Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans ending explained – is the story over? the show must go on
This article contains major spoilers for the Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans ending.
“It was the two of us at the start. It’ll be the two of us at the end.”
These are the words that Jim Lake (Emile Hirsch) says to his dying friend Tobias Domzalski (Charlie Saxton) in Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans, and the film holds true to them. By ending the story where it began, though with some important tweaks, this climactic film, designed to cap off the Tales of Arcadia series, suggests a new, different future instead; one where even the unlikeliest heroes can take destiny into their own hands with a little help from their friends.
This focus on Jim and Toby after a chunky runtime full of characters from several seasons of three shows, an all-action battle against the Arcane Order and the rampaging titular titans, and various highly convenient plot MacGuffins, is welcome. The tales of Arcadia, in all their various forms, have always been about friendship and togetherness, after all, and those are the themes most obviously evoked in the Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans ending.
Is it kind of cheating? I guess. By using Excalibur to crack open the Krohnisfere and retrieve the Time Stone, Jim didn’t have to grapple with the demise of his best friend, who had succumbed to his injuries after helping to save the world. The script bent over backward to rationalize his decision, reminding us that everything that is meant to happen certainly will, but that perhaps all the unfortunate losses along the way might be prevented with Jim’s knowledge of one potential future. All the usual dangerous paradoxes associated with time travel were conveniently avoided. Jim could go back to where his story began, knowing where it would ultimately lead, and he could do things differently. It’s the purest form of wish-fulfillment imaginable.
But it’s what Jim decides to do differently that makes the ending of Trollhunters: Rise of the Titans resonate. Yes, we get an obligatory montage of a hyper-confident Jim basically showing off about things going a certain way. But crucially, while he auditions for the role of Romeo in the school play, he advises that Toby takes the route home by the canal. Perhaps he’ll find something interesting – such as the amulet Jim found all those seasons ago that kick-started his Trollhunter journey. Now, it’s time for Toby to take on the world – and save it, too. There are plenty of unanswered questions surrounding this new potential story. But I think, for once, we’re best not knowing the answers to them.