By the time 'Peaky Blinders' ends, a second Shelby generation might be on their way to World War II
The two World Wars are the boundaries of the show's storyline, as the period in the show stretches from the First World War to the Second World War
BBC One's 'Peaky Blinders' is returning with Season 5 in Spring this year, and while the story is nowhere close to its final climax, there are already speculations about what role World War II would play for the second generation of the Shelby family. Coming from creator Steven Knight, 'Peaky Blinders' follows the Shelby family as they try to break from the shackles of poverty right after the First World War, through their illegal business of gambling, alcohol, and stolen cars. However, the story chiefly revolves around the former war-hero, Thomas Shelby (Cillian Murhy) who, alongwith his brothers Arthur (Paul Anderson) and John (Joe Cole), had fought in the First World War.
The war actually had a major influence on Thomas' persona, as he remains shell-shocked, and to confront his disturbed state of mind he keeps himself submerged in work. In a brief moment of recluse or loneliness, Thomas finds himself recalling the horrific memories of the war when even the tiniest sounds can trigger the memory of the thunderous roar of gunshots and bombs which he had experienced during the war. As the events in the show chiefly follow up the aftermath of war, we also see Thomas dealing with the Communists, the Irish Revolutionary Army, and the British government in an attempt to legitimize his business of alcohol and automobiles.
Knight has already revealed that by the time the show reached Season 7 that Thomas, who "begins as this nihilistic, looking out only for his family person, will be redeemed, and he will become good." On the other hand, the show itself will end when the first sirens of World War II go off in Birmingham, and the Shelbys once again find themselves on the brink of another War. Knight had explained, "I've got an ending where [Cillian Murphy's character] is Sir Thomas Shelby, and it's the start of the Second World War. The first siren goes off and that's it." This puts forward the question if the next generation of Shelbys will enter the war like their ancestors.
We know in the First World War, there were three men from the Shelby family who had gone to war — and all three of them were brothers. As of now, there are only two boys, Michael (Finn Cole) and Finn (Harry Kirton) who will probably take charge of the business after Thomas, but chances are the other three children of the Shelby brothers will perhaps go off to war. One fan on Reddit pointed out, "I'm almost positive we'll see Charlie (Tommy's son) go to the war. WW2 will start when he'll have been around his father's age when he went to the war, and it's such a big part of Tommy's character. I also think we'll see Karl (Ada's son) and Billy (Arthur's son) go to war also. It would make sense since they made all three of the firstborns of the main characters boys."
It should be considered that the children of the Shelby family will probably follow the footsteps of their fathers unless they choose otherwise. Most of them are growing up with a single parent — Charlie's mother, Grace (Annabelle Wallis), was shot to death, while Karl's father, Freddie (Iddo Goldberg) died of pneumonia. Only Billy has both his parents with him, but certainly, Arthur's hysteric nature might just see the child lose a parent in one way or the other. Similarly, when the Shelby brothers had gone to war, they did not have their mother, while their father had long abandoned them. The boys grew up under the care of their aunt Polly (Helen McCrory), in the same way as the children are now growing up under the care of their respective guardians.
With his son, Charlie, going off to war, Thomas might just recall the horrors of war and although he will perhaps receive a knighthood for his service, war will never leave Thomas. Be it the First World War or World War II, war will stick to him like a shadow thus making him the perfect angry man of the post-war generation. 'Peaky Blinders' season 5 returns to BBC One this year in Spring.