Wizards: Tales of Arcadia
Promotional poster
GenreScience fantasy
Created by
Based oncharacters by Guillermo del Toro and Daniel Kraus
Voices of
Composers
Country of originUnited States
Original languageEnglish
No. of episodes10
Production
Executive producers
Running time23–24 minutes
Production companies
Distributor
Release
Original networkNetflix
Picture formatHDTV 1080p
Audio formatStereo
Original releaseAugust 7, 2020 (2020-08-07)
Chronology
Preceded by3Below: Tales of Arcadia
Followed byTrollhunters: Rise of the Titans
External links
Website

Wizards: Tales of Arcadia (or simply Wizards) is an American computer-animated fantasy limited series created by Guillermo del Toro, and produced by DreamWorks Animation Television and Double Dare You Productions. The award-winning series is the third and final installment of the Tales of Arcadia trilogy, following Trollhunters (2016–2018) and 3Below (2018–2019), and was released on August 7, 2020 on Netflix.[1]

The first and only limited series in the Tales of Arcadia franchise, it is a fantasy time travel saga that explores the world's mythological origins and introduces a new protagonist in Hisirdoux "Douxie" Casperan, a former apprentice to the legendary Merlin who was forgotten for centuries and is now eager to prove his worth as a sorcerer in the eyes of his old master.

Wizards has been acclaimed by critics as a groundbreaking animated series, both for its complex storytelling and high quality animation. Alci Rengifo of Entertainment Voice writes, "...Del Toro wants everyone, even the adults, to get something out of Wizards. This makes it an adventure worth taking, like any great fairy tale."[2] In 2021, the series won an Annie Award and the Kidscreen Award for "Best New Series," a category including all live-action and animated programming that year, and was nominated for four Daytime Emmys, including Outstanding Children's Animated Series.[3][4]

It was followed by a full-length feature film titled Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans, released on July 21, 2021.

Synopsis

Following the events of Trollhunters and 3Below, Hisirdoux " Douxie" Casperan - who has secretly been the apprentice of Merlin for nine centuries - must recruit the Guardians of Arcadia to travel back in time to the 12th-century's Camelot. During the journey, the heroes learn why the amulet was built, how Morgana became the Pale Lady, and what events lead up to the Battle of Killahead Bridge.

Production

Wizards was announced as the third and final series in the Tales of Arcadia trilogy following the release of Trollhunters and 3Below. It was produced by Guillermo del Toro's Double Dare You alongside DreamWorks Animation for Netflix, with del Toro, Marc Guggenheim, Aaron Waltke, Chad Quandt, and Chad Hammes serving as executive producers. Waltke and Quandt served as head writers and co-showrunners.[1] It was initially set to be released in 2019, but was postponed for August 7, 2020.

Voice cast

Main articles: List of Tales of Arcadia characters and List of Tales of Arcadia cast members

The series features an ensemble cast of voice actors returning from Trollhunters and 3Below, alongside new voice actors.

Episodes

No.TitleDirected byWritten byOriginal release date
1"Spellbound"Franciso Ruiz Velasco & Andrew L. SchmidtStory by : Marc Guggenheim, Chad Quadt & Aaron Waltke
Teleplay by : Guillermo del Toro, Marc Guggenheim, Chad Quadt & Aaron Waltke
August 7, 2020 (2020-08-07)

In the late 12th century, Merlin catches his apprentice Hisirdoux "Douxie" Casperan in the act of using magic to finish his chores. Douxie wants to be "a real wizard like Merlin, with a staff and everything," but Merlin tells him it takes time to master the magic needed to have one. In present day Arcadia Oaks, Douxie and his familiar are summoned by Merlin after centuries of waiting. Something dire is afoot, and Douxie is instructed to gather the heroes of Arcadia. However, Archie can only find Tobias Domzalski, Steve Palchuk and AAARRRGGHH the troll, and takes them to their secret lair hidden in a bookshop. They and Merlin are attacked by monstrous shadow mephits and a strange figure in green medieval armor, The Green Knight, before retreating on an airship that Merlin conjures up.

The teens reunite with Claire Nuñez and Blinky in Camelot Castle -- now a flying air fortress -- where they learn that Jim Lake Jr. the Trollhunter was attacked with a onyx shard wielded by the mysterious Green Knight, who Merlin discovers is somehow connected to his fallen apprentice and archenemy, Morgana Le Fay. The onyx shard that wounded Jim is slowly killing him, so Merlin encases him in green crystal to stall its progress. Suddenly, the Arcane Order -- an evil organization of demigods brought by the Green Knight -- attacks Camelot, killing Sir Galahad and forcing Merlin and his wizard companion Nari to open a rift in time. However, during the attack, Claire, Steve, Douxie and Jim all fall into the past and awaken in Camelot's forest, where they are confronted by Sir Lancelot and his men.
2"History in the Making"Johane MatteGuillermo del Toro, Marc Guggenheim, Chad Quadt & Aaron WaltkeAugust 7, 2020 (2020-08-07)
Upon their crash-landing in the Mid-12th Century, Jim breaks free from the crystal and finds himself alive, despite the onyx shard from the Green Knight's spell still wedged in his chest. However, because he is half-troll and gets petrified in daylight like one, the Knights capture him, Claire, Douxie and Steve and take them to King Arthur and his court, which includes his sister Morgana -- which infuriates Claire because the Green Knight hurting Jim was all her fault (and she had tried to possess Claire's body one year ago). However, Douxie and Morgana convince Arthur to spare Jim's life, even though he ends up trapped in a dungeon with other trolls, and Morgana adopts Claire as her new handmaiden (secretly interested in Claire's Dark magic that she used to save Jim), and Steve trains to be a knight under the command of Lancelot. Meanwhile, Douxie returns to his old living space and seeks Past Merlin's help in accessing the time map to return them home to Arcadia Oaks without further altering the timeline.
3"Witch Hunt"Andrew L. SchmidtAndie Bolt, Ian Rickett, & Lila ScottAugust 7, 2020 (2020-08-07)

Having staged a dungeon break, Douxie and Claire work covertly to get Arthur and Morgana Le Fay to reconcile, but with Past Merlin and Archie getting involved, Douxie is getting on his master's last nerve. Meanwhile, Jim and the other trolls who were freed are now living in the Wild Woods, protected by a younger Gunmar and his son Bular. However, despite the group's efforts, Jim's new friend Callista gets hurt, Bular is captured by the knights and Morgana, enraged by Arthur's stubbornness, turns against the rest of Camelot's people when they try to kill Jim and Claire right in front of her. But, in the final battle, Arthur cuts off Morgana's left hand with Excalibur and watches as she seemingly falls to her death and disappears into the water below.

In the end tag, Arthur and Claire grieve Morgana's demise and Jim (seemingly on the brink of death) crosses paths with a younger version of his troll mentor Blinkous Galadrigal/Blinky.
4"Lady of the Lake"Franciso Ruiz VelascoAndie Bolt, Ian Rickett, & Lila ScottAugust 7, 2020 (2020-08-07)
Merlin leads a ragtag group on a mission to collect and reconnect the broken pieces of Excalibur. Meanwhile, Claire's been having nightmares about Morgana and Jim as her dark magic seems to be getting stronger, and Jim tries to convince a young Blinkous Galadrigal that they're on the same side only for an evil AAARRRGGHH to attack the troll sanctuary of Dwoza. Eventually, after teaching Claire to control her shadow magic without Morgana's staff, Douxie's group encounter Nimue, the Lady of the Lake, who reveals herself to be a vicious kraken. She reveals to the teens that Merlin trapped her in the cave long after she gave him Excalibur and she attacked them in the attempt to get her revenge. After breaking down the Cave wall with one of his spells, Douxie earns Nimue's trust and she agrees to repair the Sword of Excalibur. In the show's end tag, Angor Rot discovers Morgana is still alive and brings her to the cave of the Arcane Order, who revive her and give her a new left hand to replace her old one. When she asks why, their leader Bellroc tells her that she will be their 'Champion'.
5"Battle Royale"Johane MatteAndie Bolt, Ian Rickett, & Lila ScottAugust 7, 2020 (2020-08-07)

Having been revived by the Arcane Order (consisting of a younger Nari, Skrael, and Bellroc), Morgana gains new powers and golden battle armor and dubs herself the Mother of Monsters and vows to bring in an Age of Reckoning by fighting for all magics. Meanwhile, Douxie continues training Claire when she overhears Morgana plotting in the Shadow Realm and accidentally contacts her. Having barely escaped with their lives, Archie and Claire must form a counterattack for when Morgana returns to Camelot. Meanwhile, Jim and Callista try to defend Dwoza from Gunmar and his general AAARRRGGHH, who are angry about Bular being held prisoner in Camelot. Luckily, Jim's actions inspire both Blinkous and his brother Dictatious to lead a revolt to drive back Gunmar's presence in their village, and Callista successfully captures AAARRRGGHH. Jim suggests they rehabilitate AAARRRGGHH and Vendel, the future leader of Trollmarket, puts the fallen general under the watchful care of Blinky.

Back in Camelot, Claire dons her armor and poses as a knight named Sir "Clairee", as she exposes a changeling sent by Morgana to free Bular and assassinate Arthur. Luckily, Douxie and his group come to Arthur's rescue, despite a bombing of the castle walls allowing Bular to escape, and they capture the changeling spy. In the end tag, Morgana approaches Gunmar and proposes an alliance.
6–7"Killahead"Franciso Ruiz VelascoAndie Bolt, Ian Rickett, & Lila Scott (Part 1) Chad Quadt & Aaron Waltke (Part 2)August 7, 2020 (2020-08-07)

To defend what's left of Camelot, King Arthur seeks an alliance with the good trolls living in Dwoza, and Claire tries to reunite with her boyfriend, Jim Lake. Meanwhile, AAARRRGGHH and Blinky's friendship begins, Morgana Le Fay enchants Gunmar's Decimaar Blade to control minds, and Douxie and Merlin finish building the Trollhunter's amulet, with Merlin promoting Douxie to the rank of Master Wizard with his own staff and watching as the amulet chooses Callista to be its first wearer. The trolls reject Callista at first and they refuse to join in the battle. However, the battle for Killahead bridge begins regardless. In the end tag scene, Callista reads a rock with troll writing, translated "Deya." Accepting her new role, she renames herself Deya the Deliverer and sets the stage for the original Trollhunters timeline.


Despite our heroes' best efforts, Sir Lancelot and King Arthur are killed by Bular and Bellroc in the battle for Killahead Bridge just after the Arcane Order decide to make themselves known and partake in the mass carnage. But just as all seems lost for the humans, Deya leads the trolls into battle to aid the humans. When Deya and Gunmar are at the bridge, she places the amulet on the side of the large construct, which opens the portal into the Darklands causing Gunmar and the Gumm-Gumms to be sucked in. At the same time, Claire, Douxie and Merlin succeed in imprisoning Morgana, with Claire foreshadowing their next and last encounter in the future and sending her across the world to where she is imprisoned in the realm of Trollhunters.
8"Wizard Underground"Johane MatteAndie Bolt, Ian Rickett, & Lila ScottAugust 7, 2020 (2020-08-07)
After returning home to Arcadia in the 21st century, and destroying the high school with Camelot's crash-landing, the team reunites with present-day Merlin, Toby, Blinky and AAARRRGGHH, and learn how Nari defected from the Arcane Order and sought protective asylum. However, the Arcane Order attacks and the Green Knight pushes the onyx shard closer into Jim Lake's chest. Jim sacrifices himself by pushing the shard completely into his chest, turning into a full troll and allowing him to fight back before he weakens. However, Troll Jim becomes enslaved by the Green Knight, who is soon revealed to be a resurrected Arthur Pendragon, now under the spell of Bellroc, the leader of the Arcane Order. The Order then takes the Amulet of Daylight and uses it in a ritual to resurrect Morgana and re-induct her into their ranks. In the end tag, Arthur kills Merlin, and the wizard leaves behind a book for Claire and Douxie to safeguard.
9"Dragon's Den"Andrew L. SchmidtChad Quadt, Aaron Waltke, Ian Rickett, & Lila ScottAugust 7, 2020 (2020-08-07)

In a flashback, we learn how Merlin adopted Douxie and Archie by saving them from persecution in the streets of Camelot by Sir Galahad. In the present, Archie and Douxie, along with Claire and Steve, mourn Merlin's death. To stop the Arcane Order, Archie and Douxie visit Archie's father, a large dragon named Charlemagne the Devourer aka 'Charlie', to help translate Merlin's spellbook in order to determine the location of the Genesis Seals. While Krel, Steve, and Toby keep watch over Nari, Claire enters the shadow realm to find Jim's soul.

Meanwhile, Morgana realizes that her interests are no longer aligned with the Arcane Order, and she must try to repair her relationship with Arthur; she leaves for the shadow realm to find her brother's soul and free him from Bellroc and Skrael's influence. Morgana and Claire help each other in the shadow realm, but neither are successful in saving Arthur or Jim's souls; Jim is being torn apart, and Arthur brought Morgana back from the dead so that she could see him and the Order kill Merlin. Morgana is now on the side of the Trollhunters and wizards of Arcadia. At the end tag, the Order follows Morgana to Hex Tech.
10"Our Final Act"Andrew L. SchmidtChad Quadt, Aaron Waltke, Ian Rickett, & Lila ScottAugust 7, 2020 (2020-08-07)

Returning to Arcadia, Douxie tries to protect Nari from the Arcane Order and retrieves Krel Tarron from the wreckage of a fight at Hex Tech. The other heroes are bound by Bellroc and Skrael aboard the Arcane Order's ship. Douxie delays the Order using a time loop built from the Heart of Avalon, so he can rescue the others from the flying castle. He frees Nari from the Order after Morgana sends herself and Arthur flying out the window.

Morgana and Arthur battle each other on the ground, while Claire, Toby, Blinky, and AAARRRGGHH!!! desperately try to save Jim's soul. At the end of Jim's fight with his friends, he turns into stone and dies. As Claire hugs Jim's stone form and cries, a tear falls off her cheek, landing on stone Jim and causing him to crumble. From the rubble rises Jim in his original human form, but he no longer has the Amulet of Daylight (which the Arcane Order destroyed) or the powers of the Trollhunter. Meanwhile, Morgana, dying, causes a large section of Camelot to fall and crush King Arthur, killing herself as well. When Arthur dies, Excalibur is stuck in a stone. Meanwhile, Douxie is gravely injured in his battle with the Arcane Order, who escaped the time loop. The spirits of Douxie, Morgana and Merlin have a final conversation in Merlin's old library/workshop before Morgana and Merlin walk through a door into a bright light and Douxie's soul returns to his body. Douxie vows to spend the rest of his life protecting Nari from the Arcane Order to prevent the breaking of the Genesis Seals. Jim and Toby both try to remove the sword, but to no avail. Douxie, Archie and Nari leave on Merlin's airship while Jim, Claire, Toby, Steve, Blinky, AAARRRGGHH and Krel remain behind as the champions tasked with protecting Arcadia from future threats, but Douxie promises to return in the near future. The series ends a short while later, with Nari and Douxie walking on a street in a city while Bellroc watches them from atop a building, planning for their revenge.

Reception

The series has a 100% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes.[7] Drew Taylor of Collider writes, "Everything about the world is fully realized with incredible detail... it really looks exceptional, and as the culmination of the franchise so far, it is hard to top."[8] In his Decider review, John Serba of The New York Post writes the show excels in "...classical myths reimagined with modern sensibilities, with vivid animation, crisp comedy and a muscular, but not too heavy, sense of drama. Del Toro's hand guides the series into creative avenues without ever being off the rails."[9]

Rafael Motamayor of The Observer applauded the series for its bold deconstruction of Arthurian myth, which it uses to explore difficult themes like prejudice, ideological war, and racism. In his essay, he compares the series to del Toro's films such as The Shape of Water, with Douxie and the other heroes observing firsthand how history can be rewritten into false legends at the expense of the oppressed magical creatures Arthur and his knights seek to slay.[10]

In Wizards, we actually go back in time and see how things are distorted to fit an image of the past that doesn't track with reality. While Arthur is a xenophobic despot, Morgana is painted as a tragic figure who fights to defend those who can't defend themselves, and Arthur nearly kills her for it... Whether it's Kennedy's "Camelot" or King Arthur's, del Toro knows that "the good old days" are really about the promise of a bright and prosperous future, a promise that often comes at the expense of people demonized as "monsters" but who nonetheless make the kingdom a place worth living in.

Rafael Motamayor, The Observer[10]

According to Guillermo del Toro, Wizards: Tales of Arcadia was in the Top Ten most streamed series worldwide on Netflix during the week it premiered, drawing more viewers than all other live-action and animated content at that time.[11] As reported by Screen Rant, Wizards was rated the best new Netflix Original Kids' Series released in 2020, according to IMDb.[12]

In 2021, Wizards won the Kidscreen Award for "Best New Series," a category including all live-action and animated programming that year.[13][4] It was nominated for four Emmys, including Outstanding Children's Animated Series, and won "Outstanding Main Title for a Daytime Animated Program." It was also nominated for a Golden Reel Award for Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing, and has received an Annie Award in the category of Best Voice Acting and a nomination in Best FX.[14]

Accolades

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result
2021 Kidscreen Awards Best New Series Guillermo del Toro, Marc Guggenheim, Aaron Waltke, Chad Quandt, Chad Hammes. "Wizards: Tales of Arcadia" Won
Golden Reel Awards Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing - Animation Short Form Supervising Sound Editors: James Miller, Otis Van Osten Foley Editor: Tommy Sarioglou, Aran Tanchum Dialogue Editors: Carlos Sanches, Jason Oliver Foley Artist: Vincent Guisetti, "Spellbound" Nominated
Annie Awards[15] Best Voice Acting, TV/Media David Bradley for the character of Merlin. "Wizards: Tales of Arcadia", Episode: "Our Final Act" Won
Best FX for TV/Media Greg Lev, Igor Lodeiro, Brandon Tyra, Cui Wei, Ma Xiao. Episode: "Killahead, Part Two" Nominated
Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Children's Animated Series Guillermo del Toro, Marc Guggenheim, Aaron Waltke, Chad Hammes, Chad Quandt, Lauren Prince Nominated
Outstanding Main Title for a Daytime Animated Program Francisco Ruiz Velasco, Alfonso Blaas, Yingjue Linda Chen, Brandon Tyra, Greg Lev, Igor Lodeiro, Jonatan Catalan Navarrete Won
Outstanding Editing for a Daytime Animated Program John Laus, Jay Fox, Andrew Ramstedt, Joel Fischer Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing and Sound Editing for an Animated Program Otis Van Osten, Carlos Sanches, James Miller, Jason Oliver, Vincent Guisetti, Aran Tanchum Nominated
Lightbox Expo Concept Art Awards Best Character Design in an Animated Series Alfonso Blaas, Production Designer Won

Follow-up

On August 7, 2020, following the premiere of Wizards, it was announced the Tales of Arcadia trilogy would be concluded with a full-length feature film titled Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans, set to be released on Netflix on July 21, 2021.[16]

References

  1. ^ a b Holloway, Daniel (2020-07-07). "'Wizards,' Final Chapter in Guillermo del Toro's 'Tales of Arcadia' Trilogy, Sets Premiere Date". Variety. Retrieved 2020-07-07.
  2. ^ Rengifo, Alci (2020-07-10). "'Wizards: Tales of Arcadia' Continues Guillermo del Toro's Animated Epic With Great Action and Big Heart". Entertainment Voice. Retrieved 2020-07-10.
  3. ^ "Kidscreen Awards 2021 winners".
  4. ^ a b Dickson, Jeremy (2020-07-10). "Who's up for a Kidscreen Award?". Kidscreen. Retrieved 2020-11-23.
  5. ^ a b c d Milligan, Mercedes (July 7, 2020). "Final Chapter of del Toro Trilogy 'Wizards: Tales of Arcadia' Enchants Netflix Aug. 7". Animation Magazine. Retrieved July 15, 2020.
  6. ^ "TROLLHUNTERS Interview: Marc Guggenheim, From Epic to Epic más grande". Animation Scoop. 2018-05-18. Retrieved 2018-05-30.
  7. ^ "'Wizards,' Final Chapter in Guillermo del Toro's 'Tales of Arcadia' Trilogy, Sets Premiere Date". Rotten Tomatoes. 2020-07-07.
  8. ^ Taylor, Drew (2020-07-07). "'Wizards' Review: Netflix's 'Trollhunters' Conclusion Is a Blast from the Past". Collider. Retrieved 2020-07-14.
  9. ^ "Stream It Or Skip It: 'Wizards: Tales of Arcadia' on Netflix, the Latest Continuation of Guillermo del Toro's Animated Saga". New York Post Decider. August 15, 2020.
  10. ^ a b Motamayor, Rafael (2020-10-31). "Guillermo del Toro's 'Wizards: Tales of Arcadia' Cuts Down the Myth of King Arthur". The Observer. Retrieved 2021-01-07.
  11. ^ del Toro, Guillermo (2020-07-10). "'Twitter". Twitter. Retrieved 2020-07-10.
  12. ^ Persaud, Christine (2020-11-11). "The 10 Best New Netflix Original Kids' Series Released In 2020, According To IMDb". Screen Rant. Retrieved 2021-01-07.
  13. ^ "Kidscreen Awards 2021 winners".
  14. ^ Giardina, Carolyn (2021-03-01). "'Sound of Metal,' 'News of the World' Lead Sound Editors' Golden Reel Awards Feature Nominations". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2021-03-01.
  15. ^ "Annie Awards Nominees". Variety. 3 March 2021. Retrieved March 3, 2021.
  16. ^ "Guillermo del Toro's 'Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans' Movie Scheduled for 2021". Variety. August 7, 2020.