It took me too long to realize this, and in retrospect it’s such an obvious thing.
Lilith Phasewalks through dimensions, this is how her powers have worked from day one.
Having said that, we have assumed that when she Phased Sanctuary 1, she phased it into the same dimension it originated in. What if everything that happens after that moment is in an alternate dimension because we were separated from everyone else?
What we have is both a way to Remake BL2 within the ongoing lore, and also make it Borderlands 4.
In the original dimension the original Vault Hunters go on to battle without the four new Vault Hunters.
Imagine if that’s where Borderlands 4 picks up, with Sanctuary 1 phasing into a new dimension over their version of the Highlands, this time with the OG Vault Hunters playable?
Story & Side Missions come from talking to the other VHs who are NPCs when you don’t select then as your character(s). If a side mission comes from your character they pull up the mission from the map on the table.
Where the plot can diverge is here: Sans the BL2 Vault Hunters the Lilith & Roland can broadcast an intergalactic all-call for help (with the financial/material support of Marcus, Moxxi, Earl, Scooter, Tannis, and Hammerlock) and in doing so recruit Zane, Amara, Moze and Fl4k seven years earlier. These could be their Final Forms we have already seen.
Fl4k could still be working as a service bot, that Tannis acquires to replace her Cl4ptr4p given the heightened threat from Jack as a favor from one of her fellow academics.
Marcus could reach out to his vending and arms connections on Elpis, particularky Nurse Nina, who contacts Vladof who send in the Ursa Corp now that they have confirmation of the monetary and strategic value of Pandora, and send Moze to Sanctuary as a personal favor to Nina for tipping them off.
Moxxi & Scooter can pool their resources together to hire Zane, who has some sort of history with Moxxi that is hinted at in Handsome Jackpot. He’s still in full on Assassin One mode, and curios what happened to Assassin Zer0.
Lilith contacts Athenas to tell them of Maya’s disappearance. In doing so word of the Firehawk’s feat reaches Partali. Amara, inspired by the heroism, decides to venture to Pandora to join the fight and learn from Lilith.
With that the game starts with a quest for a way into the Bunker. But this time, instead of trusting Angel, Moxxi steps in with a better idea that they hide from her: Find Timothy… And the quest to discover his whereabouts and a spaceship become the new objective which take us to The Handsome Jackpot at its Peak. At this point Athena and Janey can come into the picture to help Scooter and Ellie expedite upgrading Sanctuary 1 or finding another option.
From there the next move would be to Bypass dealing with Angel and the Deathwall and getting to Elpis to take down Jack’s orbital reinforcements/ support. This gives a chance to confront the Hyperion workers and suits and Scientists onboard like Nakayama, Rhys, Vaugh, Yvette, and Vasquez, even Loaderbot.
The end result can be Helios being brought down in the Dust again, and the New Pandoran Army emerging and going after Bunker using the Burrows as a route past Terramophous Peak. They end up in a three front skirmish with Hyperion and the Slabs, which leads to Brick radioing in for help.
Meanwhile Jack has hunkered down in the Highlands and moved all his forces there so that the Extraction Plant, WEP, and Opportunity far more fortified. While there he is furiously negotiating deals with Maliwan and Dahl to surrender partial mining rights on Pandora and Elpis in exchange for their immediate Military support against the Crimson Raiders and Vladof.
As our team reaches the gates of the Highlands the Maliwan and Dahl fleets start to appear in the sky, there forces occupying Lynchwood, Tundra Express, and Eridium Blight to secure the Eridium mining operations. and the Watcher emerges on Sanctuary to announce: War is here.
That would then Unlock Brick, Athena, Timothy, & Cl4pTr4p as playable.
How’s that for a first third of the game? The second third would involve a time skip to the Calypsos landing on Elpis instead of Pandora because of the all out war that had been ongoing decimating the population, and them having no leverage with Maliwan because they had already partnered with Jack.
An the third act would start when a second, charged Elpis suddenly appears in the sky, along with another Lilith as the Lilith of this Dimension is Phasewalked out of sight to who knows where? (I have an idea of a logical location.