Let’s talk about the biggest showdown looming over the future of 40K.
4oK loves its big showdowns. From the epic brother vs. brother battle of Fulgrim and Ferrus Manus, the father/son fight of the Emperor and Horus or the more recent clashes between Abbadon and seemingly everyone. The clash of minds, and often blades lend a personal aspect to the conflict of billions. These personal conflicts, on and off the battlefield, shape the story and give it life. Today lets talk about what could be the biggest showdown and rivalry of the modern setting, Guilliman, and the Lion.
Some people might be scratching their heads right now. Isn’t Abaddon the “Big Bad (TM)” of 40K, and isn’t Guilliman the “Big Damn Hero (TM)”? Are they not fated to fight? Well… maybe? The thing is, I don’t know if Abaddon is Guilliman’s rival. Abaddon certainly WANTS to be, but at the end of the day, he’s not a primarch. Nor is he really on the level with Guilliman, he’s been beaten by Celestine, and while he did beat Calgar, it wasn’t all one-sided. But more than that, the Guilliman/ Abaddon thing is just… boring. Just another traitor and loyalist. It’s a tale as old as time.
The Lion Is Coming
I think it’s pretty clear that at some point, possibly very soon the Lion is going to wake up and return to 40K. The Dark Angels book confirmed that he is fully healed and just waiting for the right moment. We’ve also heard rumors about an upcoming set maybe featuring him. Some people assume the goal here is to give both sides (and let’s assume the Lion, if not all the Dark Angels, is a loyalist) 2 Primarchs. However, I don’t think that’s going to be the case, because the Lion and Guilliman are not going to be on the same page.
Why Would They Fight?
So let’s say the Lion wakes up and comes back to join the fight on the Imperial side, why would he and Guilliman fight? The answer to that goes all the way to the Heresy. During the Heresy Gulliman, while cut off from Terra, attempted to set up a so-called “Imperium Secundus” in Ultramar. While some, including the Lion, accused him of trying to build his own Empire, Guilliman defended himself saying he was just trying to make sure the Imperium survived if Terra was lost. While the Lion eventually agreed to aid Guilliman in the task, provided that another person lead the Imperium Secundus he does note at the time that he doesn’t totally trust Gulliman’s motives:
“‘I want to trust you, Roboute,’ the Lion replied, ‘but I have always been wary of your ambition.’”(Unremembered Empire)
So even back then the Lion didn’t fully trust Guilliman. Flash forward now to the current time. Let’s say the Lion does return. He’s going to see an Imperium that’s far changed from what it was, and not in a way he will like. He will also see Guilliman all but in control of it, having replaced people at every level with those loyal to him. Guilliman is in effect Emperor right now, and there are some, like Gabriel Seth, who already think he wants to be Emperor. Also Guilliman is working to rebuild his own little empire of Ultramar and is reshaping the Space Marines more in his ideal. He’s also pretty openly working with the Eldar. I don’t think any of this is going to sit well with the Lion.
We’ve been seeing lots of hints pointing towards a possible Imperial civil war or schism. Possibly between Primaris and old Marines, or Cawl and Guilliman, or Guilliman and others. The more and more I think about it I think it’s going to be between Guilliman and the Lion. A war not for the galaxy, but for the Imperium. Remember, when the Lion awakes he will be fresh from the recent (to him) betrayals that put him in his sleep. He’s not going to be in a trusting mood, and he’s going to awaken to a world were his ambitious brother who he doesn’t trust has taken over. Sangunius won’t be there to smooth things over, and I think the Lion will have no choice but to act.
I learned at a young age you can’t trust lions.
That right there is all the set up you need for an Epic brother verse brother showdown. Now go back to those rumors we here about The Lion’s return and the box set coming with it. Those rumors say that on one side of the box set will be “the Lion” and the other side will be… something Imperium related. Now that, and these are rumors so grain of salt, sounds like a civil war to me. A split. This would be a story worth paying attention to. This would focus the story on a showdown between two mortal brothers, brothers who ultimately want the same thing. It’s not the tired old good vs. evil line, it’s not a daemon primarch with nothing to lose, its instead a very human story and one that could have some real stakes.
So, will the Lion and Guilliman fight? Will Russ return and join the Lion? Let us know how you think that fight would go down.