When The Dragon Prince came roaring onto our Netflix screens last year it quickly garnered a passionate fanbase. The creators and producers of the show have engaged with the fanbase, proud to share details about their show in every way they can. Show creators Aaron Ehasz and Justin Richmond, along with Senior Writer Neil Mukhopadhyay came to New York Comic Con 2019 to present a panel this past Sunday, meeting fans, taking their questions and sharing neat details about the show, and overall nerded out along with fans about the world they created.
The creators also revealed that their plan is for seven seasons, one for each of the primal sources of magic on the show. In these new seasons, they hope to reveal more of their expansive world. They teased new types of dragons and elves that we might see plus an as-of-yet unknown type of magic.
At times, The Dragon Prince has lacked in its sense of urgency. While it is typically masterful as a character-driven series, as any series should be, some episodes have lacked sufficient action. When you’re promised an exciting quest you want an exciting quest. When the show achieves that balance of excitement and introspection for its characters, it works best. I’m glad to say that’s exactly what audiences will get in this season 3, titled Book 3: Sun, opener.
The episode starts with a historical flashback to ancient Xadia. Here we are given a dragon’s eye view of the beautiful land with some of its wondrous creatures. The creature design, along with the character design, continues to be top-notch. But of course, not everything is tranquil. The flashback also gives more insight into how the hundreds-year old conflict between the dragons and humans started, enriching the world in just a few minutes.
The mere notion of humans using dark magic spurred much of the conflict we have seen on screen. The opening sequence reflects this and gives more insight into just how complicated the human-dragon conflict is. I’ve said before that The Dragon Prince feels like Game of Thrones for a younger audience and while I won’t spoil exactly what happens in this opening sequence, I will say that it deepens the moral complexity between the two sides even further. The story you think you know about the dragon-human conflict is complicated by the revelation of a few new details. This makes for excellent drama and I can’t wait to see how more of the show explores it.
The rest is a relatively self-contained episode, with each set of characters in one setting. Each group has an obstacle to overcome, making up their individual plots. The episode takes off with Rayla and Callum and Zym needing to get past the dragon Sol Reggum, whom they encountered at the tail end of last season. While there’s not a lot of action in their sequence, the plot offers the unlikely elf-human duo to reflect on their journeys up to that point. Rayla, in particular, gets a moving scene for this development. Their writing balances their introspection with great action involving Sol Reggum, whom we also learn about a lot this episode.
Fan-favorite General Amaya also has a self-contained plot this episode, getting to showcase her trademark badassery even further. Here, she and other Katolis soldiers battle the Sunfire elves. These scenes have superb action, continuing one of the series’ strengths from previous seasons. But the sequence also sets up some key story continuations. This episode arc ends with a bit of a twist that sets up an intriguing plot that will very likely continue for the rest of the season, to give us more insight into the Sunfire elves’ culture and society.
On top of all these great story developments and great action, the animation continues to be stunning. I’ve had critiques in the past about the jitteriness of the animation in the first season, but the second season vastly improved to make the scenes flow much more smoothly. I’m glad to see that continue here to give The Dragon Prince‘s unique animation style the treatment it deserves.
Overall, this was a very good first episode that makes me excited about where this season will go. I only hope that the following episodes will continue to balance the character focus and sense of adventure for an emotional, thrilling, and overall satisfying journey. Be on the lookout for my full review of Book 3: Sun, when it drops in just a month on November 22, 2019.
The Dragon Prince Season 3, Episode 1: Sol Regem
- Rating - 8.5/108.5/10
Overall, this was a very good first episode that makes me excited about where this season will go. I only hope that the following episodes will continue to balance the character focus and sense of adventure for an emotional, thrilling, and overall satisfying journey.