According to Gearbox Creative Director, Randy Varnell, they were originally planning on reviving Handsome Jack to be the main antagonist again for Borderlands 3. This got scrapped early on, but Varnell confirmed that it was a good possibility during his presentation at Devcom 2019.
The main reason why the team decided against this was because they felt like it was time to put Handsome Jack to rest. He was featured in Borderland 2, Borderlands: The Pre-Sequel, and Tales from the Borderlands, so using him again in Borderlands 3 might have been overkill. Varnell also said the decision was also based off a “7 Things We Don’t Want to See in Borderlands 3” video they saw. The second or third thing in the list was to not have Handsome Jack included in the game.
Varnell goes on to talk about how hard that decision was because of the fact that whoever they did next wouldn’t be able to live up to how great Handsome Jack was, and that exactly what happened. One of the bigger complaints about the recent game was the two main villains. Opinions of them were mixed, but that’s all it was ever going to be since Handsome Jack was so perfect for the series.
It is still not known how they would have brought him back since Varnell didn’t talk about that during the presentation, but it seems the team might not have even known themselves. Most likely it would have been “Ghost Jack” from Tales to the Borderlands since Jack definitely died at the end of Borderlands 2, but for now, that is completely left up to speculation.
Regardless, having Jack as the main antagonist would have definitely changed up how Borderlands 3 would have turned out, although gamers will never know if it would have been for the best or not. It’s still interesting for fans that loved the character so much to know that this was a possibility.
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