The end of Avatar: The Last Airbender broke the hearts of an entire generation of still-committed fans, so the first season of The Dragon Prince, an animated series from Last Airbender head writer Aaron Ehasz, provided a welcomed relief.
The Dragon Prince is every bit as fantastical, though far different in setting and scope. In a Tolkienesque medieval fantasy world, tensions boil between the magical world of Xadia, a land of elves and dragons, and the human kingdoms. Further conflict is provoked when humans slay the guard of the border, the Dragon King. Compounding the problem was the fact his only egg, containing the titular Dragon Prince, was also destroyed — or so history had them believe.
Two young Princes, Callum and Ezran, discover the Dragon Prince's egg in their castle, a fortuitous find that puts them in peril. They're the one true hope for sanity left in the world, so they ally with a teenage Moonshadow elf assassin to return the egg to its rightful place in Xadia in hopes of resolving the tensions. They must race against the clock, as Lord Viren, a human mage of dark magic, will do whatever he can to start a war with Xadia. Viren sent his children, Soren and Claudia, out to hunt for the princes, each given a respective task the other does not know about.
Season 1 ends with the hatching of Dragon Prince Zym, but that's not the end of the story. Now Prince Callum, Prince Ezra, and the elven assassin Rayla must protect little Zym as they trail onwards into the magical lands of Xadia, where Zym's throne is waiting for him. With Season 2 set to hit Netflix on November 15, SYFY WIRE spoke with Ehasz and co-creator Justin Richmond about the mythology and what fans should expect to see in the new season.
In general, what can we expect from Season 2?
Richmond: More riddles, more adventures, more awesome. The story picks up right after the end of Season 1. We're off to the races. Zym is born and Viren is up to shenanigans. Fans will be excited to see where things are headed.
What can you say about the character arcs in Season 2? Claudia and Soren have a difficult mission, Rayla hasn't told the princes about their father, and Callum smashed his magical orb.
Ehasz: Season one put our major characters in a position where their world is changing. I think a lot about Soren and Claudia, who were tasked with a mission that involves doing things they're not comfortable with. They have different information from each other. They grew up with the princes and have a connection to a princes. Rayla has this new relationship with the young humans. The relationship represents the start of hope for relations between humans and elves. But meanwhile, she has kept this secret from the boys, that she knows the other elves did what they had to do, how Callum and Ezran's father was killed.
That's a heavy burden to carry. She's terrified. She thinks, "Will they stop trusting me, will they hate me?" Callum has this journey in the first season where he discovers, oh wait a minute, I have a knack for magic, oh wait a minute, my drawing and art ability translates into an ability to replicate runes. That worked all great while he had a primal stone, though he sacrificed the stone, his identity and power, so the Dragon Prince can be born. Where does he go there? What is he willing to do? Is he willing to do dark magic? There are exciting conflicts in Season 2.
Book 1 was called "Moon." Book 2 is called Sky. So we will see a bit more sky magic?
Ehasz: We talk about these primals thematically. We talk about sky being about freedom and potential, how that frees you to kinda fly in a sense and have your own potential. We overthink things at times.
From a technical standpoint, how would you say you upped the game on the animation?
Richmond: We heard the feedback on season one. There's a portion of our audience who had a hard time with the frame rate stuff. We're trying to get better. On top of that, we listened to the fans and made it a better experience for them. We tweaked some things.
Ehasz: I would add that in addition to listening and learning, the team of artists were taking strides with the storyboards and designs as well as the animation and the effects. All those teams were hitting those strides that were cinematic and beautiful. We've proud of our team.
Speaking more of wonderful vistas and world building, will we see more of Xadia?
Ehasz: Most of the story we like to tell takes place in the long term. This first portion of the story is that movement across the kingdom to the border. The fans will get to see some more Xadia in season two. Hopefully, that taste is a wonderful feeling.
Richmond: It's one of the things that's enormous. We have a lot of plans.
What new characters will we meet along the way?
Ehasz: We're going to meet some leaders of some of the other human kingdoms. Some of them are quirky and interesting, some of them are really brilliant. There are some serious characters that were planted, I don't want to say anything about them, who are very significant and already been hinted at. They will be revealed. I think the fans are going to love those scenes and those characters.
Richmond: We'll see some new elves.
Ehasz: At the breach, some conflict is started with the Sunfire Elves. We're gonna see a character we all know and love, General Amaya, defend the breach and have to defend against a true nemesis, an interesting, powerful character.