EDITOR’S NOTE: This article contains minor spoilers for RANGER’S APPRENTICE: THE ROYAL RANGER – A NEW BEGINNING.
Since 2010, the tagline of “the final chapter” has been touted out multiple times for John Flanagan’s expansive YA fantasy series. And yet, it still has continued strong, delivering new and well-received entries on a nearly annual basis with the nearest release being Duel at Araulenon May 28th. Sure, it has made author John Flanagan a sizable sum of cash, but what about the characters of his world? Is the end truly in sight or is it all just smoke and mirrors to a series that will effectively be endless?
After completing an advanced copy of Duel at Araulen, courtesy of Penguin Random House for this blog tour, excluding spoilers, it’s safe to say that there are definitely directions that Flanagan could take the series, even if one is not immediately set in stone in the newest entry. It leaves the door wide open to new adventures and never offers any sense of finality, a characteristic that will be further discussed in a review next week. So could Flanagan continue the series past Duel at Araulen? Absolutely.
For fear of spoiling recent entries, any speculation of the actual content of potential books in the future will not be included in this discussion. Firstly, Flanagan recently began a series titled “The Early Years,” with currently two installments under its belt. However, this series has been on a stalemate for quite some time, most likely a result of Flanagan directing his attention towards the ”Royal Ranger” series. So consequently, a third entry to this prequel series definitely isn’t out of the question. In addition, there never has to be any sense of finality as prequels, especially dated far out from the mainline series’ events, could be an endless source of continuations for the series.
In addition, Flanagan could also pull a move similar to that of Christopher Paolini who, in between his admittedly massive entries, releases companion books or even short story collections, with The Fork, the Witch, and the Worm being the most recent examples. This most likely couldn’t serve as a feasible career plan for years on end, but should keep most readers entertained as a genuine release, either from “The Early Years” or “The Royal Ranger,” is prepared.
Speaking of which, the headliner for the entire franchise is unquestionably “The Royal Ranger,” tracing apprentice Maddie in what is currently a trilogy of perilous stakes. As noted before, there is no finality to Duel at Araulen, leaving the door wide open for new installments, a move that I am all but confident that Flanagan will take. For one, “The Royal Ranger” is the only series he has left that stars many of the major characters from the mainline series, even if they are all much older. Nostalgic fan service speaks volumes to a fan base and will cause readers to come charging for more and is a major reason why both the recent Star Wars flicks and even Avengers: Endgame crushed at the domestic and worldwide box office. And with the Ranger’s Apprentice film adaptation seemingly dead in the water with no recent developments on that front, nostalgic fan service could be exactly what Flanagan needs to carry the franchise forward.
Written & Edited by Charlie Jin