After a three-year hiatus, The Dragon Prince: Mystery of Aaravos will finally bring back the hit Netflix animated series. But a lot has changed in three years: there’s been plenty of animated series from various streamers, not to mention plenty of fantasy shows. Series creators Aaron Ehasz and Justin Richmond have taken that into consideration, and they want Mystery of Aaravos to be bigger and better than previous seasons. I had the chance to attend The Dragon Prince panel at San Diego Comic-Con on Thursday, where the first episode of Mystery of Aaravos was screened to roaring applause. Prior to that, I interviewed Ehasz and Richmond about their plans for Mystery of Aaravos.
(The following has been edited for clarity and length)
BUT WHY THO?: It’s been about three years since the last season premiered. Anything fans should keep in mind before firing up Season 4?
Justin Richmond: That’s a good question. I had not anticipated that question. Let’s see…I would say “Hold on to your hats!” Don’t be sitting near a fan. It’s a time of…we’re pushing the series forward, so there’s a bunch of new stuff going on. If you haven’t watched the show before, you’ll totally be able to jump on board. The thing to remember was that there was a huge war between the humans and the Elves and the Dragons and the aftermath – that’s going to be super fun.
Aaron Ehasz: I think it really is built to be – you can jump in and if you have that context it’ll feel deeper, bigger, more energized than ever. But if you haven’t you can join the story right away
BUT WHY THO?: Any characters fans should keep their eyes on?
Justin Richmond: All of them. And the new ones. Look for new characters then keep your eyes on those!
Aaron Ehasz: I think there are at least two exciting things about Season 4. One of them is because there’s a time skip, we’ve seen everyone change and grow and evolve and become more of themselves and that’s exciting. But I think there are a number of brand new characters that we think are every bit as dimensional and awesome and fascinating and compelling as the characters people know from the first few seasons so it’s going to be great!
BUT WHY THO?: This season is called “Mystery of Aaravos”. How does Aaravos drive Season 4’s story?
Aaron Ehasz: Aaravos is a character that’s been mysteriously, secretly, pulling strings and involved in the series since literally the first seconds. If you listen to that opening – that’s Aaravos giving us that context and framing the world. Is he framing it in truth? Is it all true? Aaravos says he never lies. Perhaps he does. Perhaps he doesn’t. At the very least, we’re talking about a character who’s nearly immortal, whose influence and manipulation has affected how history has been unraveling. And now he’s entering the present – he’s becoming a part of where the saga is now. And that’s a culmination. So seeing and understanding Aaravos’
BUT WHY THO?: The fantasy landscape has expanded with shows like The Legend of Vox Machina and the upcoming Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. What makes Dragon Prince stand out in that landscape?
Justin Richmond: Oh man it’s nice to be compared to Lord of the Rings?
Aaron Ehasz: It’s humble to say we’re only slightly better, right?
Justin Richmond: I think we aspire to be a really heartfelt, character-driven story and hopefully we will live up to those other franchises. To be considered on that level in 50 years would be an honor. We aspire every day to make it better and make it exciting and that our characters will be interesting and compelling for a long time. Hopefully, that stays true.
The Dragon Prince: Mystery of Aaavaros will be available to stream on Netflix in November
Collier “CJ” Jennings is a freelance reporter and film critic living in Seattle. He uses his love of comics and film/TV to craft reviews and essays on genre projects. He is also a host on Into the Spider-Cast.