Leaders who could’ve been (Maybe) By Jetclaw

Jetclaw discusses how the series would change if different cats were appointed leader. 

Artist Unknown

So I’m here to talk about probably one of my all-time favorite type of warriors stories to read. An alternate universe story where a favorite cat of mine becomes clan leader and we see how they do in that position. Admittedly they’re few and far in between but, it’s interesting to see how they approach leading and who they pick to be deputy. In this article, I’ll consider some cats who I’d be curious to see how they acted as leaders, and whether or not they’d be a good or bad leader. Some will have logic behind them. Others, I’m just really curious to see how they’d fare in the position and what choices they’d make. We’ll do this clan by clan, but if I notice the article is dragging on too much I’ll split it up.
However, I will be leaving SkyClan out, because I think Leafstar is a really great leader, and I hope she pulls a Mistystar and stays around for a LONG while, plus I can’t think of any other cat besides maybe Hawkwing who’s already pretty much set to succeed her anyways in canon.
But that aside let’s move onto the other clans.

Tawnystar (Tawnypelt): I’m starting with ShadowClan because I’ve only really been dying to see a Tawnystar, as impossible as it really is. The idea is just too intriguing. How would it play out? How would she fare? What would be the cause of her taking the position? I’d like to think how it’d play out was maybe Blackstar after seeing all the things Tawnypelt did for the clan despite being from ThunderClan earns her the position. I mean she restored the clan’s faith and was part of the journeying cats who brought the clans to the lake and secured their new home.
Plus her rising to the position is just ripe with fascinating conflicts! Did her mate Rowanclaw expect to get the position that he got in canon? Is he jealous and it causes a rift between them? Or does he support her? Who would Tawnystar name deputy after becoming leader? Would she pull a Bramblestar and name her mate to the role? I can’t say for certain but it’d certainly be a big impact I think.
But the reality is, there’s really no prayer of this happening, Tawnypelt herself has already said she just wants a quiet life serving her clan. And although she’s often had to leave her clan for her original one during times of great upheaval, (which ShadowClan seems to get a lot these days), she’s mostly been just a normal warrior. I mean yeah her mate and brother are leaders, and her son is now deputy of ShadowClan, so she’s super important and a big figure in the clans I think. Unfortunately, leadership is definitely not in the cards for Tawnypelt. But it’s fun to think about.

Ashstar (Ashfoot): I am 100% bitter that Ashfoot didn’t get to become leader of WindClan, I think she’d have made a great follow up to Onestar’s… rocky leadership. I admittedly don’t remember much about her, but she seemed like a very straightforward cat and definitely up to the task of being leader. I was mad when it was revealed she died and Harespring was taking her place, a character who we knew very little about besides him being a DF cat. But I mean I guess him becoming leader could be seen as a redemption arc, but dang it that position should’ve been Ashfoot. especially since I think if she’d been around she wouldn’t have taken Onestar’s crap. I’m mostly just bitter because she was his deputy for so long, but then she gets killed and Harespring gets it instead.

Crowstar (Crowfeather): While Ashfoot I think could’ve made a good leader, I think Crowfeather could’ve turned out decent or bad. Kinda like Onestar. Especially since he has kits in another clan and was mates with a medicine cat from another clan. When I went into this I went ‘oh yeah he could be interesting’ but really thinking about it, he’d probably just end up like Onestar, with a few tweaks. Poor Crowfeather, you’re never going to get your dream. Sorry buddy.

It just occurred to me that Harespring has to choose a deputy now, and if he chooses Breezepelt. I will be disappointed. If Crowfeather as a leader could potentially be bad, Breezepelt would be disastrous, he just… no. please no.

Oakstar (Oakheart): This one just occurred to me as I was writing this list, what would’ve happened if Oakheart were to become leader? Well first off, a good portion of the first arc would be thrown impossibly out of whack, and it’d be weird. How would things play out between ThunderClan and RiverClan if the two clan leaders were former mates?
I can’t recall when Bluestar’s kits were born in relation to Oakheart being deputy, but what if Crookedstar met an unfortunate end early on and Bluestar and Oakheart were stuck in the same position of power but on opposite sides? Secret alliance? More peaceful interactions between them? To be fair Oakheart and Bluestar were able to go about business as usual with each other when Bluestar was deputy and then leader and Oakheart was deputy. But when you’re both leader, you’re both at the helm, would they finagle peace between their two clans privately off to the side?
There’s a lot of ways this could go, a great divide like what happened with Onestar and Firestar, or maybe a two close bond? WindClan and ShadowClan seeing the two clans too close together?
I know they pushed aside their feelings and everything but man, a union of ThunderClan and RiverClan from Oakstar and Bluestar’s bond now that’d be fascinating. Mapleshade’d be outraged they got their happy ending though

I was going to write down Stonestar, but I can’t predict Stonefur living would’ve changed all that much of the story or that he’d have been a much different leader than Mistystar. I also considered Featherstar (Feathertail) but I don’t think she has leadership in her; and any story of her reaching leadership would be drowned out by a story about the repercussions of her living.

I saved ThunderClan for last because there were a lot and I wanted people to be able to look through the other clans before they came to the long portion that is me considering ThunderClan cats who could’ve been interesting leaders that I’d enjoy reading about.
Thistlestar/Tigerstar: I’m putting these two together because I feel they’d be very similar. While a story with them being leader of ThunderClan would definitely be a fascinating (and likely dark) read, I think the story would focus on other elements, like Bluestar keeping her kits. Or Rusty never coming to the forest. Or Fireheart turning on his clan or something crazy like that.
At the end of the day those stories would be about what caused this effect and the ongoing ripple effect those changes caused, with these two being leader of thunderclan as just being one effect of that change. Interesting but not the primary focus. But I felt I should mention them anyways.

Sandstar (Sandstorm): THERE NEEDS TO BE MORE SHE-CAT’S WHO BECOME LEADER OKAY?! Nothing against Graystripe, but I’m glad he got removed from his position of deputy and eventually replaced without being killed off or permanently crippled. So who should fill that gap if not Brambleclaw, why not Sandstorm? Extremely depressing since it would likely have meant the death of her mate at some point. But dang it I’d want to see it play out. Like what if Firestar died between the time Graystripe was lost and Brambleclaw was named deputy, and the clan went, ‘well crap who should be deputy?’ and there’s a whole panic and I think Sandstorm would at least help get things under control and potentially become leader.
Since she’d have been named in a power vacuum and be dealing with a great deal of grief of losing her mate, the backlash would be interesting. How would Tigerstar deal with his mortal enemy being killed before he can have his son put into the position? What would Brambleclaw be encouraged to do? Would he still remain loyal? Would Brambleclaw be named Sandstar’s deputy? If she didn’t pick Brambleclaw who would she pick.
Dang it now that I got this ball rolling I want it! I mean at first, I was like ‘oh cool let’s shove Sandstorm in this position and see how she does,’ I didn’t realize how many things this could change. Would she have Firestar guiding her in her dreams? How would StarClan react? How does everyone react?!
Ultimately this would have to be an AU but dangit that’d be great to see now. Unfortunately, I think that for the situation to happen the death of her mate might make it extremely difficult if not impossible to assume the position. Plus, I think Brambleclaw would be pushed by his father to take it in that time line. So it’d be sad and possibly keep you guessing. But depending on how it’s written could be quite the tale and Sandstar herself, could be a decent leader. No Bluestar or Firestar for sure, but I think she’d lead ThunderClan well before it became time for the next clear leader to step up.

Squirrelstar (Squirrelflight): Because I’m trash. I thought wanting Sandstar was bad. I admittedly really like Squirrelflight, and while we’ve seen her do well as deputy, would she be able to handle being leader? I don’t think so to be honest. And in all honesty I had more reasoning behind Sandstorm becoming leader than Squirrelflight. But I do still enjoy reading those stories where she’s made leader for whatever circumstance.
Like Bramblestar died really fast… Like he suffered a fate that took all 9 of his lives or something. Which would be awful and terrible, but you know what Squirrelstar would obliterate whatever did that, and she would be fearsome and probably make tons of well intentioned but foolish mistakes in some places. But it’d be great because we could use a not so awesome leader in ThunderClan. Not a bad leader, but a leader who wasn’t perfect. That’s why I want Squirrelstar, I want to see a leader who stumbles a lot, be passionate and fearsome, sometimes make some really mousebrained decisions, but is overall well intention-ed, like how Onewhisker first started as before becoming… the bane of like the Visions of Shadows Arc and being a piece of fox dung after becoming leader.

Last but not least:

Hollystar (Hollyleaf): THIS! I thought with all my soul, that somehow someway we’d see Hollyleaf become Hollystar. That despite getting kicked out of the three prophecy she’d still get her day. But alas it wasn’t met to be. Hollyleaf just rang as such a leader, when she was with her brothers she got stuff done. She was the leader of the group, and took action. She would’ve made a spectacular leader! And I weep at the wasted opportunity of not even letting her live for the possibility to still lurk there.
She matured from sticking to the warrior code to the point when realizing her heritage completely went against it, it threw her for a loop, to being the kind of cat she was seeming to move towards becoming, leader of ThunderClan. Or at least Deputy. But cursed Hawkfrost robbed me of that opportunity. He doesn’t deserve to be leader of anything.

Honorable Mention:
Ivystar (Ivypool): Dang it if you won’t give me Hollystar give me Ivystar. She reminds me so much of Hollyleaf and I think if any cat deserves to be named deputy when Squirrelflight retires/dies (hopefully the former) its Ivypool. So please, for StarClan’s sake can I get one of the cats on my wishlist?

I’ll wrap this up by apologizing that there wasn’t a lot of evidence to back up or support why I felt these cats being leader would stir up the story. This really isn’t a theory, these were just cats who if they were made leader I’d want to know what the story was behind it. What led them to that path, and where do they go from becoming leader? I’m a person who loves fanfiction and what if scenarios like other cats becoming leader or thrust into the role get me excited especially if I like their character.
I hope you guys enjoyed this rambly article of mine, and now I put it to you. Which characters would you think be a leader that’d make for an interesting read? It doesn’t have to be based in evidence, if you wanted say a story where Stormfur became leader of RiverClan or Jayfeather stays the course on being a warrior despite being blind and somehow manages to become leader (maybe using his power in some way?) I want to hear all about it in the comments!


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  • Wow great article, Jetclaw! I find that very interesting. And yes, HOLLYLEAF IS AWESOME!!!! She would’ve made such an amazing leader. And Ivypool’s pretty lit too. Go Hollystar and Ivystar! 😝 And Sandstar would be interesting and Tawnystar, and if Thistleclaw became leader, whoo ThunderClan would be pretty dark. Nice job! 👍🏽

    About the leader thing, I wonder what would’ve happened if Redtail wasn’t killed and became Redstar, but that would’ve thrown off the entire first series.
    Hmm, what about Cinderheart? Probably not but I’m just saying. Ooh what about Whitestorm?? I love him, but he’d be an older leader. Brackenfur? He’s probably not the leader type so maybe not but he’s DEFINITELY THE FATHER TYPE! Brackenfur is such a great dad.
    Also, Crowfeather is now officially deputy of WindClan.

    • I think it makes sense for Crowfeather to be deputy, Harestar I think is the youngest leader at the moment and I’m pretty sure even if Mistystar dies soon he’s be younger than Reedstar. (He and Hawkwing might be closer in age but that’s neither here nor there until Hawkwing becomes leader)

      I think Harestar did what Firestar did when he first became leader. He picked a deputy who had experience, could be relied on (proven that despite his occasionally wandering heart his loyalty was always with WindClan) and would be a good first deputy in a way. I don’t think Crowfeather will become leader just like I doubt Squirrelflight will become leader, simply because both are deputies to leaders with all 9 lives (barring of course them losing all 9 at once like tigerstar).

  • YES HOLLYLEAF SHOULD HAVE BEEN A LEADER!!!!! I was so sad when she died. Besides Jayfeather, she’s my fav of the three! Don’t ask me why Jayfeather is my favorite of them. He has been since I was a kit. Also I think Jayfeather would’ve been a really good warrior! Say Hollyleaf/Hollypaw was good a being a medicine cat and Jayfeather/Jaypaw wasn’t. There’s a good chance that Hollyleaf would keep her name, since ‘leaf’ is a cool medicine cat suffix (Spottedleaf duh), but the first problem we reach is this: What would Jayfeather’s name have been? Leafpool named him Jayfeather because of Crowfeather. Firestar had no special connection with Crowfeather, so Jayfeather probably would’ve been named something like Jayheart or Jaystripe or Jaypelt. I’m going with Jayheart, because it sounds cool. This is turning into a story, but I DON’T CARE. So Jayfeather/Jayheart goes on to be a warrior, while Hollyleaf is medicine cat. Hollyleaf never falls into the tunnels. Jayheart (I’m just calling him that for this now) doesn’t find the stick or have any connection with the Ancients. Hollyleaf fills that position instead, but there is no romance between Half Moon and Jay’s Wing because Jay’s Wing wasn’t there. Hollyleaf became someone else, throwing off the Ancient’s thing entirely. Meanwhile, Jayheart is a brave and blind warrior who is slowly making his name among the clans. Next big question: Who would he mate? I think no one, because the only cat reported that he had feelings for was Half Moon, an Ancient, and if he was a warrior he’d never even meet her. So I think he’d be a bachelor for life. BUT WAIT. The entire course of the series would change if Jayfeather was a warrior (Jayheart, which I am using as a name now)!!! Would Tigerstar and Hawkfrost reach out to Lionpaw/blaze or Jaypaw/heart? Jaypaw/heart would feel angry at his clanmates for treating him like he couldn’t be a full warrior, so maybe he’d turn to the Dark Forest sooner. Lionpaw/blaze would never meet Tigerstar or Hawkfrost. Jayheart might even end up betraying his clan when Dark Forest attacks. Too many things would change for me to list here. I need to reread the Power of Three arc =)

    I went off crazy on that, but basically so many things would change if Jayfeather/Jayheart was a warrior. Excuse me while my head explodes.

  • This is a great article!

    I personally think Tigerheart, Sparkpelt, Emberfoot, Russetfur, Tawnypelt, and Needletail would be interesting or cool leaders:

    Tigerstar 2 of course is the most likely (especially since some of these cats are dead 😛), and I just love him and think he would be a great leader, maybe similar to Firestar, but with a little more spark. I just don’t want him to have the name Tigerstar. Tigerheart is already an awesome name!

    Sparkstar honestly I just think would be funny, and I like the name Sparkstar 😛

    Emberstar would be even worse than Harestar I know since he’s even MORE minor, but I like the name more than Harestar 😛

    Russetstar would actually be really cool. I feel like she would be the same way as Rowanstar, but a better leader. Now that I think about it, Rowanstar may only be less experienced because he was only deputy for Fading Echoes-Bramblestar’s Storm (I think), while all the other leaders were deputy for much longer. Rowamstar wasn’t really built up as deputy which is why I think he’s just as interesting a leader as Tigerheart, Russetfur and Tawnypelt would be! Hmmmmmm… A lot of the ShadowClan cats would make/are interesting leaders XD

    Tawnystar for pretty much the same reasons you had. I feel like she would be better than Rowanstar, though maybe not as interesting (and amusing) to read about.

    Needlestar honestly just popped into my head because I feel like it would be interesting.

    Or what about Dawnpelt? Dawnstar might be cool too!

    Or something really weird. Dovewing joins ShadowClan and becomes Dovestar! Imagine that!

    Or Scourge (Tiny) being taken into the Clans as a kit by Bluefur and instead of Bluestar we get Tinystar! What would happen then!? Rusty may not even have joined the forest! And he may have exiled Thistleclaw (If he hadn’t already died at this time) and Tigerclaw! Who might he choose as deputy? He wouldn’t be evil in this version, so maybe he would’ve chosen Bluefur or Whitestorm. Then Whitestar might have actually happened!

    Okay, I’m having way too much fun with this…

  • Great article! I totally agree with what you said about Ashfoot. She would’ve been a great leader!

  • Oh my gosh exactly! Firstly, Tawnypelt was cheated out of leadership honestly. She obviously deserved the leadership more than Rowanclaw did. She’s levelheaded, fair and intelligent. She also would’ve kept ShadowClan under control unlike Rowanstar. She was also cheated out of deputyship. She’s way more qualified than Tigerheart is. Tigerheart is not a good option for deputy because of his relationship with Dovewing. Honestly, the drama between those two needs to be resolved before he should even be considered for deputy position.

    As for Ashfoot, I 100% support an Ashstar. My only problem with her would’ve been her age…But there’s also Mistystar who’s over 12 years old at this point, so I don’t see why she couldn’t be leader after Onestar. As for a Crowstar, I would only support it because it could be interesting. However, I do agree with you on a Crowstar.

    I like the idea of an Oakstar. Despite breaking the Warrior Code, he was a good tom overall who could’ve made a good leader after his brother.

    Honestly, Sandstorm would’ve made a really good leader/deputy. Honestly, I don’t see a problem with Firestar at least making her temporary deputy while Graystripe was gone(Preferably permeant, but she probably would’ve died sooner so Brambleclaw could replace her). Again, she would’ve made a really good leader. And I’m 100% in full support of a Squirrelstar. She would’ve made a better leader than Brambleclaw currently does, at least in my opinion. Also, I really love the idea of a Hollystar too. Hollyleaf would’ve made a good leader to ThunderClan had she lived. As for an Ivystar, I like the idea, but at the same time, I also would love to see a background character(Like Cherryfall, Rosepetal or Lilyheart)take charge as deputy. Even if they may not have much of a personality, who says they still can;t be explored?

    • While I approve of another she cat as deputy I don’t think the three you mentioned have much of a chance. Besides Lilyheart but even she’s faded to the background, I don’t really remember how old Rosepetal or Cherryfall really are they’re just super background cats. It has admittedly been a while since I read PoT and OOTS but they never really stood out to me.

      Ivypool is the best in my opinion because she risked so much for her clan, she took what was a big mistake and used it to her clans best advantage risking her life to do so. No other cat in ThunderClan stands out to me like that. So I feel like deputyship for her makes sense after Squirrelflight. But admittedly I’ve forgotten half of the cats that live in thunderclan now, it’s a big sea of names to me sometimes which is kinda sad.

      But I liked your points you added, and yeah Tawnypelt shouldve been leader, but actually looking back maybe Blackstar didn’t want another former thunderclan cat to be leader. Or at least not right after him. I dunno it’s fun to think about though. Now i want a Tawnypelt book, I dunno what about but I want it.

      I think Ashfoot couldve just pulled another Mistystar, maybe? But now it looks like Crowfeather will be close to being leader thanks to the previews of Tigerhearts shadow

  • I don’t think Crowfeather can be a good leader, he loved too many cats from other clans, his clanmates don’t trust him, that’s why he isn’t a deputy now.
    Thistleclaw and Tigerclaw will be a fierce leader, and protect their clan from everything. But they might be like Brokenstar, training kits when they are not 6 moons old. And they will ruin all the clans, just to ruled the forest by themselves. The story will be a lot darker if they really ruled the forest.

    Just my opinion, if you don’t like it, ignore me.

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