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Warhammer 40K Theories: The Emperor Is The Chaos God Malal

5 Minute Read
Sep 29 2022

Could the Emperor and the forgotten Chaos God Malal be one and the same?

We’ve looked a fair few crazy theories here. For instance the return of the Great Angel is pretty out there. A lot of them have to do with the Emperor. He is after all the central figure in all of 40K, and the most mysterious. It makes a lot of sense that there would be an abundance of theories about him. Well today lets look at one of the craziest. This one posits that at the end of the Horus Heresy the Emperor, is, or almost was, a forgotten Chaos God. Stay, with us, I promise this will make sense.

Terra, At The End of All Things


The Siege of Terra series is close to wrapping up. The 7th book, Echoes of Eternity, is out. Echoes takes us right up the last couple days of the war, with only the two volume final book left. When reading it a certain section stood out to me in particular. It describes how the space/warp around Terra looks:

“Elsewhere in the galaxy, the craftworld refugees of the aeldari race would recognize these sights of unreal wonder. The warp and reality interlocked, focused on a core of absolute suffering that their seers would find all too familiar. Centuries ago, this was how their species had given birth to their baneful god. This was how their empire had died.”

So that pretty interesting. Terra looks like how the now – Eye of Terror looked at the birth of Slaanesh. In short it looks like a Chaos god is about to be born at the end of the siege. So how would this happen?

The Anathema

Now we don’t exactly know how a Chaos god is born. Slaanesh was born out of the corruption of the Aeldari, but it seems like that took a long time to happen. It’s not clear that the same thing would happen with a god born from humans. Certainly the Heresy has seen a lot of concentrated emotion and death, but we can’t know if it was enough on its own to birth a god. Indeed one would think most of the human death in the Heresy would go to powering Khorne, not a new god.


However we do know that the Chaos gods have one really clear goal in mind. They really, really, really want the Emperor dead. Out of everything else they want accomplished the death of the Emperor is paramount. The rest of the war sometimes seems like an afterthought. Indeed Horus’ drive on Terra was done in order to kill the Emperor. It ultimately lost him the war as it turned out to be a strategic blunder not to finish off other Imperial forces. Now while there are many reason the Chaos gods would want He-Of-Terra dead, making a new god also fits. The death of the Emperor would be the kind of cataclysmic event, combined with all the suffering of the Heresy, to birth a god. One born out of the Emperor, Himself – say a corrupted version of the Master of Mankind.

Daemons Are Out Of Time

Daemons, and Chaos gods are… odd. They and the warp exist outside of time. One of the things that’s mentioned about them is that when is born it has always been alive. Slaanesh was born around the year 30,000. But in another sense they have always been around. At the same time if a Daemon dies a true death, some say that it also was always dead, effectively having never existed. It’s… not really clear how all this works.

However we could say that if a God was born out of the Emperor’s death it would have always existed and likewise if one was not born it would never have existed wiped from existence. It’s possible that the mere potential of a god’s birth could create the god… who would then be destroyed when that potential failed. A kind of Schrodinger’s god. Strangely it turns out there is a god that kind of never existed.



Way back in the early days of Warhammer there was a 5th Chaos god. The god was named Malal and they were the god of Anarchy. One particular trait of Malal was that he particular hated all of the other Chaos gods and loved to wage war on them. However due to real world legal and licensing disputes Malal was dropped from the canon. Erased as if he never existed. A form of Malal, a god known as Malice kind of lingers on, and gets mentioned here and there, but not a ton and they aren’t really a 5th Chaos god at this point.

So if a Chaos god were to be born out of the Emperor, if He was in essence forcibly turned into one, you really would expect that god to be something like Malal. The Emperor is a force of order and control. His whole deal is Unity, to control everything. So the dark reflection of His would obviously be a god of Anarchy. A god that hates the other Chaos gods, for what they did to Him, would also totally fit. A twisted version of the Emperor as a Chaos god, fighting the other gods is kind of rad. Of course the Emperor didn’t die. Or at least not completely. So His god never really formed, whatever it was ceased to exist. That also kind of tracks with Malal. A god that once was, but now never was, with only a few tattered echoes lingering here and there. It’s a cool idea that does fit with what we know.

Let us know what you think of this theory, down in the comments! 

Author: Abe Apfel
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