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SYFY WIRE Trollhunters

Tales of Arcadia: Guggenheim talks ‘beautiful symmetry’ of wrapping up Netflix franchise with ‘Wizards’

By Tara Bennett
Tales of Arcadia Wizards

It's been an epic four year journey for fans of Guillermo del Toro's Tales of Arcadia animated series, but all great stories must eventually come to an end. In this case, the third and final series in the Dreamworks Animation trilogy, Wizards, is finally here to reveal all.

Going back to origins of magic, Wizards drops August 7 on Netflix and connects together the  expansive mythology surrounding the strange town of Arcadia Oaks. The hero of Wizards is a familiar face, Douxie (Colin O'Donoghue), who returns to the narrative as a real player in this time-traveling installment.

With 900 years of training under his belt, he drags his contemporary pals, Jim (Emile Hirsch), Claire (Lexi Medrano) and Steve (Steven Yeun), back to the time of Camelot. There, they meet Douxie's former mentor, Merlin (David Bradley), and discover there's a war coming between humans and the magic folk that they're going to have to stop. 

In this exclusive SYFY WIRE clip from the first episode of Wizards, Douxie and Merlin discuss how they're going to use magic to thwart their enemies, when the bag guys rudely arrive in a massive floating ship intent on destroying the castle.

One of the showrunners landing this massive endeavor with del Toro is writer/EP Marc Guggenheim. A creative architect on the Arcadia trilogy since 2011 (when he also started working on The CW's Arrow), Guggenheim admits to SYFY WIRE that every phase of del Toro's storytelling has been a trust fall into the unexpected. And Wizards, in particular, scared the writing team because the lore of Camelot is so beloved, and well-known.

"Guillermo told us that he wanted the characters, and the show, to go back to the time of Merlin and the invention of the Trollhunter amulet, the rise of Deya the Deliverer and the Battle of Killahead Bridge," Guggenheim shares. "Thus was so intimidating because these were all things we talked about in Trollhunters, in some cases since the very first episode. It's one thing to talk about them. It's another thing to actually show them because when you're in that kind of situation, you are essentially competing now with a version that the audience has had in their collective heads for the past several years now. So, the degree of difficulty there is enormously high."

Tales of Arcadia Wizards

But Guggenheim says del Toro's full circle idea of starting, and then returning to magic, was the absolute right call to close the story. "To get to the end, we actually have to show the beginning," he explains. "There's a beautiful symmetry to that. And it allows the audience to not just see moments that they may have always wondered about, but see characters they haven't seen in a very long time. It allowed us to bring back Dictatious, Mark Hamill’s character, and Vendel (Victor Raider-Wexler). There are so many great characters that we haven't seen since Trollhunters ended that we get a chance to revisit before saying goodbye to everyone for good."

Wizards ends the whole trilogy with a brisk 10-episodes, the shortest season of the entire trilogy. But Guggenheim assures fans that he and fellow writers/EPs, Chad Quandt and Aaron Waltke, manage to pack in "ten times more story" despite the quicker season. "There's a real elegance to it that I'm really excited about because you will feel as if you’ve gotten three seasons of television."

As to where the mythology could go in the future if Netflix wanted more adventures, Guggenheim is optimistically cagey about sharing any details. "I should probably think of a clever, coy way to answer that question that won't get me in trouble, but I can't come up with one," he laughs. 

But until any announcements are made, for those who might be having some issues detaching from the Arcadia world, Guggenheim says they can extend the adventure as early as next month with the Trollhunters: Defenders of Arcadia videogame releasing on most consoles September 25, 2020.

The idea for the game was brought to them by outside developers, but Guggenheim says they were all impressed by how faithful the story was to their narrative world. "We gave some notes that aligned it even closer to the universe. Guillermo and I love video games, and they did an amazing job. We played an early build of it over a year ago at this point and were just blown away by it. They’ve done a beautiful job of capturing the tone of the franchise and that Amblin-esque, fun tone that we're always going for. And the game actually comes out on my birthday, so it's perfect!"

Wizards: Tales of Arcadia arrives August 7 on Netflix.