Elder Scrolls 6 will likely take place after Skyrim, meaning the Civil War will have ended, and Bethesda can finally reveal the canonical victors.
The Skyrim Civil War is perhaps one of the most hotly debated topics in Elder Scrolls fandom since Skyrim‘s release. The conflict centers around the recent death of the High King Torygg at the hands (or rather, Thu’um) of Ulfric Stormcloak, the Jarl of Windhelm. Ulfric rallies his forces to obtain independence for Skyrim and reinstate the worship of the hero-god Talos. The Imperials are the defenders of Skyrim, comprised of soldiers loyal to High Queen Elisif who work towards securing Skyrim as part of the Empire. Ultimately, the war remains in a stalemate until the Dragonborn picks a side.
Given the importance the Civil War held in Skyrim, it stands to reason that Elder Scrolls 6 will finally conclude which side canonically claimed victory. Elder Scrolls games have progressed chronologically with each new title, with more significant events being present in dialogue, quests, or texts found throughout the world of the new game. For example, characters from The Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, such as Lucien Lachance and the Grey Fox, made cameos throughout their respective Guilds. There were also texts which referenced events from the previous Elder Scrolls games which longtime fans would recognize.
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Given the pattern of how Bethesda has been progressing time with the Elder Scrolls series, Elder Scrolls 6 will likely come after Skyrim chronologically. With the outcome of Skyrim’s Civil War between the Stormcloaks and the Imperial Legion dependent on the Dragonborn’s choice, it stands to reason that Bethesda will have to choose the canonical outcome for the series. The allegiance of an entire country is impossible to keep intentionally vague, especially when the setting of the next Elder Scrolls game will likely be somewhere in the Empire.
What Will A Post-War Skyrim Look Like?
Should the Stormcloaks win Skyrim’s Civil War, the Jarls of the land are all replaced with Stormcloak supporters, the worship of Talos is restored, and Skyrim gains its independence. Should the Imperials win, Queen Elisif will assume the throne of Skyrim and the country remains a part of the Empire (and by extension, under the control of the Thalmor). The worship of Talos likely remains banned, which would be a significant change to potential pantheons in Elder Scrolls 6. Depending on how much time has passed since Skyrim’s war, there could even be the possibility of Talos shrines not existing at all.
Despite the outcome, there is still a chance that the Civil War’s outcome won’t matter. If the Stormcloaks claim victory, Skyrim is independent but weak, without allies to help them stand against a potential invasion by the Aldmeri Dominion. Furthermore, the independence of Skyrim from the Empire lessens the possibility of an uprising against the Dominion. Should the Imperials win, the Aldmeri Dominion retains its control over the entirety of the Empire’s territories. No matter which side claims victory, it is unlikely that Skyrim’s war will have done much to weaken the Aldmeri Dominion’s hold on Tamriel.
If Bethesda continues its trend of progressing every Elder Scrolls game chronologically, then it would stand to reason that the canonical outcome of the Skyrim Civil War would be revealed through quests, dialogue, or texts present in the next Elder Scrolls game. The Stormcloaks and the Imperials bring their visions of Skyrim to fruition with victory, but what those visions hold cannot be fully realized until a victor is definitively chosen. No matter the outcome, it is doubtful that the war will have a severe impact on the Aldmeri Dominion and their control across Tamriel. For now, it has yet to be announced where Elder Scrolls 6 will take place, or when the game could possibly be released, so players will just have to wait and see.
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