Television

Tales of Arcadia: What You Need to Know Before Wizards

Wizards, the final installment of Guillermo del Toro’s magical and out-of-this-world Tales of Arcadia trilogy, will premiere August 7 on Netflix. The highly-anticipated series will include familiar faces from the previous sister shows, Trollhunters and 3Below, introduce new characters, and bring the story full circle – a story that was introduced to audiences back in 2016.

Since then, residents from the small town of Arcadia Oaks have gone through a whirlwind of adventures, from the depths of Trollmarket to the far reaches of space on Akiridion-5. This next and last adventure will take them to a mythical and legendary place: Camelot.

Wizards follows the time-honored tradition of many trilogies in that the concluding chapter returns to settings, characters and concepts established in the first,” said showrunner and Executive Producer Marc Guggenheim, according to Variety. “I’m blown away by the amount of story we were able to push in this season. The narrative literally spans centuries and contains some of the most emotional content of the entire trilogy.”

Check out the trailer released during Comic-Con 2020:

Before we travel to Camelot and discover the saga’s mythological origins, we’ve put together a brief overview of the story to catch you up to speed and get you ready for what comes next.

Daylight is Mine to Command

The Tales of Arcadia trilogy begins with a common story about a boy discovering a magical artifact and being thrust into a hidden magical world. Over the course of three seasons, it becomes much more than that. At first, Jim struggles to balance his life as a high school student and as the first human Trollhunter, but at least he doesn’t go through this arduous journey alone. He has his best pal, Tobias “Toby” Domzalski, as well as Blinky and AAARRRGGHH!!! (coolest name ever) as his troll mentors.

Jim also has a major crush on Claire Nuñez, but when a horde of goblins set out to kill her, he’s forced to reveal the armor-clad truth to her. She eventually joins the team and turns out to be a vital player in the game when she becomes the new owner of Angor Rot’s Shadow Staff, allowing her to teleport to and from any location. Speaking of Angor Rot, he’s just one of many antagonists who pop up throughout the series, but the ultimate villains are Gunmar and Morgana.

Jim Lake Jr with his arms outstretched and gathering magic from the air around him.
Credit: DreamWorks Animation Television

Gunmar’s ruthlessness and power-hungry vision to take over the surface and destroy mankind are some of the main reasons why he’s called the Lord of Darkness and The Skullcrusher. He exists because of Morgana and her orchestrating a war between trolls and humans thousands of years ago. They both lose that war and are imprisoned, but alongside their minions, they work to free themselves. Jim and the gang do their best to keep them at bay, losing some friends along the way, but they go in search of Merlin’s tomb and the Staff of Avalon to prevent Gunmar from getting his hands on ancient magic.

Looking ahead to Wizards, Clancy Brown (Gunmar) and Lena Heady (Morgana) are set to reprise their roles. What sort of tricks do these two have up their sleeves, especially given their fates at the end of Trollhunters? Knowing their thirst for power and destruction, it wouldn’t surprise us if they somehow return to attempt their evil schemes one last time.

Enter Merlin

Where would any protagonist be without a cranky old wizard to show the way? Throughout the final season of Trollhunters, Merlin provides context to past events and doesn’t sugarcoat the harsh reality of what Jim has to do to fight Gunmar. He comes across as a huge jerk, but his actions push Jim to see the bigger picture, “To protect the world you love, to be the champion for both humans and trolls, you need to be more than human.”

To defeat Gunmar, Jim makes a heartbreaking sacrifice. He leaves behind his human form and becomes a troll himself. It’s a mind-blowing move, but it gives him the strength and agility necessary to stand against Gunmar, Morgana, and their army. After the transformation, Jim struggles to balance his troll and human emotions. Thanks to his friends and family, he learns to accept his new identity and cherish the traits that still make him Jim.

Merlin standing with his staff.
Credit: DreamWorks Animation Television

The epic battle to save their home and the world begins when a dark veil covers Arcadia, locking it in darkness and making it possible for Gunmar’s army to walk on the surface during the day. Jim crosses blades with Gunmar, and after three seasons worth of training, Jim takes him out with a mighty swing of his sword. His skills aren’t enough for Morgana, however. Remember Angor Rot? The previous owner of Claire’s Shadow Staff? He got stuck doing everyone else’s dirty work, but his actions surprise the characters when he takes out Morgana himself, “Witch! I am no one’s pawn!”

Claire and the team lay the final blow and trap Morgana in the Shadow Realm. She’s not dead, though, so expect to see a lot of her in Wizards.

Off to New Jersey

Trollhunters ends on a bittersweet note as Jim and the gang leave Arcadia to find a new Heartstone for Trollmarket. It was destroyed during Morgana’s quest to cast a shadow over Arcadia. The lack of a stone makes Trollmarket uninhabitable, since it acts as a life force for all trolls. This forces the team to make the trek to New Jersey (we’re shocked by this location, too) in order to retrieve a new one.

This leaves us with a few lingering questions for Wizards: Will Trollmarket be restored with a new Heartstone before another apocalyptic battle erupts in Arcadia? What new information or friends do they encounter in New Jersey that could be helpful to them? We know they came across an armored foe in Hoboken, so will they accidentally bring any unwanted evils back to Arcadia?

An underground town with large and illuminating crystals protruding from the rocky walls.
Credit: DreamWorks Animation Television

Another interesting fact about Trollmarket that’s important to remember before the Wizards premiere is how it once stored an alien artifact known as Gaylen’s Core. It had the power to create and destroy the universe. House Tarron, the royal family of Akiridion-5, travelled to Earth and gave the object to the trolls for safekeeping. Earth also happens to be the planet the children of House Tarron escape to when General Morando attacks Akirdion-5 for power and control.

Aliens Descend Upon Arcadia

Things get weirder in Arcadia Oaks when extraterrestrials – Aja, Krel, and Varvatos Vex – crash-land and disguise themselves as humans in 3Below. As they somewhat successfully blend in, they also attempt to fix their spaceship and find ways to restore their unconscious and nearly-dying parents. Along the way, they befriend Jim, Toby, and the rest of the Trollhunters gang, face off against intergalactic bounty hunters, and escape the grasp of a top-secret alien-hunting organization.

As if things couldn’t get any worse, General Morando invades Earth. The royal siblings and their friends do everything they can to stop him from getting Gaylen’s Core, but they fail. Morando absorbs the power from the core and transforms into a god-like giant. His all-powerful glory comes to a swift end, however, when Aja and Krel’s fully-restored parents sacrifice themselves yet again to stop him. They lose their parents, but they also gain life-long friends and a new home in the process.

3Below characters Krel, Aja, and Luug standing beside Trollhunters characters.
Credit: DreamWorks Animation Television

Aja decides to go back to Akiridion-5, not wanting to run away from her responsibilities as a royal anymore, while Krel stays on Earth. 3Below ultimately ends with a black cat named Archie. He talks, wears glasses, and he refers to himself as a wizard associate. Most importantly, he informs Toby and the others about the doom that’s to come in Wizards, “Put simply, the world as you know it is about to end.”

One More Thing

It’s safe to say you’re up-to-date with the Tales of Arcadia saga so far, but here is one more lingering thread to keep in mind when the new series debuts in August.

Each installment includes surprise appearances. For example, we first meet Aja and Krel in Trollhunters, while Jim, Toby, and the others pop up in 3Below. All of these characters will undoubtedly make an appearance in Wizards, but there have been wizards lurking around as background characters this entire time, the most notable one being Douxie (pronounced “Duke-see”).

Merlin and Douxie riding horses in a forest.
Credit: DreamWorks Animation Television

For those of you who need a memory jog, Douxie is the Arcadia Oaks Academy student who works as a part-time waiter and bookstore employee. He also participated as a guitarist in the Battle of the Bands contest before Gunmar and his army attacked. We don’t know much about his background, but he’s officially a wizard.

We’re also curious about a few things: What was he doing when Gunmar and Morando attacked Arcadia? Given all the strange activities, why hasn’t he revealed his true nature? Most importantly, why is he in Arcadia posing as a high school student?

Looking forward to having all of these questions and more answered when Wizards premieres August 7 on Netflix.


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Featured Image: DreamWorks Animation Television

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Kevin

This is a great explanation Johna! Thanks for helping us all get up to speed and hyped up for Wizards: Tales of Arcadia in less than two weeks YAYAYAYAYAAYYYY!!!

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