NOTE: THIS IS A RECENTLY-CONCLUDED SHOW. SOME SPOILERS MAY FOLLOW.
(Disney Channel, Disney XD January 10, 2020-April 8, 2023)
Sarah-Nicole Robles – Luz Noceda
Wendie Malick & Natalie Palamides (young) – Edalyn “Eda” Clawthrone/The Owl Lady
Alex Hirsch – King Clawthorne, Hooty, Steve (season 1), various
Zeno Robinson (season 2-3) – Golden Guard/Hunter
Tati Gabrielle (season 3, recurring previously) – Willow Park
Isaac Ryan Brown (season 3, recurring previously) – Augustus “Gus” Porter
Mae Whitman (season 3, recurring previously) – Amity Blight
Elizabeth Grullon (season 3, recurring previously) – Camila Noceda
Matthew Rhys (season 3, recurring previously) – Emperor Belos/Philip Whittebane
|Season 1 poster featuring Luz, Eda and King riding Owlbert.|
The Owl House was created by Dana Terrace--the 4th series for Disney Television Animation to be created by a woman--while she was working on the reboot of DuckTales. Feeling unfulfilled artistically and emotionally, the works of painters Hiëronymus Bosch and Remedios Varo inspired her to pitch a show to with strong surreal visual elements. She shopped it to places like Cartoon Network and Nickelodeon before Disney ultimately picked it up. The show would deal with the themes of uniqueness and conformity, inspired by Terrace’s own childhood of being bullied for her habit of drawing roadkill and people constantly trying to dash her dreams of becoming a cartoonist, as well as mature topics like grief and depression. Additionally, the show was an attempt to prove a colleague who thought “it was a dumb idea” wrong. Disney had concerns about the horror elements she wanted to include, but Terrace argued that Disney often ran the full spectrum of emotions in their works already and she liked being a little scared when she was younger. Ultimately, they allowed her to do a great deal of what she envisioned—with some compromises.
The series was primarily set on a place called the Boiling Isles, which was comprised of various towns and districts built on the decaying corpse of a giant being known as a Titan; in particular, the town of Bonesborough around which most of the show was set. Initially, Terrace considered setting it in the afterlife after Luz had died. Witches and demons were the main population; most of them resembling humans beyond their pointed ears and unique skin tones, while others had very non-human extra appendages or proportions. Magic was granted to them by sacks attached to their hearts, and the majority of their spells were cast by first drawing an energy circle in the air (the bigger the circle, the more powerful the spell). The Isles was meant to represent the cycle of death and rebirth found in nature. Along with the influence from surreal artwork, the designers took inspiration from medieval architecture for various locations and made real-life elements different to further distinguish the Demon Realm from the Human Realm; such as water being purple as well as boiling, vegetation being red instead of green (changed from black due to Luz’s hair constantly being lost in it), a beverage of choice being apple blood instead of apple juice, etc. And while there was a medieval influence to the world, modern elements were also incorporated, such as tiny magic scrolls acting as mobile devices that browsed the web, took photos and video, allowed texting and accessed to their social media of choice, Penstagram; crystal balls that could be used as televisions, video phones and computers; and crows used as phones.
50 years prior to the start of the series, a powerful witch known as Belos (Matthew Rhys) rose to power and became Emperor of the Isles, building his castle around the still-beating heart of the Titan (Arin Hanson) with whom he claimed he could communicate with. As part of the “Titan’s will”, he banned the practice of “dangerous” wild magic and created the Coven System. At a certain point, witches were required to join a coven where they would be branded with a sigil on their wrist that would restrict their magical abilities to those specific to that coven.
|The Coven colors and their symbols: Potions, Abomination, Plant, Healing, Construction, Beast Keeping, Illusion, Bard and Oracle.|
Witches customarily also had a Palisman. Palismen were sentient magical totems carved into a creature form (generally resembling a normal animal, like a bird or sloth) from a special kind of wood called Palistrom. Palismen acted as loyal friends and familiars to witches they bonded with, but could also be a powerful magic-enhancer. When not in autonomous form, the Palisman could be found atop of a witch’s staff through which magic could be channeled or used as flying transportation. Upon joining a Coven, however, witches were required to surrender their Palismen.
Eda’s roommate/pet/son was King (Alex Hirsch), the second character created. He was a dog-like creature with a horned skull for a head. King believed he was the one-time King of Demons, cursed into a tiny form and cast out from his kingdom. In actuality, it turned out that Eda had found him alone in a large ruin shortly after he hatched and had encouraged his fantasies of grandeur. In the ruin, he had built little “subjects” out of rock, and at the Owl House he amassed an “army” of stuffed animals. King was eventually revealed to be the last remaining Titan, and the son of the Boiling Isles itself. As King matured, he would gain access to a sonic “Weh!”, projecting out a rainbow wave of energy from his mouth. Until Luz came along, King’s best friend was a stuffed rabbit with a button eye he named Francois. Terrance described him as “a little guy that wants to be big” and related to his desire to be taken seriously despite his small stature.
Protecting the Owl House was a house demon named Hooty (also Hirsch, doing the “world’s worst Mickey Mouse impression” he had used to help lay down temporary tracks which Terrace ended up liking enough to use). Hooty had an owl’s face and primarily resided in the house’s front door; however he could stretch his tube-like body to great lengths, allowing him to travel well into the woods around the house or anywhere within the house itself (Terrace once responded to the question of Hooty’s length during a Reddit Ask Me Anything session: “There is no beginning. There is no end. There is only…Hooty.”). In fact, he was the house, and proved capable of modifying its floorplan on a whim if so desired. Hooty could dispatch a legion of Emperor’s Coven Scouts as easily as he could annoy with occupants of the house with his incessant and cheerful prattling in his attempts to be included. At times, Hooty could (disgustingly) remove himself from his door to go into a wearable birdhouse backpack to join the others on adventures as Port-A-Hooty.
Luz was harder for Terrace to nail down. It was only through conversations with her best friend, roommate, story artist and creative consultant Luz Batista, that the character began to take shape. Terrace asked if she could name Luz after her, which Batista allowed so long as Luz was made Dominican. A lot of her personality came from the conversations the pair had about being “wayward” and “awkward” teams that dreamt of escaping to a magical place. Being human, Luz had no inherent magical ability. Instead, she was able to cast spells using a kind of magic few had ever encountered: glyph magic. At various intervals, the Titan would reveal one of four glyphs to Luz: light, ice, fire and plant. Once revealed, Luz could draw the glyphs on any surface and then touch them to activate them; the effects of the spell determined by her own mind. Eventually, Luz learned the glyphs could be combined in various configurations to create new spells, such as invisibility and hovering. As these glyphs were powered by the Titan, they didn’t work in the Human Realm despite witches maintaining their own magical abilities. Terrace infused much of herself in Luz to the point it was almost semi-autobiographical. Many have come to regard Luz as having ADHD, and while Terrace did consider her neurodivergent when creating her, she didn’t specifically envision ADHD.
When Luz realized Eda wasn’t going to be the most dedicated of teachers, she decided to enroll in the nearby school of magic: Hexside School of Magic and Demonics (the school being one of the compromises Terrace had to make). At Hexside, each student was assigned a track of study that aligned with one of the main covens (including an additional “detention track” for troublesome students). After Luz’s admission, however, the concept of multi-tracks was allowed and students began to learn different disciplines at the same time (with Luz, of course, studying all of them). It was there that Luz met her new friends: Willow Park (Tati Gabrielle), an adept plant magic user whose years struggling being misassigned to the Abomination Track led to a long period of self-doubt and believing taunts that she was just “half a witch”, and Augustus “Gus” porter (Issac Ryan Brown), a younger prodigy that was adept at illusion magic and was the enthusiastic and excitable president of the Human Appreciation Society where he shared his (inaccurate) knowledge about human culture and artifacts. Collectively, they and later friends would be known by fans as The Hexsquad. Willow’s Palismen was a bee named Clover and Gus’ a chameleon named Emmiline Bailey Marcostimo (named after a combination of writers Emmy Cicierega, Madeleine Hernandez, John Bailey Owen, Zach Marcus and Mikki Crisostomo). Many inspirations from Harry Potter were taken for the school, including secret doors and pathways, a Choosy Hat (a parody of the Sorting Hat) that picked student’s tracks for them (before trying to eat their heads), and the school’s chief sport Grudgby, which was like rugby with magical perils galore and featured a bug called the rusty smidge (a parody of the Golden Snitch from Quidditch) that resulted in instant victory. A Flyer Derby team, a sport that was like capture the flag with extreme flying, would eventually be established by Willow.
What school would be complete without its clique of mean girls? Boscha (voice director Eden Riegel) was a three-eyed potions student that was captain of the Grudgby team, which allowed her to lord over the other students unchecked and make sure they all knew they were beneath her. Skara (Kimberly Brooks) was a bard student who was excitable and sociable, often followed Boscha’s lead in belittling others, and engaged in practical jokes when not playing on the Grudgby team. Cat (based on storyboard artist Catherine Harman-Mitchell, voiced by Grey DeLisle) was a healing student and a member of Boscha’s Grudgby team. Amelia (Riegel, using different voices each time) was a plant student and the fourth member of the Grudgby team.
Amity Blight (Mae Whitman) was an abomination student who was bright and competitive, driven to succeed with the goal of ending up in the Emperor’s Coven and earning the top student spot because of it. She was once Willow’s best friend until forced to abandon her for Boscha and Skara by her parents, Odalia (Rachael MacFarlane), an oracle who ran their company, Blight Industries, and Alador (Jim Pirri), an absent-minded inventor who merged abomination magic with technology to create the weaponry the company sold. Originally, she detested Luz and treated her as shabbily as she did her fellow classmates, but after coming to know her Amity reevaluated her life choices and began making decisions outside of her parents’ whims. That included reigniting her friendship with Willow, and giving in to her growing attraction towards Luz to become her awesome girlfriend (the pairing dubbed by fans as “Lumity”). Amity worked at the town library reading to little witchlings, had her own secret space behind the “Romance” section, and was also a fan of The Good Witch Azura series. Her Palisman was a white cat named Ghost (based on Terrace’s own cat).
|Principal Bump with Edric, Emira, Jerbo, Hunter, Viney, Skara, Willow, Amity, Barcus and Matt Tholomuel.|
Other students included Amity’s antagonistic (yet supportive when it counted) twin siblings, Emira (Erica Lindbeck) and Edric (Ryan O’Flanagan), who were both studying illusions but expanded to healing and potions and beast keeping, respectively; Matt Tholomule (initially said as one complete name, voiced by Jorge Diaz), an overconfident construction student who had power-hungry plans of supplanting Gus in the Human Appreciation Society, but instead became Gus’ friend and was inspired to join the illusion track as well; Viney (Ally Maki), a healing and beast keeping student with a casual and laid-back demeanor and a penchant for leadership, who had a pet griffin named Puddles; Jerbo (Noah Galvin), a plant and abomination student who was best friends with Viney and had ambitions of evolving the Coven System to involve more mixed-magic covens; Barcus (named after writer Zach Marcus), a dog-like student of oracle and potions who only spoke by barking (though others understood him), had a deep loyalty to his friends, and stood up against injustice; Eileen (Brooks), a potions student whose entire head was a giant eye and always had a slouched, emotionless posture (she was never named within the show, but character designer Matthieu Cousin revealed her name in a tweet); Bo (inspired by storyboard artist and director Bosook “Bo” Coburn, voiced by Riegel), a healing student who was friends with Skara apart from Amity and Boscha; Celine (aka Moon Girl), an oracle student with one eye and a head shaped like a crescent moon (again not named on the show, but in a tweet by Cousin and during a stream by Terrace); and Mary (Riegel), an abomination student with large horns on her head. Overseeing the school was Principal Hieronymus Bump (Bumper Robinson), who, while strict, genuinely cared for his students’ welfare and success. Bump was a wielder of abomination magic, and his Palisman rested on top of his head; helping him to see due to a missing eye, and concealing his long, raven locks.
Emperor Belos was the primary antagonist of the show, although he was only a background presence for the beginning of it. It would be discovered that Belos was actually a human named Philip Whittebane (voiced by Alex Lawther when not Belos) who had found his way to the Isles with his older brother, Caleb, back during the height of anti-witch hysteria in America. As such, both he and his brother had aspirations of becoming witch-hunters. That is until Caleb met and fell for a witch named Evelyn. Philip murdered Caleb and dedicated the next few centuries to finding the glyphs (actively hidden from him by the Titan) and learning their secrets, and then establishing himself as a savior and ruler as part of a plan to destroy the Demon Realm as he found his way back to the Human Realm. As part of his attempt to harness magic himself, Belos had carved glyphs into his body which backfired and cause his body to destabilize and turn into a black goo. The only way to revert back was for him to regularly consume the essence of Palismen, which he collected by from those surrendered by new Coven members.
Serving directly under Belos was Lilith Clawthorne (Cissy Jones as an adult, Abigail Zoe Lewis & Lily Sanfelippo in her younger years), Eda’s estranged sister who had actually put the curse on her believing it would only remove her magic for a day, allowing her to win her position in the Emperor’s Coven. She worked her way up to the head of the Coven and led the attempts to capture Eda, believing that Belos would help cure Eda. Upon learning Belos had no intentions of doing so, Lilith left the Coven and took on half of Eda’s curse; losing her magic and gaining a Raven Beast form, before eventually getting her own Harpy form.
Kikimora (Mela Lee) was Belos’ assistant; a diminutive demonic-looking witch with two hands joined at the wrist for hair. She was fiercely loyal to Belos and did whatever she could to maintain his favor, including subtly eliminating or sabotaging any competition within the Coven. However, after a string of failures thanks to Luz and Eda, Kikimora’s position gradually diminished along with her mental state, turning her into an unhinged paranoid with fits of aggression. She absolutely hated the Golden Guard and viewed him as the ultimate threat to her status, doing whatever she could to undermine and outright destroy him.
The Coven Heads serving Belos were Raine Whispers (Avi Roque, whom they were modeled after, and Blu del Barrio as a youth), the head of the Bard Coven with tremendous stage fright, Eda’s former romantic partner, and secret leader of groups against Belos (first Bards Against the Throne, or the BATs, then Covens Against the Throne, or the CATs); Darius Deamonne (Keston John), the posh and meticulous head of the Abomination Coven who was also secretly working against Belos and joined up with Raine; Eberwolf the Huntsman (Kari Wahlgren), the animalistic leader of the Beast Keeping Coven who often drove Darius nuts, but was working with him against Belos until joining up with Raine as well; Terra Snapdragon (Debra Wilson), the merciless head of the Plant Coven that was fanatically loyal to Belos for the rewards he promised and enjoyed sadistically toying with her prey; and Adrian Graye Vernworth (named after the character Dorian Gray and whose surname was only seen in the credits, voiced by Noshir Dalal), head of the Illusion Coven with an overdramatic and theatrical diva demeanor who approached things as if they were scripted productions of which he was the director. The other Coven heads—Mason for Construction, Hettie Cutburn for Healing, Osran for Oracle, Vitimir for Potions—were seen, but their screen time was limited due to circumstances explained shortly, and their names only ever revealed in a Tweet.
Other characters included Steve (Hirsch at first, then Matt Chapman), a Coven Scout who slowly became disillusioned with the Emperor’s Coven and eventually quit, and was Matt Tholomule’s older half-brother (confirmed by Terrace on Twitter, as it didn’t make it into the show itself); the Bat Queen (Isabella Rossellini), a giant Palisman who had long forgotten her original owner and now took care of other lost and abandoned Palismen; Morton (Shannon McKain), who worked at an elixir shop and sold Eda the one that helped keep her curse in check; Warden Wrath (Roger Craig Smith), one-time warden of the Conformatorium (Belos’ prison for witches that refuse to conform to his established standards for society) and father of the deep-voiced Braxas (Kevin Locarro); Tinella Nosa, also called Tiny Nose (a self-caricature voiced by Terrace), a tiny round demon with a large nose who often popped up in the main characters’ lives; Tibbles (Parvesh Cheena), an opportunistic con artist that resembled a demonic pig and whose schemes often included getting the better of Eda, King and Luz; Number 5, aka Vee (Michaela Dietz), a shape-shifting basilisk brought back from extinction by Belos for their magic-eating abilities, who escaped from him and took Luz’s place in the Human Realm before adopting her own human identity; Eda’s parents Gwendolyn (Deb Doetzer), who became obsessed with curing Eda’s curse much to Eda’s chagrin and to the neglect of Lilith, and Dell (Peter Gallagher), who lost an eye and the ability to carve Palismen when he accidentally triggered the Owl Beast to attack him; Perry Porter (Gary Anthony Williams), Gus’ reporter father; Gilbert (Eric Bauza) and Harvey (Chapman) Park, Willow’s dads; Flora D’splora (a parody of Dora the Explorer, voiced by Eileen Galindo), Lilith’s old mentor and an adventurous historian; and Masha (DeLisle), an attendee at the summer camp with Vee (as Luz) that took over the Gravesfield Historical Society after its former manager, Jacob Hopkins (Smith), a wannabe witch hunter, was fired for altering the exhibits to include himself as a hero.
The Owl House debuted on January 10, 2020 on Disney Channel. It initially aired on Friday nights, repeating the next morning, for its first batch of episodes. New episodes moved to Saturday mornings in July. It was originally intended to air in 2019 alongside sister series Amphibia—also about a human girl being stranded in a strange alternate dimension in production around the same time—but was held over until January. A trailer for the series was shown at Annecy Festival 2019, the main title sequence at San Diego Comic-Con, and a sneak peek and the end credit sequence at a panel at New York Comic Con. It received early pick-ups for both a second and third season. While the first season primarily set up the characters and the world, it steadily introduced elements of the world’s lore that would ramp up in the second. This was supplemented by two shorts series on Disney Channel’s YouTube channel: Look Hooo’s Talking, which had two live-action owls providing recaps and commentary on the first ten episodes, and Owl Pellets, featuring the characters in small slice of life misadventures (a 6th short centered on Tinella Nosa was never released due to being deemed too scary to air).
The second season would also skew into a darker tone, closer to what Terrace always envisioned. Gradually, Luz would become more proficient in magic while steadily descending into the depths of depression due to blaming herself for Belos almost succeeding in his plans; an extension of her already feeling like a burden to others due to her treatment by others back in the Human Realm. It would also showcase the growth of Lumity’s relationship, Eda’s sense of responsibility and maternal nature, Willow’s confidence and the restoration of her friendship with Amity, and Hunter finding the support he never had before. Luz would also spend most of it trying to find a way back home with the help of Philip’s journal after having to destroy the portal door to keep it out of Belos’ hands.
Unfortunately, for its third season, the show became a victim of circumstance. March 2020 marked the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, which forced the cast and crew to work on the second season from their homes. It also meant that Disney’s parks, which generate the revenue needed for their productions, were shut down and not making any money. As a result, budgets were slashed for their programs moving forward. Amphibia was farther along, losing only a single episode in its third season. The Owl House, however, had received a third season renewal of only three 44-minute specials and would be the show’s final season with no possibility to discuss a fourth. During another Reddit AMA session, Terrace explained that the decision came down to a single executive who felt the show didn’t fit “into the Disney brand” being that it was serialized—something Disney had decided to move away from with their newer shows—and its audience skewed older than their desired demographic. Terrace and the crew had ample notice of their show’s abrupt ending, allowing them to retool the second half of the second season to focus more on what they needed to wrap up by series’ end as well as slip in a few personal jabs at the decision. The tonal shift was not only a creative decision, but also an outlet for their collective frustration of dealing with quarantine.
To help facilitate things, Terrace and Owen introduced a character they had developed from a folder of collected reference images to potentially appear later on the show. That character was The Collector (Fryda Wolff), inspired by the works of Varo, puppets and clown dolls. The Collector was a humanoid childlike being with two-toned cosmic-themed clothing and a large blue blotch on his face that created a crescent moon shape on his face. He had god-like powers, but the mentality and temperament of a child which meant he only wanted to have fun and had little understanding of what that fun could do to other beings. He was part of a group of Collectors known as The Archivists who were dedicated to observing the passage of time and life, and took members of various species to preserve for all time. Any time they were met with resistance, they would destroy the offending planet. They were also the ones who bound the Owl Beast to Eda’s curse. The Collectors had come to fear the Titans that once populated the Demon Realm as their magic was the only thing that hurt them, and facilitated their extinction. The Collector, however, had no interest in that and simply wanted to play with the younger Titans. Believing them the perpetrator of his race’s annihilation, King’s father imprisoned the Collector in the In Between Realm, a strange place that connected all realms. A group of ancient witches calling themselves Titan Trappers would come to worship the Collector as the “Grand Huntsman” and were dedicated to finding the last Titan—aka King—as his blood could free them. Belos, however, found one of the crescent moon tablets that allowed direct communication with the Collector and manipulated him into helping fulfill his plans.
The series was written by Terrace, Marcus, Owen, Crisostomo, Cicierega, Batista, Hernandez, Rachel Vine, Charley Feldman, Manuel Jesse Nieto Jr., Jeff Trammell, Molly Ostertag and Janae Hall, with Vine serving as story editor. Each episode contained two types of hidden messages. The first were comprised of runes—phonetic symbols used as a complementary language in the Boiling Isles alongside the spoken language—with one word hidden somewhere in every episode as indicated by an eye symbol and decoded with a provided cipher. These rune messages when completed alluded to the overall plot of the season in the format of poems. The second kind of message came by using the first letter of every episode title to spell out a phrase that also alluded to a plot element for the season (excluding the third season, where the entire first word of each title was used to give fans the parting message: “Thanks For Watching”).
Character designs were done by Cousin, Andy Garner-Flexner, Asia Ellington, Becky Dreistadt, Erik Elizarrez, Fabien Mense, Jess Marfisi, Joe Sparrow, Justin K. Noel, Lina Schlotter, Marina Gardner, Sarah Craig, Tristan Yuvienco, Zharia Rahn and Lío Guevara, with backgrounds designed by Alexandre Diboine, Jane Bak, Killian Ng, Kyle Fewell, Leland Goodman and Sam Bosma. Animation duties were handled by Sugarcube, Rough Draft Korea and Sunmin Image Pictures. Spencer Wan was hired as an in-house animator for season 1 with the title “animation supervisor” on Terrace’s insistence. Disney was hesitant at first because they felt he wouldn’t fit their “overseas pipeline”. Kofi Fiagome took over the position in season 2, with Terrace herself also doing rough animation for three episodes. Ricky Cometa served as the art director, picked by Terrace because she knew he could “execute the kind of weird junk I wanted to do.” He was succeeded by Garner-Flexner for the second half of the series’ run. TJ Hill composed the music for the first season including the intro and outro themes, with Brad Breeck taking over from the second season onward and Andrew Morgan Smith providing additional music.
The series’ opening served as an introduction to the world and characters utilizing completely original animation by Sugarcube, ending with the title enhanced by a quick burst of glyph magic. In season two, the intro received continued alterations to reflect the changes to the characters’ designs (based on a storyboard Wan drew as an alternative to the flying sequence from the original, done by Fiagome); Luz’s proficiency with glyph magic; the state of the show’s secondary villains and prominence of Belos; and all the learned glyph spells projecting from the title. The intro would often end up shortened or eliminated entirely in favor of a quick musical cue and the title if more time was needed for the story. The show’s outro for the first season featured Luz strolling through the Boiling Isles before returning to the Owl House. For the second season, that was replaced by artwork created by Jesse Balmer depicting events of the season, with new images being added for the second half of the season. Episode 1 and episode 2 of the third season featured new pictures by Daun Han depicting events between those shown on screen. The final episode’s served as an epilogue; following Owlbert as a means to showcase everyone after the timeskip (including new background characters based on members of the crew). For crucial episodes, the outro was replaced with a shot of the Emperor’s castle, the Titan’s skull, and the old house in the Human Realm, respectively.
One of the show’s enduring mysteries was what kind of Palisman Luz would get. While others in her class had gotten theirs in the second season, Luz was unable to as she wasn’t clear on her hearts’ desire; one of the requirements for bonding with a Palisman. Eda and King would then get Luz some Palistrom wood to carve her own from, and she ultimately chose to carve an egg so that her Palisman could choose what it wanted to be as she had. Fans speculated that it would either be a bat, due to the wings on Luz’s phone case and it being her icon in the Tamagotchi-like device she used to communicate with Amity via emojis, or a snake, due to all of the snake imagery throughout the series. Further bolstering the latter idea was that viewers noticed that in The Owl House’s title logo, part of the “H” looked like a staff with how it was positioned under the “O”, which contained Owlbert. When the logo was flipped upside-down, the “L” resembled that part of the “H” and was positioned directly under the “S” which looked like a snake. Those fans were, in fact, half right. Terrace noticed that herself after the logo was finalized, which kind of cemented her own desire to have it be a snake tying into their appearances in the first episode, and Luz ended up with the snakeshifter named Stringbean. A snakeshifter was the invention of Marcus to allow them to utilize all the other suggested animals the Palisman could be since she could change into any of them at will, and the name appealed to Terrace’s love of lame puns.
The Owl House had received special notoriety for its unprecedented and overt LGBTQ+ representation—particularly for a Disney show. Over the course of the series, Luz would come out as bisexual (first made official during a Reddit AMA with Terrace, and making her Disney’s first as a lead character), and Hunter was also stated to be by Terrace after the show ended; Amity was declared a lesbian by Terrace and actively dated Luz, who was also her first crush; Willow had two dads and was said to be Pansexual (again, by Terrace after the fact); Raine was non-binary with they/them pronouns (a first for Disney) like Roque used, as was Masha; and Lilith was aromantic and asexual (revealed during a charity livestream). The Collector also alternated between he/they pronouns. Other queer characters would appear as background or minor characters, all of which was completely normalized in the Demon Realm and not really presented as an issue for the brief time in the Human Realm. After Luz came out to her mother, Camila started wearing a heart pin in Pride colors. Additionally, many scenes would employ a color palette representative of the various Pride Flags. These efforts earned praise from GLAAD, resulting in a nomination for a GLAAD Media Award in 2021, and won the series a Peabody Award. From a personal perspective, many LGBTQ+ fans found comfort in a show like this existing; having lacked such representation in media when they were children themselves. However, this also came with its fair share of detractors in the form of parent, conservative and religious groups who felt any form of queer was akin to degenerate and pedophilic behavior (they also had a problem with the witchcraft and demonic elements to it). In certain countries where Disney aired, episodes were required to be edited to remove any queer content, left out of circulation altogether, or the series was outright banned in its entirety. Terrace was upfront about her desire to include LGBTQ+ characters, but Disney was initially hesitant to allow it. Terrace credited her stubbornness for their eventual change of heart and support. Other award nominations included Annie Awards, Daytime Emmy Awards, Imagen Foundation Awards, Pena de Prata, and Autostraddle TV Awards, winning one of those and a BMI Film & TV Award.
While the show was in production, members of the cast and crew were very active on social media; showing off behind the scenes material, giving background on story and character choices, and just interacting with the fans in general. Fans, in turn, worked to try and reverse Disney’s cancellation decision by ensuring the series would be one of the top trending topics every week. Numerous YouTube reactors reacted to the series; some even attracting the attention of members of the cast and crew including Zach Reacts, The Third Bill, Man of 1000 Thoughts, and Not-So-Average-Fangirl. The day before the second half of season 2 began, Jones and Robles started an informal Instagram Live show on Jones’ account called the Post Hoot. Typically posted the Friday before a new episode, they would discuss events up to that point and answer some fan questions as time allowed. The duo would soon become a trio with the addition of YouTube reactor-turned-Production Associate Rebecca Bozza, aka Rebecca Rose. Bozza's reactions were followed by an in-depth analysis of the episode, themes, characters and the hidden codes. Despite her comparatively short time with the show, she became almost an encyclopedia of knowledge about the ins and outs of everything on screen and behind the scenes and displayed that knowledge within each Post Hoot appearance. Various members from the cast and crew joined them to talk about the show and their own creative backgrounds for the benefit of viewers looking to join the industry themselves. Bozza would upload several of these to her YouTube channel for wider access, while other users would upload the ones she hadn’t yet.
There hasn’t been much in the way of Disney-branded merchandise for the show. A platforming game titled Witch’s Apprentice was released for PC and iOS. Players controlled Luz as she performed errands for Eda and collected 19 “relics” that corresponded to the 19 episodes of the first season. The game featured new dialogue from Luz, Eda, King and Hooty. Disney Books published a picture book adapting “Witches Before Wizards” and an easy-reader book adapting “I Was a Teenage Abomination” and “Adventures in the Elements” called Hex-cellent Tales from the Boiling Isles. The Mystery Shack, a website dedicated to ensuring shows get some products out there when their IP holders seem unwilling to do so, had become central in providing a wide variety of merchandise ranging from plush dolls, clothing, posters and pictures, and even props like the Golden Guard’s mask and Amity’s library staff ID. Anything else was provided by the fans for the fans through various online storefronts like Etsy, Kickstarter campaigns, or attempting to get an official LEGO set made. Webcomic artist MoringMark took to doing continuing strips set between and following events of the show. Terrace and various members of the cast have participated in Streamily live signing events and maintained Streamily storefronts to allow fans to acquire signed official season posters or prints provided by fan artists and Terrace herself.
The Owl House aired on Disney Channel for its entire original run, and simultaneously on Disney XD for its third season. After its finale aired, the series was moved to Disney XD for reruns until October of 2023, where it became exclusive to streaming services. It was first uploaded to Disney+ in October of 2020 after the first season had completely aired. The second season was uploaded in batches of 5 (with one batch including 6) a few weeks after the last episode of each batch aired. The third season was uploaded within about a month of each episode’s debut. “A Lying Witch and a Warden”, “Separate Tides”, “Eclipse Lake”, “Labyrinth Runners” and “King’s Tide” (the latter four now only clips as of this writing) were uploaded in full to Disney Channel’s YouTube channel, as were each part of season three within a day or two of their televised debut. “Thanks to Them” was made private when “For the Future” was uploaded, but returned when “Watching and Dreaming” was added. All three would also be combined into a single compilation movie. Numerous clip videos have been uploaded, which include episode teasers or character moment compilations. “For the Future” was accidentally released early to iTunes Canada, but was quickly deleted within hours—though not before many had already viewed it. Owl Pellets was made available on Disney+ in the United Kingdom.
As each special of the third season broke a million views faster than the last on YouTube, coupled with the massive attendance at the panel during New York Comic Con, Disney executives finally realized just how successful the show was (they had been dismissive of all the fans’ efforts to get it trending as they felt “anyone can trend on Twitter”). Unfortunately, this newfound awareness couldn’t do the show any good at that point in time. It did continue to live on, however, as part of their Chibiverse. Inspired by the Big Hero 6 short series, Big Cibi 6: The Shorts, Disney began a series called Chibi Tiny Tales that would feature Chibi versions of Disney characters in quick 1-minute comedy adventures that aired during commercial breaks on the networks. The Owl House received four dedicated shorts, while King and Luz and Amity each cameoed in another short, respectively. A spin-off series, Chibiverse, collected previously aired and new shorts together in a single episode with an all-new connecting story with full voice acing (the shorts themselves were typically done in mime with sound effects). While The Owl House characters appeared in the new material, Robles reprised her role of Luz for one episode.
During the 2021 San Diego Comic-Con’s Disney Television Animation panel, Amphibia and The Owl House fulfilled fans’ desires to see the two shows cross over. Terrace and Amphibia creator Matt Braly penned a script set between “Through the Looking Glass Ruins” and “Knock, Knock, Knockin’ on Hooty’s Door” that saw one of Luz’s attempts at recreating the portal shunting her and Eda to the world of Amphibia, where they met Anne Boonchuy (Brenda Song), Hop Pop (Bill Farmer), Sprig (Justin Felbinger) and Polly (Amanda Leighton). The crossover was done as a remote table read, with Terrace and Braly serving as narrators. 65 fan artists came together to animate the crossover and uploaded it to YouTube. A more visual official crossover happened as one of the aforementioned Chibi shorts.
Both series would continue to reference each other with little easter eggs. In The Owl House, Hop Pop’s face appeared on a book in Willow’s room and a poster in Camila’s veterinary clinic; Sprig as a doll in Hunter’s room; the Calamity Box in the Owl House’s basement; Anne’s tennis racket and Sasha’s sword in a weapons rooms on Titan Trapper Island; Anne’s picture in an online article about her return on Camila’s tablet; a snail that resembled their transportation, Bessie, outside the Noceda house; Polly in a realistic sketch in Luz’s sketchbook and as a pin on her bulletin board; someone wearing a Grime costume for Halloween in “Thanks to Them”; Bibsy as some graffiti; and a Hexside student resembling Anne wearing the Calamity Trio colors. In Amphibia, King’s skull adorns a staff Anne holds as she’s outfitted with an armor choice and the Owl House was shown in an alternate dimension (an unconfirmed one is a planet with purple oceans appearing in a book during research of the Calamity Box). Hirsch’s earlier series, Gravity Falls, also got in on the action. The graphic novel, Gravity Falls: Lost Legends (on which Terrace worked), featured several easter eggs including Eda’s silhouette on a wanted poster, the Boiling Isles mentioned in the journal, and Eda’s staff showing up in a bundle of wood. On The Owl House, an image of series villain Bill Cipher was featured among the demons King was teaching Luz about in the episode “The Intruder”, Bear-O was seen on a wanted poster, and the revelation of one of Eda’s Human Realm aliases being “Marylin” fueled the speculation that she was Grunkle Stan’s ex-wife, who shared that name and Eda’s general description via Hirsch’s in-character commentary on the DVD set. It’s often said that Dipper’s hat appears in Eda’s stand, but Bosma corrected that it was a Philadelphia 76ers hat.
Once the show wrapped, Terrace left Disney; taking time to recover from the exhaustion of running a show, the constant battles with Disney leadership, and the frustration of the company’s refusal to fully stand up for a large part of their audience and workforce—particularly in the face of Florida’s controversial “Don’t Say Gay” bill. However, she has repeatedly said that she hopes to get a chance to revisit The Owl House someday, either with a spin-off series or in some other medium like a comic book she’d write and draw, as while the main story was concluded, there were still many others that they had to abandon. Until that time, many fans continue to keep the show alive in their art, their cosplay, and various efforts to let Disney know that they want more.
“A Lying Witch and a Warden” (1/10/20) – Luz ends up in a magical world where she manages to convince Eda the “Owl Lady” to take her on as a witch’s apprentice.
“Separate Tides” (6/12/21) – Feeling like a burden to Eda, Luz takes on a dangerous hunting mission to earn a lot of money that ends up being a trap set up by the Golden Guard.
“Thanks to Them” (10/15/22) – The Hexside gang believes they may have found a cache of Titan’s Blood in the Human Realm, but Belos is still lurking in the background ready to make his move.
“Welcome to Hexside!” (4/4/20) – King stops his crystal ball on a commercial for Hexside starring Principal Bump.
“The Bake Off!” (5/17/22) – Disagreeing over what kind of snack to bake, Eda and Lilith have a baking battle.