he’s back to take over. Then he goes after the Ecclesiarchy and reforms them. Guilliman probably knows he can’t just end this bureaucratic nightmare and/or Emperor worship without some major rebellions, so he does this by some other means besides a complete abolishing of both systems.

I don’t think he goes full on “French Revolution” with blood in the streets and heads rolling off the guillotine…then again “Guilliman” and “Guillotine” are kind of similar. Watch your necks! He still takes over as the new leader but now he’s fired-up and ready to take the fight to the enemy. Now that he’s got new marching orders he reorganizes the Imperium under his control and prepares to face the on coming Storm…

Burn it DOWN!

After “meeting” his father something terrible happens. Keep in mind we’re assuming the other triuviates are also there. And there are quite a few “soul devouring” weapons among them. And let’s not forget about Cypher walking around with that sword he has…In this scenario all hell is breaking loose. Maybe the Aeldari’s presence triggers some kind of defense system. Perhaps Cypher uses his sword on the Emperor to finally “free” him. Maybe Guilliman and Cawl simply unplug the Emperor so that what ever is suppose to happen finally does happen. Rebirth, reincarnation or just death – whatever happens is “soul crushing” to Guilliman.

This leads to a fracture in the Imperium. Guilliman can’t bear to see this Emperor Worship and retreats back to Macragge to form his own “pocket” Imperium. He doesn’t go full rebel because he knows that would be a war he couldn’t win…at least not yet. He rallies his troops and braces for a Chaos attack. The rest of the Imperium follows whatever this new religion turns out to be – The Ecclesiarchy steps in and with the High Lords help, they try to cover-up whatever happened. Somehow the Astronomican is still functioning – perhaps that was what Cawl had in his magic box. So while the Emperor is “gone” the shell of the Imperium is basically intact. But the cracks are starting to form.

I think this scenario is highly unlikely – however, if the Emperor does die the power vacuum would be amazing. The corruption in the Imperium and the bloat of bureaucracy may keep things together for a time but eventually the system would collapse under it’s own weight. We’d see a real shake-up to the lore of 40k and with the death of the Imperium maybe Guilliman would be forced to fight to reunite it under his banner. In some twisted way, maybe this leads to a new great crusade and the Imperium actually ends up leaner and meaner than it’s ever been.

Theories aside – Guilliman is back and he’s going to make it to Terra. What happens after that? Well, I guess we’ll have to wait and see…


What do you think happens once Guilliman makes it “Home” – what repercussions do you think this will have for the Imperium of Man!?

  • KnightShift

    I know it’s been suggested before but maybe the Emperor has ALWAYS been dead, for ten millennia. For all that time the Imperium has been worshipping a rotted corpse plugged into an Astronomican that works just fine without him. Guilliman of all people will be the first to learn the truth of the matter. He goes in and sees the Golden Throne and when he emerges he simply says “The Empeor is dead already.”

    And with those mere words, all hell breaks loose.

    • orionburn

      And then the Tyranids invade Terra and eat the Emperor.

      • SilentPony

        Oh god…the Swarm Lord reborn using the genetic material of the Emperor! And that’s the epic showdown! Guilliman and Magnus team up to destroy the Swarm Emperor.

        • orionburn

          Would be an insanely fun twist!

        • KnightShift

          Which would be 40K ripping off StarCraft. Which is fitting since StarCraft already ripped off 40K anyway 😛

          • SilentPony

            See? Turnabout is fair play.

    • Hendrik Booraem VI

      I know this isn’t conclusive evidence against your postulated storyline, as plenty of stuff from back in the day has been retconned (like the origin of the Heresy), BUT…

      In the first WH40K novel, an inquisitor makes it to the throne room and has a psychic conversation with the Emperor, finding that the Emperor has pretty much gone insane from being trapped in a dead body for 10k years. But that the psychic force that is the Emperor of Mankind is, in fact, still tied to the dead and rotting corpse that’s plugged into the Golden Throne.

      Again, that doesn’t disprove your idea, since they could certainly just toss it all overboard. But it looks to me like the big guy is still there, and that something dramatic will happen. I think the most likely thing to happen is that the Emperor will tell Guilliman “yeah, it’s not what we wanted. But it’s the only thing that’s holding off eternal darkness for all of humanity. So grit your teeth, screw your courage to the sticking point, and carry on with the charade, for Mankind and the Galaxy.” Thus leaving things pretty much unchanged, but with new models that people will want to buy!

    • Charon

      Throneworld has the emperor pretty much psychic active from the eyes of a Harlequin.

    • Orblivion

      The old Lost and the Damned pretty much stated that he was in fact dead. The reasoning behind his orders for Dorn to plug his body into the Golden Throne was that his soul was still kicking, and that his own body was the most effective conduit for his psychic power into the material realm.

  • SilentPony

    I think it’d be cool if, like when the Emperor gave Corax the information to clone Space Marines, the Emperor gives Guilliman the knowledge to make new Primarchs.
    His instructions are to create a new generation of Primarchs, new Legions, and relaunch the Great Crusade as the new Emperor. Maybe the Emperor passes part of his psychic abilities to Guilliman too so he becomes a kinda of Avatar.

    And Guilliman leaves the Chapters alone to do what they do while he and the new Primarchs who have been told the full truth about Chaos go out into the Galaxy to rekindle the light of the Imperium.

    • Jonathan B.

      Guilliman stands alone before the Golden Throne, in psychic communion with the Emperor of Mankind.
      “Roboute, my son,” says the Emperor.
      “Yes, Father?”
      “Create for me a new army of heroes. Call them…
      A few minutes later, Guilliman walks out of the throne room and over to the gathered triumvirates.
      “So,” says Cypher, “What did he say?”
      “Nothing,” replies Guilliman. “The Emperor is dead.”
      And thus the Great Sacrilege is averted.

      • vlad78

        LOL !!!

    • Randy Randalman

      I think in the current, fractured state of the Imperium, they don’t have the resources or manpower to launch a crusade like they did before the Heresy. Mankind was all but united and had the most numerous and dominant force in the galaxy at the time. All efforts were at “full health” and focused on one objective. Now it’s a bunch of segmented chapters and AM regiments, many of which don’t even agree with one another, and their enemies are larger than ever before. Tyranids weren’t there back then; Necrons weren’t awake yet; Tau didn’t exist; Orks weren’t as numerous; Chaos wasn’t in full force…

      I think it would bankrupt the Imperium to even attempt to set up another crusade, and it would likely fail. It might benefit them to consolidate, defend first, and then set out to eat the elephant one bite at a time. That certainly allows GW to make a bunch of campaign supplements that render the fluff “live” (like they do with AoS), and then do summer events and such.

      • euansmith

        I dunno, having a massive war has helped Earth out of a couple of major economic depressions.

      • Gorsameth

        Ehm, the Crusade started with 18(20) legions worth of space marines and what ever human armies they could scrap off Earth. It was far from ‘full health’

        It was only during the Crusade that mankind became united. That was the whole point of the Crusade. To reunite the shattered remnants of Mankind that had fallen apart after the Age of Strife.

        While the Imperium cannot match the space marine numbers of the Crusade(prob about double) there are still a million space marines (~1000 chapters of 1000 marines at any one time) and Billions upon Billions of Guardsman.

        The biggest thing stopping a new Great Crusade from cleansing the galaxy is that there is only 1 leader (Guilliman) rather then 18(20)

        And while many current threats did not exist at the time there was no shortage of enemies. From human colonies that did not want to join the Imperium (most of them) to many alien races that were trampled into dust.

    • euansmith
      • petrow84

        Teenage Mutant Ninja Primarchs?

    • william timonen

      Except that we know that the construction of the primarchs included the chaos gods cooperation.

      • Shawn

        This is news to me. How did that help come about? The Emperor didn’t ask for it, did he?

        • william timonen

          Its the reason that the Emperor had Gallar Fields where he was creating them, because he knew that the chaos gods would be pissed off that he broke their deal. Whatever he was supposed to do was unclear, But Horus said he had tricked tricked them or something.

          • Shawn

            Okay. Thanks. Any idea where I can find out more about this?

          • william timonen

            Not really, Its kind of like what happened to the II and XI primarchs. Its hinted in books all over the place. But the ones I remember is Vengeful Spirit and First Heretic.

    • Mike mad cow

      so it’s kind a like the dread pirate Roberts ?

  • benn grimm

    Let me guess; he falls through the centre of the earth, finds a little bottle which says drink me, then a lil box of treats labelled eat me, he goes for a merry little dance with some extinct wildlife, meets an opium smoking Tyranid, plays crochet with Lilith Hesperax, then is put on trial for spawning the least interesting meat-heads in the universe.

    Luckily, at this point we all wake up and realise all this nonsense has just been a bad dream…

    • Commissar Molotov

      “The time has come,” the Swarmlord said, “to speak of many things. Of ships and shoes and sealing-wax; of cabbages and kings.”

      • benn grimm

        ‘And while the warp is boiling hot and whether tyrants have wings, kaloo kallay no work today, we’re cabbages annnnd kings…’ 😉

  • Grumpy Scot

    I have to re-iterate that Saint Celestine is one of Guilliman’s leading backers. I suspect he is going to be less angry at Emperor-worship than you suspect.

    Moreover, the truly horrible Eccliesiarchy existed during and before the Reign of Blood. The current Eccliesiarchy is based on the reformation by Sebastian Thor and is a lot more useful to the Imperium. It doesn’t commit Temple Tendency (look it up) and it’s based on the Conclave of Light’s teachings, rather than the old and easily corrupted Cult of the Saviour Emperor teachings.

    I’m sure Guilliman might have ideas for how to further reform it, but it isn’t a hindrance to the Imperium as it stands – quite the opposite! Obviously individual members/groups might be difficult, but then so are members of every faction.

  • Damistar

    I would assume that organizing the defense of Terra vs. the Thirteenth Black Crusade would be high on Guillimans list. I doubt the Despoiler’s just roasting marshmallows on the pyre of Cadia. He will be burning full thrust for Terra.

  • Commissar Molotov

    Ohhhhh, this is gonna suck.

    • Drpx

      Like watching a train wreck or a newbie play their Orks against the biggest Eldar/SM power gamer in the store. You know what’s coming, you know it’ll be horrible, but you can’t look away.

    • petrow84

      Meanwhile, somewhere else, Matt Ward be like:

  • Maitre Lord Ironfist

    Celestine is part of the Emperor and draws Cyphers sword too kill the Corpse off.

    She seems quite reasonable in terms of 40k x) MAybe she ist that part of the Emprah.

  • Kovaks

    I might be remembering this wrong but don’t the grey knights have a key or a box or something that matches the golden throne that Drago is supposed to use only as a last resort, with him smoking warp dust maybe the reason that Voldus is there is to use ths on the golden throne.

    • Wojciech Łagosz

      “Deep within the Chambers of Purity, locked away in the chamber said to hold the tomb of the Sigilite himself, rests a simple wooden box, embellished with a golden seal. Within this box, written upon ancient parchment, is the instruction known only as the Terminus Decree. This artefact goes unrecorded in all the libraries of the Imperium, for it has been kept secret from all but the Supreme Grand Masters of the Chapter. Only a Supreme Grand Master of the Grey Knights knows how to open the box, and he will do so only when all hope for the future of Humanity seems lost. The Terminus Decree is the ultimate sanction of the Grey Knights, a secret so vast that it could bring the Imperium to its knees, or save it in the darkest of hours. The exact nature of the document is unknown, and the only clue to its contents lies in the box’s golden seal. It is whispered that it is the exact match of another seal, found only in one place in all the Imperium’s many scattered worlds: the Emperor’s Golden Throne.”
      Codex: Grey Knights

      • william timonen

        The only thing written on it is “send nudes” and an email-adress.

    • euansmith

      That sounds like it is the key to unlock the Matt Wards that will usher in madness and rampant Mary-Sueism.

    • Deathwing

      ah yes. the terminus decree

  • Deathwing

    Option 4. Remember the emperor is “fueled” by psychic souls. What is the avatar of the new eldar god if not an entire freaking craftworlds 10,000 years worth of psychic souls!
    Golden thrown goes all hungry hippo on the new avatar, the eldar weep as the power rejuvinates boss daddy and he strides from the throne room with papa smurf at his side ready to lay the big stick down on the entire galaxy anew!
    Welcome to great crusade 2.0 – the 42nd millenium edition

    • Deathwing

      Daddys first question – “Another chaos invasion – Wheres my dog whistle????”

      • Deathwing

        Corax just slides out the shadows next to papa smurf, hes been there all along dont you know?
        Daddy sends a mining rig to dig to the center of Ulanor and pull out Vulcan, now known as “The Mole”
        And in a wild twist, During a major battle with chaos a massive ork waaahhhh of speed freaks shows up, led by a giant of a warboss that isnt really a warboss at all…

  • Frank Krifka

    My guess is the emperor dies, and the imperium refuses to acknowledge the fact. Guilliman returns to his home world to repel a chaos invasion, but meets up with Magnus and Abandon who tell him that his real enemy is the shell of imperium. Guilliman realizes he hold no loyalty to the imperium now and agrees to join them after sexual awaking behind the toolshed with Abandon, Magnus, Fulgrim, some Sisters of Battle and an Eldar Avatar who just shows up because he heard somebody wanted to “party”.

    • WhenDidVicesBecomeVirtues

      I didn’t realize where this was going until halfway through.

      • Frank Krifka


  • Moises Martinez

    Guilliman and the emperor are going to fuse and go by the name Guilithema. Thats why cawl got the soul fusing artifact 😀

  • Drpx

    Gulliman: “what the hell happened to my fantasy minis game?”

    Lords of Terra: “We’ve replaced it with a round-base skirmish game with lore that could have been written by Blizzard.”

    Guilliman: “This is a real soul-crushing experience.”

  • Mike mad cow

    I am pretty sure we will learn the emperor is in fact Marbo

  • Andrew Sebastian Suryali Tung

    BTW, another leak that’s been semi-confirmed is that another Primarch will be waiting for Guilliman in Terra when he gets there. Who might this be? The most likely candidate is of course Dorn, having faked his death and retreated to Terra to lead the Custodes.

    But others may be more fun. Jagatai disappeared into the webway, but maybe he instead found a secret path from the Eldar webway to Empy’s version and ended up right behind those giant doors sealed by the Golden Throne and had been fighting the incursions since.

    Or maybe Omegon did betray Alpharius (or both did stay loyal all this time) and became Janus of the Grey Knights. Then the secret gene-seed of the Grey Knights will turn out to be the Primarch prototype gene-seed stolen from Corax.

    • Deathwing

      Read Praetorian of Dorn.
      … you know i dont even care anymore. people need to read the bloody dam novels already.

      Alpharius is dead. Like howling wind “there can be only one” just like what happened when Ferrus Manus died – DEAD. Dorn killed him.
      If the same thing happened when Guillaman killed “alpharius” that means Omegon is dead too.

  • David Leimbach

    The third primarch appears, waiting on Terra for Guilimans arrival, and boy is she pissed.

  • John Barber

    You can’t just ‘dismantle’ the bureaucracy. It’s freaking huge for a reason. Yeah it could possibly be streamlined and even have some redundancy removed; but probably not too much. It’s huge because of the tyranny of distance, the tyranny of unreliable travel and all the departments working from half information.