Leaders who could’ve been (Maybe) By Jetclaw

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

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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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  • But, to be quite honest.

    I think Tawnypelt just wanted a quiet, peaceful life after the whole affair in the Darkest Hour. So yeah. I think she would have been a good leader, but I like that she’s a warrior because she seems to enjoy that the most. 😉

    I think that Ashstar would have been really cool! I agree, Harestar was BADDD compared to her. I don’t think Onestar was too bad, though. Maybe she could have appointed Crowfeather deputy, and then Crowstar might happen.

    Oakstar would have been cool! Seeing RiverClan and ThunderClan united might have put Tigerstar off A BIT. But I guess he would have just found another rogue group XD.

    I think that it was best that Hollyleaf was just that – Hollyleaf. She was epic anyways! 😀


    I disagree on the other ThunderClan leaders tho

    • BUT I think Squirrelstar might be cool. Except that she’ll probably only get a few moons of leadership after Bramblestar’s death before her own death….

  • WOW. This article is amazing! I find myself agreeing with you on so many points…

    Yes, Tawnystar would have been a wonderful leader. She’s a really great character, and even though I’m pretty tired of all the ThunderClan-centric arcs/leaders/prophecies etc., I think her amazing loyalty to ShadowClan and her determination to be her own cat kind of makes her deserve the position, and I feel like she would be better than Rowanstar at salvaging her poor Clan’s broken reputation. This would make a super interesting AU! If you wrote it then I would read it, Jet 😉 I also kind of wish that Russetfur had lived to become Russetstar. It makes me sad when really long-lived, loyal deputies die and then their replacement becomes leader in just a few books with no character development or anything to show us what sort of leader they’ll be.

    “I am 100% bitter that Ashfoot didn’t get to become leader of WindClan.” This, right here. This is how I’ve felt ever since I found out that Ashfoot died and Mr. No-Personality Onestar 2.0 Harespring got her place. I mean, really? She seemed like such a great cat, and I was so ready to have the first female leader of WindClan (my favorite Clan, despite Onestar) since Heatherstar in Tallstar’s Revenge. Which is a really good SE, by the way. Whenever the Clans met her at the border or she spoke up at Gatherings or anything like that, she just struck me as a really great character with a good personality for leadership. I feel like she would have been a great help with the situation in the Vision of Shadows series. And when she eventually became leader, she probably would have made her son Crowfeather deputy, and that probably would have been an interesting scene with maybe a little bit of controversy. But no, they had to throw that away. She didn’t even get an onscreen death, dang it! I call bull on that. But whatever, I guess. The Erins can do what they want, it’s their series….

    I don’t remember much about Oakheart, I’ll admit. For me, all he represented was the kind of forced forbidden romance between him and Bluestar that kind of got on my nerves when I read her SE. He didn’t seem to have much of a personality, but I wouldn’t mind having him as leader. It would be really interesting to see how RiverClan and ThunderClan got along- would their romance have been discovered? What would have happened to their kits? What if a battle for Sunningrocks occurred? What if they ended up somehow unifying or combining their two Clans? StarClan but that’s interesting. Thanks for making me consider that! And yeah, Mapleshade would totally throw a hissy fit. I can see it now!

    About Sandstar: yes please. Sandstorm was such an amazing character and I always felt a little cheated when Brambleclaw became deputy. Yeah, he was a pretty great character in the New Prophecy arc, but he just fell kind of flat after that and became basically a Firestar 2.0, which got on my nerves just a little bit. Sandstorm would have made such a great dep/leader, whipping ThunderClan into shape and just being everybody’s mom. Her death was super anticlimatic and almost made me stop reading the newest series altogether, even though I know she was getting kind of old. Sandstorm deserved better, and she would have made such a cool leader!

    Squirrelflight may be the only one I disagree with. I never really liked her character very much, and I’m a little bit tired of the Firestar reign of ThunderClan continuing (though, admittedly, pretty much everyone in ThunderClan is related to him now so I guess there’s no escaping that). I don’t have much to say here- she would be a pretty interesting leader, but something makes me doubt that it would ever happen unless Bramblestar dies sometime extremely soon.

    Hollystar is one of the best ideas I’ve heard all day. Hollyleaf was always my favorite of the three, with her love of the often-disregarded warrior code and her natural leadership, and she would make the greatest ThunderClan leader ever! I always felt kind of cheated and really bitter that they threw Hollyleaf out of the prophecy (in favor of Dovewing the Whiny) because they couldn’t think of a power for her. I can name at least three powers that they could have fit for her off the top of my head-! but I digress. Maybe I’ll write an article on that sometime. In the meantime, yes. I wish that she hadn’t died so this amazingness could at least be a remote possibility in the strange and fanciful worlds of Shimmerfrost’s Headcanons.

    In conclusion, this was a great article, Jetclaw! You need to make some more of these!


  • Hollyleaf would have made an awesome leader! Her leadership qualities really shine through in The Forgotten Warrior, she was so good! Her nine lives ceremony would have been especially interesting.

  • omg yes i feel Ashstar and Tawnystar…i feel that Ashfoot died so pointlessly that I didn’t even remember that she had – and there’s nothing about Harespring that would make him need to be leader for plot purposes!
    and ive been disappointed by the loss of the Hollystar possibility but i hadn’t thought of Ivystar…I know it would require Squirrelflight dying kind of but most first deputies shouldn’t become leader anyway,,,i loved this article :3!

  • Oh, I want some of these.

    Tawnystar – I think this would be GREAT. She would be a great leader
    Ashstar – OK, now I think she would be great.
    Crowstar – I’m not sure how I feel about Crowstar. I don’t know about this one…
    Thistlestar/Tigerstar – Stop. Don’t even make me go into it.
    Sandstar – Oh, yes, I want this now.
    Squirrelstar – I don’t know… I mean, I love Squirrelflight but I don’t think she should be a leader…
    Hollystar – Haven’t read about her…
    Ivystar – Haven’t read about her…

    CRAAAAAAZY great job, Jetclaw! 🙂

  • I agree with most of these, except maybe Oakstar. Ashstar would have done a much better job leading WindClan then Harestar. I am a little skeptical of Sandstar though. I kind of wanted Hollystar, but I prefer Ivystar.
    On the other hand, I absolutely do not want Lionstar. he is boring and did nothing all 12 books that he was POV. I mean, honestly, if you are POV for 12 books, you would think that you could have one great moment, or at least the tiniest bit of character development. But no. We got nothing. Nothing at all. Please excuse me while I go have a rage about that.

  • But the story would acually change A LOT because Stonefur would have to kill Stormfur and Feathertail to survive, and he is a bit more aggresive than Mistystar i guess