It has now been nearly a year since Nintendo announced that The Legend of Zelda: Breath of the Wild 2 at E3 2019, and there's been no further info about when Link and Zelda will take their next journey, leaving fans to theorize what BotW 2 might be about based on hints from the original.
One Redditor speculated that the return of a legendary time-traveling tool from Skyward Sword might let Link jump between the franchise’s different timelines in a way that could make BotW 2 feel like the Avengers: Endgame of the Zelda video game universe.
The Gate of Time is a cog-like artifact created by the Goddess Hylia that lets users step into the past or future in Skyward Sword. Reddit user u/ShulkStrife laid out a complex theory on Tuesday that claim Link could use this ancient mechanism to travel to the past in order to defeat the new evil that will threaten Hyrule in BotW 2.
“Hyrule was recovering from the wounds left by Calamity Ganon, but Ganondorf returns to take back what is his, Hyrule,” they wrote. “And now that all hope seems lost, with Ganondorf stronger than ever (Possibly having Demise's Sword and Ghirahim by his side), Link and Zelda decide to resort to time travel and recover heroes from the past to defeat the new evil.”
This is nothing more than speculation, but ShulkStrife’s post aligns with a separate Reddit theory that suggests Ganondorf might be revealed to be the hero depicted in the Calamity Ganon Tapestry, not Link.
To summarize, that fan theory surmises that the hero version of Ganondorf battles Demise but was forced to seal the darkness within himself. However, Demise’s evil proves too powerful and he escapes, creating Calamity Ganon. The post goes on to say that games could get flashbacks of heroic Ganadorf taking on Demise, but what if Link uses the Gate of Time to travel back and meet the righteous Ganondorf? This villain turned hero could be a crucial ally that helps Link defeat Demise in the past, eliminating his reign of terror in BotW 2.
It makes for a fun piece of fan fiction that could be an interesting twist in the sequel, but could something like this pan out?
The Inverse Analysis — Clearly, this potential plot doesn’t have Nintendo’s seal of approval and could be completely off-base once BotW 2 releases, but there are some details in BotW that suggest the Gate of Time could actually play a role in the sequel.
There are two Gates of Time in Skyward Sword: one was in the Temple of Time but was destroyed, and the second was in the Fire Sanctuary, a dungeon found at the summit of the Eldin Volcano. Both locations were referenced in BotW.
The Temple of Time is the first ruin players discover with Link, and it’s where they learn how to use the goddess statues to gain more health and stamina. There isn’t a direct reference to the Eldin Volcano, but many fans have come to believe that Death Mountain in BotW and the Eldin Volcano in Skyward Sword are the same place. After all, Death Mountain is surrounded by the Eldin Mountains and Eldin Canyon, so it makes some measure of sense for them to be the same place but set eons apart.
So these theories might seem convoluted, but they aren’t completely baseless. Time travel might end up being a major element in BotW 2 just like it was in Skyward Sword and Ocarina of Time before that. Only time will tell whether or not this theory holds up.