Arcane: League of Legends was a surprise hit for some, as many people — even self-proclaimed animation fans — hadn’t given the Riot Games title much thought beyond it being “another one of those video game adaptations.”
Players of Riot’s League of Legends, though, were right to set high expectations from the beginning; in the past few years, Riot has really kicked it up a notch with game-related media content, from music videos to trailers and character intros. Many of the game’s players knew that Riot had the potential — and the money — to produce something really special, and wow, did they!
Fans were so blown away by not only the deeply complex, nuanced characters and the fast-paced, seat-gripping plot, but by the beauty of the unique aesthetics of the show. Animated by French studio Fortiche, Arcane’s mixture of 2D and 3D animation styles helped draw in a whole league of curious viewers who had zero idea what Riot’s online game was about. And it’s clear that Riot took note of fans’ love of the visuals, as they recently announced a “significant” investment in Fortiche Productions, meaning that they now own a large, non-controlling stake in the studio.
Arcane’s first season wiped the floor with the competition at the 2022 Annie Awards, winning nine categories. The show also snatched a Golden Reel prize at this year’s ceremony, meaning that the huge Netflix hit has already earned plenty of plaudits.
The Netflix series still has a 100% fresh critical rating on Rotten Tomatoes as well as a 96% rating among viewers several months after it was released. Given the show’s runaway success, Netflix was quick to announce that a second season was already in the works — and thank goodness for that, after that mind-blowing finale!
Leaving us on such a cliffhanger means that fans have already come up with a whole list of hopes and expectations for season 2. While every watcher has their own favorite storyline in the multi-faceted show, there’s some content that almost everyone is dying for! Let’s round up a few of the most anticipated parts of the future season.
Spoilers for Arcane season 1 ahead!
A Heimerdinger and Ekko Team Up
The end of season 1 showed us a curious friendship beginning: that of Ekko, a prodigy from the rough streets of Zaun, and Professor Heimerdinger, a brilliant yet eccentric yordle scientist. Will their meeting factor into Ekko’s story? Will Heimerdinger assist in building Ekko’s reputation of “the boy who shattered time,” by helping him adapt the Z-drive — the hourglass-shaped device he uses to reverse time? We don’t know yet, but we’re eager to find out where this unconventional team-up will lead!
The Medardas and More
Ever since Mel and her family were confirmed to be from Noxus, Arcane fans who have played League of Legends have been chomping at the bit to find out more about their history, their lands, and their enemies. From the details we’ve been given, it seems highly likely that the person who killed Mel’s brother and is threatening her family is Jerico Swain, the Noxian Grand General and one of the rulers of Runeterra’s most powerful nation. While we can’t assume anything, in-game Swain has demonic abilities that include the capability to see into far-off locations on the map, making it possible that he’s been keeping an eye on the Medardas all along.
More Caitlin and Vi
While much about season 2 is still tightly under wraps, we do know that both Hailee Steinfeld, the voice of Vi, and Katie Leung, who voices Caitlyn Kiramman, are set to return. That’s great news for fans of the fan-favorite ship CaitVi, affectionately known as Piltover’s Finest. While the scorching tension between the two characters was visible in the show’s inaugural season, fans didn’t get the explicit, textual confirmation of a relationship that they were hoping for. Arcane’s showrunners, though, seem to have come down firmly on the side of “slow burn” rather than “queerbait,” which will no doubt make the ship even more popular. During a Q&A on BAFTA’s Twitch channel, Alex Yee and Christian Linke spoke specifically about Caitlyn and Vi’s future.
“We’ve always wanted to tell a natural story about Caitlyn [and] Vi that felt true to their lives and the way they’ve been seen. We were always clear about how we wanted to tell that story. The Season 2 episodes will show you a part of the bigger picture we have had since the beginning,” said Yee. Linke seconded the sentiment, saying that Vi and Caitlyn are “at the center of the stories we tell in Season 2. You’ll be happy, I believe.”
Season 2 may not be all smooth sailing for the flirty friends, though. Amanda Overton, a writer for Arcane, was asked on her Twitter whether Caitlyn ever found out that it was Vi and her undercity group that blew up her friend Jayce’s lab when they were younger. Amanda’s answer? A somewhat ominous-sounding, “Not yet.”
Jayce and Viktor Fallout
While Cait and Vi sound like they are on the same page in the teaser Riot released for season 2, it’s very unlikely that the same can be said for all of the fan-favorite characters from the first season. Best friends and Hextech wonderboys Jayce and Viktor ended the season moderately united, despite some tense moments in the third act — but as fans of League of Legends will know, that doesn’t seem likely to be their endgame. In Arcane, Viktor is hiding his physical transformations from Jayce after a poor reception on the bridge, and the loss of his assistant’s life. But the game lore Arcane is based on suggests that Jayce and Viktor’s falling out plays a part in Viktor’s further transformations, leading to the pair having a less than friendly relationship in the future. No matter how Arcane tackles it, the brothers in science likely have a compelling and ultimately tragic storyline ahead of them.
There’s one theory the fandom seems to be almost universally united in: that was Warwick! During the very brief scene of Singed that we see during the finale’s horrifying and heartbreaking ending montage (fans will never again be able to listen to Sting casually), a distinctly furry appendage appears at the edge of the screen, hanging in front of him. So, was Vander set up to be Warwick all along? Is this a new character? Is it someone else entirely? The fandom seems pretty set on Vander-Warwick, but no matter who the clues lead to, we’re all desperate to see how Singed’s monstrous shimmer creation plays into season 2. Will they be the big bad now that Silco is gone? Is it a misdirect, a distraction while the real trouble is the war between Piltover and Zaun? Who knows, but we’re excited to find out!
No matter what season 2 brings, Arcane fans are already on the edge of their seats. Unfortunately, it’s already been confirmed that we won’t be seeing more this year, so all we can hope for is an early 2023 release. Until then, we’ll keep rewatching.