Selling the story of Camelot to a generation of kids steeped in video games, TikTok, and STEM sounds nearly insurmountable. That is, unless you throw in aliens, robots, and a quest to save the world from a trio of titans intent on hitting Earth’s reset button. Such is the case with the last installation in the Trollhunters franchise from filmmaker Guillermo del Toro — Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans.
Featuring an all-star voice cast that includes Emile Hirsch, Lexi Medrano, Charlie Saxton, Kelsey Grammer, Alfred Molina, Steven Yeun, Nick Frost, Colin O’Donoghue, Diego Luna, Tatiana Maslany, Nick Offerman and James Hong, this latest — and last — Trollhunters film offers exquisite animation, superb performances and fantastic action sequences that hit a near-fever pitch. The movie is produced by DreamWorks Animation and premieres on Netflix July 21.
The Trollhunters franchise is hugely popular, and Rise of the Titans aims to end the series with a bang. Parentology spoke with Lexi Medrano, who voices Claire, about leaving that fantastical world behind, why fans hold a special place in her heart, and del Toro’s secret to making a mean guacamole.
The Final Chapter
In many ways, Arcadia looks like an ordinary town. Scratch the surface, however, and it soon becomes apparent that this sleepy, pastoral town is a nexus for otherworldly battles between trolls, aliens, wizards, and regular folk. This time, our heroes from Trollhunters, 3Below, and Wizards have aligned to fight the Arcane Order, a trio of malevolent wizards, before they unleash three titans to bring about an apocalyptic reckoning.
The problem? Our hero Jim is facing an existential crisis: Without Merlin’s amulet, is he even a Trollhunter? What makes a hero? Can he save Arcadia — and the world — without magic?
Not without everyone banding together, says Medrano.
“We’re protecting humanity, like we’ve done many times before,” she says. “But, this time there is a lot more going on. This time they’re banding together. We’ve moved into this whole little family; Blinky, Aargh, Jim, Toby and Claire, Aja and Krell, and we’ve got Douxie now. It’s a family fighting the world. Our new mantra is ‘Don’t think, become.’”
Life imitates art for Medrano, who spent the past eight years working with her beloved castmates, as well as the show’s creator, Guillermo del Toro on Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans. She calls the experience nothing short of magic. References to a 12th-century tale would fall flat in lesser-skilled hands; thankfully, del Toro has a flair for the otherworldly and a passion for the fantastical.
“He’s thrown in his own touches,” says Medrano, who calls del Toro one of the kindest, sweetest, and most brilliant people she has ever worked with. “We’ve talked about it being based on his childhood. There’s a scene, in the fifth or eighth episode of the first season, where I make guacamole. I say a line about milk being my secret ingredient, and that’s actually Guillermo’s secret recipe, so he’s definitely thrown his love into this.”
Ride or Dies
At its core, the world of Trollhunters works because of its ageless appeal to a wider audience; whether you want to discuss aliens, literary tropes, or magical creatures, there’s a seat for everyone at the table. Medrano points to the franchise’s loyal fan base, a collection of “ride or dies” who are faithful to the brand, as a large reason for the show’s success over the past several years.
“Our ride or dies are amazing. We have memes being made of us — the best possible fandom ever. They are so in tune, they care so much, and they follow everything so closely,” says Medrano. “I think that they’re so sad to see this end. But, they’re also so excited for this movie. The hype on Twitter right now is insane, and I’m loving every minute of it. I think it’s going to be so much fun.”
As always, we love a strong female character. Claire isn’t just a love interest, she’s a warrior; tough, loyal, empathetic, powerful. A fickle, flailing Guinevere, she is not.
Medrano has enjoyed Claire’s evolution from high school drama geek to sci-fi soldier. Sometimes, it’s hard to decipher where Claire ends and Medrano begins.
“From the start, Claire was powerful. But over the course of the past few years, she’s become unstoppable,” she says. “She’s brave, she’s willing, she’s determined, she’s loyal. Being able to not only portray her in the show but to also see the fan reactions, how they grasp onto her and her absolute strength brings me utter happiness. And to be such a strong female lead, especially these days, means absolutely everything.”
Art truly tends to imitate life in the world of Trollhunters. People perish, they leave, they mourn, heal and move on — sometimes fighting giant alien gun-toting robots in the process. This final chapter is elegiac and hopeful, demanding that when the time comes, we all do our part to fight for what’s left of our humanity.
As Claire says in the film: “What feels like a burden pushing down on our shoulders is actually a sense of purpose that lifts us to greater heights.”
Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans from Guillermo del Toro
The Guillermo del Toro movie Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans premieres July 21 on Netflix. Below is a video covering everything you need to know when watching the movie this week!