In a recent video from Riot Games’ official League of Legends X account, Riot Senior VP and Studio head Andrei van Roon, better known as Meddler, and Senior Director and EP Jeremy Lee, known as Brightmoon, confirmed that the official canon lore of the League universe is getting a reboot.
This is hardly the first time that Riot has tidied up the occasionally messy lore behind the many League champions. When there are so many characters, it’s very easy for continuity to become an issue. (There are currently 165 champions, but given the rate Riot has been shooting them out in the last few years, how long there will be 165 is anyone’s guess.) Previously, fans have seen things phased out that just don’t work anymore, such as lore relating to older champions Shaco and Amumu, to name just two of many. This time, though, the lore update could be a little different, as the aim is to streamline and unify all games that feature Runeterra characters. What else? Oh, yeah — Arcane is canon!
When asked on Reddit where Arcane stands in relation to the updated lore, Meddler confirmed that “Arcane is canon. League is also in that same canon.”
More context was given by Christian Linke, known as Praeco, Creative Director at Riot Games and beloved Showrunner for Arcane.
“The creative needs of League are very different than the needs of something like Arcane. So you have to impose quite a few changes to align certain decision making, while also trying to maximize the potential of both expressions.”
One thing that’s clear is that Riot will be stepping very carefully through this process, and that there won’t be massive sudden changes — more a careful series of tweaks to smooth out inconsistencies.
Overall, the announcement has been widely positively embraced by League of Legends fans. But what about Arcane, and all the fans — both League players and not — who are eagerly awaiting next year‘s second season? While it remains to be seen what tweaks Riot will make in their unifying efforts, there are a few implications and questions that fans are already debating.
- Who really invented hextech?
Jayce and Viktor’s creation of hextech is a pretty key ingredient in the story of Arcane season 1. Looking at the lore of League of Legends, though, they may not be the only ones. Camille, The Steel Shadow, is a champion whose backstory seems to indicate that her family were the creators of the synthetic hex-crystals. Will Riot retcon Camille’s hex-filled history? Or is it simply that Jayce and Viktor aren’t the only ones who have worked out how to harness the crystal’s power? It seems easier and simpler for Riot to change Camille’s story (especially given the huge popularity of the hextech wonderboys in the show), but there could be some very interesting tales to tell if both versions of the hex-crystal story were true. Linke and co-creator Alex Yee seamlessly wove together so many different threads of champion lore to create Arcane season 1, fixing this minor Camille issue doesn’t seem like much of a challenge.
- Glorious evolution! Is Viktor’s dark road right ahead?
It’s impossible to talk about hextech without mentioning Viktor. After several key scenes in the first season, the potential tragedy of his storyline in Arcane season 2 was clear even to viewers who’d never played a single game of League of Legends. For League players, those scenes were a beautiful tease of angst to come. In some ways, Viktor’s character in the game is completely different. Fans loved getting to see him in Arcane, though, and his friendship with Jayce was one of the most beloved relationships in the show. Will Viktor’s lore get any tweaks to ensure that his story gets its due in Arcane, before he continues with his glorious evolution? Fans are eager to find out.
- Did Singed just become one of the most important characters in Runeterra?
Singed was a frequent background character in the first two acts of Arcane, but by the time the third act crashed in and ripped out fans’ hearts, his influence on the story was undeniable. As the Undercity scientist responsible for shimmer, Victor’s mentor, and — fans are pretty certain, though season 2 may yet prove everyone wrong — the creator of Warwick, Singed has a lot of influence on the twin fates of Piltover and Zaun. In League, Singed is one of the original champions — in fact, it has been suggested that Singed was one of the very first characters developed for the game. Lore-wise, he’s kind of a big deal, with one of the darkest backgrounds out there. There’s also the mystery of Singed’s daughter. In season 1 of Arcane, Singed makes mention of once having had a daughter, and in the season finale, he is seen looking at a locket containing a picture of a young blonde girl. (There are a lot of very solid fan theories that this is Orianna, another playable champion from League of Legends.) While fans will have to wait and see what happens with Singed in season 2 of Arcane, it’s undeniable that the deranged chemist will continue to have a big hand in the overall lore of chem-tech and Runeterra as a whole.
- Is Ekko an orphan?
A lot of fans assumed during season 1 of Arcane that Ekko was orphaned, likely in a similar way to Powder and Vi. But with the admission of the show into canon, fans have been raising a good point: that is never explicitly said or indicated in the show. Benzo seemed like a surrogate father figure, but having someone like him around does not necessarily mean that Ekko doesn’t also have living parents. Why are they wondering this? Because in the League of Legends lore, Ekko’s parents play a pretty big role in his story. (There’s a whole solo game, Convergence, that heavily features the fact he has parents.) Which direction will Riot go with this? Orphan Ekko? Not-orphan Ekko? Or secret option three, where “The Boy Who Shattered Time,” with his Z-Drive and time-twisting abilities, both has and doesn’t have parents?
- Why did Caitlyn become an Enforcer?
In Arcane, Caitlyn is an Enforcer in Piltover, initially working for Sheriff Marcus. While there isn’t a lot of history given as to why she entered law enforcement, there is the general idea that she wanted to prove herself and do something beyond the political life that being a Kiramman offered. Caitlyn’s League of Legends lore is slightly different. In that version, she set herself up as a private investigator after her parents were kidnapped (by a mysterious “C”) on Progress Day. After rescuing her parents, she continued to use her P.I. skills and gained something of a name for herself, attracting the attention of the Wardens. Eventually, Caitlyn becomes Sheriff, and is often paired with Enforcer Vi — yes, that Vi. The one who is definitely not an Enforcer in Arcane. (Though she easily could be, with the right persuasion…come on season 2!) While none of Caitlyn’s background pieces seem lore-breaking, it will be fun to see how everything gets smoothed over.
- Enforcer Vi?
Well, as she was already mentioned, Vi just has to have a point of her own. Vi is a Warden Enforcer in League of Legends. Fans have been mostly taking for granted that they’ll see an arc leading Vi from her place as an Undercity criminal to a spot patrolling topside (especially given the show’s emphasis on the Caitlyn and Vi relationship), but now that Arcane is lore we have confirmation that Caitlyn and Vi knew each other before Caitlyn was Sheriff (if Arcane follows or leads up to that for her) and before Vi was an Enforcer. What will persuade Vi to raise her gauntlet for the good of Piltover? Will it be for aid with her sister Jinx, or to help out Caitlyn with wherever her story goes in season 2? Knowing Vi’s endgame for certain makes fans no less eager to find this one out.
- Who is running Noxus?
Mel’s impressively muscled Medarda mother gave a brief mention of a mysterious Noxian general in season 1 of Arcane. Lots of fans assume that the line was indicating another champion, Swain, who is known as the Noxian Grand General — but there is some question about that, mostly relating to when the show is happening. From the ages of the characters, it’s possible to make some kind of estimation about how far in the past Arcane is set compared to League of Legends. This timescale causes a few hiccups, and has some fans convinced that the Noxian General in question is actually tyrannical ruler Boram Darkwill. An interesting point to consider is that in the League of Legends lore, Darkwill recruits a mad chemist to develop weapons for his conquest — none other than Singed, a character already established in Arcane. Will any of this change with Riot’s shakeup? What will it mean for future seasons of the show? Fans will have to wait and see for this one, but either character (or any of Noxus’ other possible rulers) would make a very intriguing addition to Arcane, should they take that route.
There are so many more questions and debates to be had about the possibilities that canon Arcane raises. No doubt fans will theorize (and argue) over every point, but at least that will give us all something to do until season 2 of Arcane arrives next year.
Missing Arcane, or one of the rare League of Legends fans who hasn’t yet seen Netflix’s smash-hit animation? Check out all of our Arcane coverage here.