The 2018 cartoon The Dragon Prince by Wonderstorm was marketed by Netflix as the spiritual successor to Avatar: The Last Airbender, and it’s easy to see why. The Dragon Prince creators Aaron Ehasz and Justin Richmond worked on the original A:TLA team, and The Dragon Prince has demonstrated masterful worldbuilding in the fantasy setting of Xadia.
A quick overview for those not familiar with the story (SPOILERS ahead): Centuries ago, the continent of Xadia was divided in two. In The Dragon Prince, magic normally requires being born with a connection to one of six Primal Sources, but a human mage discovered “dark magic”: the ability to cast magic by draining energy from magical creatures.
Shocked when humans started poaching magical creatures, the elves and the dragons exiled all humans to the western half of the continent. The east would be the magical lands of Xadia, and the humans eventually divided the west into five kingdoms known as the “Pentarchy”.
The dragons created a river of molten lava along the Border between Xadia and the human kingdoms of the Pentarchy, which was jealously guarded by the King of the Dragons: widely acknowledged by the humans, the elves, and other dragons as the most powerful creature in the world.
The Dragon Prince begins after the deaths of the King of the Dragons and his only heir (the titular “Dragon Prince”). A group of elven assassins are tasked to kill King Harrow of Katolis (the human responsible for killing the dragon king) and his trueborn son Prince Ezran. Ezran’s older step-brother, Prince Callum, stumbles upon one of the assassins: a younger elf named Rayla.
Callum, Rayla, and Ezran reveal that the Dragon Prince was never truly killed. The egg has secretly been kept underneath the castle this whole time by King Harrow’s close friend and advisor: High Mage Viren. With Callum and Rayla unable to call off the assassination attempt, the unlikely trio resolves to stop the coming war by returning the egg to the Queen of the Dragons.
The second season ended with the young Ezran learning that his father was killed, and he is to be crowned the new King of Katolis. Ezran returned home, while Callum and Rayla continued into Xadia with the now-hatched Prince Azymondias (called “Zym” by our heroes).
At their San Diego Comic Con panel, The Dragon Prince revealed some key new details. First off, a new guidebook and graphic novels from Scholastic will expand the world of Xadia for countless young readers. Second, we have gotten an official timeline for the world of Xadia, though it raises more questions than answers:
- The Era of the First Elves: 5,000 years ago to 2,000 years ago
- The Rise of Clarion: 2,000 years ago to 1,200 years ago
- The Era of Sol Regem: 1,200 years ago to 1,000 years ago
- The Division of Xadia: 1,000 years ago to 300 years ago
- The Era of Avizandum: 300 years ago to present-day
- The Modern Era: present-day
It’s possible that Xadia’s history is organized by reigns of the Kings of the Dragons, as Sol Regem was revealed to have been King of the Dragons over a millennium before Callum, Rayla, and Zym encountered him in the second season’s cliffhanger finale.
If true, could “Avizandum” be the true name of “Thunder”: the King of the Dragons whose death precipitated the events of the show? The Division of Xadia is also known as the “Era of Luna Tenebris”, and also was the time period for a conflict known as the “Mage Wars”. The Era of Avizandum also lists some currently-unknown entities: “The Fallen Star” and “The Orphan Queen”.
The timeline also cryptically refers to the Modern Era (the setting of The Dragon Prince series) as “The Return of Aaravos”…Aaravos being the mysterious elven mage that Viren forms an alliance with in last season. As a startouch elf and mage, either “The Mage Wars” or “The Fallen Star” could be a reference to Aaravos. If so, just how old is this powerful elf?
Finally, the Wonderstorm team also revealed the vision for the saga going forward. The new season, or “Book”, has been revealed…“Book 3: Sun”. The team also revealed that the seven Books of The Dragon Prince were envisioned as a trilogy: Books 1-3 (Moon, Sky, and Sun) are part one, Books 4-5 (beginning with Earth) are part two, and the saga is concluded with Books 6-7 for part three.
As far as details about “Book 3: Sun”, a release date has not yet been announced, but cast members Jack De Sena (Prince Callum) and Paula Burrows (Rayla) and show creators Aaron Ehasz and Justin Richmond did provide some exciting new hints. What has drawn audiences of all ages to The Dragon Prince is a mixture of political drama and magical discovery, and the upcoming Book 3 is showing no shortage of that going forward.
After having unlocked the secrets to Sky primal magic in Book 2, Callum will start exploring his newfound mage abilities, as well as learning about magic from the other Primal Sources. Book 3 will also hilariously feature an “Elf Callum” disguise, as a reversal of the running gag of Rayla disguising herself as “Human Rayla”. As for Rayla, Book 3 will explore more of the would-be elf assassin’s history…the details of which Paula described as “very impactful for me”.
Major plot points teased were General Amaya reuniting with Commander Gren (who has been a prisoner of Viren this whole time), and how Viren came into possession of the Dragon Prince’s egg in the first place. Oh, and sorry Harrow fans: Justin Richmond officially confirmed that King Harrow was killed by the elven assassins, though we will see more of him in flashbacks.
Despite all the exciting news, fans of The Dragon Prince were a bit nervous to learn that despite Wonderstorm having mapped-out the whole saga, Netflix only ordered the first three Books of The Dragon Prince. For the series to continue, Netflix would need to renew their contract for Books 4-5, and then again for Books 6-7. This created some anxiety amongst fans, with many taking to social media to share their fears that the show (in spite of widespread critical praise) might not be generating enough of a viewership to ensure renewal. All this comes at a time when Netflix is emerging as an animation powerhouse to compete with well-established studios like Fox and Cartoon Network.
Would Netflix really consider cancelling The Dragon Prince after three seasons praised by critics and fans alike? And if Netflix does cancel, could the remaining four Books be picked up by another distributor, similar to how Amazon Prime “saved” The Expanse after it was unexpectedly cancelled by Syfy? Give The Dragon Prince a look, and let us know what you think!
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