Season one of Netflix Original animated series Arcane delivered great characters, emotional moments, an engaging narrative, and a unique world brought to life through some of the most striking animation ever. But because the experience Riot Games and animation studio Fortiche crafted was something special, Arcane Season 2 has much to live up to. From co-creators Christian Linke and Alex Yee, the series has so much more to offer from the League of Legends Universe for the second season. Here are some of the things we think the sophomore season needs to do if it wants to strike gold again.
An Opening As Strong As The Original
From the first moments of the series, the narrative made it perfectly clear that the show was gonna break hearts. Set in the fiery aftermath of the failed Zaunite uprising, viewers are introduced to the young, orphaned sisters as they stagger shell-shocked through the wreckage of the bridge dividing Piltover and Zaun. Carried away by a crestfallen Vander (JB Blanc), who feels responsible for their current situation, the moment’s melancholy is reinforced by the somber rendition of the song “Dear Friend” by a young Powder (Mia Sinclair Jenness). The tone of the piece fits the moment as well as serves as the viewer’s first introduction to the state of things between the two cities.
With season one ending just as Jinx’s (Ella Purnell) missle is about to crash into the council chambers, the moment would be perfect to recreate the same energy as the aforementioned sequence. As the fires die down, emergency personnel are clearing survivors out, and the same sad energy and color palette would be fitting to replicate. You could even have Councilor Mel (Toks Olagundoye), huddled in a corner, softly singing, illustrating the new state of things between the two cities. Given her Noxian heritage, I imagine it would be a bit more vengeful than Powder’s song though.
Deliver On The Noxus Storyline
The introduction of the Noxian delegation to Arcane was a bit underwhelming. Ambessa Medarda does little in her time on screen aside from annoying Mel and making Jayce Talis (Kevin Alejandro) blush. While it is likely she was brought in then so her presence could pay off in Arcane Season 2, it needs to in order to justify the time already spent on the character. Given the warlike history of Noxus, I’m sure the ambassador will be all too happy to stoke the flames that will already be rampaging after Jinx’s missile strike. Whether she spends the season undermining Jayce’s efforts to stabilize the situation or manipulating both sides to think the other is up to things they are not, I hope she finds more to warrant her presence than proudly baring it all in front of her daughter’s boyfriend.
Introduce More Champions, But Not Too Many
The world of League of Legends is vast, with numerous characters. And while many exist in far-flung corners of Runeterra and have no reason to appear in Arcane Season 2, there are still many that could. But just because they could show up doesn’t mean they should. An endless stream of cameos for characters that don’t bring anything to the narrative will do little but confuse fans of the show who aren’t familiar with the wider world. Given the lengths Riot Games has gone to welcome people into the world of Runeterra with new game experiences that don’t depend on prior knowledge, getting too heavy-handed with a bloated cast of side characters who only seem to be there for long-time fans would be a big miss.
Avoid Immersion-Breaking Cameo Appearances
One of the single biggest fails for me with Arcane‘s first season was the random appearance of Imagine Dragons in the show. The world-building done by the show had been so good that including something so out of place was nothing but a detriment to the series. I get it. They probably wanted to get more use out of the models they made for the music video, but please, not again.
If some sort of live music performance must be worked into an episode of Arcane Season 2, why not have Lexie Liu deliver a new song for the series as the in-game character Seraphine, which she provided the voice for previously in KD/A’s song “More?” She’s from Piltover so that it would make sense, and due to the character’s presence in the previously mentioned video, she’s one of the few many people outside of the core League community would recognize.
Address Caitlyn’s Enforcer Problem
Of all the entries on this list, this is the one I think Arcane Season 2 needs to get right the most. From the earliest moments of the series, we are shown that the Enforcers are an organization made up largely of cruel, sadistic bullies, more interested in flexing their power over the people of Zaun than ever helping them. While Caitlyn Kiramman (Katie Leung) starts the show as a young, naive officer who doesn’t know the truth about who she is working for, the blindfold falls off pretty fast. From her discovery that the jailors at Vi’s prison have beaten her so many times they’ve lost count, Caitlyn is shown repeatedly that the Enforcers are not the good guys.
The show tries to play this off a bit in season one by wrapping Caitlyn in the “one of the good ones” troupe. They try to let Caitlyn be an Enforcer without staining her with the sins of the others. Combined with how unknowing Caitlyn was going into the story, this allowed for the character to pass by without harm, but just barely.
Going into Season 2, however, something has to change. Whether Caitlyn has a plot line that sees her spearheading a from-the-ground-up reform of the institution or having her quit out of frustration for how they continue to oppress the Zaunites, Riot cannot simply let her stay in the group as they are. The concept of being “a good one” in a corrupt institution doesn’t play like it once did in media. Not only will fans not be able to side with the protagonist if she does, but it will be hard to believe that Vi (Hailee Steinfeld) would stay with her if she turns a blind eye to how the group treats Zaun indefinitely.
These are some of the things that we are looking for in Arcane Season 2 when it hits the streaming platform November 2024. Here’s hoping we learn more about what to expect soon. If you’re waiting for the upcoming season, make sure to watch Riot’s behind-the-scenes making-of documentary YouTube series, Bridging the Rift.