Netflix understandably gets a lot of attention, among critics and audiences alike, for its live-action, adult-targeted scripted series like House Of Cards, Orange Is The New Black, Stranger Things, Master Of None, and many, many more. But the streaming service also produces original content in other genres, including documentaries, comedy specials, and family-oriented animated series. You may never have heard of Dinotrux or Dawn Of The Croods — but the new Netflix animated series Trollhunters is likely to get more attention from viewers outside its typical age bracket thanks to a confluence of reasons. So after the cartoon premieres this Friday, subscribers who normally don't notice the comings and goings of Netflix's animated offerings will likely be wondering: Will there be a Trollhunters Season 2?
The reasons people will find themselves drawn to Trollhunters are plentiful. First, there will be those who mistakenly assume it's an adaptation of the underrated 2010 Norwegian found footage film Troll Hunter. Of course, it's not, but maybe those people will stay for the beautiful animation that evokes DreamWorks' terrific How To Train Your Dragon franchise — with good reason, since Trollhunters is also produced by DreamWorks. Some will undoubtedly be drawn to the cartoon due to the fact that it was created by beloved filmmaker Guillermo del Toro (Pan's Labyrinth, Hellboy). And, sadly, still others will tune in because of the morbid fact that it's one of the last projects of actor Anton Yelchin, who tragically passed away in June of this year at the age of 27.
Yelchin is also the reason that some may be concerned about the future of Trollhunters. Usually when we talk about whether a Netflix series will be renewed or not, we talk about things like viewership, critical acclaim, buzz, and awards. Out of the 22 animated series that Netflix has premiered over the past three years, not a single one has yet been canceled (all have either been renewed or are currently pending a decision), so typically there would have been no need to be worried about Trollhunters — especially with the clout of someone like del Toro behind it.
But what do you do when the star of your show passes away? After all, Yelchin didn't voice some minor supporting player; he portrayed the show's hero, Jim, a normal teenager who becomes the armor-clad defender of the trolls after he finds a magical amulet. Fortunately, before he passed away, Yelchin had apparently "completed a great majority of the episodes" for Season 1, according to Deadline, so the first season of Trollhunters was able to proceed as planned without having to recast the role, preserving one of Yelchin's final performances rather than erasing it from memory.
The sweetest, most humble, delightful, talented guy you'd ever meet. Worked together for about a year. Shocked. https://t.co/uyg2NlmhqP— Guillermo del Toro (@RealGDT) June 19, 2016
Obviously, other shows — even live-action ones — have continued after the sudden death of a lead actor (Glee being one recent example), so while continuing Trollhunters may be challenging without Yelchin, it's not out of the question. In an interview with IndieWire, del Toro acknowledged that, "should the show move on to a second season, the role [of Jim] would be recast," while admitting that such a feat would be difficult. "Finding Jim’s voice was incredibly tough, because [we] were aiming for a very specific type of character," del Toro recalled. "The first couple of sessions with Anton, he really wanted to find the character. I think it took three sessions, three full sessions, of him recording Jim. Then he found it and never again was he off-key."
By the sound of things, it will be a challenge for del Toro to find another actor to step into Yelchin's hard-working shoes. But it shouldn't be impossible and, if Trollhunters is a success for Netflix, it's hard to imagine the service scrapping the show simply because one of its voice actors is no longer with us. It was important enough to del Toro to get Season 1 to the screen as a way of honoring Yelchin's memory; surely he'll fight to keep the show alive as a way of continuing the young actor's legacy.