I’m not convinced that the Emperor originally planned to dispose of the Primarchs once the Great Crusade and Webway project had been completed. The Primarch Project seems like a ridiculously complicated and costly program for the Primarchs to only have a 200-year expiry date. I mean he had to make a deal with his arch nemesis, the Chaos Gods regarding the creation of the Primarchs and it seems strange that the Emperor would take such a massive risk if he meant to dispose of the Primarchs like he did the Thunder Warriors.
Sure the civilian bureaucracy on Terra (and then the Webway?) was taking on a greater role in the governance of the Imperium, that’s only natural with an Empire that is transitioning from a period campaigning and expansion to a phase of consolidation, but the Webway is huge, and the Emperor would still need generals to make sure that it was kept secure. Even if the majority of humanity lived within the Webway, the Emperor would have still needed forces that could defend the Webway from the outside. Unless the Imperial was able to develop Eldar like wraithbone technology, which I think is pretty unlikely, humanity would have still needed access to the material galaxy for basic resources such as oil, iron ore, rare earth metals, etc. etc. And the Eldar Webway is under constant attacks from other forces so there is no reason to believe that the Imperial Webway would be any different.
For their own part, we know that several of the Primarchs saw a post Great Crusade future for themselves. Fulgrim wanted to create a better future for humanity that would enable the species to achieve its potential, Magnus wanted to develop humanity itself (the species was becoming more and more psychic, and Magnus saw humanities future as a psychic species), and Guilliman had post Crusade plans for governance. Even Purturabo probably wished for an end to the fighting so that he could get back to what he truly loved, creating mechanical and architectural wonders.
Of course the Chaos Gods and their servants (Erebus et al) were able to exploit the insecurities of some of the Primarchs regarding their future, but just because these insecurities existed doesn’t necessarily mean that they were based on fact.
Yes, some Primarchs such as Angron and Curze might have been dealt with, but they would have had to be dealt with regardless of the ultimate fate of the Primarchs. I see no reason why the others would have to die… Why would the Emperor put so much effort into their creation if he planned to do away with them after just 200 years? Surely he could have created super mechanicum generals on the level of the Archemandrite if all he wanted was super generals that could be disposed of once they had fulfilled their allotted tasks.
The Emperor and the Primarchs
When it comes to the Emperor's relationship with the Primarchs I feel that people read too much into the whole 'Project XII' and 'simple weapons' concept. In The Master of Mankind we are mostly presented with Custodes and Mechanicum perspectives of the Emperor and His Primarchs and these perspectives are heavily influenced by the values and personal biases of the individual characters.
When it comes to the Custodes they are fairly distrustful of the Primarchs, they look down on them as unreliable and impractically emotional. That’s why the Emperor refers to them by their numeral when speaking with the Custodes. He refers to them in whatever is most relatable to the audience.
Likewise the Mechanicum are cold and impersonal in their evaluation of the Primarchs and so that’s how the Emperor treats the Primarchs when speaking to members of the Mechanicum.
The Emperor doesn't really 'speak' to people, he leaves a psychic impression in their minds and these impressions are tailored to the individual recipiant.
I know the Emperor and the Primarchs weren't some big happy family (far from it), but it should also be acknowledged that the vast majority of Primarch related talk in The Master of Mankind involves either the Custodes or the Mechanicum, and this heavily flavours the impression that we’re left with in regards to the Primarchs.
Edited by Kizzdougs, 08 August 2018 - 04:17 AM.