This is an updated list of theories and topics of discussion from last night/yesterday, expanded to include more of my thoughts on possible events of RWBY Volume 9.
Volume 9 will be like, I think it was Volume 5 or 6, where there were two plots; one about RNJR and one about Blake. The two stories in Volume 9 will be one about team RWBY, Jaune and Neo trying to get back home from wherever they end up from falling into that abyss, and the other story will be either the remaining characters looking for them or fighting Salem or a combination of looking for them and fighting Salem.
If this prediction is correct, I put 30%-40% odds on Neo dying, because she hates Ruby too much to switch sides and become another Emerald (I still didn't like that Emerald switched sides), another 30% odds on Neo just disappearing with her Semblance and going back to Salem on her own, and I put 4%-5% odds on something happening that involves Neo talking. It was always in the back of my mind that Neo would speak and say "Jinn" to summon her and something would happen there, because let's face it, if Neo did speak for the first time, that would probably be a pretty good reveal. However, I think there's a very low chance of that happening because that's Neo's whole "thing."
Ah, I did just have a thought: Cinder was the one who caused Neopolitan to fall off the platform, she betrayed Neo, so maybe she would put aside her desire for vengeance against Ruby in favor of working with them for vengeance against Cinder and ooooh what if Neo kills Cinder and becomes the Fall Maiden! Yeah, that's a bit ambitious but it would be pretty cool.
Another prediction: Summer Rose, Ruby's mom, will be revealed to have been the Summer Maiden. I do have a theory that team RWBY will become the maidens at the end of the show, but this maiden theory of mine is one of the strongest. Look at the other (current, as of Volume 8 Episode 14): The Fall Maiden is named Cinder Fall. The Winter Maiden (SPOILERS) is Winter Schnee. Raven is the Spring Maiden, but that's an outlier. For the most part, Maidens have had a name corresponding with their season. SUMMER Rose, SUMMER Maiden. It makes sense. I also predict her death will be revealed to have something to do with Salem, which was already hinted at in the scene where Salem's Hound is revealed to be a person underneath with silver eyes, so Summer's death most likely had something to do with that story element. While writing this, I thought we might get a flashback scene of Summer being killed, and I thought for a second about Tock, Salem's subordinate who blinded Maria Calavera, would make a reappearance killing Summer, because Tock was clearly some kind of hitman for Salem, but then I thought that in the scene with young Maria, Tock looks the same age or older, so by the time Summer died, which would be when Ruby was quite young, Tock would have been very old or probably dead, so unfortunately I don't think she will come back, but I firmly believe something about Summer Rose will be revealed. We don't know the current or previous Summer Maidens, and we don't know much about Summer Rose. I think these two things are meant to be hints that Summer Rose was the Summer Maiden. That, and the fact that Ruby learned about what happened to the people with silver eyes, so next Volume will probably have some information to expand on that.
Yet another prediction, this one's a bit obvious. Oscar's Semblance. I have various things to say about it. I have no idea what it's going to be, but I think it's reasonable to say it's been long enough that he hasn't had a Semblance so he's probably going to develop it. One thing I can predict about it is that Ozma's Semblance, whatever it is, is passed down to his reincarnations, so Ozpin had the same Semblance, and Oscar's Semblance is the same too. We will learn about this as part of Oscar's training with his Semblance, or after he's already unlocked it. A side note as well, Salem's Semblance. We still don't know what it is, and I think if Ozma's Semblance is revealed, it's possible Salem has the same Semblance. Something about their dealings with the Gods. However, I don't think it's super likely, but it is a possibility that their Semblances are the same. At the same time, though, I believe it is possible that neither Salem nor Ozma has a Semblance, because they are from a time where magic was common, and they both can use magic, so for writing reasons it would make both of them too powerful and for story reasons it might be that they have magic instead of Semblances.
Now, as for the post-credits scene that I had not noticed at the time I wrote the previous paragraph, it definitely asks more questions than answers, but it is interesting. I believe this land is some kind of afterlife. I also believe we will see the return of some dead characters, like Pyrrah and Roman. This would be really cool if the RWBY/Jaune/Neo team-up theory comes true, because Pyrrah and Jaune would finally be reunited, and as Swally522 said under NightDream1’s post in General a few hours ago, Neo would be reunited with Roman, which I didn’t even think about but would be an interesting thing to witness. I had the idea that Roman’s ghost would be angry that Neopolitan would even think about teaming up with Ruby, and maybe Neo would grow to realize Torchwick wasn’t as great as she thought he was. I imagine a scene where Neo is up in the afterlife-tree-thingy from the post-credits scene, and she’s sitting on a treehouse-like platform or something. She’s holding Roman’s hat and looking down at it, as Roman’s ghostly voice berates her for “teaming up with Red and her posse,” he’d say. As the voices get louder and louder, Neo shuts her eyes tightly and covers her ears but Roman’s voice won’t go away. Finally, a close up shot of Neo dramatically opening her eyes, with her eyeliner smeared from her crying, and she throws the hat off the tree, and it slowly falls to the ground below. All in all, I imagine it would be a very beautiful scene.
Overall, my eyes were really opened recently about the possibility they have with Neopolitan’s character development here. Something I thought of would be her past being explained, particularly her past with Roman and Cinder. What I would find most interesting, however, would be an explanation for why she can’t talk, and it possibly having something to do with Roman, Cinder, or Salem in some way. I would also like an explanation (or at least a justification) for why the villains spent all their time stealing Dust in the early volumes. Perhaps something to do with Salem.
The afterlife also presents another possibility: Adam. Adam, throughout the series, has been someone who always manages to find Blake no matter what, and it would be a testament to his willpower if he was able to haunt Blake even after death. Going with the theme of backstories for dead characters, I would love to see about Adam’s past. His scar is a bit hard to read, but it says “SDC,” an abbreviation for Schnee Dust Company. I had to look on Adam’s wiki page to know what his scar says but it was very surprising and reveals a lot about his past. We know that the SDC used Faunus as essentially slaves, so it would be nice to see Adam’s past in that way. Maybe what happened was he lashed out and tried to revolt against the slave owners, and as punishment he was scarred with SDC across his face, probably something about always reminding him of his place or something similar. With Adam’s appearance in the afterlife, Blake would probably struggle with the mental strain it would put on her. She would have to come to terms with the internal dilemma that she may have killed Adam, but as long as she’s in the afterlife, Adam is still there, always watching, like a subconscious presence within Blake that would possibly continue until after Volume 9. I imagine it would be traumatizing for her to see Adam in the afterlife, and I imagine he would also make some kind of grand, dramatic entrance. We know what he’s like, it seems like something he would do. It’s fun to imagine his dramatic line as he steps out from behind a wall or something, to greet Blake. Just imagine Blake, still trying to accept that she is dead, hears a footstep behind her, and she slowly looks back, as Adam dramatically walks out from behind a pillar or wall and says…
“Blake… it’s been too long.”
It sends chills down my spine. I like this wording because it references his line in the black trailer: "Blake... it's time." Overall, the afterlife theory is so much fun to speculate about. Pyrrah, Adam, Neo, Summer, Penny, Ozpin is debatable but it’s possible, and we might also see some people who will be revealed to have died. Peter and Oobleck come to mind, as I imagine they may have died at the fall of Beacon, and hey, if Ozpin is there, maybe the main cast will finally get a chance to meet Ozma. Peter and Oobleck, as I understand it, have had their voice actors shall we say… unable to voice them at the present moment, so RT would have to get new people, or maybe they could just have no voice acting and instead just appear as background characters in the afterlife, but that would be really distracting because we would be wondering “What? That’s the fat guy and the fast talking guy! They’re dead? Why? I need an explanation!” So it would be a bad situation, which is why they absolutely need voiced lines if they are to reappear. Maybe they could do some kind of pep talk thing, to keep everyone in high spirits. I think it would be interesting if either Port or Oobleck had some kind of minor past with Neo and resent her for it. Nothing grand and conspiratorial, just maybe Neo battled with one of them at some point.
That’s all the thoughts from the ol’ brain meat tonight, but I’ll update the post in some manner if I develop any new theories. I stated in the previous version of this post that I would “edit” the post in the event of new ideas, but I’m new to the Fandom site and there doesn’t appear a way to do that, so I’ll be making a whole new post.