Update: Matt London now states that he did not intend to confirm this. We're leaving the article as-is, just take it with a grain of salt.
It all started when /u/TEnOTT made a post on reddit stating the mercenaries had reminded them of some of the kids found in a piece of art from the Journey to Un'Goro set. This was brought to the attention of Hearthstone Game Designer and self-proclaimed Interactive Narrative Nerd, Matt London, who was then able to confirm that this was indeed no coincidence. Here's the piece in question with the assumed grown-up explorers:
Even though Hearthstone plans in advance, this wasn't likely to be the case back when they were creating Journey to Un'Goro. It's a very cool way of bringing back some old characters though and it makes you wonder what the mercenaries were up to during their times in Un'Goro with Elise and now their battles in the Barrens. Perhaps we'll learn more about this period of time in their lives when Book of Mercenaries releases chapters for them all.
Super cool! Let us know what you think about it all. Personally, I'm wondering if Aranna is the Night Elf on the right side of the image. She is Elise's younger sister, and we aren't 100% sure how much younger, nor what the timeline of the Hearthstone universe looks like.
Ok this is a pretty good find! The kids are all grown up? :D (From Reddit)
WTF!??? I need answers @themattlondon @Songbird_HS
No coincidence ;-)
This was not intended as confirmation. Sorry! You’ll have to wait a little longer to learn more about the mercenaries.