Trollhunters

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Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia
Trollhunters poster.jpg
Promotional poster for its first season
Genre Adventure
Action
Comedy-drama
Fantasy
Created by Guillermo del Toro
Based on
Trollhunters
by
Written by Guillermo del Toro
Marc Guggenheim
Kevin Hageman
Dan Hageman
Aaron Waltke
Chad Quandt
A.C. Bradley
Voices of
Theme music composer Alexandre Desplat
Composer(s) Tim Davies
Country of origin United States
No. of seasons 3
No. of episodes 52 (list of episodes)
Production
Executive producer(s) Rodrigo Blaas[1]
Guillermo del Toro
Marc Guggenheim
Kevin Hageman
Dan Hageman
Christina Steinberg
Producer(s) Chad Hammes
Running time 23 minutes
Production company(s) Double Dare You Productions
DreamWorks Animation Television
Release
Original network Netflix
Original release December 23, 2016 – May 25, 2018
Chronology
Followed by 3 Below
External links
Website

Trollhunters: Tales of Arcadia is an American computer-animated fantasy television series created for Netflix by Guillermo del Toro and produced by DreamWorks Animation and Double Dare You Productions.[2] It follows the story of James Lake Jr., a teenage boy who finds a mysterious amulet and stumbles across a secret realm inhabited by trolls and other magical creatures. Soon afterward, he and his friends are charged with protecting our world from the dangerous monsters that lurk in the shadows of their small suburban town.

The first two episodes of the series premiered on October 8, 2016, at the New York Comic Con.[1][3] The first season was released worldwide on Netflix on December 23, 2016.[4] The second season premiered on December 15, 2017,[5][6] and the third and final season premiered on May 25, 2018.[7][8]

Since its release, Trollhunters has been widely praised as an ambitious and boundary-pushing animated series, with Filmink's Travis Johnson calling it "...the best children’s animation to come along since Avatar: The Last Airbender." [9] The series was nominated for nine Daytime Emmy Awards in 2017, winning more than any other animated or live-action television program that year.[10] In its first two seasons, it has also received or been nominated for several Annie Awards, Kidscreen Awards, and a Saturn Award. The show has also spawned several original children's books and has been adapted into a series of graphic novels by Marc Guggenheim and Richard Hamilton, released by Dark Horse.[11]

Anton Yelchin continued to be part of the series through the first two seasons, as he had recorded enough dialogue to complete them before his sudden death.[12] Yelchin was also able to provide a portion of dialogue for the final season, while the remaining portions of dialogue was recorded by Emile Hirsch.[13][14]

Following the show's success, Guillermo del Toro announced that Trollhunters will be the first chapter in a trilogy of television series entitled Tales of Arcadia. The story will be continued in a science fiction inspired follow-up series entitled 3Below, and the trilogy will be concluded in a third and final fantasy series entitled Wizards.[15]

Synopsis[edit]

Part 1[edit]

Beneath the town of Arcadia lives a secret civilization of trolls, which humans are oblivious to. The trolls' common enemy are the Gumm-Gumms, evil trolls from the Darklands. The trolls' chosen warrior, known as the "Trollhunter", is supposed to protect them from the Gumm-Gumms along with other dark miscreants from the Darklands.

Fifteen-year-old James "Jim" Lake Jr. and his friend Toby find a mystical amulet which grants him the Trollhunter mantle. He is shortly approached by his new troll mentors, Blinky and AAARRRGGHH!!!. Despite his initial reluctance to lead a double life, he eventually accepts his role after discovering that attempting to discard the amulet will cause it to return to him on its own. During his visits to Heartstone Trollmarket, the presence of the first human Trollhunter stirs resentment, but he quickly gains their acceptance. Throughout his training and missions, he befriends a gnome (who Toby dubs "Gnome Chompsky") and discovers that goblins and Changelings (human-morphing trolls that replace humans to spy) are gathering for the completion of the Killahead Bridge, a portal through which the Gumm-Gumms from the Darklands will arrive and invade. The project is being led by Bular, Gumm-Gumm leader Gunmar's son, and Walter Strickler, a Changeling who is Jim's high school teacher.

While discovering more mysteries, Jim is forced to reveal the truth about his life to Claire Nuñez when she becomes a target of the goblins. Jim and his allies launch a surprise attack on Bular and his henchmen, destroying the bridge and closing the portal. Jim is forced to battle Bular. They fight and with aid from AAARRRGGHH!!!, Jim succeeds in slaying him. He returns to Trollmarket, where the citizens celebrate Bular's defeat.

Shortly afterward, Claire proposes a quest into the Darklands to rescue her baby brother Enrique, who has been replaced by a Changeling who they dub NotEnrique. The spirits of past Trollhunters inform Jim that the only way to get out of the Darklands alive is to kill Gunmar. Blinky discovers that the only way to kill Gunmar is with the three Triumbric Stones. Meanwhile, Strickler has freed ancient troll assassin Angor Rot from his bonds. Using Angor's ring, he forces Angor to obey him. Jim and the gang hunt for the Stones while Strickler has Angor create a binding spell that ties Strickler's fate to Jim's mother in order to ensure that Jim cannot kill Strickler. During one particular confrontation with Angor Rot, Angor manages to take one of the Triumbric Stones, although Claire takes his Shadow Staff in the process. While trying to steal the stone from Angor, Jim indirectly causes Angor's ring to break. Angor Rot goes on a rampage, attempting to kill Strickler and Jim. In the process, Strickler and Jim's mother are both injured. Trollmarket's leader, Vendel, informs Jim that the only way to save his mother is to break the binding spell that ties her and Strickler's fates together. However, his mother's memories of the troll world, including the fact that her son is the Trollhunter, are erased. Meanwhile, Strickler coaches Jim on cutting Angor Rot's removable stone-like eye, which they acquired, into a Triumbric-like stone to help him defeat Angor. Strickler also reveals to Jim that he had the last Triumbric Stone all along; he gives it to Jim before leaving town.

Angor Rot invades Trollmarket after stealing a key from Claire. Jim and his allies defeat him, but not before AAARRRGGHH!!! takes a hit from his poison dagger and turns to stone. The group is in mourning. Believing that he is responsible for the death of AAARRRGGHH!!! and the ongoing endangerment of his friends, Jim sets off to the Darklands alone, not wanting to lose any more of them.

Part 2[edit]

Jim returns Enrique, but ends up trapped in the Darklands. He is rescued by his friends along with former antagonist Nomura. AAARRRGGHH!!! is revived with a potion, and is welcomed back by his friends. Gunmar also escapes the Darklands with Dictatious, Blinky's presumed-dead brother, and a couple soldiers. They meet up with the Janus Order, an organization dedicated to Gunmar's return. Blinky finds out Dictatious is supportive of Gunmar, much to his dismay. Meanwhile, the fact that Gunmar is out from his prison makes Jim guilty in the eyes of Troll Law. Gunmar battles and enslaves Draal, as a means of torturing Jim. Jim is guided by Merlin's spirit imbued in the amulet he carries. Queen Usurna, who leads the Troll Tribunal, kills Vendel in secret, but is unaware that Vendel secretly records it in a special troll device. It is revealed that Usurna is faithful towards Gunmar rather than the welfare of Troll society and that she schemes with Gunmar's counsel to bring about Gunmar's return. Gunmar invades Trollmarket and closes off the underground city. Gunmar drains energy from the Heartstone and regains his strength. He forcibly converts many of the Trolls into his soldiers. Jim and his cohorts retreat from the city to Arcadia with as many Trolls as they can save using Claire's magic staff. With the excessive use of dark magic, Claire comes under the spell of Morgana and secretly brings to her Angor Rot's damaged head.

Part 3[edit]

Merlin is awakened, and Morgana is released from her prison by the Staff of Avalon. Barbara recovers her memories of knowing about Trolls, forcing Jim and his friends to reveal the truth to their families. Angor Rot is resurrected by Morgana. To better fight against Gunmar and Morgana, Jim is irreversibly transformed into a half-troll. Morgana brings forth the Eternal Night so that she and Gunmar can freely invade the world. Jim and his allies fight and win the battle, Jim killing Gunmar and Claire trapping Morgana in the Shadow Realm with help from Angor Rot, who sacrifices himself to help defeat the witch. Merlin leads the Trolls of Arcadia to a new home in New Jersey. Jim and Claire say goodbye to their families and friends (including Toby) as they leave with the Trolls.

Cast[edit]

Main[edit]

  • Anton Yelchin and Emile Hirsch as James "Jim" Lake Jr. / Trollhunter,[1][2] the first human Trollhunter and a reluctant hero dealing with the pressures of leading a double life. He has a talent for cooking and eventually sword-fighting, and cares deeply for his mother and friends. Yelchin provided the voice for Jim from Part 1, through portions of Part 3 before he passed away. Hirsch assumed the role following Yelchin's passing.
  • Charlie Saxton as Tobias "Toby" Domzalski,[16] Jim's best friend and confidant. Dorky and excitable, he fully embraces the secret world of trolls and aids Jim in his quests. His weapon of choice is a warhammer.
  • Jonathan Hyde as Walter Strickler,[16] Jim's history teacher who is actually a Changeling. When Jim discovers the truth, he loses all respect for him and the two become bitter enemies. However, he remains affable toward Jim and has redeeming qualities.
  • Kelsey Grammer as Blinkous "Blinky" Galadrigal,[2] Jim's six-eyed troll mentor. A wise and scholarly troll with a heart of gold, he serves as the brains of the Trollhunters and eventually becomes a sort of father figure to Jim.
  • Fred Tatasciore as Aarghaumont "AAARRRGGHH!!!",[16] a burly troll and close companion of Blinky who forms a deep bond with Toby. He was kidnapped by the Gumm-Gumms as a child, which stunted his vocabulary. Tormented by the atrocities they committed, he deserted Gunmar to live a life of peace. However, he will still fight to protect those he cares about.
  • Lexi Medrano as Claire Nuñez,[16] Jim's girlfriend. She is a feisty, kind, jolly, sarcastic, curious, and intelligent tomboy who enjoys books and is a talented martial artist and gymnast. She obtains the Shadowstaff, a staff capable of creating portals activated by the user's emotions.
  • Victor Raider-Wexler as Vendel, the leader of Trollmarket. An ancient and wizened troll, Vendel is at first suspicious of Jim and often comes across as a pessimist, but shows a softer side and eventual faith in Jim. At the end of Part 2, he is killed by Usurna after she revealed herself to be working for Gunmar, but not before recording the act to warn the Trollhunters.
  • Ron Perlman as Bular,[2] the son of Gunmar. A brutish and powerful troll warrior, he's obsessed with freeing his father from the Darklands. He holds a special disdain for Changelings, whom he considers "impure", putting him at odds with Strickler and other Changelings who seek to free Gunmar. He is killed by Jim in the first half of season 1, but later makes appearances in the season 1 episode "Where Is My Mind" and the season 2 episode "Unbecoming".
  • Amy Landecker as Barbara Lake,[16] Jim's protective and overworked mother. Her husband left the family when Jim was five years old. Her doctor job means she's often away from home, which lets Jim pursue his Trollhunter duties.

Recurring[edit]

  • Steven Yeun as Steve Palchuk,[1] a narcissistic bully who frequently harasses Jim. Suspicious of Jim's unusual behavior, he eventually discovers the truth and teams up with Eli Pepperjack to help Jim in Part 2.
  • Matthew Waterson as Draal, the son of previous Trollhunter Kanjigar. He is originally jealous and suspicious of Jim but later befriends him – acting as Jim's fighting tutor. During a battle in the museum, Draal sacrifices his lower right arm while removing the Trollhunter amulet from the Killahead Bridge to close the portal, and later obtains a mechanical prosthetic. Draal explains that his father kept a distance from him as he grew up, and he had hoped to become the next Trollhunter that he might earn his father's approval.
  • Lauren Tom as Nomura, the Changeling museum curator and a colleague of Strickler. Originally an antagonist, she was pulled into the Darklands and imprisoned by Gunmar for her failures. When Jim is captured in the Darklands, the two form a connection and escape together.
  • Jimmie Wood as NotEnrique, the Changeling swapped with Claire's baby brother Enrique. While troublesome and self-serving, he isn't actively malicious and even helps the Trollhunters from time to time (usually after being bribed). He forms a rocky but brotherly connection with Claire.
  • Clancy Brown as Gunmar, the iron-fisted leader of the Gumm-Gumms who reside in the Darklands. He is powerful and ruthless, and will readily dispose of loyal minions and allies who can no longer serve him. He has no qualms about enslaving or killing his fellow trolls to accomplish his goals.
  • Tom Hiddleston and James Purefoy as Kanjigar the Courageous, Draal's father and the noble Trollhunter prior to Jim. His ghost tutors Jim, often worrying about Jim's team fighting style, believing that the Trollhunter must work alone to avoid endangering those he cares about – this leads to Jim's guilt and decision to venture into the Darklands alone. Hiddleston provided the voice acting for Kanjigar during the series premiere, while Purefoy was cast to assume the role for the rest of the series.
  • Ike Amadi as Angor Rot, an ancient troll warlock-assassin who hunts down Trollhunters and takes their souls. In medieval times, Angor made a deal with Morgana, surrendering his own soul in return for his mystical powers.
  • Rodrigo Blaas as Gnome Chompsky, a Gnome adopted by Toby. He started out as a "rogue Gnome" causing trouble, but after he was finally defeated by Jim he became friendly when he was given a dollhouse to live in and a plastic doll to be his companion. He later helped locate Enrique in the Darklands and also helped rescue Jim from the Darklands.
  • Mark Hamill as Dictatious Galadrigal, Blinky's brother. Presumed dead, he helps Gunmar in his quest to conquer the surface lands. He is blinded by Blinky during a struggle in the Darklands.
  • Anjelica Huston as Queen Usurna, the queen of the Krubera, AAARRRGGHH!!!'s race who live in the Deep Caverns, and a member of a council of troll leaders known as the Tribunal. She initially seems to be a kind queen concerned for AAARRRGGHH!!!'s well-being. As a Tribunal member, she is strict and judgmental, and leads the Tribunal to act against Jim and his friends. Late in Part 2, she reveals herself to be a traitor who works for Gunmar and helps him take over Trollmarket.
  • Cole Sand as Eli Pepperjack, a nerdy classmate of Jim who believes in the paranormal. In Part 2, he teams up with Steve Palchuk to investigate the strange creatures they both have seen and to help Jim.
  • Lena Headey as Morgana / The Pale Lady, an ancient and seemingly malevolent entity and the patron of Angor Rot.
  • Tom Kenny as Otto Scaarbach, a Changeling Polymorph who can change into the form of anyone. He is the Grand Commandant of the Janus Order, a secret society of Changelings who assist the Gumm-Gumms.
  • David Bradley as Merlin, the wizard who created the Trollhunter's amulet.
  • Colin O'Donoghue as Douxie "Big D", a charming English teen from Arcadia Oaks Academy whose band, "Ash Dispersal Pattern," is an entrant in the Battle of the Bands in Part 3.
  • Tatiana Maslany as Aja, a "foreign exchange student" from "Cantaloupia" older sister to Krel. Jim is tasked to show them around and acclimate them to Arcadia late in Part 3.
  • Diego Luna as Krel, younger brother to Aja.

Production[edit]

Initially, del Toro envisioned the idea as a live-action television series; however this was deemed impractical due to budgetary concerns, and as a result he instead turned the idea into a book. DreamWorks then planned to turn the book into an animated feature film. The feature film was going to be directed by Guillermo del Toro and Rodrigo Blaas. Eventually Dreamworks decided to instead turn it into a TV series with Netflix. Rodrigo Blaas became an Executive Producer and Supervising Director on the series. [17].

Del Toro modeled the show's sensibilities after shows he grew up with such as Johnny Quest, identifying them as "really earnest and emotionally beautiful".[18] To this end, he sought to make the main character of Jim "in that '70s mold," and "really a very good boy" with del Toro noting that this was a constant struggle for him to express to both writers and actors.[19] Eventually he came across Anton Yelchin, who embodied those qualities although by del Toro's estimate it still took him a few sessions to fully understand the character.[19]

When creating the show's narrative, del Toro noted that he wanted a "bittersweet journey" for the main character dealing with issues that most such "power fantasies" failed to address, telling indiewire "I wanted to say, 'Look, you can be in high school and you can have your problems. Then you get all these powers and then you have a different set of problems. There is not such a thing as a final, great outcome.'"[18]

The show serves as one of Yelchin's final projects as he died shortly after recording most of his character's dialogue.[20] Producer del Toro refused to replace his recordings,[21] which del Toro noted was a challenge for the show's recording engineers.[19] Of his decision del Toro stated that the actor "was proud of what he did, and we were so proud of how he did it." Del Toro added that his experience as a father and Yelchin's young age were also factors that led to the decision.[17]

Episodes[edit]

SeasonEpisodesOriginally released
126December 23, 2016 (2016-12-23)
213December 15, 2017 (2017-12-15)
313May 25, 2018 (2018-05-25)

Release[edit]

The two-episode pilot of the series premiered on October 8, 2016 at the New York Comic Con.[1][3] The first season consisted of 26 half-hour episodes which were released worldwide on Netflix on December 23, 2016.[4] The second season, consisting of 13 episodes, was released on December 15, 2017.[5][6] The third and final season, consisting of 13 episodes, was released on May 25, 2018.[7][8]

Home media[edit]

The first season of Trollhunters was released on DVD on November 7, 2017.[22][23]

Reception[edit]

Critical response[edit]

Trollhunters has received positive reviews from critics. The review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes reported a 94% approval rating with an average rating of 7.81/10 based on 16 reviews for the first season. The website's consensus reads, "Trollhunters manages to capture del Toro's enthusiasm for telling monster stories, in a youthful and more colorful fashion that may well earn him a new generation of fans."[24] On Metacritic, the season has a normalized score of 69 out of 100 based on 7 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[25]

In 2017, it received six Daytime Emmys, more than any other television program, animated or live action, that year.[26]

On January 30, 2017, Trollhunters writers Kevin and Dan Hageman stated that the series is the most successful Netflix original show to date that is targeted at a younger audience.[27]

The second season of Trollhunters was nominated for six 2018 Annie Awards, tied for the most nominations of any television program in 2018.[28] It was also nominated for four Daytime Emmy Awards, including Best Children’s Animated Series, and won the Emmy for Outstanding Writing in an Animated Program.

Accolades[edit]

Year Award Category Nominee(s) Result Ref.
2017 Annie Awards Outstanding Achievement, Character Animation in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production Mike Chaffe for character Blinky in "Becoming, Part 1" Won [29]
Outstanding Achievement, Character Design in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production Victor Maldonado, Alfredo Torres and Jules Rigolle, "Win, Lose or Draal" Won
Outstanding Achievement, Music in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production Alexandre Desplat and Tim Davies, "Becoming, Part 1" Nominated
Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated TV/Broadcast Production Hyunjoo Song, "Win, Lose or Draal" Won
Saturn Awards Best Animated Series or Film on Television Trollhunters Nominated [30]
Behind the Voice Actors Awards Best Male Lead Vocal Performance in a Television Series Anton Yelchin, for Jim Lake Jr. Won [31]
Best Female Lead Vocal Performance in a Television Series Lexi Medrano, for Claire Nuñez Nominated
Best Female Vocal Performance in a Television Series in a Supporting Role Laraine Newman, for Miss Janeth Nominated
Best Female Vocal Performance in a Television Series in a Guest Role Anjelica Huston, for Queen Usurna Nominated
Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Individual Achievement in Character Animation Mike Chaffe, "Becoming, Part 1" Won [32][33]
Outstanding Individual Achievement in Character Design Victor Maldonado, "Win, Lose Or Draal" Won
Outstanding Special Class Animated Program Guillermo del Toro, Rodrigo Blaas, Marc Guggenheim, Chad Hammes, Christina Steinberg, Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Lawrence Jonas Nominated
Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program Kelsey Grammer, for Blinky Won
Outstanding Casting for an Animated Series or Special Mary Hidalgo, Ania O'Hare, CSA Won
Outstanding Writing in an Animated Program Marc Guggenheim Won
Outstanding Directing in an Animated Program Rodrigo Blaas, Guillermo del Toro Won
Outstanding Main Title and Graphic Design Rodrigo Blaas, Andy Erekson, Jonathan Catalan, Dai Weier, John Laus, David M.V. Jones Nominated
Outstanding Sound Mixing – Animation Matthew Thomas Hall and Carlos Sanches, CAS Nominated
2018 Annie Awards Outstanding Achievement, Character Animation in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production Bruno Chiou, Yi-Fan Cho, Kevin Jong, Chun-Jung Chu, "Homecoming" Won [34]
Outstanding Achievement, Character Design in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production Jules Rigolle, Alfredo Torres, Linda Chen, Rustam Hasanov, Alfonso Blaas, "Escape from the Darklands" Nominated
Outstanding Achievement, Directing in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production Andrew Schmidt, "Unbecoming" Nominated
Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production David Woo, "Hero with a Thousand Faces" Nominated
Outstanding Achievement, Storyboarding in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production Hyunjoo Song, "In the Hall of the Gumm-Gumm King" Nominated
Outstanding Achievement, Writing in an Animated Television/Broadcast Production A.C. Bradley, Kevin Hageman, Dan Hageman, Aaron Waltke, Chad Quandt, "Escape from the Darklands" Nominated
Kidscreen Awards Best New Series, Kids Category Trollhunters Won [35]
Best Writing Trollhunters Won
Best Animation Trollhunters Won
Golden Reel Award Outstanding Achievement in Sound Editing, Animation Short Form Matthew Hall, Jason Oliver, Goeun Lee, MPSE, James Miller, Carlos Sanches, Aran Tanchum, Vincent Guisetti Nominated [36]
Daytime Emmy Awards Outstanding Children's Animated Series Guillermo del Toro, Marc Guggenheim, Chad Hammes, Rodrigo Blaas, Christina Steinberg, Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Lawrence Jonas Nominated [37][38]
Outstanding Writing in an Animated Program Dan Hageman, Kevin Hageman, Aaron Waltke, Chad Quandt, AC Bradley Won
Outstanding Sound Editing - Animation Matt Hall, Goeun Lee, James Miller, James Oliver, Aran Tanchum, Stacey Michaels, Vincent Guilsetti, Alex Ulrich Nominated
Outstanding Main Title and Graphic Design Rodrigo Blaas, Andy Erekson, Jonathan Catalan, Dai Weier, David M.V. Jones, John Laus Nominated

Tales of Arcadia[edit]

On November 6, 2017, show creator Guillermo del Toro announced that Trollhunters will be expanded into a trilogy of animated series known as Tales of Arcadia.[39] The trilogy will be continued by a sci-fi animated series known as 3 Below, which will center on two royal aliens and their bodyguard who escape from their home planet and crash-land on Earth in Arcadia, where Trollhunters also takes place. There, the aliens adjust to human culture and try to fix their spaceship to return and take back their home planet, which is being taken over by an evil dictator. 3 Below will premiere on Netflix in 2018. The trilogy will then be concluded with the animated series Wizards, which brings together the three disparate worlds of trolls, aliens and wizards who have found themselves drawn to Arcadia, "...culminating in an apocalyptic battle for the control of magic that will ultimately determine the fate of these supernatural worlds that have now converged." Wizards is scheduled to premiere on Netflix in 2019.[39]

References[edit]

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