On November 20, Borderlands 3 fans will get their first glimpse at the first major story DLC coming to the game. While there's still a ton of questions surrounding it and its forthcoming release, there is perhaps one that trumps all others: how is Handsome Jack involved? Alongside confirming these reveal details, Borderlands 3 has teased Handsome Jack's return in this DLC, a return of uncertain form. Not only did it describe the DLC's loot as "handsome," but it showed an image of a digitized Handsome Jack head and a teaser trailer focused on a statue of Handsome Jack.
It's pretty clear why Handsome Jack is coming back, as when gamers describe the best antagonists and villains found in video games, Jack will get mentioned. He brought Borderlands 2 to life, with fans loving the hilarious dialogue, the hero complex, and other developments that helped drive the story. However, given that Jack is dead and confirmed dead by Gearbox, many may be wondering how Jack will return in Borderlands 3, and we have a few ideas.
A Handsome Jack Resurrection?
The least likely answer, though it cannot be ruled out in its entirety, is that Handsome Jack is truly returning from the dead. Crazier things have happened, and there's no doubt that crazier things than that have happened in the Borderlands universe, but it would be a huge about-face for him to return in the flesh. After all, Gearbox has been adamant about Handsome Jack's death and for good reason. Jack returning in this manner would undermine the entire events of Borderlands 2 and invalidate a ton of feelings surrounding the game's overarching story.
A Handsome Jack AI?
Luckily, Handsome Jack's death at the end of Borderlands 2 doesn't necessarily spell the end of Jack or his shenanigans. In the Tales from the Borderlands, Rhys momentarily has a Handsome Jack AI stuck in his head as a result of his Echo Eye. The AI's plan is to force Rhys into surgery to look like Jack and for the AI to take over his brain, essentially become Handsome Jack in his entirety. It's possible that this plot point returns in some capacity for the first DLC, with either the AI working/deliver upon some forgotten plan of Handsome Jack or with the AI already obtaining this state by someone else. This is seemingly supported by the image of a digitized Handsome Jack (seen above) shared as part of the overall announcement of the Borderlands 3 DLC. Of the three, the continuation of Tales from the Borderlands seems like the best bet, but we wouldn't hold our breath.
A Handsome Jack Misdirection?
How can Handsome Jack return if he's dead? Simply put, he doesn't. It's within reason that this announcement itself, if not the entirety of the DLC, is one big misdirection. A trailer showcasing a Handsome Jack statue with Moxxi providing voiceover doesn't prove it's about current events, a picture of his digitized face only means his face is somehow digitized, and 'handsome' loot could just be dogging it on. Perhaps Borderlands 3 players will think he has returned, but someone is truly just pretending to be him.
It's also within a realm of possibility that this DLC sees the return of past Vault Hunters, meaning that Handsome Jack's Body Double from the Pre-Sequel could be returning. That would be a possible explanation for everything we know so far. It's still "handsome" loot if Handsome Jack's Body Double is back, it's still his digital face being shown if so, and his image alone could be enough to have Moxxi calling for his downfall.
Regardless, it's nice to see Handsome Jack's legacy continue, and whatever form his presence takes, it'll be interesting to see how these new vault hunters deal with him. Expect to see more when November 20, 2019, the Borderlands 3 first story dlc reveal date, arrives.
Borderlands is out now for PC, PS4, and Xbox One, with a Stadia version also in development.