Surprising no one, Arcane, the wildly popular Netflix interpretation of a similarly blockbuster video game, is getting a second season. Netflix officially announced the news over the weekend, the next step on the path of League of Legends’ apparent (but kinda out-of-left field) quest for total cultural domination.
Arcane’s first season, which wrapped a few days ago, ends on a cliffhanger that sees many characters left for dead or about-to-be-dead. Netflix did not provide a release window for the second season, but it’s safe to say that season two is a long way off. (The first season was announced in October 2019 and debuted in November 2021, though that time frame was likely affected by covid-related production woes.) In the meantime, fans, naturally, have theories about where Arcane could go.
Quick note before we dive into all of that: I want to be very clear that I don’t play League. I’m not up on the lore, nor am I acquainted with the full character roster—which is apparently, oh, wow, 140 deep. But I got a real kick out of the show and an even bigger kick out of chatting about it with people; as a result, I have a good grasp on League within the confines of Arcane’s canon. Of course, if I missed anything extremely obvious, or if anything seems off, let me know (politely please) in the comments!
All right, let’s do this.
Spoilers, obviously, for Arcane’s first season.
Arcane’s first season ends with a bang—literally. After shooting Silco dead and leaving her sister, Vi, tied up in a chair, Jinx fires a Hextech cannon toward Piltover. The final scene intercuts a montage of Arcane’s main characters alongside a wide-angled shot showing the missile hurtling across the horizon, all while somber music plays in the background. As the tune hits its crescendo, the missile’s destination is clear: the city council chambers, where the entirety of Piltover’s ruling body has congregated. Big gold flash. Cut to black. Credits. That’s the season.
If the unambiguous on-screen death of children wasn’t proof enough, Arcane is no stranger to dour territory. But I, for one, find it hard to believe that the Riot-Netflix brand-synergy apparatus would greenlight the explosive death of eight significant characters, two of whom have more screen time than nearly anyone else in the cast. Jayce, who’s a playable hero in the game, and Mel Medarda, who’s not, surely can’t be offed this early, right?
More likely, per a theory detailed by Forbes writer Paul Tassi, is that Mel Medarda has some sort of trick up her sleeve that saves the day. Maybe it’s the result of her Hextech ring. Maybe it’s some untapped innate ability Mel Medarda herself isn’t aware of. Whatever the case, the theory presupposes that the gold flash at the end is tied in some way with the gold motifs so often shown when Mel Medarda is on screen. (Of course, her survival could also end up setting the stage for her potential debut as a playable character in League of Legends.)
Despite only appearing in the first three episodes, Vander is indisputably one of the most important characters in the show. The surrogate father of Vi and Jinx (née Powder), Vander casts a shadow over the whole program, often referred to in sort of WWVD terms. You constantly hear about his exploits as an unstoppable fighter. But you never quite see him in action—save for one fight in the third episode in which he temporarily goes beast mode (literally, turning into a Hulk-like monster after swilling some Shimmer).
The folks at Think Story, the popular YouTube channel, have a theory: Singed resurrects Vander as Warwick, a playable werewolf character in the game. In addition to some canine-themed hints circling Vander (once referred to as the “hound of the underground”), Arcane’s first season ends with a lengthy shot of a red moon—classic werewolf imagery. The final frame of Singed shows a furry, muscular claw in the foreground. Per Warwick’s official backstory, he’s transformed by Singed from “a gangster who put down his blade and took up a new name,”—a logline that totally squares with Vander—into his lycan state. And, as Think Story notes, Singed’s official character art does indeed show a suspended character in the background that bears a strikingly similar silhouette to the form Vander takes in his “final” moments...
One Reddit user points out the obvious: Silco dies with so, so many threads in his plotline left unspooled. You never really get the full backstory of Silco and Vander’s disagreement. You don’t get the full scoop on his connection to Jayce. There’s precedent for his return, too. Act three devotes no shortage of time establishing that Silco’s frequent dark-arts collaborator, Singed (also a playable character in the game), can work some life-saving, and perhaps death-undoing, magic. It’s a safe bet that Silco makes a comeback of some sort.
Get this: Ekko is known as “the boy who shattered time.” First off, c’mon, how freakin’ cool is that? But also, Ekko doesn’t exactly do much shattering of time in Arcane. He’s a solid fighter and hoverboard-rider. He also gets blown up—just the sort of thing you’d use time travel to avoid. In the last episode, Ekko and dismissed councilmember Heimerdinger (both are playable in the game) team up. As Think Story points out, during some of the final frames, you can see the duo tinkering with some machinery: a whole bunch of disassembled clocks strewn around the workbench. It stands to reason that Heimerdinger, who’s renowned as a genius inventor, may assist Ekko with the invention of his signature Zero Drive time-manipulation device.
When it comes to integrating more of League’s 140-character roster into Arcane, things get a little tinfoil hat for my tastes. Still, there’s some compelling evidence that Orianna, the “lady of clockwork” (and a playable character in the game), might show up in the second season.
During the final sequence, Singed can be seen holding a locket containing the picture of a young woman. Eagle-eyed fans spotted that she and Orianna wear their hair in an identical fashion. According to Orianna’s official backstory, her father, a tinkerer named Corin Reveck, slowly replaced every part of her body “piece by piece,” in an effort to save her from a fatal poisoning. (Note: We never learn Singed’s real name in the show. We do, however, hear off-hand mention of an ill-fated daughter.)
This better happen. They’re perfect for each other!