Hey TDP fans and family,
We know many of you have been asking us to share more information about The Dragon Prince, and that some of you have been disappointed with (if not at times frustrated by) the lack of communication you’ve received in the past year.
We hear you. And, more than that, we appreciate you holding us accountable.
So, before 2021 draws to a close, we wanted to take a moment to talk about what we’ve been working on this past year, what’s in store for The Dragon Prince next year, as well as pull back the creative curtain and dig deeper into our storytelling approach and development process.
Feel free to use the links below to jump to a specific section, or simply scroll down to dive in!
- The Dragon Prince Saga
- Our Storytelling Approach
- Our Development Process
- An Update on Seasons 4-6
- The Dragon Prince Video Game
- The Expanded World of Xadia
- Thank You!
The Dragon Prince Saga
Over the last two years, you may have heard us use the word “saga” when discussing the future of The Dragon Prince series — i.e. “The saga is coming!”
But…what exactly is this “saga” and how does it relate to the show’s upcoming seasons?
From the very beginning, we knew we wanted The Dragon Prince series to feel like a true epic fantasy, full of complex heroes and villains who are faced with increasingly difficult decisions, deeply personal challenges, and dangers that would not only put lives at risk, but also threaten the very existence of the magical world they inhabit.
To deliver against this vision, we’re currently planning to tell the story of The Dragon Prince over the course of seven seasons, with each season consisting of nine episodes. These 63 episodes are what we consider to be the series’ core narrative journey—and what we now refer to as “The Dragon Prince saga.”
We’re incredibly excited that all seven seasons have been renewed on Netflix, since that means we’ll be able to share the entire saga with you—our community—the way we’ve envisioned it.
Our Storytelling Approach
Given its current scope and scale, The Dragon Prince saga will consist of three distinct phases:
- Phase 1 = Seasons 1, 2, and 3
- Phase 2 = Seasons 4, 5, and 6
- Phase 3 = Season 7
Each “phase” is effectively its own arc, telling a very specific part of the larger story.
And just like every season has an underlying theme based on one of the primal magics (e.g. season 1 is “Book One: Moon,” season 2 is “Book Two: Sky,” etc.), every phase of the saga will share an overarching narrative theme as well.
Phase 1 of the saga is officially known as “The Dragon Prince,” and follows the discovery, birth, and eventual return of the storm dragon, Azymondias, to his home in Xadia. Phases 2 and 3 will each explore different arcs, which we can’t wait for you to discover.
Our Development Process
We chose a phased approach for The Dragon Prince saga because it gives us the ability to tell more expansive stories with richer character development and a stronger sense of progression in a way that still feels very cohesive.
That feeling of cohesion within a specific phase is incredibly important to us, so rather than develop each season of The Dragon Prince independently and consecutively (which is pretty common), we instead work on multiple seasons simultaneously. We’ve found this process helps us craft compelling storytelling arcs that are deeper, better connected, and more complex—something our fans have not only come to expect at this point from the series, but also deserve.
The trade-off, however, is time.
While all animation takes a long time to do well, our particular process redistributes a lot of the work needed to script, record, concept, storyboard, and animate three entire seasons to the beginning of each phase’s development. This, in turn, creates longer gaps between the end of one phase and the start of another (i.e. between season 3 and 4) than one might initially expect.
For example, we started working on seasons 1-3 (Phase 1 of the saga) all the way back in 2015, almost three years before the first season was even announced. We’re now following that same development pattern for seasons 4, 5, and 6—which we kicked off as soon as the series was renewed in 2020—and are spending a similar amount of time upfront to make sure we get the story arc for Phase 2 just right.
An Update on Seasons 4, 5, and 6
Speaking of Phase 2, we wanted to provide a quick update on our progress for seasons 4-6!
Season 4 is currently in full production. At this point, the scripts for all nine episodes have been written, we’ve recorded the entire season with our amazing voice actors, storyboards and animatics are complete, and we’re now in the process of fully animating each episode with our partners at Bardel Entertainment.
This last stage of development often takes the longest since it includes a variety of additional steps like modeling, lighting, rendering, compositing, special effects, sound design, and editing. We’ve still got a lot of work left before season 4 is done—so it’s a little too early to share a release date just yet—but we’re currently looking to wrap some time in late 2022 at the earliest.
We’ll be sure to share additional updates and information as soon as we can, so stay tuned!
Seasons 5 and 6 are both in pre-production, as well, which means that we’re in the middle of script development for all remaining episodes in Phase 2.
The Dragon Prince Video Game
For those of you who may not know, we’re also developing a highly-stylized, multiplayer video game based on The Dragon Prince saga. The game itself is still in active development, so we don’t have any updates or announcements to share right now. But our dedicated team of designers, artists, and engineers (who focus solely on this project) are all hard at work, and we look forward to being able to talk more about the project in the future!
The Expanded World of Xadia
In addition to working on Phase 2 of The Dragon Prince saga and video game, we’ve also been jamming on a number of different franchise extensions with some incredible partners.
Here are just a few of the products we’ve been excited to share with you in the past year:
- Book Two: Sky novel
- The Dragon Prince: Battlecharged miniatures card game
- Tales of Xadia tabletop RPG
- Bloodmoon Huntress graphic novel (coming soon!)
While we’re super proud of these partnerships, and look forward to sharing even more of them with you in 2022, we know some of you may be thinking “why are you investing so much time in creating these franchise extensions vs. working on the show (isn’t that just delaying season 4)?”
And that’s a fair question.
To answer the first part: We think of The Dragon Prince as a franchise, and it’s important to us to give fans as many opportunities as possible to explore, express, and expand their connection to the universe and its characters. Xadia is huge, after all, and there are so many different stories we want to tell and experiences we want to provide that complement the main saga. This is where our books, board games, and merch can really shine since they allow us to continue to build out and dig into the world we all love in ways that may not exactly fit within the specific constraints of the series.
To answer the second part: One of the great things about our franchise extensions is that they’re led by our incredibly talented partners at companies like Fandom and Brotherwise and Scholastic. This means these extensions are not only created by subject-matter experts who know how to deliver best-in-class products, but—because they’re being driven by these other companies—their development never takes away from the development of the series. (So, no, us putting out a new hoodie isn’t delaying season 4. Dragonguard’s Honor.)
Rest assured: As a studio, our primary focus is and always will be to ensure that The Dragon Prince saga and video game are amazing entertainment experiences; these are our priorities and where we dedicate the majority of our time, energy, and resources.
If you’ve made it this far… we salute you! And we hope this end of year update has shed some valuable light on not only what we’ve been working on as a team, but also how we work as a studio. We’re looking forward to sharing even more of these kinds of updates, including development insights and behind-the-scenes content, with greater frequency in 2022.
We’re so grateful for the patience you’ve shown us, too. We know it’s not always easy, so thanks for sticking with us. We’re working hard to earn the trust you’ve put in us and make sure the next chapter of The Dragon Prince saga is truly worth the wait. (It is, we promise!)
– The Wonderstorm creative team