The Dragon Prince creators delve into the making of Through the Moon

The Dragon Prince: Through the Moon by Peter Wartman and Xanthe Bouma (Illustrator). Image courtesy Scholastic Inc.
The Dragon Prince: Through the Moon by Peter Wartman and Xanthe Bouma (Illustrator). Image courtesy Scholastic Inc. /

The Dragon Prince creators Aaron Ehasz and Justin Richmond spoke with Culturess about the series’ new publishing initiative, first graphic novel, and the show’s future.

It’s been an exciting year for The Dragon Prince, with Netflix announcing that it would receive four more seasons, effectively turning the series into a saga. Scholastic has also taken on a publishing initiative for the show, meaning fans will get to visit the world through graphic novels, comics, and novels — a fun way to explore the setting and characters in a bit more depth than we’re accustomed to.

The future of The Dragon Prince is bright, and the writers behind the series already know where they’re planning to take things. Culturess had the opportunity to speak with creators Aaron Ehasz and Justin Richmond about whether or not they’d always planned for the series to become a saga, and how they’re feeling about the publishing side of things so far.

In answer to the first question, Richmond confirmed that they’d always hoped The Dragon Prince would go beyond its current three seasons. Seven was the goal, and thanks to the series’ success, it’s one they’ll get to see to fruition.

“So we’ve always had this idea of doing seven seasons, so we’re pretty excited,” Richmond explained. “When we first talked to Netflix, they were excited about the first three, but we had always said, ‘Look if it does well, we’d love to do more.’ And it did great! So, high fives! So we always talk about this plan to do the seven seasons, to do the full saga. And we had talked, as far back as a couple years ago at Comic-Con, about how we had a vision of what we wanted to do. And you know, fans went ballistic and watched the hell out of the show, and Netflix came back and said ‘Yeah, let’s do some more.’ It’s very, very exciting.”

“And then Scholastic came on board to help us tell stories in other formats, right?” he added. “So, that’s even better.”

The show is just coming off of its third season, which ended with an epic battle between good and evil — one that was unlike anything the series had done so far. For that reason, it took a bit more work and time to bring the third season’s conclusion to life.

“It’s really hard to write a battle,“ Ehasz said. “I think battles and party scenes are often really hard because you just have so many characters and things happening, and the reality of moments like that is there are so many arcs that are just crossing and interweaving. It can be quite complex. So, some of it you tell in broad strokes, like moments where the battle is turning or changing — you know, when Ezran arrives with the dragons, or when Queen Aanya does, or the turning point of finding out that Viren’s soldiers are now immune to the fire. So you kind of have these broad moments. But you also try to follow some characters through lines of the battle.”

“By the way, I shouldn’t be complaining,” Ehasz added, “because it’s the animators who really have to suffer. … They’re just managing so many assets and things and trying to make it appear organic and real, but also epic at the same time.”

The two also needed to reach out to Netflix for more time, since they couldn’t fit everything from the finale into the time slot of a typical episode. Thankfully, Netflix was able to accommodate them and their vision for the third season’s conclusion — something both Ehasz and Richmond were grateful for.

Through the Moon

The Dragon Prince’s first graphic novel hit shelves this week, and it gave the team the opportunity to do something they didn’t have time for toward the end of season three: catch up with the characters and explore how they’re feeling about everything that’s unfolded since Aaravos began waging war through Viren.

The graphic novel picks up during a time of peace, but it shows that characters like Callum, Rayla, and Soren haven’t entirely dealt with the difficulties they faced on the battlefield. As Rayla puts it in the story itself, they’re not quite as ready to move on as they’re claiming to be.

And Ehasz cited that diving into the characters is one of the benefits of this publishing initiative through Scholastic.

“One of the huge advantages of telling stories in these books — in this graphic novel and also in the novels we’re doing — is you have more than your 22 minutes and 15 seconds to tell the story,” he explained. “If you want to get more into what a character is thinking and feeling and really give it dimension and depth, this is how to do it. That was one of the huge opportunities here.”

Richmond also emphasized the positives of switching formats, as graphic novels can sometimes accomplish things that movies and television simply can’t.

“I was excited that we got a chance to tell a story that … it would have been hard to tell this exact story in a TV format,” Richmond said. “I think we got to play with a slightly different kind of storytelling here. And Peter and Xanthe knocked it out of the park, right? A lot of the things that sort of work in comic books don’t necessarily translate onto an animated show, or vice versa.”

Speaking of Peter Wartman, who wrote Through the Moon, and Xanthe Bouma, who illustrated it, Ehasz and Richmond had only good things to say. Both Wartman and Bouma captured the heart of the story and its characters well, and that was the result of plenty of collaboration.

“It was really great,” Richmond said. “They were awesome. So, we sort of had this story, and we pitched it out. And then we started talking with Peter about sort of what we were thinking and stuff. And he started pitching it. And it’s like, ‘Well what about this thing? I have a question here.’ And he took it back and came back with a script and it was like, holy crap! He totally gets it.”

“And then Xanthe coming on board and really understanding what makes the characters delightful and how their designs could be translated to a different format and into a style that is slightly different from the show but still beautiful and amazing,” Richmond added,  “It was super collaborative.”

Ehasz echoed Richmond’s sentiments about working with Wartman and Bouma, admiring how the stylistic components of the graphic novel came out.

“Xanthe’s natural style is incredible, but they also worked with us to move it toward, you know, somewhere between the adorable style and the show style,” Ehasz said. “But Xanthe’s color choices are just … it’s so beautiful and it makes me so glad this story is a graphic novel because it’s a pleasure to hold and experience.”

Ehasz also stressed how helpful it was to have creatives onboard who love and appreciate The Dragon Prince and the vision he and Richmond have for the world.

“Part of, hopefully, what you’re hearing too is that, you know, working with people who love the vision and kind of join it and grow it and kind of make it their own is really a rewarding experience.”

Richmond added that he’s “really, really proud of how the graphic novel came out.”

And with any luck, this will be the first of many successful publishing endeavors for the franchise. There’s more planned from Wonderstorm and Scholastic — including a continuation of these graphic novels.

The Dragon Prince's graphic novel shows aftermath of season 3. dark. Next

Through the Moon, the first Dragon Prince graphic novel, is currently available where books are sold.