It’s Amazon’s turn to roll. The streaming giant has nabbed the rights to The Legend of Vox Machina, the animated series adaptation of the popular online Dungeons & Dragons adventure group, Critical Role, a group of cartoon, video game, and anime voice actors who role-play as misfit fantasy heroes on Twitch.
Now with Amazon, the in-production series is already renewed for Season 2, which means more Vox Machina storylines will get the animated treatment.
The series will premiere in fall 2020.
On Tuesday, Amazon and Critical Role announced Critical Role: The Legend of Vox Machina, currently in production from studio Titmouse, will stream exclusively on Amazon Prime. Amazon has also expanded the show’s scope; originally intended to be a ten-episode series, Amazon will finance an additional 14 episodes, to make up two seasons for 24 episodes.
For fans, Critical Role confirmed on the series’ Kickstarter page that the Amazon partnership means the series will now adapt the “entire” Briarwood storyline, and “forge ahead” into other storylines that have been streamed on Twitch. “[W]ith 24 episodes to play with, instead of just ten, we’ll not only complete the entire Briarwood storyline in the animated series, but we’ll forge ahead into other classic Vox Machina story arcs as well!” wrote the group.
In March, the show made Kickstarter history as the most-funded film and TV project on the platform, raising a total of $11.3 million. On Kickstarter, Critical Role’s team confirmed Amazon’s involvement means improvement on the “quality of the animation, the score, the special effects — you name it.”
Amazon Studios’ Jennifer Salke cited the record Kickstarter as evidence of the show’s appeal. “Critical Role blazed a new trail for original digital content, with fresh new voices and humor that earned devoted fans around the world, as evidenced by their wildly successful Kickstarter campaign,” said Salke.
Originally a private game of Pathfinder amongst a small group of friends who all happen to be professional voice actors (and all are slated to reprise their roles for the series), Critical Role went public in 2015 as a live-streaming Dungeons & Dragons show on Felicia Day’s Geek & Sundry Twitch channel. The show’s popularity led the group to become its own operation, working out of a 5,000-square-foot studio in Burbank, California where the group continues to play for a worldwide audience every Thursday on Twitch.
The weekly games Marisha Ray, Travis Willingham, Liam O’Brien, Laura Bailey, Sam Riegel, Taliesin Jaffe, and Ashley Johnson. Matthew Mercer leads as the game’s primary storyteller, known as a “Dungeon Master” or “DM.” Original cast member Orion Acaba left the group in 2015.
With Critical Role confirming The Legend of Vox Machina to expand beyond the Briarwood storyline (episodes 24 to 38 of the original live-stream), the animated series could venture into other narratives such as the “Attack of the Conclave” (episodes 39 to 56) or “Venturing for Vestiges” (57 to 69). Some of these adventures featured guest characters played by other actors, including Lionel Gayheart (played by Jon Heder, Napoleon Dynamite), Lyra (played by Felicia Day), and Arkhan the Cruel (played by Joe Manganiello).
“Overwhelming is the most apt descriptor,” Mercer told Inverse in April 2019, after the Kickstarter campaign blew past the original fundraising goals. “We’ve been blown away by all of it and we’re just trying to do our best and fulfill the promise and faith everyone’s given to us.
The Legend of Vox Machina will air in fall 2020 on Amazon Prime.