Recently BioWare studio showed a trailer of the brand-new Mass Effect. We don't know yet, whether this game will get the number 4 in the title or the authors will limit themselves to some subtitle, but we can say that anyway this story will be primarily related to the original trilogy, dedicated to Shepard. On the other hand, there are no plot details yet - just the mentioned trailer, hints from the developers and theories about what's going on. Here we have collected the best of them.
Theory One: Shepard is alive, the new game is a direct continuation of Mass Effect 3
According to this theory, in the new trailer we were shown Liara TʼSony, a representative of the Azari race and one of Shepard's companions. The events of the trailer take place after the finale of Mass Effect 3: Liara, it seems, does not believe that the captain of the "Normandy" died, and therefore searches for him on a snowy planet among the wreckage of at least two Reapers. In one scene, she finds a piece of steel gate with the N7 emblem - one Shepard also wore.
If this is true, then BioWare has decided to continue the story of the protagonist of the original trilogy. You can object and say that Shepard dies in all variants of the Mass Effect 3 finale, but this does not make the first theory impossible at all. Firstly, because the hero has already been resurrected - in Mass Effect 2, thanks to Project Lazarus. And secondly, because in the "extended" version of the Mass Effect 3 finale in one of the endings - the "red" one - there is an episode where Shepard is shown (presumably) under the ruins of the (presumably) Citadel taking a breath.
Theory two: Hundreds of years have passed since the Mass Effect 3 finale, Liara is the main character of the new game
A slightly less plausible theory, but still. The most observant fans of the series noticed that in the video, shown at The Game Awards 2020, Liara looks much older, and the wrinkles around her eyes are the proof of that. Azari may indeed live a few hundred years, so in theory, the events of the new Mass Effect could well take place a few centuries after Shepard did die in the final battle with the Reapers.
If that's the case, then the main character of the game is likely to be Liara herself - a witness of those terrible events and one of the few who, after so many years, has the necessary knowledge about the Reapers. Why would anyone need that knowledge? Well, no one has ever claimed that there is no other similar danger in the universe.
Theory Three: the new game is a sequel to both Mass Effect 3 and Andromeda
At the beginning of the new trailer we are shown two galaxies - the Milky Way and Andromeda. According to one of BioWare's representatives, the head of projects Michael Gamble, it's for a reason - the authors of the next game specifically emphasized on two galaxies in one frame. He doesn't say exactly what he's talking about, so we just have to make theories.
Well, according to some fans, the new Mass Effect (which, by the way, can be called just like that - just Mass Effect) will be a sequel to the original trilogy and branch Andromeda, combining the characters from there and there in one story. How the developers will do this is a mystery: it's about six hundred years to fly from the Milky Way to Andromeda, and back - probably the same. Could the Andromeda characters have returned to the Milky Way by the time Liara is still alive? It's possible that they could have: no one ever said it was impossible to build some kind of super-retransmitter between the two galaxies that moves ships in an instant.
If that's true, then the events of the new game could be about both Shepard and Liara - you can refer back to the previous two theories.