Diablo III – She-ablo???
Is Diablo a girl? Or more specifically, does Diablo inhabit the body of a woman in Diablo III?
The concept seems absurd, but quite a bit of evidence has added up over the years of development, to the point that most informed fans now consider this a likely plot twist in Diablo III.
The concept of Diablo as a girl first surfaced in August 2009, when previews of the Diablo III cinematics showed an unfinished version of Diablo with a surprisingly-slender, female shape.
The concept was not rejected out of hand. After all, we don’t know what Diablo’s true form is, since “he” has only been seen in the mutated form of a (male) human host.
Diablo possessed and transformed the body of a young boy in Diablo I, and while the Dark Wanderer was officially a man in Diablo II, “he” could as easily been female, had the Rogue been named the official slayer and soulstone possessor. Would that have greatly changed the appearance of Diablo in Diablo II, where he was more quadrupedal and lizard-like than his “man in suit” appearance in Diablo I?
That said, while some fans argued for the female interpretation, most people assumed it was confusion brought on by early, work-in-progress artwork. Surely, their logic went, the finished model in the game would have spikes and scales added, which required that the base skeleton and skin was slender, to leave room for the ornaments.
Diablo III BlizzCon 2011 Poster
The question of Diablo’s gender died down for a couple of years, before the BlizzCon 2011 poster reignited the debate. The view of Diablo from the shoulders up looks much as we’d seen in numerous images, but from the shoulders down, things were different.
As many fans were quick to point out, those are some child-bearing hips. That concept established, the conversation soon turned to speculation about which female human might prove to be Diablo’s host.
Diablo III Leablo?
If Diablo does possess a human female this time, Leah is the most popular choice for his female victim. Speculative evidence for this, quoted from a news post on Diablo. IncGamers.com.
Leah is the only female main character NPC we know of who gets involved in the story and action. (The Mystic doesn’t count.)
Leah looks to be menaced by and possibly within the grasp of Azmodan in the Black Soulstone cinematic.
Diablo has a history of possessing humans and reforming their bodies for his use.
Leah is the daughter of Adria and (apparently) Prince Aiden, who became the Dark Wanderer, and then ultimately the host of Diablo II’s Diablo. Data-mined images show Leah with a corrupted form (but looking zombie-like, rather than demonic.)
This artwork of Diablo has… dat hips. And possibly boobs as well, though the mouths on the shoulders are unaddressed by this theory.
Chris Metzen was a major contributor to the Diablo III story, and he puts similar themes/events into all of the Blizzard franchise stories. One of those is his habit of placing females in great peril of possession and transformation by powerful enemies. Kerrigan from StarCraft, for instance.
The rumors grew much more believable when several of the Diablo III developers made no effort to deny this when asked about it during interviews from BlizzCon 2011. For instance, here’s Julian Love.
GameFront: You’ve been using the pronoun “he.” Is Diablo definitely male?
Julian Love: You know, demons don’t really have a gender.
GF: There’s a theory going around that Diablo may be female, based on the art we’ve seen. With the newly revealed Black Soulstone cinematic, I’m sure people will wonder if Leah will become the new Dark Wanderer and host to Diablo, explaining Diablo’s feminine features.
Julian Love: Play the game and find out.
The biggest question that no one has answered is where or how Diablo can even return to action. After all, Diablo II saw Andariel, Duriel, Mephisto, Diablo, and Baal all defeated by humans in the mortal realm. They are not dead and gone, surely their spirits live on, but Blizzard has introduced the Abyss as a ghostly realm where the defeated spirits of the demons are banished. After all, they can’t simply go back to the Burning Hells, or dying in the mortal realm would be no handicap at all.
So how could Diablo (and possibly some of the others as well) return from the Abyss? Possibly by infecting a human host? That just begs the question of how the human would get into and then back out of the Abyss, but the writers could obviously craft some scenario to explain such an operation.
Another possibility is that Diablo is female, but that his host is not human. As the Diablo III Introduction cinematic makes clear, the prophecies of the end times promise not only a demonic invasion of Sanctuary, but a resumption of open warfare between the hosts of the High Heavens and the demons of the Burning Hells. Could one female Archangel, not necessarily Auriel, be captured, or stray into the Abyss, and thus fall prey to Diablo’s possessing ways?
There’s no reason to expect such a development, but it would be an interesting plot twist, and would give a good reason for Diablo to be stronger and more powerful than ever before. He’ll need that strength, as the destruction of the Worldstone means that humans are growing stronger as well, as they regain the ancient might they’d have grown to in the days of the Nephalem, had not the Worldstone stunted their evolution.
As secretive as Blizzard has been about the larger story of the game, it seems very unlikely that we’ll know anything for sure about this until the final game is released.