If you're paying attention to the world of superheroes currently populating The CW's primetime schedule, then you're definitely familiar with the name Mark Guggenheim, co-creator of both Arrow and Legends of Tomorrow. The writer/producer has a new project coming to Netflix, the long-in-the-making animated series Trollhunters, which was created by visionary filmmaker Guillermo del Toro. CinemaBlend spoke with Guggenheim about the upcoming fantasy adventure, and when I asked him what Arrow fans would like the most about Trollhunters, his answer was solid and intriguing.
That's a great question. I think the thing they'll enjoy the most is the characters. These are really deep, very specific, very well-realized characters that are voiced by some incredible actors; both actors that you know and actors that you are about to discover. I think one of the things I'm most proud of about the show is that unlike a lot of 'children's shows' or 'family shows,' which are very episodic and the characters don't change from episode to episode, [Trollhunters'} characters all really go on a journey. They go on an emotional journey where the characters that you meet in Episode 1, they're different people by Episode 23. And I think that's a very unusual thing for a show of this kind.
Animated series such as BoJack Horseman and Archer's recent seasons have taken large strides in bringing long-form serialization to animated TV shows, and even South Park has adopted a far more connected approach to storytelling. Most kids' shows still hit the reset button between episodes, though, with Star Wars Rebels and Gravity Falls two quality exceptions. Trollhunters sounds like it will be far more like Arrow than story-of-the-week toons, which makes complete sense for a series on a service that promotes binge-watching. You want to see characters you love growing and succeeding.
Marc Guggenheim was not kidding about the talented squad that showed up to voice these evolving characters, either. The main character is an ordinary teenager named Jim, energetically voiced by actor Anton Yelchin, who passed away earlier this year. Jim finds an amulet that turns him into a Trollhunter and puts him in contact with an underground society of trolls that he's meant to protect from dangerous threats. The supporting cast of humans and mythical beasts includes Hellboy's Ron Perlman, The Walking Dead's Steven Yeun, Frasier's Kelsey Grammer, Transparent's Amy Landecker, The Strain's Jonathan Hyde, Cooper Barrett's Guide to Surviving Life's Charlie Saxton and Family Guy's Fred Tatasciore, among others. It'll be easy to follow animated characters for 23 episodes with top-notch actors like those.
One reason why Arrow has retained its fanbase over the years is because Stephen Amell gives life to the character of Oliver Queen, and he's surrounded by others that we love to follow from week to week. Having seen the first couple of episodes of Trollhunters, I can confirm that Jim is absolutely the kind of main character that fans will want to watch for an entire narrative arc. And even though the troll world was only just beginning to get explained in those earliest installments, it begged for further viewing. Here's a shot of Jim in his more heroic get-up.
While Arrow won't return to answer its big cliffhanger until next year, you can catch all 23 episodes of Trollhunters' first season when they hit Netflix on Friday, December 23, at 12:00 a.m. PT. To see what else the streaming service has coming in the future, check out our 2017 Netflix schedule, and for everything else on the small screen, our midseason premiere schedule should do you nicely.