WARNING: The following article contains major spoilers for Boruto: Naruto Next Generations #35, by Masashi Kishimoto, Mikio Ikemoto and Ukyo Kodachi, on sale now.
At the start of the Boruto franchise, we saw the titular hero and Kawaki battling with a destroyed Konoha in the background. Fans didn't know who this new ninja was at the time, but as he boasted how he killed Naruto, it became quite clear he was shaping up to be the series' version of Sasuke.
However, since then we've seen Kawaki in his younger days, training with Naruto and becoming Boruto's unofficial brother as they try to find a way to stop Jigen and his terrorist unit, Kara. These villains are looking to turn Kawaki into a weapon of mass destruction, with those early scenes clearly trying to paint a picture that Kawaki will eventually end up betraying Konoha for whatever reason. But courtesy of the recent revelations surrounding Jigen's heritage, that could be the series' biggest misdirection, which means Kawaki might not be a villain in the saga as initially assumed.
Sasuke, by navigating time and space, ends up figuring out Jigen's an alien linked to Kaguya's clan, and more so, he actually has his own version of the deadly Ten-Tails beast. This recon mission is where we discern certain clues which suggest the Kawaki we saw in the future isn't necessarily the young shinobi being corrupted and turning into a traitor. This theory starts with Sasuke spying on Jigen, watching him absorbing chakra from the monster and hinting that he's readying himself to be consumed.
At this point, it's a demented scene similar to Madara in the Naruto series, who ended up bonding with his Ten-Tails to turn into a godlike entity. But that was all due to Kaguya's manipulation so she could return to life, whereas here, Jigen is willingly preparing to offer himself up as a sacrifice to the monster. But as we reconcile how he told his Kara teammates in the past he needs Jigen back as he's the perfect vessel, pieces of the puzzle start to fall into place, hinting this is Jigen indicating he wants to possess Kawaki's body to destroy Konoha and Naruto, aka the greatest threat to his plan of world domination.
Theories suggest it's actually Jigen that Boruto's fighting and he doesn't seem to know it as the physical frame he's seeing is Kawaki's. Speculation (based on the possession arcs from the Naruto franchise) also has it that once the Ten-Tails consumes Jigen and becomes one with his chakra, this new entity will need the perfect host, which is why Jigen engineered Kawaki in the first place and why he needs to retrieve the precious runaway from Naruto's home. We did see various failed test subjects in Jigen's lair so we know Kawaki is the ideal one needed for Jigen's endgame, which would certainly be quite the twist.
Given that Jigen constantly talks with Kara about wiping Naruto and Konoha off the map, his words do sync up with Kawaki when he told Boruto in the very first issue how his ambition was always to destroy everything he loved. Tricking the audience into thinking we've been reading the origin story for Kawaki's descent into villainy all this time, when really and truly it's a set up for Kawaki's possession would honestly be a brilliant curveball and provide a shock factor that'll keep fans guessing even more as to how Boruto will overcome this challenge.
After all, bonding with Kawaki would certainly seal Jigen's role as the most powerful ninja of all time, something Naruto has sensed thus far -- which is why he took the kid in to protect him from falling into Kara's hands. That said, one thing's for sure, as much as Boruto and Naruto are going out their way to save Kawaki, with the power Jigen holds as an extraterrestrial, no matter what, the boy's dark fate will most certainly rest in his hands.