Netflix’s best animated show, The Dragon Prince, is set to return soon with its third season! Here’s everything we learned from the SDCC panel and our interview with co-creators Justin Richmond and Aaron Ehasz.
It’s an exciting time to be a fan of fantasy.
After years of being relegated to the fringes of popular media, fantasy stories have exploded into the mainstream. They are our blockbuster movies, on the bestseller lists, on nearly every channel and streaming service.
And The Dragon Prince ranks at the top of them.
The Dragon Prince has mages and magic and the titular Dragon Prince, and it is a truly fantastic, awesome, magical story filled with complex storylines and even more complicated characters. Yet at its heart, it is also about generational conflicts, institutional pain, and the way in which children must inherit the burden of their parents’ wars and calamities.
As co-creator Aaron Ehasz says, The Dragon Prince isn’t “just about conflicts that they’re facing today, but about conflicts that have been sown hundreds — sometimes thousands — of years beforehand that are now being confronted by this generation of young people.”
What The Dragon Prince does so well is recognizing that the best fantasy stories are the ones which shine a light on the realities of our own world and the stories within it.
Because while The Dragon Prince may be a fantasy story, it is also a true story. The true story of, as Ehasz puts it, “how culture works, of how history works,” and hopefully, a true story for “how characters confront that history and how they can perhaps change it.”
I had the opportunity to attend The Dragon Prince panel, as well as interview co-creators Aaron Ehasz and Justin Richmon, when I went to SDCC this year.
I came away with not only a staggering amount of excitement (and information!) for and about the upcoming season, but an enormous amount of respect for the creative team — headed with thoughtful guidance and genuine love by Ehasz and Richmond — and the way they’ve approached this world, its characters, and their story.
Here’s everything we’ve learned about the upcoming season, the extensive backstory and a few stories outside and beyond the immediate world of The Dragon Prince.
The story continues…
One of the first things we learned at the panel was how many stories the creative team had in them and how deeply they’d love to continue to tell it.
Ehasz and Richmond revealed that the current three-season arc of The Dragon Prince was merely one part of the story, one that isn’t necessarily seven continuous seasons, but having three parts to a story with overlapping characters and themes.
The Dragon Prince team is writing well into the future, and Ehasz and Richmond implored fans to create a hard demand at Netflix for the rest of the story. And given both what we’ve gotten already and the fantastic content they previewed for us, it would be a real damn shame to not get the rest of the story (so tell everyone you know to binge it, please!).
And while Aaron Ehasz and Justin Richmond, along with voice actors Jack De Sena (Soren) and Paula Burrows (Rayla) couldn’t give us too many details about the upcoming season, they did give us a few teases as to what we could expect with the story and our favorite characters.
- Amaya and Gren will reunite
- For Callum, who ended season 2 discovering the arcanum within himself, season 3 will see him expand upon that and show him exploring how to touch on other forms of magic.
- New and impactful details about Rayla’s history will be part of the upcoming season according to Paula Burrows
- Ezran is going to face great danger, but Ezran is very strong and very smart. He realizes that the best way he can make a difference is to go back and take the throne. He’s on this arc of facing adulthood and responsibility and trying to bring his goodness to its highest leverage point by being king, but he has a lot to face back there.
- Aaron and Justin spoke extensively about their love for Claudia, but stayed vague as to whether or not redemption was possible for her. They did say that, “there are always consequences to dark magic and they stick with you for a long time,” and that “there’s almost something about that taints you. Even Callum — who has only messed with it once — will carry that with him for the rest of his life.” (Dark magic: not even once, kiddos!)
- For Soren, his injury was “absolutely an awakening,” one which allowed him to “surprisingly taste freedom in that moment.” Look for that injury and recovery to have a continued impact on his character and his outlook.
The Deep Lore of ‘The Dragon Prince’
As a longtime fantasy fan, I feel positively giddy when I open a book or start a story and get either a timeline or a map. So when the panel put up the timeline of Xadian history, I geeked out hard (so hard that I, apparently, could not take a proper picture — sorry, readers!).
From the timeline and the descriptions of each of the eras given by Ehasz and Richmond, it’s so obvious and exciting how much thought and planning has gone into the world of Xadia.
I’ve gone ahead and essentially transcribed the explanations down below, so you can be just as awed and excited as we all were listening to the history and lore of Xadia.
Era of the First Elves
These are the earliest mythical, biblical days of Xadia. Actually before distinct primal elves had emerged. It was long before elves and dragons were allied. And in those days, humans suffered and struggled.
The Rise of Elarion
This represents a turning point for humanity after humans find their way to magic. It’s when humans begin developing great civilization, developing the arts, thriving, growing.
Era of Sol Regem
The arch dragon of sun, Sol Regem, is king of the dragons in this era. During this era, we see dark magic starting to become problematic as human dark mages poach and kill powerful magical creatures for their parts. This creates conflict between humans, dragons and elves — which of course culminates in an era of change.
Division of Xadia
This splits into two different eras depending on where you’re talking about and is after the continent is divided.
- The Mage Wars: This takes place in the West. What initially happens is that humans move to the unsettled parts of the continent. A handful of powerful mages rise up as warlords and battle it out over resources and land. This goes on for decades, if not centuries, as the five kingdoms we know today in the human lands come together.
- The Era of Luna Tenebris: In the East, in Xadia, the arch dragon of the moon who becomes the queen of the dragons after Sol Regem’s reign ends, she is the one who makes the decision to spare humanity but to banish them to the West.
Era of Avizandum
The arch dragon of the sky, Avizandum, is king of the dragons during this period. He guards the border jealously. Two key things happen during this period —
- The Fallen Star: A story you might speculate on and will find out about later.
- The Orphan Queen: Another very important story and one which they hope to tell (and which I will go into further detail below)
The Return of Aaravos
The last era which is where we are now in The Dragon Prince and which history will one day know this era as “The Return of Aaravos.”
Beyond ‘The Dragon Prince’
In addition to the current story and backstory of The Dragon Prince, Ehasz and Richmond likewise gave us some key details about side stories they’d love to tell.
Partnership with Scholastic Books
Ehasz and Richmond have a partnership with Scholastic books which will start next year and include guidebooks, graphic novels, and “core novels that will tell the story of the saga but with the deeper, additional perspective that wasn’t there in the show.”
They described their partnership as a close one and let us know that they were deeply involved with the editors and the process.
“Every single book we are working on with them is meant to feed the fandom and the community,” Richmond told us, “so that even something like the guidebook will look like something for younger audiences will have new types of elves that you haven’t seen yet, new arch dragon you haven’t seen yet, lore and things that are new and valuable.”
Sir Phinneas the Cursed
This was one of the two stories Ehasz and Richmond told us they’d love to tell.
It takes place during the end of the era of Sol Regem — so before the division of the continent — and follows a great human adventurer who travels the world. Along with him is a young Elven professor named Delilah Geel, who eventually publishes the “Lost Secrets of Xadia.”
“One of the nice defining features of Sir Phinneas is that he has this sort of incredible legendary reputation, but he is perhaps the unluckiest human to have ever existed. He’s unflappably resilient, and is a brave but unlucky adventurer.”
The Orphan Queen
The second story that they’d love to tell as a feature film (and that I’m dying to see as well) is that of The Orphan Queen.
This is the story of a young orphan girl who starts with nothing, but ends up taking a dangerous journey to Xadia that leads to her saving the world. She happens to be Harrow and Ezran’s ancestor — the first in their royal line — and will connect a lot of dots in the world (like what the heck Callum is doing with a cube that belonged to Aaravos!).
Ehasz and Richmond spoke about loving the character and the story and said that it’s something they’ve talked about doing for a couple of years now.
While we don’t yet have a premiere date for season 3 of The Dragon Prince, we do know that it’s coming soon and that it will be titled “Sun.”
And if you haven’t already, encourage everyone you know to binge the first two seasons in preparation for the third, and then beg Netflix for the rest of the story. This is a fantastic story and a magical world and we deserve to see it through to its full completion!