Warning: Spoilers ahead for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2’s campaign.Though the main antagonist of the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 campaign is a generic terrorist named Hassan, fans have proven to be far more interested in the singleplayer mode’s other villains. The cartel leader Valeria has built up quite the fan base, General Shepherd is once again a selfish traitor that fans love to hate, and Phillip Graves is an interesting foe that leads a skilled group of soldiers for Task Force 141 to deal with. Unfortunately, despite having a distinct personality due to a strong performance from Warren Kole, Graves’ story seemingly comes to an end in the campaign’s final hour.
However, a character’s popularity will often determine if they stay gone for good, especially in the over-the-top world of Call of Duty. Just like Frank Woods returned despite appearing to die in Call of Duty: Black Ops, Graves may return to fight another day in a future Modern Warfare game. After all, another battle against Shadow Company and General Shepherd becomes a lot more interesting with Graves involved, and Infinity Ward has an obvious workaround available due to the way Graves was killed off in Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2.
Why Graves Could Still Be Alive After Modern Warfare 2
Though Infinity Ward could go with a cheesy trope and say that Graves survived the explosion, bringing back a version of the character with a scarred face and body in a sequel, a better option exists. If it wanted to, Infinity Ward could simply say that Graves was never in the tank to begin with, as Soap could have been battling some random Shadow Company mercenary posing as Graves.
A good piece of evidence supporting this idea is the way that Graves communicates. It sounds like he is coming through speakers spread throughout the training area where the tank fight occurs, shouting insults at Soap MacTavish and engaging in arguments while a random grunt pilots the massive machine of death. While this could just be an odd bit of showmanship on the part of Graves, it is easy to imagine him watching the events of the fight from a monitor somewhere else in the base, running away as one of his loyal soldiers takes the fall.
This could also help to justify some odd writing on Infinity Ward’s part, as for whatever reason, Graves never remarks about Soap damaging his tank. Despite the Task Force 141 member weakening the vehicle with C4 and RPG missiles, Graves continues rambling as if nothing is happening. While this is likely just be a mishap on Infinity Ward’s part, and Graves is probably dead, it could also be used to help justify a comeback for the character.
Why Graves Should Not Return Until Later in The Modern Warfare Series
While Graves can and arguably should come back later on in the reboot’s story, he should also be kept on the sidelines during Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3. If the game tries to include Shepherd, Graves, and Valeria on top of the upcoming Makarov storyline, the plot could feel extremely cluttered and nonsensical. While Valeria can be handled through the rumored Modern Warfare 2 campaign DLC, Shepherd and a still-living Graves are major characters that can be held off for Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 4. This way, Modern Warfare 3 can go all in on No Russian and Makarov.
With Graves’ body not being shown, as Soap simply leaves the burning tank behind and assumes that Graves was dead within the wreckage, there is good reason to believe he can come back one day. It is easy to imagine something like the No Russian post credits scene appearing after the Modern Warfare 3 campaign, as Shepherd could be shown meeting with Graves as a teaser for a fourth Modern Warfare game.
Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 is available now on PC, PS4, PS5, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X.
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