WARNING: The following contains major spoilers for 3Below: Tales of Arcadia, streaming now on Netflix.
Netflix's 3Below: Tales of Arcadia has proven itself to be right up there with the likes of Voltron: Legendary Defender as one of the streaming service's best animated properties. The second part of the Arcadia trilogy envisioned by Guillermo del Toro following the Trollhunters series, Season 2 finds the royals, Princess Aja (Tatiana Maslany) and Prince Krel (Diego Luna) helping defend Earth from General Morando.
But as the dictator sets his eyes on this planet following a coup on the royals' homeworld of Akiridion-5, del Toro and his creative team -- instead of pulling influences from the likes of Star Trek and other galactic properties -- decide to rip off a couple of highly-popular cosmic characters from the Marvel Universe.
THE CELESTIAL COMPLEX
Season 2's MacGuffin is the core or life essence of a space god known as Gaylen. He was a highly-evolved Akiridion, or more specifically, a Celestial who crushed stars along with his significant other, Seklos, to create planets. They'd do so across the cosmos, seeding out life, building new worlds and civilizations, until Gaylen turned mad with power. Both Celestials eventually went to war, with Seklos combining her core with Gaylen's, killing them both and resulting in the joint core being hidden on Earth.
This is a carbon copy of Marvel's Celestials, who also conducted experiments and created life across the galaxy. In fact, the way Gaylen and Seklos are designed strongly follows the Marvel Cinematic Universe's take on the Celestials when we saw them creating life in the Guardians of the Galaxy franchise. Coincidentally, Marvel's Celestials would also turn on each other and got to war in the books. Apart from copying their name, 3Below even turns Gaylen into a towering Celestial when he absorbs his core; a clear tribute to how Marvel shaped the extraterrestrial race.
Morando was also able to destroy parts of Earth at will, which emphasized his godlike abilities as this core imbued him with powers. To top it off, the same way the Celestials were revered by the Eternals (their creations), the Akiridions also worship Gaylen and Skelos, often exclaiming, "What in Gaylen's core?!", "Great Gaylen's core!", or "Seklos and Gaylen!" -- to remind us these Celestials were universe-breaking gods who stood as legends for centuries.
LUUG HAS THAT LOCKJAW VIBE
Luug is the royal siblings' pet dog and acts as the series' main bit of comedic relief. Apart from farting blue flames, he has super-strength, can emit energy blasts and also has a gecko-like tongue that can steal stuff from a distance. Whether or not he's disguised as a ball of fur in public, he's quite hilarious and really builds the warmth and sense of family on the show.
This season, in the eighth episode, "Luug's Day Out," the pooch ends up swallowing a wormhole device Krel was creating to allow safe passage to Akiridion, and once the dog farted, he'd teleport any and everywhere. Aja tracks him down and they jump to Area 49 -- which is the government facility hunting them -- and all over Arcadia. Shockingly, they even jump into space, all whenever Luug farts, thinking it's just a game that his digestive system doesn't agree with Krel's device.
If Luug's abilities sound familiar to Marvel fans that's because, apart from the farting, he's basically 3Below's version of Lockjaw, the Inhumans' royal dog. Lockjaw, after genetic alterations by the Kree, bends space and time at will without the use of technology. He's Black Bolt and Co.'s main source of transport, and Lockjaw -- who's way bigger than Luug -- controls his teleporting based on his surroundings. He can jump at his own discretion whenever he senses danger nearby or wants to go meet and protect his family.
It certainly seems like there are some big Marvel fans at DreamWorks Animation.
Season 2 of DreamWorks' 3Below: Tales of Arcadia is available now on Netflix.