Yeah as Secret Weapons usually lead to an area retheme.
A Katanga Canyon or Gloomy Wood retheme seems more likely than a Mutiny Bay retheme, due to Mutiny Bay being rethemed relatively recently. I like the idea of the Runaway Mine Train being rethemed and with the Rapids looking like they are having new boats, a retheme could be on the cards.
It dawns on me they might also merge Gloomy Wood and a rethemed Katanga Canyon where Gloomy Wood / Haunted Hollow (itself currently a secondary area to G.W.) remain but both become a secondary area of the village and feel part of it, there are also rumours of Duel getting a change of some sort although it may just be getting some TLC. I've seen a way it might fit some of my theories on SW8 that would only mean changing part of the ride, some people are thinking it may be getting a full SW8 rework but that feels unlikely to me, I like the suggestions that have been made that Duel should go back to having different sections each with their own music and possibly losing the guns (I'm not sure if I'd miss the target shooting or not), in which case maybe a section tied into SW8 (as I'm thinking the chosen may be those who have left this world which would really make this area merge and retheme options make sense.....). Duel as a proper modern ghost train may also work.
Hadn't heard about the rapids boats so there does seem to be a focus on this area, I do agree that if they do just leave SW8 on its own it's going to impact on its feel within the park and not make best use of its presence and backstory. It will still have a strong theme but will be a bit disconnected from its location in the park.The mine train could be rethemed as more of an abandoned mine or similar that fits an 'old world' village, perhaps it closed because of the villagers' respect of the Earth's resources maybe! Not sure if there's a way they could but bringing the rapids water features nearer to/ under SW8 would be good but is possibly not so easy logistics/ planning/ cost wise, may be something simple they could do though at a later date though. Would be great to even have a small bit of overlap/interaction but may be too late for this now!
The more I think about it the more I hope they do go for retheming the area in some way though. I really hope the Mutiny Bay speculation that seems to be a lot of peoples' expectations is wrong as I don't think that would be good for the Mutiny Bay area which is a strong theme in itself that I'd like them to keep or SW8 that really doesn't need to be forced into a pirate area.
Alton don't always gel their areas as well as they could though- so they might miss the opportunity of a really strong themed area. They have been doing more of this recently though with Sub Terra and The Phalanx around Nemesis and a bit of very minimal Ministry of Joy theming near The Smiler, but I've thought that they could better utilise their rides connections and give their areas more of an identity, for me they've explored it but not really perfected it yet- hopefully they'll continue down this route as it has some real potential such as X sector has potential with the Ministry of Joy- they could combine rethinking the theming strength of areas of the park with some needed improvements such as some proper drainage for the queue of The Smiler so you're not stood in water and The Smiler's station's actually a bit boring in places considering the strength of the theming concept and the ride.
Alton should use the likes of Hex and Nemesis as benchmarks for the theming of all their main areas/ rides as if they capture that level of theming quality it will make for a really first class guest experience.
The ride area is part of the experience- if there's a logic to an area that suggests a story behind the rides it can enhance the fun such as Hex being in the awesome setting of the towers and having the legend and restoration storyline with all the great atmosphere they've created inside the towers, hopefully SW8 will be another sign the park is going to be doing more of this in future.
Would be good to know other people's thoughts on such things.