Delving into Doom Eternal‘s surprisingly deep lore, the Khan Maykr is the Doom Slayer’s greatest adversary to date; she’s an alien queen who enslaved countless mortal worlds and later attempted to colonize Hell. Doom Eternal‘s primary antagonist has fairly simple ambitions, but the circumstances surrounding her lust for immortality are extremely complex.
To understand the villainess and her history with the Doom Slayer, one must first understand the Maykr race. An extra-dimensional alien species comparable to Lovecraft’s cosmic horrors, the Maykrs are a hivemind that is rigidly structured by a sort of biological caste system. Like a queen bee, the Khan Maykr extends her will throughout all Maykrs, making it theoretically impossible for other Maykrs to defy her orders. But this galaxy-conquering race was initially created by an even more powerful, alien entity known only as the Father.
What happened to the Father is ultimately unclear, as is often the case with Doom‘s current canon. After creating numerous worlds, including both the Maykr’s realm of Urdak and the superior realm of Jekkad (which would later become Hell), the Father stopped to rest, with his essence contained in the realm of Urdak. At some point, the Father’s Essence either faded from existence, or he willfully withdrew from the physical realm for reasons unknown. The Father’s Essence played a very important part in the succession of the Khan Maykrs, however. While Maykrs live several thousand years, their minds and bodies do eventually degrade. To preserve their lineage, they subject themselves to a voluntary death ritual called the Transfiguration.
The Transfiguration sacrifices several high ranking Maykrs to create a new Khan, renewing their flesh and preserving the integrity of their shared memories. But this ritual requires a lot of power, and to date, only the Father’s Essence had enough juice to fuel the ritual. Since no Transfiguration was possible in the absence of the Father, the current Khan Maykr ruled unchecked for thousands of years, during which time her mind may have begun to degrade and her desperation for renewal intensified. This may explain why the Khan Maykr saw an opportunity instead of a warning when the Doom Slayer emerged in Urdak’s world of Argent D’Nur, raving about the fires of Hell and the threat of its endless tide of demons.
The next best thing to the Father’s Essence was Wraith Energy—Wraiths being another race of powerful beings who were native to Argent D’Nur. But the Khan Maykr, and her priests, the Order of Deag, discovered that if Wraith Energy is combined with Hell Essence, an even more potent form of power called Argent Energy results. Farming Hell Essence was not easy, on account of the aforementioned endless tides of demons, but the Doom Slayer, newly enrolled in the ranks of Argenta Night Sentinels, made excursions into Hell considerably easier. The Khan Maykr eventually found an even more expedient way to gain Argent Energy: strike a deal with the Dark Lord of Hell. In exchange for access to Argent Energy, the Khan Maykr gave the forces of Hell access to every world the Maykrs had conquered.
The Khan Maykr did not reveal this deal to her Night Sentinels, however, and when they discovered that their overlord was in bed with the same demonic legions they had been fighting, a civil war broke out. The Khan Maykr was worried about the potential threat the Doom Slayer represented, as Seraph—a rogue Maykr who directly served the Father—gave the Doom Slayer access to the Divinity Machine, transforming the already-frightening Doom Marine into one of gaming’s most overpowered main characters.
At the very end of the Argenta Civil War between the Maykr Loyalists and the Night Sentinels, the Khan ordered the Order of the Deag’s priests to feed the Doom Slayer bad information. The priests, pretending to be a sympathetic party to the Night Sentinels, led the Doom Slayer and his squad into hell, and then trapped them there. All but two of the Sentinels were wiped out. One is the sentinel known as the Betrayer, whom the Doom Marine meets early in Doom Eternal. The other is the Doom Slayer himself, who was trapped in a sarcophagus before finally being excavated by Samuel Hayden at the beginning of Doom (2016).
With the Doom Slayer seemingly taken care of, the Khan Maykr directed Hell’s legion toward Earth, setting the stage for one of the best opening levels in recent memory.
Doom Eternal is available now for PC, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Stadia, Switch, Xbox One, and Xbox Series X/S.