One of the great joys of my life has been exploring the world of Thedas (or The Dragon Age Setting as it was known during the development of Dragon Age: Origins). I beat back the Blight in a half dozen different parallel universes determined by my race and class (Origins). I was made a refugee by the Blight and clawed my way up the socioeconomic ladder through a mix of bravery and busybodying (Dragon Age 2). And I was the ultimate wrong-place-wrong-time cautionary tale as I survive an explosion that ripped open the sky and found myself tasked with fixing it all (Dragon Age: Inquisition). What a series!
One of the best parts of these games is the stunning cast of companion NPCs that feel like real people. Dragon Age’s character dynamics have a depth rarely duplicated by other titles. The teaser trailer that premiered during the December 2018 Game Awards indicates that the next Dragon Age game will be the first that is a direct follow up to the one previous. This makes perfect sense, as Inquisition was Bioware’s most successful launch in its 24-year history. So, in honor of Origins turning 10 (!!!) this year and Inquisition turning 5, let’s celebrate with a countdown of past characters that should be in the next installment and take some guesses as to whose side they’ll most likely land when the swords (and magic staffs) start clashing.
EDITOR’S NOTE: From this point on, beware spoilers for the following:
- Dragon Age: Origins
- Dragon Age: Origins — Awakening (DLC)
- Dragon Age 2
- Dragon Age: Inquisition
- Dragon Age: Inquisition — Trespasser (DLC)
OK! You’ve been warned. Proceed for some A++ Dragon Age Deep Cuts!
Top Ten Characters Who Might Be Returning in Dragon Age 4
10. The Iron Bull — Dragon Age: Inquisition [Team Protagonist]
Bull is perhaps my favorite Dragon Age character full stop. He is a gargantuan brutal merc king who is also insightful, intelligent, and empathetic. It seems as though the Qunari will figure into the new game since the Trespasser DLC deals heavily with their machinations and opposition to Solas. In one version of events — a version it pains me to even think about long enough to record it here — a Bull who is still loyal to the Qun will eventually turn on you and have to be killed by the player.
However, I think we can all agree that Tal-Vashoth Bull is canon, am I right? He will have unique insights and information born from his Ben-Hassrath training, his observations of Solas during his time in the Inquisition, and his dealings with the Viddasala in Trespasser. He could even serve as a “frontline bodyguard” for another character on this list, the Inquisitor.
9. Varric Tethras — Dragon Age 2 & Inquisition [Team Protagonist]
Varric is the storyteller. Indeed the entirety of Dragon Age 2 is his interpretation of the events, not the events themselves. It would make sense for him to be present during the epic conclusion of this story. Varric is Kirkwall’s Viscount at the end of Inquisition so he could be a head of state that our new protagonist needs to visit or he could decide that this new threat is enough to bring him back out on the road one last time. After all, who better to tell the tale of the Dread Wolf rising than Master Tethras?
8. Velanna — Dragon Age: Origins — Awakening [Team Fen’harel]
Velanna was a Dalish mage that the Hero of Ferelden met in the Dragon Age: Origins DLC, Awakening (March 2010). Considering her contentious relationship with humans and her powerful talent for magic, she would be a formidable foe. A world where all the magic comes back and elves are powerful and eternal again seems like exactly the type of world she’d be way into.
Velanna became a Grey Warden in Awakening, so her path to Solas’s side might require a lengthy explanation. Remember how Solas
7. Zathrian — Dragon Age: Origins [Team Fen’harel]
Zathrian was the Keeper of the elves in Ferelden during the Fifth Blight. He asks the Hero to retrieve the heart of a werewolf named Witherfang so he can make a potion that will cure his clan’s hunters who were bitten. As with most missions, the truth isn’t as straightforward as it seems and it’s revealed that Zathrian is the person who put the curse on their bloodline in the first place. There are multiple ways to complete this quest, but if you do as he asks, the (some might say, justifiable) hate-on he has for humans survives unchecked. His closing placard states that after some amount of years he disappears… much like how elves start disappearing in droves after the events of Trespasser.
6. Fenris — Dragon Age 2 [Team Protagonist with an option on Fen’harel]
Dragon Age has no shortage of angry elves, and for good reason. Whether Dalish or city dwelling, elves get mistreated by Thedas’s dominant human population regularly. Fenris endured Tevinter enslavement for most of his life until he escaped to Kirkwall. Even if he falls in love with Hawke and stays on good terms with his mixed-race band of compatriots, it’s unlikely that his mistrust and dislike of humans just disappears — especially when there’s a definitive way to stop their abuse and oppression.
But Fenris is a special case because one of his defining characteristics is how much he hates and mistrusts magic. He could be a potentially powerful ally for the Dragon Age 4 protagonist, since he doesn’t seem the type to happily sit by while Solas tears down the Veil and lets magic flow freely.
Under certain world states, Varric tells the Inquisitor that Fenris is hunting Tevinter mages. It’s possible that if Solas encountered Fenris and made his case for why he wants to bring back Elvhenan and can remove Fenris’s
5. Cole — Dragon Age: Inquisition [Team Protagonist]
Cole is a spirit of compassion that took on the physical body of a mage boy who died alone in Orlais’s circle tower. By the end of Inquisition, he may have reverted back into spirit form and slipped back into the Fade — or he may have more firmly anchored himself to humanity and started living a sweet and simple life with the Inquisition’s bard. While it’s eluded that Solas used Cole’s own “forgetting” trick on him, I like the idea of Spirit Cole pseudo-haunting his old friend trying to heal his hurt. He could be an access point for information and an aid to the DA4 protagonist.
4. Sandal Feddic — Dragon Age: Origins & Dragon Age 2 [Team Protagonist]
Now we’re getting into essential personnel. Sandal is a mysterious dwarven man who travels with his adoptive merchant father Bodahn and enchants items with magical gems. He is a sweetheart who doesn’t say much more than the word “enchantments,” but he exhibits an uncanny knack for survival and there’s that bit where he prophesied Solas’s rise all the way back in Dragon Age 2. He was conspicuously absent in Inquisition, considering that Bodahn had stated his intentions to take a position in Empress Celine’s court. We need to know once and for all what Sandal even is. He’s certainly more than meets the eye and I want to know all about it.
3. Merrill — Dragon Age: Origins & Dragon Age 2 [Team Fen’harel]
Merrill made herself an outcast using blood magic to study the
2. Flemeth/Mythal & Morrigan – All Games [Team Flemeth tbh]
We find out in Inquisition that Flemeth, the series mysterious Witch of the Wilds, houses a spark of what used to be the elven goddess Mythal (aka Solas’s closest confidante). And at the conclusion of the game, she is spiriting something away in an eluvian just before Solas shows up to drain her life force for his continued work. We see Flemeth’s body becomes an ashen husk, but this is hardly Mythal’s first “death.” In Origins, you can choose to fight her in dragon form at Morrigan’s behest. Mythal has been cheating death for thousands of years; I’m doubtful even a well-rested and puffed up Fen’harel can extinguish her light for long.
Mythal could come back as a reanimated Flemeth or a newly inhabited Morrigan this time around. She would make a great advisor to the player character in their fight to stop Solas. But just like Solas has
1. The Inquisitor (especially Lavellan) — Dragon Age: Inquisition [Team Protagonist]
No matter what the relationship is between Solas and any player’s Inquisitor, they certainly have unfinished business. How can the Inquisitor trust that Solas wasn’t undermining their command over the Inquisition from the inside the whole time? Is it possible to convince your tortured friend that his latest Big Fix to the world of Thedas is a bad idea, considering how building the Veil and getting Corypheus to open his orb turned out? And if Lavellan, the Dalish Inquisitor, romanced him, she has even more complicated feelings to contend with.
The Inquisitor would be an excellent player character or an auxiliary ally like Hawke was in Inquisition. Hopefully, Dragon Age 4 includes the possibility for a non-player Lavellan to abandon the new protagonist and join Solas and his elven army (just like The Iron Bull can side with the Qun in that nightmare reality we talked about above).
Honorable Mention: Sera — Dragon Age: Inquisition [Team Protagonist]
One elf that it pained me to exclude was Sera. Beyond the fanon that she is housing the soul of the elven god Andruil, she spent so much of Inquisition having lots of (disrespectful) things to say about elves and elven culture. Before Trespasser truly gets underway, Sera seems to have evolved or broadened her mind just a tad when you talk to her at the Winter Palace, even if no real healing is evident. Still, during the mission she is pleased as punch to find out how much the Dalish got wrong. Her reaction to Solas being Fen’harel would be priceless (so would Morrigan’s and Vivienne’s for that matter).
So there they are, the top ten returning characters who could play potential allies or foes in the coming Dragon Age. I can’t wait to see what’s in store for us during our next journey into Thedas. Whatever may come, I have every confidence that the team assembled to stop the next threat will have me thinking about them long after the credits roll.