Right off the bat, this is a MAJOR SPOILER WARNING. This piece is going to be diving into the ending of Borderlands 3, so readers should definitely finish the main campaign before proceeding. The ending of the game left many fans scratching their heads at where the series will go next, whether it is in the next game or the upcoming DLC expansions. With the main roster being shaken up and the new villains defeated, where could the series possibly go from here? Thankfully, there are some potential story beats the series can follow going forward.
Borderlands 3 Ending Explained
After the downfall of Tyreen (the Destroyer), the Crimson Raiders realize that Elpis is still hurdling toward Pandora and will wipe out the planet if they do nothing. With Tyreen defeated Lilith's Siren powers return, and she decides to use her powers to stop Elpis' descent. Lilith flies to Elpis and engulfs the moon in flames, leaving the Firehawk sigil burning bright in the night sky. It is worth noting that Borderlands 3 players do not see her die, but rather disappear in the fiery explosion, so there is a chance that Lilith is not dead but instead missing.
As Elpis lights up with the Firehawk sigil, players see various NPCs from the game watch on in amazement before credits start to roll. With Lilith's "sacrifice" Elpis is stopped, Pandora is saved, and the Great Vault remains dormant. While fans may have been disappointed with the Borderlands 3's narrative, the real question is: where does the narrative go from here?
So What Comes Next?
There are a number of possible narrative threads that Borderlands 3 can follow either in DLC or in the next game. Clearly, despite how much Borderlands 3 fans hate Ava, she is being set up to be the next leader of the Crimson Raiders, but she still has some learning and growing to do. There could be a whole story arc dedicated to Ava and how she grows to be the leader that Lilith and Maya believe her to be. The comic-styled frames during the credits show that Ava is taking her new-found powers and position seriously, so there is a good chance she will be a main focus in the upcoming story arcs.
There is also a good chance that there could be a "hunt for Lilith" DLC where players partner with Tannis to explore new planets, or return to Elpis (if it's inhabitable), to search for their lost leader. Players could team up with some of the returning characters in Borderlands 3 or even some of the missing faces to track down Lilith - assuming she is still alive. With Tannis playing a much bigger part in Borderlands 3, it would be no surprise if she was leading the search for Lilith in the future, and this direction would likely make many fans happy.
Then there is the more obvious direction, where players go out into the universe in search of new Vaults. Just after the Troy boss-fight in Borderlands 3, Lilith asks Ava where she wants to go next while passing her the Vault Map - meaning that there are plenty of Vaults out there that need to be hunted. The massive narrative of the Borderlands series hints that the Eridians made tons of these Vaults to house great power, and the Vault Hunters need to be there to make sure they don't fall into the wrong hands - players promised Typhon DeLeon that they would keep searching and not be the last Vault Hunters, so they need to keep that promise.
Overall, following Ava's narrative or searching for more Vaults seems the most likely. With the introduction of planetary travel in Borderlands 3, the possibilities are endless. Judging by the few comic panels in the credits, it seems likely that players will either be searching for Lilith soon, or helping Ava grow into her role as the new leader of the Raiders. Borderlands 3 remains one of the best looter shooters out there so hopefully the narrative keeps growing as the DLC episodes are released.
Borderlands 3 is available now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One.