So Blizzard Entertainment finally released a trailer to the final game in the Starcraft 2 trilogy, titled Legacy of the Void. The trailer shows the Protoss, led by Artanis, as they move to reclaim Aiur from the Zerg menace and rise to challenge the threat of the 'Dark Voice' Amon who threatens to remake the galaxy in his image. However, close examination of the trailer reveals some surprising twists. The video is below, and spoilers follow from here on in, especially the pair of pictures. You've been warned.
Watched it? Okay, good, let's get started. Real quick, I pulled these images off the video directly and quality is hit and miss, for which I apologize. It also won't make a heck of a lot of sense if you haven't played previous Starcraft games.
The first shot calls back to an earlier cutscene in Starcraft 2, Wings of Liberty, where Zeratul explored the planet Ulaan and discovered an old Xel'naga shrine. The Xel'naga were the 'creators' of the Protoss, an extremely powerful race obsessed with the pursuit of a 'perfect' sentient being. After a clash with one of their own, they stored fragments of a 'prophecy' all throughout the universe. Some people thought this was taken from Wings of Liberty, but it's actually new footage. Furthermore, I don't think this is Ulaan, which was visually completely different, far more cave-like and lacking in any of the mineral crystals we see throughout the game. This is likely a different shrine, and for that matter, a different Protoss exploring it.
We get an early shot of the Xel'naga shrine. This is probably a reference to Amon, a fallen Xel'naga so dangerous he was sealed away by his fellow Xel'naga. This was the same image we saw Zertaul inspecting from Wings of Liberty, but this time...
That's right, it's Artanis! Artanis is the only 'player character' to actually survive the events of the first game, who would grow to be the leader of the Protoss. Currently things are not going particularly well for the once-proud Protoss, as being stuck on the Dark Templar homeworld of Shakuras is re-igniting the old feud between the collective Khala-worshipping Templar and the individualistic Dark Templar. During the 'Whispers of Doom' missions in Wings of Liberty, Artanis was one of the last heroes of final stand against Amon's forces.. As he died, he lamented what is implied to be the death of Kerrigan. Apparently, this leads Artanis to follow in Zeratul's footsteps, perhaps to see the prophecy with his own eyes.
We follow up with a quick shot of Artanis overlooking the Protoss armies, probably on the verge of the invasion of Aiur. The Protoss at his side is probably Selendis, his second in command. Raynor briefly had a chance to side with her in the extermination of the infected refugees on Haven or fight her off long enough for Dr. Hanson to develop a cure. (The canonical choice is fighting off Selendis.) Interestingly she is not mentioned as a 'major' character on the Legacy of the Void website. It remains to be seen how major a role she plays, though I hope she does get a bit more screen time this time around.
Our first shot of a new Hybrid. It has some of the distinctive features of both the Hydralisk strain (the compound mouth and parts of the headcreast) with vaguely Protoss eyes and features. He is later seen fighting Kerrigan.
Another shot of the Hybrid. I have the sinking feeling this is a shot that's going to launch a few squicky fanfics.
The Aftermath. Looks like she ultimately gets the better of the Hybrid. I'm not sure of the location, but it looks similar to the shrine Artanis was exploring.
Kerrigan (foreground) is joined at the Shrine by Artanis, who doesn't seem pleased to see her. Note the color of the blades, signifying both Dark Templar and Templar factions. Artanis was Judging by the battlecries of Protoss units, Artanis is a hero to both factions, being instrumental in saving the Protoss race and represents the best of all Protoss. I didn't talk about it earlier, but his armor incorporates both the classic back plate from the Templar unit but borrows a gauntlet from the Dark Templar, similar to Zeratul's.
Kerrigan inspecting another Xel'naga Shrine. Note that it is different then the earlier image in color. This might also explain her fatalistic attitude in the first game, realizing that she was nothing more than a pawn. Of course with the events of Starcraft 2 and the absorption of the Primal Zerg she may have avoided that fate.
Artanis channeling some Psychic destruction against the Zerg. I froze frame a few other places and it doesn't seem to be the same shrine he meets Kerrigan. There's a floating crystal of some sort in the background and several other Protoss-y looking artifacts. Possibly a Tal'darim world, a fanatical sect of Protoss that worship Amon.
It... doesn't seem to go well for Artanis. Zergling rushes, man, we've all been there.
We eventually cut to menacing threats about the end of the universe, and this shot ofa n exploding world. I'm not sure which devastated planet it is, but it resembles Char, former homeworld of the Zerg. It was recently occupied by the Terran Dominion, but Kerrigan chased them off during the events of Heart of the Swarm.
We also see shots of Dead and dying Dominion Forces. While there are signs of devastation it doesn't seem to be the direct cause of the dead Soldiers. The shot includes Dominion slumping over without any signs of battle.
Matt, Raynor, and Valerian surveying the carnage and seem disturbed by what they see. Note a tech inspecting one of the fallen Dominion in the background. What the hell happened here?
Finally, the BIG surprise, we're treated to a shot of Zeratul clashing with another Protoss with an ominous voice-over from what I assume is a taunting member of the Tal'Darim. I believe this is a misdirection, and has nothing to do what we're actually seeing, because...
Yep. That's Artanis and Zeratul throwing down. The gauntlet matches the earlier shot, as does the setting. For reasons unknown, Zeratul sees fit to throw down against his old pupil. If the final line in the trailer (Zeratul intoning 'My Life for Aiur!') is actually from this scene, he believes he's doing it for the sake of his homeworld.
Okay, so for further spoiler-y context, the panel at Blizzcon revealed that the retaking of Aiur is one of the first missions in Legacy of the Void, but the victory is short lived when Amon reveals himself—he does something to the Protoss that requires the severing of Protoss nerve cords. This is a huge deal, as a major part of the conflict between the Templar and Dark Templar factions revolved around the Dark Templar's ritual severing of the cords that connect them to other Protoss, removing them from the gestalt consciousness of the Protoss. We learned that through the course of the The Protoss will board a massive, ancient ship called The Spear of Adun to take the fight to Amon. So why does how does that force him into conflict with Zeratul, who is consumed by the quest to avert it? And what would bring him to battle his own pupil? I'm not sure, but one possibility is that Artanis may be under some pressure from the Templar to have Kerrigan pay for her crimes. It isn't known yet how much of the prophecy Artanis actually knows, or if Zeratul bothered telling his pupil at all. We know Zeratul has been traveling largely alone, and the Protoss don't seem to know much of his comings and goings. In fact we know Zeratul is something of an outcast—maybe he tried to convince the Templar to spare Kerrigan's life, and it didn't turn out well.
Anyway that's everything I noticed, and I'm sure there's stuff I missed or got wrong. If you spot anything else, or have a different take let me know in the comments.