The Owl House is fast approaching the finish line. While the three specials coming our way instead of a full third season likely won’t rear their heads until 2023 at the earliest, only three episodes remain in the current run until the Day of Unity begins and we’re left to ruminate on the finale. It’s coming up fast, and it’s heartbreaking that it’ll soon come to an end.
Creator Dana Terrace has been vocal about the show’s cancellation, telling fans on Reddit that it was brought to an end during the airing of season one, and she had to fight alongside the production crew to even have the three upcoming specials approved. Someone atop the food chain decided they wanted to be done with The Owl House because it seemingly didn’t fit the Disney brand, either due to its more serialised nature compared to other shows in the demographic or someone turned their nose up at queer representation. We just don’t know, and it’s uncharitable to assume how it all came tumbling down.
No matter the reason, the team behind The Owl House should be applauded for the exquisite world building, compelling character stories, and overall ambition present throughout the past season, especially considering how the narrative has likely been streamlined and truncated in order to tell its original tale in a fraction of the time. Luz Noceda’s tale of finding herself and returning home likely would have spanned several seasons in its original form, with villains built up to feel unstoppable as our heroine found love, made friends, and became a better person in the face of adversity. The reality is sadly more immediate, but the finished product is anything but underwhelming. It’s fantastic.
Terrace said in a charity livestream for the Zebra Coalition that the cancellation forced her to make some creative decisions when penning recent episodes and the upcoming specials, and as a result came to conclusions that they might have never thought of otherwise. It’s experimental, ambitious, and triumphant in everything it’s managed to achieve, with each episode feeling like a meaningful step forward for individual characters and the overarching story. There is no time for filler anymore, with jokes and development spread across mandatory events instead of us taking time to stop and smell the roses.
I don’t envy the crew who had to accomplish this, pulling their original vision apart before piecing it back together again in order to appease an inevitable demise that was far from their control. It’s unfair, and The Owl House doesn’t feel like it was ever given a chance to reach its full potential before it was all snatched away. The current reality is especially ironic since part of Disney’s decision to cut the show loose was due to its serialised nature in an otherwise young demographic, but forcing Dana and company to go full steam ahead with the narrative like this means that every episode is vital, and missing even one takes away valuable context that will make the coming conclusion that much stronger.
Even so, it breaks my heart that revelations like King’s true identity as the last titan or Hunter confronting his inner trauma and embracing a new identity are being brushed over ever so quickly. Parts of the demon realm outside The Boiling Isles that could have stretched this world into something utterly magical don’t always feel fleshed out, but sudden stops on the larger journey that are necessary to reach the finish line. In another time we would have spent days delving into King’s upbringing, or had an entire episode exploring the uneasy friendship between Amity and Willow as the two come to terms with years of bullying and how Luz’s partner must come to terms with her past mistakes and realise that she hurt people, but aside from a couple of scenes this was largely resolved off-screen.
I’d love to pick Dana’s brain one of these days and see what was left on the cutting room floor, and how this version of the show we’re all still busy falling in love with came to be due to a collection of unforeseen circumstances. Even with so much bullshit working against it, The Owl House remains one of the most distinctly original shows Disney Channel has put out in years, not to mention the most progressive animated adventures we’ve ever seen when it comes to LGBTQ+ representation. It’s groundbreaking in so many ways, but for some unfair reason it’s been cut short without any worthwhile explanation.
Fans will likely keep the universe alive long after the canon story comes to an end with fanart, fanfics, and theories – but knowing that whatever the creators had in mind before fate decided to trip them up and steal their lunch money will never leave my mind. The Owl House deserves better, and it deserves more seasons and more opportunities to tell its story and explore the lives of characters who have captured the hearts of so many. I will defend this show to the end of the earth and nobody can stop me. Gays are just like that I’m sorry.
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