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Destiny 2: Forsaken - artwork of Prince Uldren Sov and the Barons

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Destiny’s most interesting loose thread is a bad guy from 2 years ago

It looks like Uldren Sov and Pulled Pork are headed into the limelight

Image: Bungie, High Moon Studios/Activision
Ryan Gilliam (he/him) has worked at Polygon for nearly seven years. He primarily spends his time writing guides for massively popular games like Diablo 4 & Destiny 2.

Uldren Sov is one of the real bastards of the Destiny 2 universe. He’s never been completely evil, but he’s been both an unrepentant ass and a murderer — although he was slightly possessed during that last bit. But that Uldren doesn’t exist anymore.

Uldren died two years ago, during Destiny 2: Forsaken. But a Ghost named Pulled Pork (seriously) revived him as a Guardian a few weeks later. And while we haven’t seen Guardian Uldren show up in-game yet, all the evidence suggests he’ll appear in the next expansion, Destiny 2: Beyond Light.

Here is Uldren’s tale, the evidence for his return, and why he’s the most interesting loose thread in the Destiny 2 story.

Uldren’s origin story

Before the original Destiny, Uldwyn Sov and his sister Mara Sov were human crew members on a colony spaceship. But due to a poorly timed battle between the forces of Light and Darkness, the ship got teleported to a pocket dimension. This process erased the crew’s memories and mutated them into the blue-skinned Awoken. Mara became their queen, and Uldwyn changed his name to Uldren.

Uldren in the first Destiny

Uldren Sov in the Oryx custscene Destiny 1
Pay close attention the triangle symbol on Uldren’s chest here.
Image: Bungie/YouTube

Guardians first encountered Uldren in The Reef, the home of the Awoken. The player Guardian needed to open the gate to the Black Garden, and sought the help of Mara Sov. Uldren, who had ventured into the Garden before, insisted that the Awoken not assist the Guardians. Mara ignored her brother’s advice.

A year later, Mara and Uldren fought the initial battle with Oryx, the Taken King. The two were able to disable Oryx’s ship, the Dreadnaught, but a blast from the vessel seemingly killed Mara and caused Uldren’s ship to crash on Mars. Not believing his sister was truly dead, Uldren spent the rest of the original Destiny searching for her and working to unite the Fallen.

Uldren in Destiny 2

Driven mad by the loss of his sister, Uldren began to fight alongside the Fallen against the Awoken.

While looking for Mara, Uldren met an injured Fallen named Fikrul. Uldren thought about wanting to save Fikrul, subconsciously making a “wish.” Riven — the final boss of the Last Wish raid and the last surviving member of the genielike Ahamkara wish dragons — heard this wish and answered. Riven saved Fikrul, but transformed him from a normal Fallen into the first member of the zombielike Scorn. Neither of them recognizing Riven’s involvement, Fikrul looked at Uldren as a father figure and god. Fikrul changed his name to The Fanatic, and Riven began to burrow her way into Uldren’s mind.

Uldren and Fikrul recruited more Scorn and formed the Scorned Barons, working to destabilize the Fallen leadership. Uldren then started to see and hear visions from Mara. Believing her to be trapped in the mythical Dreaming City of the Awoken, Uldren worked with the Scorn to track her down. But Petra Venj — Queen Mara’s most trusted soldier — and Cayde-6 threw Uldren and the Scorn in the Prison of Elders, believing them to be dangerous.

Uldren in Destiny 2: Forsaken

Shortly after the Red War, Uldren convinced Variks — the Fallen Warden of the prison — to let him out. During their escape, the Scorned Barons and Uldren destroyed Cayde-6’s Ghost, eliminating his ability to be revived. Uldren picked up Cayde’s infamous Ace of Spades hand cannon and killed the Hunter Vanguard.

During the Forsaken expansion, Guardians mounted an assault against the Scorned Barons, taking them out one by one as Uldren, obsessed with finding Mara, sought to open the Dreaming City. The Guardians caught up with Uldren just in time to see him open the Dreaming City, unknowingly freeing Riven. Riven had manipulated Uldren into believing Mara was speaking to him, possessing him to do her bidding.

The Voice of Riven — a giant Taken monster controlled by the Ahamkara — emerged from the Dreaming City and ate Uldren whole, but Guardians freed him by defeating the beast. The player Guardian and Petra Venj then executed the Prince of the Awoken for his crimes, although it’s unclear who made the killing blow.

After searching for years for a suitable Guardian, the Ghost named Pulled Pork made his way to the Dreaming City and stumbled upon a body wrapped in a shroud. Pulled Pork transformed Uldren into a Guardian, reviving him from death. With no memory of his life as Uldwyn or Uldren, the former prince left the Dreaming City, and has been wandering ever since.

Uldren in Destiny 2: Beyond Light

Since his resurrection, we haven’t heard from Uldren much. A lore entry for a ship from The Dawning event last year mentions a Guardian and his purple Ghost (Uldren and Pulled Pork) wandering through the Cosmodrome on Earth. According to the lore, every Guardian Uldren ran into was horrible to him — likely because they remember him as the man who killed Cayde-6. With his memory wiped, Uldren always wears a helmet, unsure why Guardians have so much disdain for him.

Destiny 2 Beyond Light Triumph page
On the top row, the second image from the left is the same symbol seen on Uldren’s chest while he’s piloting the ship in the original Destiny.
Image: Bungie

For a year, players have wondered about Uldren’s status. But in a Beyond Light preview, Bungie gave us our first hint of his return. Bungie showed a preview of the revamped Triumph screen in Beyond Light, which has nodes for each major location. The nodes have symbols relating to familiar characters, like Spider for the Tangled Shore and Failsafe for Nessus, but one familiar symbol didn’t link to any existing NPC. The symbol showed two triangles upside down: Uldren’s symbol (seen on his chest in the image from the original Destiny above).

Knowing Uldren was in the Cosmodrome, and knowing the Cosmodrome will return in Beyond Light, players started to assume that Uldren would be the new Cosmodrome vendor. And last week, Bungie added more fuel to the fire.

Shaw Han and the Uldren symbol in Destiny 2: Beyond Light
Bungie released this image of Shaw Han. But if you look real close, you can see Uldren’s symbol on his shoulder
Image: Bungie via Polygon

On Oct. 8, the Bungie weekly blog revealed Shaw Han, a Hunter NPC that will lead players through Beyond Light’s new tutorial experience. Shaw Han is a Hunter (the class we believe Uldren is) and wearing a helmet (like Uldren always does). And in small print on Shaw Han’s shoulder is Uldren’s symbol, all but confirming the return of the Awoken prince later this year.

Why this is the perfect redemption arc

In the original Destiny, I couldn’t care less about Uldren. But I’ve obsessed over his story since Forsaken. Not because he killed Cayde-6, but because he’s a new Guardian with tons of baggage he knows nothing about.

Uldren is really the first new Guardian since the original Destiny. The members of the Vanguard and other Guardian NPCs were Guardians for years, decades, or centuries before Ghost resurrected the player Guardian in the Cosmodrome. But while the player’s Guardian was a faceless nobody before resurrection, Uldren comes with a history.

Becoming a Guardian is one of the weirdest things in the Destiny universe. It’s taking a normal (or in Uldren’s case, an exceptional) human, Awoken, or Exo, and elevating them to a zombified, undying superhero.

And that’s why Uldren’s turn as a guide will be so perfect. What happens when you have no memory of a murder everyone else knows you committed?

Uldren knows what it’s like to walk alone as a Guardian, with your Ghost as your only friend and guide. So he’s finally here to join the Guardian ranks, not as a grizzled, badass superhero with a ton of baggage, but as a teacher. It’s the redemption story I’ve been waiting two years to see.