(SPOILER ALERT—This article will discuss crucial plot points across the whole RWBY series)
Over seven months ago, Rooster Teeth dropped “Our Way,” the thirteenth and final chapter in RWBY: Volume 6, the latest installment of the fantasy-action anime-style web series. Wild things happened to Team RWBY—Ruby Rose, Weiss Schnee, Blake Belladonna, and Yang Xiao Long—and their friends. Answers were given for a few big questions as they embarked on an expedition to escort the Relic of Knowledge to the Kingdom of Atlas and guard it from Salem and her ravenous Creatures of Grimm (we even learned the origin of the fragmented moon that hangs over the world of Remnant). But we’re still left with many more burning questions, and hopefully we’ll get some answers once the first chapter of Volume 7 premieres on November 2nd, which is only two months away. Until then, we’re free to let loose with our inquisitive hearts and bandy about theories on the upcoming RWBY volume.
1. Bumblebee (Yang and Blake)
The two of them have been put through the ringer, due in no small part to Adam Taurus, Blake’s stalker ex-boyfriend. First, in Volume 3, he almost killed her and then proceeded to slice off Yang’s arm. Then, in Volume 6, he followed them on their journey towards Atlas and engaged them in a fight to the death. In the end, Yang and Blake had to kill him by stabbing him simultaneously with the cloven halves of the blade from Blake’s Gambol Shroud, leaving his body to fall off the edge of a cliff and plunge into a river. At this point, the Huntresses basically progressed as close as they could get to shipping without kissing or saying outright that they love each other. Volume 7 should give them the opportunity to go out on an official date where they can hold hands, have fun, et cetera (crossing my fingers that Ruby and Weiss, AKA White Rose, will also be a real ship in the future). I hope Miles Luna and Kerry Shawcross, the directors/writers of RWBY, give Bumblebee the respect and thought it deserves, because there have been times in the past where the show clumsily handled LGBTQ issues.
2. The Kingdom of Atlas
Before the credits started rolling at the end of a journey that lasted the entirety of Volume 6, the gang was taking a flight to Atlas, which was built upon a gigantic rock floating above what I’m assuming is a Dust-mining colony. Volume 7 will be the first time that the gang explores the militarist and technologically-advanced kingdom, although it has been represented in other parts of Remnant in varying forms throughout previous volumes. I’m expecting General James Ironwood to pop up sometime. And this is a great chance for the show to delve into the kingdom’s political affairs, particularly those concerning the slavery it imposes on Faunus—people with physical animal traits like cat ears or monkey tails, who are persecuted by humans in a manner that reflects the racism in our world. Whatever happens here, Blake, being a cat Faunus herself, will surely be involved.
3. The Schnee Family
Weiss’s kin is sure to appear while she and her companions are in Atlas. The relative I want to see the most is her mother. She hasn’t shown up yet, which is likely why I’m burning with curiosity as to what role she plays in this dysfunctional family dynamic. I also hope we get to see Winter, Weiss’s older sister who serves as a high-ranking member of the Atlesian Military. I predict Jacques, the Schnee patriarch and president of the Schnee Dust Company, and Whitley, Weiss’s kid brother, will return as well, probably to antagonize our heroes in some snooty fashion. It should be interesting, to say the least, to watch Ruby, Blake, Yang, and the others meet Weiss’s family for the first time.
4. Silver-Eyed Warriors
For the longest time this has been a topic of much debate. Even in the first chapter of Volume 1, Ozpin, the former headmaster of Beacon Academy before his death and subsequent reincarnation (more on that later), casually commented on Ruby’s silver eyes. In the climax of Volume 3, she inadvertently unleashed a flood of light from her eyes, freezing a Grimm Dragon and severely damaging her foe Cinder Fall, and exhausting herself to the point of going unconscious. When she awakened in her father’s house, her uncle Qrow Branwen talked to her about the silver-eyed warriors, legendary fighters whose ancient powers were concentrated in their eyes and were strong enough to kill Grimm. The subject pretty much fell to the wayside until Volume 6, which was when Ruby tapped into her silver eyes once again to destroy a horde of zombie-like Grimm called the Apathy. Then she received tutoring on how to master her powers from Maria Calavera, an elderly woman who once had silver eyes herself when she was a famed Huntress known as the Grimm Reaper. But she lost her eyes in a brutal fight, and now wears silver-and-blue goggles to aid her vision. She stayed with the group as they headed to Atlas, so I suspect she’ll continue training Ruby, which means we should be able to get more answers for this issue. Maybe we’ll even meet another silver-eyed warrior in Atlas?
5. The Relics
The concept of these Relics, four objects of immensely powerful magic, has floated around RWBY for the past few volumes, and one of them was the MacGuffin of Volume 6—the Relic of Knowledge, a lantern out of which you can summon a genie-like spirit who can answer up to three questions every century. It played a significant role in our heroes’ Atlas-bound trip, and I suspect it will continue doing so as they figure out how to protect it inside the Kingdom. What about the Relics of Creation, Destruction, and Choice—will any of them make their grand welcome in Volume 7? Salem once mentioned that a sword was being kept underneath Vacuo Academy; this is intriguing when you realize that one of the Relics in the screenshot above is, yes, a sword as well. And what about their abilities? It’s common sense to believe that the Relic of Creation would let you dream up a fantastic invention, while the Relic of Destruction would let you annihilate one thing so it can never exist in Remnant again. Your requests, of course, would be limited by the obligatory hitches that accompany these magical items. As for the Relic of Choice? This one is a little harder to pin down, but I have two theories. One is that it lets you travel back in time and correct a terrible decision you once made in your life. Two is that it allows you, at any point where you’re trying to choose between various actions in a situation, to see what outcomes may unfold from each hypothetical path.
We didn’t know it back then, but Volume 1 opened with a voiceover given by the show’s primary antagonist, Salem (voiced by Jen Taylor, best known for playing Cortana, both the AI in the Halo video game franchise and the Microsoft voice assistant). However, she was listed in the credits as “Mysterious Narrator.” We had to wait until the very end of Volume 3 for Salem to make her first appearance in all of her wicked glory. She became a prominent character in Volumes 4 and 5, in which you came to understand her role as a Voldemort-esque figure who resides in her castle in the Land of Darkness and holds a great deal of control over the Grimm and her personal coven of underlings. Of course, every great baddie has an equally great backstory, and that’s where “The Lost Fable,” my favorite chapter in Volume 6, came in. Spending twenty-six minutes on Salem’s desperate quest to resurrect the dead warrior with whom she had fallen in love and the subsequent events that lead to her downward spiral, “The Lost Fable” provided us with a close look at her heartbreaking past and helped us empathize with her deep hurt and fury, immediately turning her into one of my all-time favorite villains. I would love it if Kerry and Miles could provide her with more compelling character moments in Volume 7, even if they’re focused in just a single chapter.
7. The Rest of The Bad Guys
It goes without saying that big bads with as much authority as Salem usually dispatch any number of subordinates to do their dirty work for them. We know Tyrian Callows and Arthur Watts are on their way to Atlas and will meddle with the heroes’ quest sometime in Volume 7. Hazel Rainart seems to have been pushed off to the side for the moment. If I were to take a shot in the dark as to what role he’ll have in Volume 7, I would say that he might continue pursuing his vendetta against Ozpin, blaming the old man for his sister’s death. Honestly, though, I’m far more anticipating what may transpire with Cinder Fall, Neo Politan, Emerald Sustrai, and Mercury Black, four people who have been stirring up cauldrons of chaos since their early days of conspiring with Roman Torchwick, the deceased crime lord.
Cinder is on a mission to take her revenge against Ruby after that silver-eyes incident at Beacon, and Neo blames Ruby for the death of Torchwick, her former boss. So it makes sense that Cinder and Neo have teamed up to hunt down their common enemy. Maybe the pair will reach Atlas in Volume 7? And what about Emerald and Mercury, the young scoundrels who once worked for Cinder and now Salem? After learning that Cinder was still alive in spite of her apparent death (I guess it’ll take a lot more than plunging into a pit with her body covered in ice to kill her), the events of Volume 6 hinted at Emerald considering the possibility of leaving Salem in order to search for Cinder. I’ve always seen Emerald not only as a sympathetic villain, but someone who could actually switch sides and join the RWBY gang. Mercury might not go with her, though; the confrontation he had with her made it clear that he preferred staying with Salem, seeking to gain power once she conquered Remnant. My theory is that Emerald will run off to look for Cinder sometime during Volume 7, and then their reunion might take place in the final chapter’s post-credits scene.
8. Ozpin and Oscar
Fantasy elements that run along a metaphysical vein have been significant in RWBY, especially during the past few volumes. One of the most notable examples is Ozpin, the guy who died from a battle against Cinder and then inexplicably returned in Volume 4 as a soul sharing space with the body of a farm boy named Oscar Pine. There wasn’t much of an explanation for this phenomenon until Volume 6‘s “The Lost Fable,” which revealed that Ozma, the ancient warrior who engaged in a star-crossed romance with Salem thousands of years ago, had been cursed to reincarnate over and over in the form of his soul intertwining with those of like-minded men, all the way down to Ozpin and then Oscar (funny, do all of the incarnations’ names start with the “oz” sound?). The mission for every incarnation of Ozma: protect the Relics and stop Salem from using them to vanquish Remnant.
The question is, how will the Ozpin-Oscar element unfold over the rest of the show? Will Ozpin’s soul eventually absorb Oscar’s and take over his young body entirely (in which case we’ve been interacting with Ozma all this time), or will the two souls merge together (in which case we’ve been interacting with a voluminous amalgam of spirits)? I think it’s totally possible that Ozpin/Oscar, through their resolute quest to guard the Relics, could reach a point in their arc where they turn into a villain. We definitely know Ozpin is dark and shady enough to have more skeletons tucked away in his closet. The Relic of Knowledge was the very item that Ruby used to expose his past, so it stands to reason that he might feel it necessary to protect both himself and the Relic by running away with it. Keep in mind, the a Relic revealed it had two questions left before Ruby inquired about Ozpin, meaning he had already used up one question. I’m sure whatever he asked about will become an important plot point in the future.
9. What About Qrow?
I’ve always liked Qrow Branwen since he jumped into the RWBY saga in Volume 3. There are many small but significant details in his character design that expand him beyond his world-weary alcoholic stereotype, including his close relationship with his nieces Ruby and Yang and the plethora of memorable lines he utters in his signature raspy inflection. So you can understand the devastation I felt when I heard earlier this year about the sexual misconduct allegations made against Qrow’s voice actor, Vic Mignogna. Thankfully, we’re living in the #MeToo era, where society calls out men who engage in this vulgar behavior, and Rooster Teeth did the right thing firing him from the RWBY cast. But at that time, I was shocked, because it never, ever occurred to me that Rooster Teeth could be affected by this BS. Even now, I’m still incredibly disappointed in Mignogna.
At least Rooster Teeth made the announcement at RTX Austin in July that Jason Liebrecht will be taking over for the voice of Qrow. He has a resume filled with anime TV shows to back him up; he’s best known for playing minor god Yato in Noragami, bounty hunter Train Heartnet in Black Cat, and young archaeologist Syaoran in Tsubasa: Reservoir Chronicle. Admittedly, I’m nervous about how Liebrecht will play Qrow (Mignogna did a good job capturing the brusqueness in his performance), but overall I have faith that Rooster Teeth made the right casting choice.
That’s everything I’ve got on RWBY: Volume 7. Feel free to comment below if you have your own speculations to offer, and make sure to check back here in November for my chapter breakdowns.