Hello everyone, Michael here from Tactica Imperialis, talking about whether GW could or should do an End Times style series for 40k.
As a Warhammer Fantasy player, I was really intrigued by the End Times when it was first released. The new lore was very interesting, the models were top-notch (Nagash for example was an excellent sculpt in my opinion) and for the first time in ages the plot was actually advancing. Things only really got better from the first book until the (admittedly divisive) ending in Archon, and it means my poor High Elves are waiting to see if there’s to be any further use for them come the summer and 9th Edition. It also got me thinking about the 40k universe and how the same formula could be applied to it.
So why would GW choose to do a 40k “End Times”? Well for starters, the universe and the lore behind it is starting to go a little bit like the Imperium: stagnant. The last time anything major happened on a galactic scale was the coming of the Tyranids in 1993 when their first codex was released, and all the events since then haven’t been as major for the entire galaxy (the Black Crusades and the Wars for Armageddon are only localised to one little corner of space). A series like the End Times would give GW the chance to push the plot forward and update things a little. Secondly, they’ve been hinting at a large escalation in conflict throughout various Codices e.g. the Great Waaagh! being built by Ghazghkull, the scale of the 13th Black Crusade and the innumerable number of Tyranids pouring in. All of these events will have to come to a head at some point, and I believe an End Times series would do this perfectly. Finally, there’s the models. Some of the greatest personalities in 40k could be brought to the table: the Silent King, Leman Russ and other Primarchs or a world-eating Tyranid biomorph to name but a few. Just like their counterparts in Fantasy, they would appeal to almost anyone in the community who played those factions, or even to those who simply want the best models for their collections.
On the other hand, there are reasons why I don’t believe we can expect a 40k End Times any time soon. Firstly, 40k isn’t in as bad shape as Fantasy was. Despite all the doomsaying about player base dropping and a lack of fresh blood in the hobby, 40k is still far stronger than Fantasy has been for quite some time, meaning GW doesn’t need to “save” 40k or reboot it like Fantasy. Secondly, bringing about an ending for a galaxy is a lot harder than for a single world from a lore perspective, and the writers would have to tread carefully as a result. Personally I wouldn’t mind seeing a few races bite the dust, but I know there is still strong support for almost every faction and therefore vocal opposition to their destruction. Thirdly, and in my opinion most importantly, a lot of people like 40k because of the current background and setting. I personally love the idea that my Astra Militarum army is the last line of defence for humanity against all the threats of the galaxy, and changing the fluff in any major way would put a few people off either getting into or staying in the hobby. As a result, at least for the moment, I don’t envisage a 40k End Times series.
Of course, we as a community don’t have a line to GW HQ to tell them what to do or see what they’re up to. Therefore, we speculate about how ideas might come about or what we’d do given control of a certain project. Having seen the Fantasy formula, I’ve come up with a possible route for a 40k End Times to follow. It is similar to the Fantasy version in many ways, but here it is:
Book 1: Szareh The Silent King has returned to our galaxy, and in this book he re-establishes the command protocols over the Necron race. Having asserted control and dealt with any who resisted control e.g. Imotekh in a Nagash-Settra style, he brings about biotransference into a race found on his travels that he captured for this purpose. Thus, the Necrontyr are reborn, and they forge alliances with any race they can find to stand against the Tyranid threat. This includes the Imperium and (given the return of some form of soul) the Eldar, putting old differences aside to combat the Great Devourer.
Book 2: Creed The champion of humanity finally meets his match as the 13th Black Crusade smashes through the Cadian Gate. To a man, the defenders of Cadia and the entire system are slaughtered by the innumerable traitor and Daemonic hordes. Abaddon personally hunts down Creed and condemns his soul to the eternal torture at the hands of the Chaos Gods, being rewarded with elevation to Daemonhood.
Book 3: Yriel The cursed Prince of Iyanden joins the Phoenix Lords and the rest of his race for the Rhana Dandra. With mediation by the Harlequins, Vect and the Dark Kin stand with the Eldar against the might of Chaos. Yriel is elevated to the Avatar in order to face Abaddon in combat, but is defeated. Ahriman breaks into the Black Library and plunders it for a way to put an end to the Tyranids. Eventually a Dolmen Gate opens behind the Eldar, pulling them through to join the Grand Alliance mustering at Terra. The rage of the leaders expecting to die alongside their race is tempered by the hope of salvation for the entire galaxy.
Book 4: Ghazghkull The Prophet of Gork and Mork pits his Great Waaagh! against the forces of the Hive Fleets. His keen listening to the Ork gods sees countless organisms destroyed, in a fight even larger than Armageddon. The Tau of the Eastern Fringe are annihilated as the Tyranids require ever more biomass to repulse the greenskins. Eventually, Ghazghkull personally boards and destroys the greatest Hive Ships, surviving each time through simply being an Ork and by some fancy “speshul space suit” fashioned by the Mekboyz. With the bugs reduced to minimal threat, Ghazghkull quickly becomes bored and heads west, where he hears that the ‘oomies are gathering for da Biggest Scrap of all.
Book 5: Abaddon Robbed of his victory over the Eldar (much to the anger of Slaanesh) the Despoiler attempts to outdo his father Horus and finally destroy the Imperium. Many Legion rivalries are renewed between Traitors and Loyalists as Primarchs from both sides return to join the fight for Holy Terra e.g. Magnus and Russ, a mystically healed Guilliman and Lorgar. The fight is long but without the physical presence of the Emperor to save them, Terra falls alongside the Eldar and Necrontyr. The Chaos forces regroup and Ahriman returns ready to destroy the Tyranid masses, but the arrival of the Orks sees a surge of psychic Waaagh energy so great that his open mind is overloaded and shattered. The Chaos armies are overrun by the greenkskins who are of hulking proportions following the war in the east. Ghazghkull banishes both Abaddon and Angron, the remaining Traitor Primarchs eventually die, and Gork and Mork rule the Warp.
What do you guys think? Should we have a 40k End Times, and would a plan like the one above work out? Let me know in the comments. Until next time, this is Michael from Tactica Imperialis signing off. I’ll see you all again.