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There's a new plush made by Flair: the My Little Pony Sunny Alicorn Glow in the Dark Plush. The product description includes what might be a pretty big spoiler for either the upcoming special or the regular series: What are your thoughts about this? Are you excited for the possible return of Sombra? are there other villains that you would like to see return?
Yes, I have now actually made a theory about Sombra dimension-hopping to G5. https://www.deviantart.com/cloudmistdragon/art/King-Sombra-is-in-G5-MLP-Fan-Theory-896633007 Introduction This was originally not intended to be a theory, just my obligatory thoughts on what’s been circulating lately about the possibility of King Sombra returning for Generation 5. Before the G5 movie premiered, there was a particularly interesting and amusing trailer that dropped showing Izzy Moonbow admiring the crystals in Bridlewood Forest. I made a joke about it regarding Sombra, like everyone else, laughed with some people, fully believing what everyone else thought, that it was very likely just a humorous coincidence. I maintained this belief watching the movie when it came out too, even as I naturally made some mental notes of certain features in Bridlewood. Then, not too long after, character designer for G5, Imalou, made a post on the internet that caught everybody’s attention, a surprise confirmation of the Tree of Harmony still being alive and well in the world of G5 in response to a fan’s notion. At this point, I was starting to get more curious. After all, I made an entire theory about King Sombra’s possible relations to the Tree of Harmony, but still, this could have just been a coincidence. Even as the location Imalou referred to as the Tree of Harmony just so happened to be where the main characters are passing by just before they visit Bridlewood. Then a development artist for the movie, Damon Bard, showed pictures of early development models of the crystals. The colors of these crystals were blue, purple, and most notably, black, the trademark color of Sombra’s crystals. And crystals of all three colors are shown in the movie. This is the point where me discussing this at reasonable length was inevitable. You can’t expect me to just sit back and say nothing about something that’s gotten more people talking about the shadow king. I really wanted to give the Sombra theories a rest. It’s been over a whole year now, and I gave them that rest I felt they deserved because I can empathize with people’s fatigue. However, now that something is inspiring more people to talk about him again while giving us things to theorize, I see no reason not to theorize. Even if I just tried to make this theory a discussion of one like my discussion of the theory of Sombra possibly being a kirin, it would have ended up becoming a regular theory anyway because of the evidence tying into my earlier theories. Evidence Correlating to My Theories The theory that the evidence we’ve seen so far corresponds to most is the aforementioned theory about Sombra’s possible relations to the Tree of Harmony. This postulation was a key part of my second theory about how Sombra was still alive. Since Sombra had already found a way to return after being gone for a thousand years when his character first debuted, the time jump from G4 to G5 wouldn’t affect him returning so long as there was a way for him to still linger in Equestria like I theorized, I’m sure we all know. However, would his return involve him having already returned in the past, essentially making him a vital part of the new generation’s lore, or would it involve him returning as a villain to be fought? I lean more towards the former, as I do see a few bits of evidence to support speculations like how Alphabittle could be a descendant of Sombra. Originally, Alphabittle was a blind sage with a curved horn the main characters were intended to meet up with in a cave. A cave where blue, purple, and black crystals were growing at that. The fact that they’re both the same color and share the same crystal fascination is also interesting, the same way it’s interesting how Izzy Moonbow has a color scheme similar to both Princess Cadance’s and Radiant Hope’s, as well as a blue heart for a cutie mark. Also, the name. Moonbow. If that ties in with my theory on how Sombra was sent to the moon, I will be laughing so hard. An easier tie-in for me to imagine though would be what I talked about in my second theory of Sombra still being alive concerning the forest Celestia was in when the shadow resembling Sombra passed by her. Another bit of information that has recently been revealed from an artist who worked on the movie for G5, Alvaro Ramirez, is that Bridlewood Forest was originally intended to be the modern-day Everfree Forest. What did they change it to instead? We currently don’t know for sure, but in the movie, interestingly enough, you can see that Sunny’s map shows mountains just behind Bridlewood. Compare that map to a map of G4 Equestria and you’ll find that for Bridlewood to have mountains behind it, it would have to be somewhere far north, somewhere close to the Crystal Empire. I understand how someone could just look at a forest with crystals and see it as just that. But a forest with crystals that’s also near where the Crystal Empire used to be? How can you not think Sombra? Also, the crystals seem to be more than just an added detail, even disregarding the effort that went into the models. I mean, Crystal Tea Room? Why would they also make the forest crystal-themed? Additionally, the way every unicorn in Bridlewood except for Izzy is depressed and subdued…doesn’t that remind you of the Friendship is Magic Season 3 premiere, what the Crystal Ponies were like before they had their spirits lifted? Taking a look at their horns too, you can see a familiar swirl pattern…one present in the Castle of Friendship, which was created by the box sprouting from the Tree of Harmony. Putting the Evidence Together Even if you are unfamiliar with my earlier theories, passing all of this off as a simple coincidence should be growing quite difficult. The story so far is that Sombra was conveniently led to the Tree of Harmony after being banished by the Elements, had a shadow that looked like him appear in a forest after he was banished again, and now, a crystal-themed forest of unicorns just so happens to appear in G5 right next to the Tree and the Crystal Empire? That isn’t even the last geographical convenience. Remember in the movie, how Queen Haven was able to break out of captivity and get to Bridlewood so quickly, despite being all the way in Zephyr Heights? Well, if you look back at the map again, Zephyr Heights is also not too far from where the Empire would have been. Why do I bring this up? Because people talk about how Haven could be a descendant of Cadance, given her familiar look, the same way they talk about how Alphabittle could be a descendant of Sombra. Remember that Cadance was originally a pegasus, not a unicorn… If Zephyr Heights was actually a land inherited by Cadance’s descendants and Bridlewood Forest was actually a land inherited by Sombra’s descendants, that would explain a lot, most notably why Zephyr Heights is so advanced while Bridlewood Forest is so rundown. Zephyr Heights was likely already a developing society before the magic vanished. As for Bridlewood, we don’t know whether or not Sombra’s magic would have been affected, since it was the magic of light, love, and friendship that had to be restored in the movie, not dark magic. Either way, those crystals had to come from somewhere. After all the evidence we’ve reviewed so far, it’s difficult to assume they’re just naturally grown in a world like MLP’s that always uses mystical explanations for its environmental lore. You could say they came from the Tree of Harmony, but looking at the Tree of Harmony, you can see that it’s lost its crystalline features since G4. The most popular reason speculated right now for this change is the loss of magic. That only leaves the shadow king. Even if the Tree wasn’t affected, Sombra is the only being in the show whom, at the moment, we can fully ascertain has the ability to create crystals that are blue, purple, and black on a whim without limitation. Proof that these colors were not chosen randomly is displayed by both the models and development art done by Ramirez. The only question that remains now is how Sombra was able to return and create those crystals. Explaining Sombra’s Presence Obviously, for Sombra to be the ancestor of Alphabittle, he would need to create some sort of physical manifestation of himself upon returning from banishment. However, he does not need to return at all in order to be the creator of the crystals in Bridlewood. Recall how in FiM, the spirit of the Tree of Harmony never returned again after the Student 6 caused the Treehouse of Harmony to grow from its remains. If Sombra was able to watch Celestia as a shadow in a forest, what would stop him from living on in the form of crystals the same way the Tree of Harmony lives on? Sombra’s recent return in the Transformers crossover comic involves him being brought back from crystal. Though this comic is often regarded to be noncanon, it would be unfairly dismissive to completely ignore how it provides an explanation for Sombra’s apparent immortality. This is something we require in order to fill in an inconsistency left by FiM in the Season 9 premiere, no explanation of Sombra’s return after his first defeat. This is a discrepancy I attempted to explain myself in the past, at one point suggesting that crystals of Sombra’s could still be growing in the cave he was revived in. Intriguingly, a cave with familiar crystals, as discussed before, was where the main cast would’ve originally met with Alphabittle… At this point, we also have no explanation as to how the pony tribes were separated. For right now, we have room to theorize and fill in the lore ourselves about the cause of Equestria’s societal decadence, even speculate that there was a war at one point. After all, the ponies were quick to both accept and forgive Sprout’s declaration of war on the other tribes in the movie. It’s hard to imagine that the only reason they’ve come to be this way is because of what they’re told. I don’t want to go too far and claim that the reason is because Sombra returned from his banishment and started a war, but I did note that the three crystals from each tribe in the movie, when combined together, do form a heart-like shape, perhaps hinting that they originally made up the Crystal Heart. Another thing that everyone had already noted long before the movie had even premiered was the unusual absence of the Windigos in the world of G5 despite the fact that ponies now distrust each other. And long before even that, I wrote an explanation for this apparent inconsistency without even realizing it in my third King Sombra theory. Quote… “It’s confirmed that the cause of the Windigos returning is animosity, hate among the ponies...yet Celestia described Sombra’s return in The Crystal Empire as hatred and fear taking hold. What banishes the Windigos is unity...which is ironically what Sombra does when he puts the ponies under his mind control. Though it’s through evil, he unites them and turns them into a formidable force.” I think you can see where I’m going with this. Even though the pony tribes were segregated in the movie, they were still united within their own tribes. And if you go back to early Equestria in FiM, something pointed out by prominent fan theorist Sawtooth Waves, you can see that the pony tribes live segregated, yet are still able to get by. It’s only when the quarreling between them grows too intense that the Windigos show up, just like in The Ending of the End. The three separated tribes in the movie weren’t arguing with each other, just living away from each other sequestered and paranoid. So long as the ponies don’t abandon unity altogether, they won’t cause the Windigos to return. This isn’t an anomaly created by G5 ignoring G4 lore. G5 is simply expanding on what began in G4, where it’s implied that even a kind of unity that isn’t what you would call “good” would ward off the Windigos. The kind of unity that G5 presents is unity through mind control, ponies being taken hold of by hatred and fear without having to fight among each other. In fact, given that the Sombra in the alternate dimension of The Cutie Re-Mark was able to start a war without triggering the Windigos’ return, this would make the possibility of there being a war in Equestria reasonable. Even if there was no war, Sombra’s presence in G5 would still make perfect sense for an explanation as to how the ponies came to live the way they did, since uniting ponies through mind control, controlling them with hatred and fear without summoning the Windigos, is simply a continuation of something that he began. Conclusion In conclusion…I actually don’t feel that it would be appropriate to give this theory a conclusion at the moment. After all, at the time of me writing this, G5 is quite literally BRAND NEW. I may have to update this theory more frequently than my older ones simply because of how much G5 content is coming in the future. I still understand some people being fatigued with these theories, but know that I am simply inspired by what I see other people talking about. I never wanted to indefinitely create Sombra theories, but so long as there is a purpose to do so being provided by new content, I will continue to do so. I’m just glad that we’ve come a long way since the days where theories primarily focused on him returning because of his horn not being destroyed. It would seem that meme, just like Izzy’s tennis ball, is forever behind us. However, hold on. Just for a bonus, let’s go back to the last time we saw Sombra’s horn, in the well-known scene of his disintegration in The Beginning of the End, broken down frame-by-frame. Obviously, we can’t see what’s happening to the upper part of his horn in any frame of this scene, so let’s just look at the last shot of the lower part of his horn. You would think the horn would’ve been reduced to ash at this point, but instead, it remains intact with gray matter beginning to encase it. Recall that the very bottom of Sombra’s horn is gray. This gray matter, in the very next shot, fully envelops the lower part of the horn as it comes up. Your first assumption for the reason for this detail would be an animation error. However, the moment the horn fully ascends is the trigger for Sombra to open his eye, making this detail very unlikely to be accidental. All of this is highly difficult to catch in full-motion, but slowed down by frame, you can see that particles of Sombra floating up from the rest of his body are easy to confuse with particles you may have thought were from his horn. So what actually happened to his horn? One would still assume it was destroyed, even if only offscreen. But the only thing we can ascertain from these shots is that it was torn from his head, covered, and lifted upwards with its fate becoming unknown. So actually, albeit shockingly, NO. You can not absolutely confirm what happened to Sombra’s horn after his second defeat in The Beginning of the End. Therefore, the meme isn’t behind us after all. And I guess, to be fair, neither are Izzy's balls. Isn’t that incredible and INSANE? There is no reason to presume anything happened differently to his horn besides it disintegrating, and not just because that’s the first thing one would assume. Every speculation I’ve made regarding Season 9 Sombra surviving and returning, every speculation everyone else has made about him surviving and returning, even the explanation for him surviving and returning that the Transformers crossover comic went with, all of it has NOTHING TO DO with his horn surviving the blast. There has been no incentive to argue that Sombra’s horn survived the blast in a LONG TIME, now that we have all this evidence. We’ve never needed this one bit of extremely easy-to-miss evidence all this time…YET IT’S THERE. The only question now is…what do we do with it? I have no idea, I’ll let you make the call. I guess I just won’t be surprised if I see Sombra’s horn in G5 too. In the event that this was just done as an Easter egg, I guess I’ll just sit back and appreciate the effort Sombra put into protecting his manhood. Long live the meme of Sombra’s horn and the meme of Izzy’s balls. And most of all, long live the shadow king.
Yup, we're doing this again. PreludeIn December of 2016, I made a theory regarding King Sombra not being dead like many fans of the show were speculating and returning to the series. Most of what I said in my original theory two and a half years ago has been confirmed to be true, and I feel the theory holds up for the most part, even if there are some cringey moments from my younger and dumber self that detract from it, especially the loser shipping trash. Even with rumors of the show staff being Rarijack shippers surfacing, I have come to harbor some doubt about Luna and Sombra being a former couple, but I won’t discount the possibility of another implication about them having been in a relationship in the same vein as an implication of Celestia and Discord having been in a relationship (put briefly, a very subtle implication). That being said, what gave me the compulsion to type up this follow-up theory was not to make another addendum or jokingly rub in the fact that I was right again, for this theory focuses on an entirely different subject. This new theory is meant to offer a possible explanation for Sombra’s apparent immortality, fill the discrepancy of his return that directly followed his first defeat in the Season 9 premiere, and elaborate on why I believe that he will not only return...again, but also play a vital role in the show’s overall plot and overarching message. Sombra’s Immortality We all saw what happened in the Season 9 premiere, The Beginning of the End, I am well aware. Sombra’s ‘death scene’ towards the end has proven to be a much more memorable moment than his original ‘death scene’ in the Season 3 premiere, The Crystal Empire. We seem to be having deja vu in more ways than one, not only did Sombra get “killed” again, but fans are arguing that he’s gone for good again. This time though, we have no ‘confirmation’ from the staff that he’s dead for good, so what is there to the argument that he will never come back? For starters, the one who resurrected him in the first place, Grogar, seems to have no intent on bringing him back at the moment. If you’ve seen the episode Frenemies, you will know that the remaining three villains Grogar has enlisted to be part of his “Legion of Doom” are plotting to betray him. With speculation about Grogar knowing this as the reason why he did not revive Sombra, the only villain who openly opposed his plans, and give him another chance along with speculation about Grogar using him the entire time only as a way to keep the other villains in line, it is rational to presume that Sombra wouldn’t return based on that alone...but as we saw with our presumption that Sombra wouldn’t return based on him being blown to bits alone, it is not rational to dismiss any possibility of him returning again. More speculation used to argue that Sombra won’t return is that he was not destroyed by the first blast from the Elements of Harmony that the Mane 6 used on him, but that he merely evaded it. However, nothing in the show confirms this visually or through dialogue. The scene of King Sombra’s first defeat in the premiere clearly showed him being blown away by the magic blast and steam arising from a burn spot on the floor, implying that he was disintegrated. This scene also bears similarities to how Starlight Glimmer banished, not killed, Discord by disintegrating him with her magic in A Matter of Principals, but I digress. Upon his return after destroying the Tree of Harmony, he does not make any boasts about dodging the blast, he just says that they “thought they beat him but instead led them to the source of their power”. Very odd of him not to delve into specifics despite the extreme narcissism he was shown to have in the premiere...and had he been tracking them the entire time since his defeat, that would give Grogar no window of opportunity to revive him either. So what’s going on here? Look back at the scene of King Sombra’s first defeat in the show again...when the elements blast him, they clearly destroy him...but not the dark crystals still lingering behind him. An editor’s oversight? Possible...but oddly enough, unlike the last time where the Crystal Heart was used to banish Sombra, all of his dark crystals were clearly destroyed. This time...they simply faded. Later on in the premiere, when he is defeated for the second time, Sombra’s shadow self is completely eradicated, yet reminiscent of his very first defeat in The Crystal Empire, he is still able to manage to scream until his dark crystals are destroyed. Ergo, I do not believe that the reason Sombra was able to survive the blast from the Elements is because he dodged it, but because his crystals were not destroyed. This is also what leads me to believe that the source of Sombra’s apparent immortality is that his “shadow body” is actually a manifestation of his spirit and that his true physical form is his dark crystals. Dialogue and visuals in the show do support this hypothesis. Rarity describes Sombra’s first banishment as him being “dispelled into the ether”, acting as if he is a spirit. Also, when Grogar resurrects Sombra in the underground cave below Tartarus at the beginning, the very first thing that comes out of the ground is not Sombra’s shadow, but a dark crystal...However, in spite of all this, there are those who will still argue that Sombra won’t come back because he “served his purpose” to the show...but what purpose is that? Sombra’s PurposeNo one can deny at this point that “Big” Jim Miller, the show’s supervising director, has sentiment for the character of Sombra. Voluntarily, he did not reprise his role as King Sombra for the Season 9 premiere, getting Alvin Sanders, whom he described as a ‘real voice actor’, to replace him. Why go through the effort of finding ‘real voice talent’ for a returning throwaway villain just to give him the chance to “prove he was capable”? It seems more likely that the trouble would at least amount to Sombra doing something to impact the show in the long run, and at first, this seemed to be the case with Sombra’s destruction of the Tree of Harmony. But now, as we’ve seen with the revival of the Tree of Harmony as a haven for the Student 6, as well as taking into account the fact that the Mane 6 can still harness the power of the Elements without their physical presence, it seems that Sombra really didn’t have much of a purpose for returning after all...or did he? In The Brony Notion’s excellent theory on how The Tree of Harmony really died, he also attempts to fill in the discrepancy of Sombra surviving his first defeat. Not by asserting that Sombra’s true physical form is his crystals, but that The Spirit of Harmony actually led Sombra to the Tree, allowing him to destroy its physical body knowing what it would do for the greater good. The notion may seem laughable initially, but realize that as he brings up, there is no other time in the show where a villain has “evaded” a blast from the Elements. It also answers the question of “Who benefits?”. Certainly the Spirit of Harmony, as now, it is in a better state of being as both the bonds of the Mane 6 and Student 6 have become stronger than ever before. And none of it would have been possible if not for both King Sombra and the Tree... Interestingly, despite there being no other time in the show where a villain has “dodged” a blast from the Elements, there is one time in particular where a protagonist, not an antagonist, who needed to fulfill their destiny was “disintegrated” just as Sombra was...Twilight Sparkle. If you look closely at the scene where the elements “disintegrate” her but actually teleport her to an ethereal plane, you can see a symbol on the floor that clearly resembles a star, her cutie mark. You would think that King Sombra couldn’t possibly have this replicated in his case, since he has no visible cutie mark. However, surprise of surprises, there is a distinguishable pattern on the floor that is unlike the rest of the scorch mark...recognizable points on both sides that look like the jagged edges of Sombra’s crystals. One side ends with what looks like the tip of King Sombra’s curved horn, the other, a regular unicorn horn...could it be that like Twilight, King Sombra was only teleported to a place where he could fulfill his destiny? However, that could only mean...This is where we start to tie the knot, for this is what everything appears to all come back to...King Sombra’s ultimate purpose is intertwined with The Spirit of Harmony’s.Sombra’s SecretThis is what I believe that King Sombra has been hiding the entire time. The fact that he’s not a pony at all and never was to begin with. It would make sense considering the fact that we have never seen his cutie mark, the fact that the Crystal Heart caused him to shatter despite only making all the other residents of the Crystal Empire glow, and his bizarre obsession with crystals...because he is crystal. What is the Tree of Harmony, along with everything it creates, made out of? Crystal. Not just that, but frequently seen throughout What Lies Beneath, when the Student 6 are being tested by the Tree, is dark crystal. What color is the inside of the crystal cage Sombra uses to trap the Mane 6 in The Beginning of the End? Bright and dark blue. The same color as the Tree of Harmony and all of its crystal creations. Also take note of the way Discord describes King Sombra...a would-be king. Does he mean would-be king of Equestria? Or would-be king of the Crystal Empire back when he was in power? This is a possible hint to a twist that there is no Crystal king called Sombra...the true form of Sombra...is the Spirit of Harmony’s dark counterpart. Remember back in the Season 9 premiere how King Sombra was able to enter the Crystal Empire without being banished by the Crystal Heart, unlike in the Season 3 premiere. This further bolsters the notion that his shadow form is actually a spirit this time and that his form in the Season 3 premiere was his spirit inside of his shadow body of crystal. All of his forms were intertwined together. So what does this add up to? Ask yourself, who is the only other entity in the show who appears as a spirit separate from its physical body? The Tree of Harmony. A spirit that is also translucent, sparkles with glitter, and bears a striking resemblance to the Crystal ponies after they glow...Think about what else the Tree of Harmony and King Sombra share in common, besides sadistic tendencies. They both have an odd fascination with crystals, illusions and tricks of the mind, and showing others their worst fears. Coincidental? Think back to when Sombra was resurrected by Grogar again. A dark crystal of his sprouted up from the ground like a plant. In a cave no less, the same kind of place the Tree of Harmony was grown in. Yes, the Cave of Harmony has never been explored deeply, I’ll add. If you look closely at the ground before Grogar draws the magic symbol, you can clearly see that something has been planted in the middle. Now going back to what I said earlier about Sombra still being able to be ‘alive’ so long as his crystals are present, this opens up the possibility that the reason Grogar didn’t resurrect Sombra is actually because there was no need to, for his crystals could still be growing in that cave, a stone that has been clearly left unturned…Now, keep this in mind as we go back to the Season 3 premiere again. Sombra was clearly shown to have the ability to create dark crystals before he was ‘turned to shadow’, as seen by the tower surrounded by them before he got banished. Remember how Sombra was sealed in ice? And how he hid the heart to protect the empire from the storms? This goes back to what I talked about in my original theory in regards to the weather. What can plant life not survive in? Cold. This would explain why Sombra could only manifest himself as shadow mist before he reached the empire. When his horn broke off, it cemented itself into hospitable soil. That was how his dark crystals were able to grow. This would also explain why Sombra “died” and had to be “brought back” in the Season 3 premiere, but not in the Season 9 premiere after his first defeat. Unlike in the case of the latter, he didn’t have any place to grow the crystals in the ice, thus, he had no physical form. This goes along with Jim Miller’s explanation of why Sombra was so different back then compared to now, saying that back then, King Sombra was returning to the empire as a ghost. Another thing this would explain is how he would’ve been able to come back for the cameo he was originally slated for in Slice of Life. It’s not that he’s ever been truly killed, only that he’s been trying to find a way to truly return to life. Also think about how this would explain his uncanny obsession with crystals even further, how he was blasting Celestia and Luna’s throne room like a madman trying to create as many as possible...he wants to branch out and grow as much as possible, just like a tree…Ultimately, this is what I believe Sombra’s true nature is...the Yang to the Yin that is the Spirit of Harmony. Think back now to how Celestia first described the Crystal Empire to Twilight, a place that would either be filled with love and hope or hatred and fear. There was no middle ground. Either pure light or pure darkness would rule...and this is what I believe is the secret to King Sombra’s immortality. Just as the philosophy of Yin-Yang speaks of how there is no good without evil, Sombra will always exist so long as the Spirit of Harmony does too. Conclusion Just like last time, I will reiterate that this is only a fan theory subject to correction, you are your own best judge. I may have been right once, but that does not mean I’ll be right again. I encourage you to form your own opinions from your own observations, this is only my personal perspective that I wanted to offer. Not everything in your personal theories has to be accurate to a T, every little part of my original theory certainly wasn’t. This is all a product of deductive reasoning, observation, and trial and error. None of us know what goes on in the heads of the show makers, this is all for fun and we may as well make the most of that fun with the show coming to an end soon. Whatever happens in the second half of the show and in the finale, I will accept. The nature of the character of Sombra and his ultimate fate are the decision of the show staff that I will respect. To me, however, Sombra will always still be alive. To me, he is an immortal shadow. Sombra’s Impending Return…? (EDIT: 6/22/2019) Recently, with the conclusion of the first half of Season 9, a screencap (link is in the description) taken of the scene where Princess Celestia is roaming a forest alone in the midseason finale revealed the strongest piece of evidence to support this theory so far. A shadow passing by at lightning speed was revealed to bear an uncanny likeness to the image of King Sombra. I acknowledge this to not be irrevocable confirmation of his return. However, considering the hints that the show creators have dropped in the past regarding character returns with cryptic background visuals, such as in the case of Starlight Glimmer and the Changelings, to simply write off or ignore evidence like this is unimaginable. I strongly suspect more than ever now that our king will be returning once again soon...
http://cloudmistdragon.deviantart.com/art/King-Sombra-is-Not-Dead-MLP-FiM-Fan-Theory-652475278 Faintly...I’ll go...to take this head on... The Debate of King Sombra Every fan of King Sombra has seen The Crystal Empire, the two-parter premiere episode of the third season of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic, in which he made his debut. Although both the portrayal of King Sombra in this episode and the episode as a whole have always sparked a wide mix of different opinions amongst fans of the show, one generally accepted opinion on the episode is that the scene of King Sombra’s defeat is one of the show’s most memorable scenes. What has always made it stand out from the show’s other instances of a villain suffering their untimely defeat, often caused by multi-colored lights (TASTE THE RAINBOW MOTHERF'ER), is that it apparently depicts the first, and still to this day, only time where a villain has been killed. ...Notice how the word, “apparently”, is italicized for emphasis. There is debate on the matter of whether King Sombra was truly killed or not in The Crystal Empire. Those who side with the former and believe that the case is open-and-shut most often bring up the response of Meghan McCarthy, the aforementioned episode’s writer, who when asked about whether Sombra was dead or not, replied by saying that he was. The most common counterargument to this is that what Meghan McCarthy says is subject to change, as demonstrated in the case of her reply to a question on the issue of whether Flash Sentry, a character from the show’s spin-off film series, Equestria Girls, would ever make an appearance in the show. Though she replied by saying that he would not, Flash Sentry still in fact appeared in two episodes she wrote for. When Meghan was asked about this, she replied by saying that it was not her decision to include said character in the episode. It was later announced by “Big” Jim Miller, the show’s supervising director (and Sombra’s voice actor :3), that the reason for his inclusion was that he was “added by request”. Incidentally, Jim Miller, the same person who defended Meghan on this matter, also implied that the show’s team was undecided on whether to use King Sombra again or not when he was asked about whether he thought the character was capable of being redeemed or not. It has been proven that what a member of the show’s creative team says in regards to the show’s future is not absolute confirmation, as what they say is interchangeable depending on the future of what the entirety of the show’s creative team ultimately agrees upon. In fact, the episode in question, The Crystal Empire, turned out very different from how it was originally planned to be. Many of the changes made to the original script, such as King Sombra originally being the leader of an army of the undead, were discussed in an interview with Meghan McCarthy. Hasbro, the parent company of Studio B, the studio that produces the show, also had influence in the changes made to the original script as well, but that is a matter to be discussed much later. Essentially, the only thing we know for certain at the moment regarding the debate on whether King Sombra is dead or not is that there is no concrete, conclusive answer yet. Even what I am about to discuss is only a theory for my own personal headcanon that King Sombra is very much alive. However, I have many facts to bolster my argument, including many examples from the show that I do believe need to be given more attention. Be warned that this theory will be very long and detailed. In an effort to simplify it as much as possible, however, I will divide it into five parts and start from the basic facts we all know. The Defeat of King Sombra In The Crystal Empire, King Sombra is defeated when the Crystal Heart is put back in its rightful place, causing intense light to erupt all across the empire, causing his pony body to explode. What follows this is even more light bursting from the empire, causing the shadows that have surrounded the empire to blow away and disappear. Needless to say, naturally, in the real world, your body exploding would most certainly kill you. What is also needless to say, however, is that King Sombra is most certainly not a natural creature living in the real world. Though an explosion of the body would still guarantee the death of a pony, even in a fantasy world like My Little Pony’s where death is acknowledged, a nagging question still lingers in regards to Sombra… ...What exactly is he? He is first shown to be a unicorn before Princess Celestia explains to Twilight Sparkle that he was “turned to shadow”. After that, the only part of the episode that shows him as a unicorn again is soon before his defeat. Somehow, exposure to light emanating from the Crystal Heart causes him to “transform back into a unicorn”. There is no stated explanation given for why this happens in the episode, but there is an implied one that can be assumed upon observation of evidence... If you watch the scene where Sombra “becomes a pony again” closely, you can see the shadow being “pulled off of him” by the light from the Crystal Heart. In real life, when a shadow is exposed to light, the shadow extends and grows darker, which explains the shadow being pulled away. I know that it is possible that the only reason Sombra is forced into a solid form by the light of the Crystal Heart is because shadows simply are not allowed to be in the presence of the Crystal Heart’s light. But notice how said light does nothing to the dark crystal Sombra is riding, even though the crystal was formed from Sombra’s shadow form when he came out of the ground. Knowing this, we can assume the possibility that there was no transformation involved in Sombra’s “pony reverting”. However, it doesn’t end there. A popular belief surrounding Sombra’s form is that he is a “shadow pony”, a hybrid between a creature of pure shadow and a pony. What I just talked about may seem to support that. It is even possible that what Celestia meant by “turned to shadow” is that she and Princess Luna actually put Sombra inside a body of shadow. Therefore, he still, technically, is a pony. But wait a minute, let’s go over some more details before we jump to conclusions. The flashback that portrays Celestia and Luna defeating Sombra for the first time does seem more likely to be depicting a transformation rather than Sombra being “put inside of a shadow”. In that scene, an intense flood of light washes over him, causing his cape, armor, and circlet to fall off. It is not until a similar thing happens to him with the Crystal Heart that he regains all these items, even though they were blown off of him a thousand years ago. After that, he is thrown in a fissure between two colossal layers of ice that come together. Now, think about it. If he was just a pony inside a shadow, no, if even any part of him is still flesh and blood, wouldn’t he die by having two walls of ice crush him? That isn’t even counting that he managed to live for a millennium inside of such an inhospitable area as inside of an icy crevice. How is this possible? Is he immortal? Then why does he assume the form of a seemingly mortal pony right before his defeat? Because of a magic light? Wasn’t it magic light that turned him to indestructible shadow? It seems rather complicated at first, but I believe the answer is actually very simple... King Sombra’s body has been entirely transformed into shadow. The pony form he takes on when he’s exposed to the Crystal Heart’s light isn’t real. The first piece of evidence I will bring up to back up this answer is the way Sombra behaves in his shadow form. Magic simply passes right through him, he can expand his body to surround the entire area of the empire with shadow, he can regenerate broken parts of his body, can pass through solid ground, and can transform parts of his body, or even his entire body, into dark crystal, as shown in the scene where his horn sinks into the ground and in the scene where he goes after Spike. The second piece of evidence I have to bring up are the aforementioned cape, armor, and circlet reappearing, even after they were lost a thousand years ago. An easy answer to how they magically came back (besides MAGIC! *snort* *snort*) is that they didn’t magically come back at all. Parts of Sombra’s body of shadow simply adopted their form. Think it through. If Sombra can physically manifest himself as crystal, what would be so difficult about manifesting parts of himself as simple accessories? But more importantly, doesn’t this make it entirely possible for him to create a body for himself that resembles that of a pony’s, but is actually made entirely of crystal? Imagine the scene where Sombra appears to become a pony again like this. When the light shines on him, his shadow body is naturally forced to assume a physical form of dark crystal. The light then causes the rest of the shadow surrounding him to extend in the direction opposite of where he’s headed. Some of it fades while some of it becomes part of the dark crystal he’s on. Going back to the scene where the broken piece of Sombra’s horn sinks into the ground and transforms into dark crystal, notice how in the following scene, he is still able to use magic even with part of his horn gone. But in the case of Shining Armor, an ordinary pony, he could not use magic after Sombra did something to his horn that caused dark crystals to appear on part of it. Now let’s go back to the scene where Sombra’s body explodes. Why does this happen if he is just a normal pony of flesh and blood at this time? The light from the Crystal Heart fills all the other ponies’ bodies with light that glows all throughout them. But in Sombra’s case, it causes his body to crack and shatter like glass or rock...or crystal. If you watch closely, you’ll see that his explosion is not so much an explosion, it is moreso a wave of light pushing the crumbled pieces of his body away. You can even still hear Sombra screaming as parts of his body fly away. This could be intended to be an echo, I know, but I only mean to state what happened. This is merely extra food for thought as well. The real kicker comes with the final piece of evidence I have for my theory on why King Sombra is one-hundred percent shadow… When King Sombra supposedly dies, his shadows, which are shown to be part of him, do not die with him. They linger around the empire until another burst of light blows them away and causes them to vanish. Why is that? Again, think. If Sombra was just an ordinary pony, the light from the Crystal Heart would not kill him. If Sombra was just a pony-shadow hybrid, losing his pony self would destroy his entire being. That is, if you consider that he is mortal… Upon exploring the details of Sombra’s defeat, I have arrived at the conclusion that even if my answer is incorrect, much evidence is still left behind that supports that King Sombra is always in the form of an immortal shadow. And this is only one part of what I want to discuss… Backstory of King Sombra Many agree that the backstory Sombra is given in the show is vague and leaves much to be desired. For one, just the way Princess Celestia explains it is shaky. She doesn’t even mention that it was her and Luna who banished King Sombra one thousand years ago even as said fact is made obvious in the flashback. Not only that, but there is an inconsistency in her story. How was King Sombra able to take over the Crystal Empire if the Crystal Heart was there to protect the empire from evil? How did Sombra get in? Was the heart knocked out of place and rendered temporarily unusable? Did it break and have to be fixed? Or… It is possible that there’s something Princess Celestia and Luna know about Sombra that they don’t want Twilight Sparkle to know. Just watch the way Luna behaves the entire time. What reason does she have to be unhappy that Twilight is being given a chance to protect the empire and make a large step towards the next chapter of her life? Is she just jealous? When at any other time in the series has Luna been shown to be jealous of Twilight? She seemed to be very happy for her when she became a princess in Magical Mystery Cure, so what reason would she have to be upset? If it has nothing to do with Twilight, then maybe it has something to do with Sombra… I’m sure some of you reading this already know that Luna’s behavior in this episode has led to speculation amongst some fans that Luna and Sombra were once in a relationship back when Sombra ruled over the empire with kindness. I’m also sure about what some of you are thinking… “What the hell? I thought this was some loser’s crazy conspiracy theory about King Sombra being alive, not some loser’s shipping trash!” ...and don’t worry, I have no intention of abruptly shifting the focus of this theory to LunaXSombra4ever. I bring this up because I do believe it is vital to understanding why Sombra’s backstory as we know it does not match up with his rise and fall as we know it. Here is where I’m trying to explain why Sombra’s backstory does not fit with an ending of him abruptly being killed. It is possible that Luna and Sombra were merely close friends, and that no romance was involved between them. It seems ridiculous imagining them together in an intimate relationship…until you read the comics and take a look at the arc where Princess Celestia has a romantic relationship with an alternate version of King Sombra. Now I am well-aware that it has been said that the canon of the comics and the canon of the show are separate, not just by word of the show’s staff, but also by word of the comics’ staff. This matters not though, as what I mean to show here is that MLP is not against the idea of its characters having romantic relationships. There have even been hints in the show, such as with Big McIntosh and Marble Pie. I’d even say that there’s another hint in the episode besides Luna’s odd, unexplained behavior. Watch what happens after the Crystal Empire banishes King Sombra. We get a scene where Celestia puts her horn against Luna’s and smiles after seeing light from the empire pass by the window. Luna hesitates at first, but soon slides her horn against her sister’s as well and smiles. What is the purpose of this scene? Most likely, it’s to show that Celestia and Luna are relieved that Twilight has passed the test and that the Crystal Empire is safe. However, that does not mean this is the scene’s only purpose… It’s entirely possible that the scene has a secondary purpose, that being to confirm that it was indeed Celestia and Luna who banished Sombra a thousand years ago. Though they’re covered by a veil of shadow in the flashback, you can see them putting their horns together to shine their light on Sombra, just as they do in this scene. Keep in mind that Celestia and Luna “should not have known” that Sombra had returned. All Celestia had asked of Twilight was to protect the empire from danger, she never told her that the threat was Sombra... Whatever the case may be, it doesn’t make sense from a writing perspective to imply that something more happened between Celestia, Luna, and Sombra, only to permanently kill Sombra off with no intention of taking that implied plot point anywhere. Speaking of comics and permanently killing off characters… The Other Story of King Sombra I do read the IDW MLP:FiM comic series, and I have read the issues of the Siege of the Crystal Empire arc. Unlike the aforementioned arc, Reflections, this arc tells us for the first time in the main series (that’s discounting FIENDship is Magic) what King Sombra’s backstory is. This displays that Hasbro does have some interest in him even with him being “dead” in the show. Without spoiling too much, this arc tells us that King Sombra is actually an umbrum, a creature who comes from a race of shadow ponies...as far as comic canon is concerned, but you catch my drift. And yes, this arc proves without a shadow of a doubt (no pun intended) that show canon and comic canon do not intermingle, as they have two different “Changeling Invasion of the Crystal Empire” stories. The one in the show does not acknowledge or leave any window of opportunity for the one in the comic to take place. I mention this because many do view the comics as canon with the show, which is true to some level. The comics do try to stay faithful to the canon of the show, but in the end, are intended to be their own stories. They don’t mean to follow the show exactly and, therefore, should not be used to back up arguments for what went on and what didn’t go on in the show. Hey, I’m just being honest here. If I don’t give it to you straight that my entire theory falls apart if the comics are canon, I’m fu- Moving on, there is another interesting fact about Sombra’s arc in the comics that does cast doubts on him being killed off in the show. Again, trying to only spoil what’s necessary, there is a character who apparently gets killed off in the story and is only said to actually be alive at the very ending of the comic through an abrupt exchange of dialogue (NO NOT KILLED SHATTERED). When the writer of said arc, Jeremy Whitley, was asked about this bizarre moment, he replied by saying that it was a last-minute inclusion made because of Hasbro’s policy of “not killing off characters”. Remember what I said much earlier on about Hasbro having influence in the changes made to the original script of The Crystal Empire? It is apparent now that their influence does not merely impact how the episodes of the show are written, but also how the stories in the comics are written. Because My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic is a show intended to promote toys, this has always been something to be expected. I mean not to imply that it’s surprising in the case of the comics, but it is indeed interesting. If you explore Hasbro’s past, history shows you that killing off characters has not gone well for them. The poor box office performance of The Transformers: The Movie was widely blamed on Hasbro’s controversial decision to use it as a way to advertise their upcoming line of toys by killing off much of the current character cast and replacing them with new characters. Not only that, but allowing for the return of a beloved villain character such as King Sombra would be basic business strategy. Though I humbly acknowledge that everything I have said thus far has been subject to correction, I will do the unthinkable for a moment...and be realistic. Disregarding my input, just imagine it for yourselves. Do you honestly think that during production of Season 3, that Meghan McCarthy was ever called into Stephen Davis’ office and told that she had to completely kill off a new character, whom money could potentially be going into, and leave no door open whatsoever for the character to ever return? No, that I can guarantee never happened. There would be a better chance that one day, Meghan was called into his office and asked to write My Little Pony: High School Musical. Speaking of My Little Pony: High School Musical… ... ...I’m just kidding. At least as far as I know, there’s no evidence of King Sombra being alive in Equestria Girls. Still, I feel I’ve made my point that there are even clues outside of the cartoon that nudge at the possibility of Sombra being alive. Not just that, I also feel like I’ve said enough about Sombra just being alive...so how about I end this by talking about him being alive...and returning? Return of King Sombra Soon I’ll come around...lost and never found... What’s that? King Sombra might still be alive because his horn survived the explosion? Come on, that’s crazy talk! So yeah, speaking seriously, why did it take me so long to bring up what is easily the most popular speculation for how Sombra was able to survive being blown to bits in The Crystal Empire? Easy. Because I wanted to be original! To set myself apart from those zombie writers who just go on and on about trivial stuff that everyone already knows, I went on and on about trivial stuff that no one cares about, like a worm tunneling its way through a zombie’s corroding brain! I’m just joking, as always. I don’t really think I’m “more original” than theorists who use Sombra’s horn and his ability to regenerate his body parts as the focal point of their argument for him being alive. It’s a good piece of supporting evidence to the argument, but I already discussed his regeneration ability earlier, and additionally, it was never what drove me to become a follower of the belief that Sombra is still alive. My inspiration came from SkyBolt, co-creator of the popular Sombra-related music composition, Fall of an Empire, after he discussed his inspirations in an afterthoughts video concerning the project, so special thanks to him. In this video, SkyBolt talks about his personal headcanon on what happened to King Sombra in the Season 3 premiere at a few points. Believe it or not, granted you’re unfamiliar with the video, his theory on the matter is very different from mine. Still, I took everything he said into consideration. He too brought up Luna’s unusual behavior in the episode, but what particularly caught my attention is when he began talking about believing that Sombra actually returned to the Crystal Empire after all had transpired. After hearing that...I got curious. And so, I began to think. Were there any other potential clues to Sombra’s return other than his horn? Looking now, I believe there are… First, I’ll bring up the bright orange sky at the end of the special. Remember that in The Crystal Empire, when Sombra surrounded the empire, the sky above the area was orange, the color of the sky during sunset. In the final verses of The Failure/Success Song, it is sunset and the sky is orange, even though at every other time in that series of scenes, it is day and the sky is blue. Seeing as how it was nighttime when Twilight and her friends were at the Crystal Empire, confirmed by Shining Armor’s line of dialogue about “not wanting to run into things after dark”, and the night sky outside Celestia and Luna’s palace after Sombra is defeated, it would make sense for it be daytime when Twilight and her friends returned home. After all, they left in the afternoon and arrived at the empire at night, where the sky above is always blue. Please don’t get the wrong idea. I’m not trying to be overanalytical and I know such a small thing is explainable by an oversight. Do keep in mind though that in The Crystalling, the show’s Season 6 premiere, a similar thing happened towards the end where a small black creature that appeared to be a Changeling could be seen flying towards the Crystal Empire in the final scene. While this was explainable by an oversight, as it could’ve just been a random pegasus veiled by shadow that was added to the scene by mistake or for effect, it still turned out to be foreshadowing for the plot of Queen Chrysalis’ return that season. On the subject of The Crystalling, anyone who has watched the special has noticed its bizarre lack of an antagonist, the same way Princess Twilight Sparkle, the show's Season 4 premiere, lacked an antagonist. But in the case of the latter, the conflict was set in motion by a former villain, long ago while he was still evil. In the case of the former, the conflict is caused...by an innocent infant and the forces of nature. Needless to say, something about this feels off. Could it be the nagging feeling that the storms that threaten the Crystal Empire are actually being caused by an evil force? It has been proven in the show that evil forces do create storms that bring harm to the land of Equestria, as seen in the case of the Windigoes. So is it possible...that the real cause of the storms in The Crystalling...is King Sombra? The dark clouds enshrouding the empire do give one callbacks to the shadows Sombra surrounded the area with back in The Crystal Empire, just as the final scene where the dark clouds are banished away by the Crystal Heart give one callbacks to the shadows being blown away by the Crystal Heart after Sombra’s defeat. But these scenes have more in common than you may know… If you looked closely in The Crystal Empire, you would’ve noticed that after the Crystal Heart is put in place, for the first time, Sombra’s shadows...can be seen casting shadows in the same way the dark clouds in The Crystalling do. It’s odd how they mirror each other this way. How does a magic shadow...cast a shadow? Could this have been done intentionally? Or is it also coincidence that the ones who volunteer to stymie these dark clouds are Princesses Celestia and Luna, the same ones who have returned to the empire for the first time in a thousand years...and banished King Sombra the last time they were here? Finally, do not forget that Sombra is all too familiar with weather phenomena, as displayed by his creation of an artificially orange sky, one that is seen in both The Crystal Empire and in the alternate future shown in The Cutie Re-Mark. Not only that, but do you remember what happened the first time King Sombra reappeared outside of the Crystal Empire for the first time in a millennium? The weather was unruly...the winds were howling...like a storm... But I’ll keep coming… In conclusion, I believe that there has been far more evidence pointing to King Sombra’s return than we ever thought. Please look at all this for yourselves and make your own conclusions based on what you believe, however. If you find a mistake within my theory, please call me out on it, preferably in a civil manner. Fandom starts with love, there’s no need to shove. I just found this to be an interesting thing to explore and talk about. All it is is my thoughts on the research I’ve done. Also, keep in mind that this entire thing was written by the same person who drew two pictures of King Sombra’s ghost visiting Princess Luna under the headcanon that he had died in The Crystal Empire. However, that same person also believes now that King Sombra is coming back...and that he’s bringing his toys with him...