Guillermo del Toro’s animated trilogy ‘Tales of Arcadia’ has released the second chapter called 3Below, which debuted today on Netflix. Since his conjunction with Dreamworks Animation, del Toro has broadened his scope beyond magical realism and thrilling horror to more family-friendly realms.
The award-winning Trollhunters, released in 2016, was the first series of the trilogy. Although it followed the classic hero’s journey, Guillermo specified a cinematic touch. According to del Toro, “We tried to go for lightning that is not common in TV animation, dramatic, very dark, very moody, with a lot of cinematic lightning.” Guillermo, famous for such films as his recent The Shape of Water, shares his passion for filmmaking and the importance of every scene, adding how this transcends beyond film to animation: “I love teaching my kids the beauty of mistakes in animation. When Miyazaki has a father try to put his shoe on and fail twice, that’s something that takes a day to make [in animation].”
Executive producer Marc Guggenheim (Arrow and DC’s Legends of Tomorrow) explained that “There’s a real art to doing a spin-off of any show, and it’s my personal philosophy, and I think one that Guillermo shares, that the best spin-offs actually exist on their own,” adding, “The best spin-offs don’t require the mothership show to work. So, we really tried to create a world that could stand on its own two feet.” Along with the all-star production team, the trilogy has an all-star voice acting cast, ranging from Mark Hamill in Trollhunters to Glenn Close in 3Below. Other honorable mentions are Kelsey Grammer, Nick Offerman, and Ron Perlman.
Although fans can expect the same level of attention to detail, there will be some differences in 3Below from the first series concerning the story structure. “With Trollhunters, we’re basically following a very classic hero’s journey, whereas 3Below is a much different animal,” Guggenheim explained. “Not just in the sense that we drop you straight into the drama pretty much immediately — I mean, you barely get to know these characters before their world is coming apart — but that world, in particular, is very intentionally and by design an alien world.”
There is an intentional social aspect to the series that addresses current issues surrounding immigration, even though it wasn’t as prominently in the public eye while the show was in the making. Guggenheim described the importance of this in an interview: “In many ways [the show] anticipated this moment that we are living through right now. We have episodes coming up where we deal with prejudice…. I grew up with television that reflected the real world and had something to say.”
The third part of the trilogy, Wizards, will debut some time next year. All 13 episodes of 3Below are available on Netflix as of December 21.