Tales of Arcadia is a trilogy of CGI animated series created by Guillermo del Toro, produced by DreamWorks Animation and Cha Cha Cha Films, that are exclusively streamed on Netflix. The trilogy was announced in 2017 along with the second season of the first series Trollhunters.
Arcadia seems like your average small American city, but unbeknownst to many of even its own citizens, the sleepy little Californian town holds some amazing secrets. Ferocious trolls live beneath the city streets, alien royalty from another world are hiding next door, and powerful wizards walk the streets. Magic is everywhere and it's attracting some very nasty customers who want nothing more than to claim it all and rule the world. It's up to our various young heroes and their loyal allies to stop them, all while balancing the normal life of your average American teenager.
Works in this franchise:
- Trollhunters (2016-2018): The story of Jim Lake Jr, the first human champion who is chosen by a magic amulet to protect trollkind from a ruthless warlord.
- 3Below (2018-2019): The story of Aja and Krel Tarron, young alien royalty who crash-land on Earth and seek refuge after barely escaping a coup staged by an evil dictator.
- Wizards (2020): The story of Douxie Casperan, a time-traveling wizard apprentice who must save the magical and mortal worlds from a dark order of ancient sorcerers.
- Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans (2021): The Guardians of Arcadia come together for one last epic adventure to save the universe from the awakened titans.
- Trollhunters (2015): A novel from which the Trollhunters TV show was (very loosely) adapted.
- Trollhunters: The Adventure Begins (2017)
- Trollhunters: Welcome to the Darklands (2017)
- Trollhunters: The Book of Ga-Huel (2018)
- Trollhunters: Age of the Amulet (2018)
- Trollhunters: The Way of the Wizard (2018)
- Trollhunters: Angor Reborn (2018)
- 3Below: Arcadia-Con (2019)
- Trollhunters: The Secret History of Trollkind (2018): A graphic novel directly based on the TV show.
- Trollhunters: The Felled (2018): A second graphic novel based on the TV show.
- Trollhunters: Defenders of Arcadia (2020): An action platformer developed by WayForward Technologies.
Tropes present in the whole franchise:
- Bittersweet Ending: A reoccurring theme of all four installments:
- Trollhunters: Gunmar and his Gumm-Gumm Army have been eradicated after centuries of causing conflict, Morgana has been banished to the Shadow Realm with the supposedly only means of entering and leaving it (the Skathe-Hrün) destroyed, and the Eternal Night has been subsided. While the existence of trolls has been revealed to the humans of Arcadia, Janeth’s reaction to the good trolls implies that the future regarding this will be bright, or at least not end in disaster. With that said, Jim is still trapped in his half-troll form with no hope of turning back, forcing him to abandon his human life - including his mother and his best friend - to go with Merlin and the rest of the trolls across the country to set up a new Trollmarket in New Jersey, now that the old Heartstone in Arcadia has been destroyed. Strickler and Nomura now have no hope of regaining their human lives since their familiars are now out of the Darklands, and many of said familiars are left with no families to return to since many of them have been there for literal centuries. On a more positive note, Claire goes with Jim and the trolls on their journey to New Jersey in addition to both telling Toby that they'll see him again, AAARRRGGHH!!! stays in Arcadia to keep Toby company, and Strickler decides to help Barbara raise the babies and restart their relationship.
- 3Below: General Morando is defeated for good and Akiridion-5 is freed from his and the corrupted Talon Phalanx's dictatorship. However, King Fialkov and Queen Coranda have sacrificed themselves to help their children win, leaving them the new reigns of their planet. Although Aja and Krel now have a way to return home, they decide to go their separate ways; Aja returns to Akiridion-5 to take the throne while Krel remains on Earth to be with his new Earthling friends. Also, the Creepslayerz decide to split up for the time being as well; Eli chooses to go to Akiridion-5 with Aja as the first Earth ambassador while Steve stays in Arcadia with Krel to be with his family. In addition, a talking cat warns Steve and Toby about yet another threat to the world.
- Wizards: Jim regains his humanity and human form, albeit without the amulet but might be worthy of wielding Excalibur eventually, and the evil Green Knight (aka King Arthur) is no more. Douxie finally becomes a full-fledged wizard but sadly, Arthur has murdered Merlin and Morgana, with the latter in a Redemption Equals Death battle against her undead brother, leaving Douxie alone in the Age of Man to carry on their magical legacy. The Arcane Order is still at large with the Genesis Seals, once again searching for Nari to break them and unleash an apocalypse onto the universe. With Merlin gone and the Order at their tail, Douxie leaves Arcadia as Nari's new protector, but promises to the Guardians of Arcadia that he'll return soon.
- Rise of the Titans: Played with. While the heroes stop the titans and save the world, it came at a massive cost; many heroes (Nomura, Strickler, Nari, and Toby) lost their lives and large parts of the world were destroyed, due to the titans' rampage. Jim ends up going back in time to the day he became a Trollhunter – with only himself aware of it – to try and create a better future for himself and his loved ones.
- In the very first episode of the franchise, Jim is seen pulling Daylight out of stone. In the Grand Finale, Jim becomes the new wielder of Excalibur.
- In a literal sense, the entire franchise starts and ends when one of two friends, Jim and Toby, is chosen by a magic amulet in the canals, thus marking the start of their grand adventures.
- City of Adventure: Arcadia Oaks, CA
- Connected All Along: The trolls and the Akiridion aliens are connected through a prophecy, as revealed in Part Two of 3Below.
- The Conspiracy: At first only Eli Pepperjack was aware that there were trolls, wizards, and aliens all living secretly in Arcadia.
- Interspecies Romance:
- In Trollhunters, Jim's mother Barbara starts dating Strickler, unaware that he's a changeling rather than a human. By the time she learns, their relationship is more complicated, but there are undertones they may get back together.
- By the third-to-last episode of Trollhunters, Jim and Claire become this, as she is a normal human, even with magic powers, but Jim has become a troll-human hybrid. A quick remark in an episode grants that she still finds his half-troll form attractive. By the end of Wizards, Jim is changed back to human, so it ends up being subverted.
- In 3Below, Steve and Aja fall in love with each other, though one of them is a human and the other is an alien. The same can be said of Vex falling in love with Toby's grandmother.
- Ironic Name: The name of the city. Arcadia is a term used to refer to romanticized depictions of a peaceful, gentle, and quiet countryside area. The city itself is not in the countryside, but rather urban-like and far from peaceful or quiet.
- Science Fantasy: Trolls and ancient beasts, aliens and advanced technologies, wizards, and magic artifacts. The franchise has it all.
- Shared Universe: The installments of the trilogy (and the feature film) take place in Arcadia, with multiple characters and locations shared in all three.
- Simultaneous Arcs: Part 1 of 3Below takes place at the same time as Part 3 of Trollhunters. The ninth episode of both those seasons are when the main characters of both shows meet and have a small adventure together, but in each told from their own perspectives.
- Wake Up, Go to School, Save the World: The protagonists are young teenagers all trying to balance school and social lives with their adventurous other lives.
- However, the genre shifts completely in Wizards and Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans. All of the young heroes basically become more concerned with saving the world rather than going to school.