The Legend of Vox Machina
Screenshot of title card
GenreFantasy
Action
Adventure
Created byMatthew Mercer
Based onCritical Role
Voices of
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
Production
Executive producers
  • Matthew Mercer
  • Ashley Johnson
  • Travis Willingham
  • Laura Bailey
  • Liam O'Brien
  • Taliesin Jaffe
  • Marisha Ray
  • Sam Riegel
  • Brandon Auman
  • Chris Prynoski
  • Brandon William Thomas
Production companiesCritical Role Productions
Titmouse, Inc.
Amazon Studios
DistributorAmazon Studios
Release
Original networkAmazon Prime Video

The Legend of Vox Machina is an upcoming American adult animated fantasy streaming television series produced by Critical Role Productions, Titmouse, Inc., and Amazon Studios, and is set to premiere on Amazon Prime Video. It is based on campaign one of the Dungeons & Dragons web series Critical Role. The series stars Matthew Mercer, Ashley Johnson, Travis Willingham, Laura Bailey, Liam O'Brien, Taliesin Jaffe, Marisha Ray, and Sam Riegel reprising their roles from Critical Role's first campaign.

The first season is scheduled to premiere on January 28, 2022, and will consist of twelve episodes.[1][2][3] Ten of the first season's episodes were funded via a Kickstarter campaign. In November 2019, the series was renewed by Amazon for a second season, ahead of the series premiere.[4]

Premise

Setting

The series is set in Exandria,[5][6] a fictional world created by Matthew Mercer in 2012 for his personal Dungeons & Dragons campaign which then launched as the actual play web series Critical Role in 2015.[6][7][8] Most of the story takes place on the continent of Tal'Dorei in locations such as the metropolis of Emon and the city-state of Whitestone.[5][6][9]

Synopsis

The first two episodes of the series[10] "will be an all-new story about the seven-member Vox Machina team at D&D Level 7 on their first 'grown-up' mission, which occurs prior to Critical Role’s first RPG show".[4] The series will then adapt the Briarwood arc from the original web series,[6] "in which the Vox Machina crew avenge the murder of the rulers of the town of Whitestone and most of their offspring by the evil Lord and Lady Briarwood".[4] The series will also adapt "other classic Vox Machina story arcs".[11]

Cast

Main

Episodes

Series overview

SeasonEpisodesOriginally aired
First airedLast aired
112January 28, 2022 (2022-01-28)February 18, 2022 (2022-02-18)
212[4]TBATBA

Season 1 (2022)

No.
overall
No. in
season
TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal air date [13]
11TBATBATBAJanuary 28, 2022 (2022-01-28)
22TBATBATBAJanuary 28, 2022 (2022-01-28)
33TBATBATBAJanuary 28, 2022 (2022-01-28)
44TBATBATBAFebruary 4, 2022 (2022-02-04)
55TBATBATBAFebruary 4, 2022 (2022-02-04)
66TBATBATBAFebruary 4, 2022 (2022-02-04)
77TBATBATBAFebruary 11, 2022 (2022-02-11)
88TBATBATBAFebruary 11, 2022 (2022-02-11)
99TBATBATBAFebruary 11, 2022 (2022-02-11)
1010TBATBATBAFebruary 18, 2022 (2022-02-18)
1111TBATBATBAFebruary 18, 2022 (2022-02-18)
1212TBATBATBAFebruary 18, 2022 (2022-02-18)

Development

Kickstarter

On March 4, 2019, the Critical Role cast launched a Kickstarter campaign to raise funds for a 22-minute animation called Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina Animated Special.[14] The animated story was to be set just before the streaming portion of the campaign started—when the players were around level seven—during a time when, canonically, there is an in-game period of roughly six months when the members of Vox Machina were not all together at the same time. The cast projected a cost of US$750,000 for a single 22-minute animated short, fulfilling the other campaign rewards, and the fees associated with a crowdfunding campaign. Not knowing how long this would take to raise, the campaign length was set at 45 days.[15][16]

Within an hour of launch, however, the Kickstarter had reached more than $1,000,000.[15] At the end of the first full day, all of the announced stretch goals had been unlocked, and the total had reached more than $4.3 million.[15][17] With four 22-minute episodes funded in the first 24 hours,[15] additional stretch goals were added, expanding the project into an animated series. The first two episodes would cover the pre-stream story arc. The subsequent episodes would adapt the Briarwoods' arc, also from the Vox Machina campaign. By March 18, 2019, eight 22-minute episodes had been funded.[18][19][20] Finally, on April 4, 2019, the last published stretch goal of $8.8 million was reached during the airing of episode 57 of campaign two, pushing the total length of the animated series to ten episodes. A "secret" $10M stretch goal of Willingham being filmed going around a haunted house was reached April 16.[21][22] The final total raised by the Kickstarter when it closed on April 19, 2019, was $11,385,449 with 88,887 backers.[23][24][25] When the campaign closed, it was one of the most quickly funded in Kickstarter history, and was the most funded Kickstarter for TV and film projects.[26][27]

Production

The cast will reprise their respective Vox Machina roles, with the exception of Orion Acaba.[28][29] The animated series was written by Jennifer Muro and others,[15][30] and animated by Titmouse, Inc with character design by Phil Bourassa.[31][10] In November 2019, Amazon Prime Video announced that they had acquired the streaming rights to The Legend of Vox Machina, and had commissioned 14 additional episodes (two additional episodes for season 1 and a second season of 12 episodes).[4][24] An update posted to the Kickstarter campaign assured backers they would have access to the first season.[11][32][4] The project was originally slated for release in late 2020, however in June 2020, it was announced that the debut would be missed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[33][34][35] It will now premiere on January 28, 2022.[3]

Reception

Pre-release

Multiple outlets,[27][7] such as Variety,[26] the Los Angeles Times,[32] and CNBC, reported that the Kickstarter became the largest one for Film & Video, surpassing the previous record holder Mystery Science Theater 3000, with total funding of more than $11.3 million from more than 88,000 backers.[23] Variety highlighted that "Critical Role started working on the project in the spring of 2018. [...] After getting snubbed by Hollywood, CR decided to take a crack at bringing the project to life on Kickstarter. [...] Critical Role knew they had a big and engaged fanbase but the team didn’t expect the flood of pledges that has poured in. On Twitch, between 30,000-40,000 people typically watch live with another 150,000 views on-demand, according to Willingham. The episodes on YouTube typically hit around 250,000 views in the first 24 hours. All told, each episode garners around 1 million views".[36] The Los Angeles Times highlighted that the Kickstarter bested "bigger-name properties like 'Mystery Science Theater 3000,' revived by Netflix in 2017, and 'Veronica Mars,' which became a feature film [...]. Critical Role has evolved into a mini media empire, attracting more than half a million viewers every week to YouTube, Twitch and their own site, Critrole.com. The friends have transformed their homegrown characters into a top 10 comic book on Comixology; sell out their live shows; and draw lines around the block at comic book stores and convention signings. The Amazon deal follows a partnership with the animation studio Titmouse".[32]

Cori McCreery, for WWAC, highlighted that Orion Acaba and his character would not appear in the animated series. She wrote, "Part of the beauty of adaptations is that you can change things that no longer fit the story you want to tell. The Critical Role team had a falling out with the actor who played Tiberius, and the character wound up leaving the game pretty early on into the stream, and leaving a bit of a conundrum for adaptations like this and the upcoming cartoon. [...] So while I don’t know if they’re writing the character out in the comics earlier than he left the game, I do know that they do not plan to use him in the animated series, despite his being present for some of the adventures there. I’d be perfectly fine if this adaptation took a page from the medium it’s part of and provides everyone with a retcon of the group’s past".[28]

Other media

References

  1. ^ Spangler, Todd (January 12, 2022). "'The Legend of Vox Machina' Red Band Trailer Debuts, Prime Video to Release Critical Role Series in Three-Episode Batches". Variety. Retrieved January 12, 2022.
  2. ^ "WATCH: Critical Role Performs a Scene from The Legend of Vox Machina". CBR. October 8, 2021. Retrieved October 8, 2021.
  3. ^ a b December 20, Nick Romano; EST, 2021 at 12:00 PM. "'The Legend of Vox Machina' sets earlier premiere date with new clip". EW.com. Retrieved December 20, 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Spangler, Todd (November 5, 2019). "Amazon Orders Two Seasons of Critical Role's Animated D&D Series". Variety. Retrieved November 5, 2019.
  5. ^ a b "Why Titmouse Is Perfect For Critical Role's D&D Campaign". ScreenRant. September 14, 2020. Retrieved May 4, 2021.
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  11. ^ a b "Update 23: BIG NEWS: Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina is Coming to Amazon Prime Video! · Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina Animated Special". Kickstarter. Retrieved November 6, 2019. "with 24 episodes to play with, instead of just 10, we’ll not only complete the entire Briarwood storyline in the animated series, but we’ll forge ahead into other classic Vox Machina story arcs as well! [...] Kickstarter backers [...] will still have an opportunity to watch the two-part special that kicks off the series before anyone else AND because you're a backer, you'll be able to access the first season for free."
  12. ^ "Critical Role: "The Legend of Vox Machina" Taps Mary Elizabeth McGlynn as Voice Director". ComicBook.com. July 29, 2021. Retrieved October 8, 2021.
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  20. ^ "Update #10: $7.5 MILLION". Kickstarter. Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina Animated Special. March 17, 2019. Retrieved March 18, 2019. "In just 13 days, you have completely crushed SEVEN stretch goals, raised over $7.5M to help us create The Legend of Vox Machina, and have unlocked EIGHT total episodes of animated goodness. We’re also going to host a very special battle royale with some of our favorite guests from our Vox Machina campaign -- including Felicia Day, Will Friedle, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Wil Wheaton, Noelle Stevenson, and Patrick Rothfuss (all schedules permitting, of course). Our next (and final??) stretch goal is $8.8M, and if we’re able to hit this goal together, you will unlock another TWO episodes of Briarwoods magic (for a whopping total of TEN The Legend of Vox Machina episodes) and a one-shot GMed by our beloved Ashley Johnson."
  21. ^ "Update #15: $10 MILLION". Kickstarter. Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina Animated Special. April 16, 2019. Retrieved April 18, 2019. "Our kinda secret $10M stretch goal is now finally official: Because you wonderful human beings raised over $10M (and counting!) we will take our very own Travis Willingham on a spooky journey through a haunted house. If you know Travis, you know that he’s not fond of scary things -- in fact, you might say that he’s vehemently opposed to all things frightening."
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