INTERVIEW: Marc Guggenheim Returns to Trollhunters for Season 2

Netflix’s animated TV series Trollhunters, created by Guillermo del Toro, chronicles the tale of two worlds and the rising of a hero. In Season 1, 15-year-old Jim Lake Jr. stumbled across a mystical amulet and became the first human Trollhunter. These champions are chosen to protect mankind and Heartstone Trollmarket, a secret civilization of trolls located under Jim’s hometown of Arcadia, from evil forces.

Jim struggled to juggle his newfound responsibilities and life as a high school student. However, along with his human friends Toby and Claire, as well as troll allies Blinky and AAARRRGGHH, Jim eventually embraced his destiny and defeated the menacing Bular -- but at a terrible price. The finale culminated with a guilt-ridden Jim traveling to the Darklands alone to square off against the biggest bad of them all, the troll Gunmar.

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Season 2 of Trollhunters, now on Netflix, finds Jim experiencing new trials and adventures, as he unearths a diabolical plot that once again threatens both Heartstone Trollmarket and Arcadia. Arrow co-showrunner and Trollhunters executive producer Marc Guggenheim spoke with CBR about Jim’s voyage to the Darklands, Toby and Claire’s evolution from sidekicks to heroes, the coming of Gunmar and the theme of friendship.

CBR: When viewers first met Jim, he was an inexperienced human thrust into a fantasy world. He quickly learned that with great power comes great responsibility. At this point, how proficient is Jim at trollhunting and being a warrior and a defender?

Marc Guggenheim: I’d say he’s about halfway through his journey. He’s definitely improved and learned some new tricks since Season 1. At the same time, he still has a long way to go.

Season 1 ended with Jim crossing over to the Darklands by himself. Where do things pick up?

A few weeks have passed. We basically pick up with a re-visitation -- or a homage -- to the opening moments with Jim from the very first episode of Trollhunters. I don’t want to spoil exactly what we are doing, because there is a fun little twist to it, but you’ll see Jim back in Arcadia, waking up and making breakfast just like he did in the first episode. That’s a little surprising given the fact that last time we saw him, he was stuck in the Darklands. But, all will be revealed.

The Darklands is no vacation destination. Can you paint us a picture of this realm?

It is massively ambitious. It makes Trollmarket look small. It was very complicated. It really is a huge undertaking from a production standpoint to design this thing. It was an endeavor. The result is unbelievably satisfying. I think it had to be, because we’ve been hearing about the Darklands all through Season 1. You saw a little reveal at the end of Season 1, but we knew we had to go big to satisfy all the build-up that we had done.

The other thing introduced was Jim’s new suit of armor. Besides the black and red color change, how does this one compare to the original?

It’s a bit different. It’s a little more powerful, but it requires more willpower to wield correctly. Essentially, what Jim is doing is tapping into the dark side of things in order to manifest this armor and sword. That’s not a great situation to put a hero in, to dabble in the dark arts.

Arcadia rests on this supernatural hub. In Jim’s absence, what have Claire and Toby been up to?

They’ve had to do the work of three people between two people. And, they’ve also had to cover for the fact Jim is gone. It’s one thing if an adult disappears for a couple of weeks. It looks like they went on vacation. But, when a teenager disappears, there’s a lot of explaining to do. That’s something Claire and Toby have been spending a lot of time dealing with, I think, in a humorous way.

How much fun has it been exploring these sidekick characters and having them step up to the plate?

It’s been a lot of fun. We always say in the writers’ room that the show is not "Trollhunter." It’s Trollhunters. This is really the season that Claire and Toby, particularly Claire, come into their own. Our hope is that by the end of the season, you wouldn’t think of Toby or Claire as sidekicks. You would think of them as full-fledged members of this team of Trollhunters in their own right. Especially in respect to Claire, it’s really exciting knowing where they are heading. Fans of Claire and Toby will be really satisfied with what happens with them.

Can you tease what brings the gang back together?

They are joined in this desire to get Jim out of the Darklands. How that happens is certainly a spoiler. It will take everyone being at the top of their game, making some very challenging choices, to get Jim back home. There will be consequences. It will not be easy, and it will not be without ramifications throughout the rest of the season.

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