Handsome Jack is one of the greatest villains in video game history and Borderlands fans would love to see him return in the franchise. While Borderlands isn’t synonymous with Handsome Jack, the franchise should definitely stand on its own feet, however, I do think there is a great opportunity for Gearbox Software to incorporate Handsome Jack into Borderlands 4.
You can’t deny the fact that Handsome Jack had a major impact on the Borderlands universe. He doesn’t need to come back as the main antagonist but his legacy can still have a significant impact on the course of the overall story.
I think Gearbox Software did an excellent job with the Borderlands 3 DLC, Moxxi’s Heist on the Handsome Jackpot. It wasn’t directly Handsome Jack but it did give you a good sample-size experience of him and the lore around him.
I believe that Gearbox Software could do a similar thing in Borderlands 4 to entertain that portion of the community while still being able to progress their own story by incorporating these events.
Rebooting Handsome Jack
There is a choice in Tales From The Borderlands where you need to decide if Rhys should destroy Jack’s AI. Gearbox Software could use this plot point and decide to keep Handsome Jack’s AI intact. This way you still have Jack around but in a controlled environment. Rhys could have kept it a secret from his friends as he was ashamed to tell them that he couldn’t kill the person he once looked up to. If you look at New Tales From The Borderlands, Rhys loves his memorabilia.
Gearbox introduced Athena as the CEO of a weapons manufacturer in New Tales From The Borderlands. While it isn’t officially confirmed in-game, all the hints lead to Athena being the CEO of Hyperion. This means that if Gearbox introduces Athena in Borderlands 4, they will need to explain how she became CEO and how she turned the company around. This brief history will likely have some callouts to Hansome Jack’s actions.
Gearbox could use this moment to introduce something that Jack discovered but as the heroes don’t know what to do with it or how to access it, Rhys steps forward and confesses he still has Jack’s AI locked away and suggests they need to access the AI.
Rebooting Jack’s AI could lead to another Claptastic Voyage meets Fantastic Fustercluck-like experience. It would make for an interesting DLC but I think they could also implement it like Ava’s Murder Mysteries throughout the main story campaign.
Having the Vault Hunters tap into Jack’s vision that he got to see at the end of Borderlands the Pre-Sequel could plot a course through the main story but because it was so overwhelming for Jack at the time, access in the memory fragments is done piece by piece throughout the main story campaign.
A vision could show that Jack needed to wipe out all the Bandits on Pandora in order to stop the Calypso Twins from gaining such a massive army. Another vision could give direction as our heroes try and find answers to the mysteries surrounding Lilith, the Vaults, and the Eridian.
I think this could provide a great experience for fans of the franchise. You have your fan service, it can be lore-heavy, and it allows Gearbox to tell their next chapter in the story.
Having access to this vision would give Gearbox the option to include one big teaser at the end of Borderlands 4. I missed the big – in your face -teaser in Borderlands 3 that Borderlands 2 and The Pre-Sequel did. Gearbox delivered on that galaxy filled with Vaults but folks are still waiting on the foretold war.
What if Gearbox showed us one last memory fragment of the vision Jack had before the AI corrupts and reveals some big event leading us into Borderlands 5? Like something that ties back into Angel and her role in the overall goal but because Tannis has those powers now what will that encompass?