Arcane, since its release, still raises questions about its canon, lore, and connection to League of Legends game, the most popular MOBA in the world. Besides its gameplay, League of Legends always had lore behind every champion, and it variated a lot since 2009. Arcane brought up so many new cool details about established champions of the League and even expanded some characters’ backgrounds which seems so much better after the show’s release. In this article, we will discuss if Arcane is canon and part of the League of Legends lore.
Arcane is not a full canon of the League of Legends core lore but is definitely part of it. What does that mean? Well, Arcane’s canon differentiates from the League of Legends lore, but still has a connection to it. A great example is Marvel Cinematic Universe – even though they still share quite a lot of details from the original source, like characters and some stories, for the sake of the movies, MCU made some different creative decisions since they are creating stories for the masses. The same goes for Riot Games executives.
We will explain further why is Arcane different from the core League of Legends lore and compare it to other instances in fictional media. Moreover, we will analyze the structure of the League of Legends lore and compare it to the Arcane canon. If you are interested in this topic, stay with us until the end of the article.
Structure of League of Legends Lore
Before we go deeper into connections between Arcane and League lore, first we need to analyze the structure of the main League of Legends lore. As we already mentioned, it is quite layered and complex, which makes it even more alluring for the fans.
Because League has more than one hundred champions in the game, each has, besides a few, background and lore that is complementing the main core universe and other champions involved in the stories from Runeterra. It is also quite important to mention that League of Legends had a huge lore reboot in 2014 when Riot Games decided to remake some of the character’s stories and overhaul the main content of the game called Runeterra.
The main universe of the League is now called Runeterra Prime, which is a concept borrowed from the DC comics and they even implemented the concept of the Multiverse in their game. This was actually proven to be useful since Riot Games created more universes – Star Guardian, High Noon, Pulsefire, PROJECT, Blood Moon, and more, including Arcane.
At first, only the line of skins that players could buy for their champions in the game, League of Legends used them to expand its universe even more and created really cool storylines that are being released periodically in League of Legends updates every year. This is why everything around skin lines and their storylines was confusing to fans, but after the release of LoL Multiverse, everything was clearer because it differentiated the core universe from alternate ones.
The huge question is, why did we include Arcane on this alternate universes list? You will find out why in the next paragraph.
Differences Between Main LoL Universe and Arcane
Like every adaptation, there are always differences from the original source, and Arcane is no different. For example, the main characters of the show, at the core, are quite similar to their League of Legends versions, however, Riot Games used Arcane to change the backgrounds of the characters that did not have fulfilled lore in the game.
Arcane is set in the Piltover and Undercity, and the latter is already called Zaun in the core universe.
The main character of the Arcane, Jinx, has a really shallow lore in the League of Legends, where she is a mysterious insane woman who spends her time harassing people of Piltover and Zaun, and everyone else in her path. Vi is not her sister, and Jinx does not have any personal connections to other champions as she has in Arcane – Caitlyn, Jayce, and Vi only know Jinx from destruction and their efforts to catch her once and for all in the name of the law.
In the Arcane, Jinx is a more complex and interesting character than in the League, and that is why Riot Games decided to actually start implementing her Arcane backstory to the main game. It helped that the fans rallied as well, and Jinx slowly but surely is starting to be a more interesting character in the main lore as well.
Another character Vi is quite different in the Arcane – in the core universe she was an orphan who has stolen from rich people and eventually joined Warden’s of Piltover, where she together with Sheriff of Piltover Caitlyn, enforces justice and cleans the streets from crime. Besides relations with Jinx, Vi acquiring her signature Hextech gauntlets is quite different from the main universe. In the Arcane, we know that Vi got her gauntlets from Jayce, while in the core universe, Vi took the Atlas Gauntlets from the Zaun miners to save them from the collapsing mine.
In the core universe, Jayce is also a brilliant inventor as in Arcane, however, he is much more arrogant and rude, especially to other people. He partners up with Viktor as well, but under different circumstances which makes them opponents in the League of Legends core lore. Their insurmountable differences in opinions over science ethics made them enemies in the main universe, and we expect the same to happen in the Arcane as well.
Viktor’s Glorious Evolution idealism is as strong in the core universe as is in Arcane, and his devotion to the betterment of humankind got him the title of an enemy, especially to Piltover people. He wants to help the people of Zaun so much, and his goal to make Piltoverians understand Zaunites more got him in a lot of trouble.
Caitlyn is essentially the same character in the main universe as in Arcane, however, she is not a Sheriff yet as she is in League, we do not know about her family, and she is much younger in Arcane than in the game. The same goes for Vi – their romantic undertones are not that much explored in the core universe like they were in Arcane, and most of the LoL fans welcomed it.
One more big difference is the absence of Silco, the antagonist of the Arcane TV show, and a father figure of Jinx. Vader is hinted to be Warwick, another champion from League of Legends, Doctor Singed does not have a daughter as it was hinted in the Arcane, and Ekko and Heimerdinger have some differences in their lore from the main universe.
All in all, Riot did implement some details of the Arcane to the main lore, but not fully. Now, we can answer the question of why is that the case.
Is Arcane Canon & Part of League of Legends Lore?
After a deeper look into how League of Legends lore works and its structure, we can safely say that Arcane is not a full canon of the League lore but is definitely a part of it. Riot Games did take characters and some stories from the original source and adapted them to the TV show, however, they did not make Arcane a full-on canon universe.
As we already mentioned with other League universes, like Star Guardian, Blood Moon, and Pulsefire, Arcane is also a type of alternate universe that has a lot of similarities to the main lore. It is acknowledged, confirmed but not adapted as the main universe, which places Arcane somewhere between the main core universe and alternate universe.
Riot Games is still not ready to make Arcane the main lore because it is still new, and they do not feel the need to do another reboot of the core lore just for the sake of the TV show. With that said, Arcane is still very much a part of the League of Legends lore, and an important one as well. There is a huge possibility that Riot Games is trying to take notes from the Marvel Cinematic Universe, where the characters and stories are more or less similar to the original source, comics, but changed for the film format. This is legitimately a good move from Riot Games because it gives more content to the fans and expands the LoL universe even more.
Also, most of the fans do not mind the different stories of each character and like to have more content “thrown” at them.
In the end, we can safely say that Arcane is not a full canon of the core League lore but very much a part of it as any other story released from Riot Games since the game’s release in 2009. Its flexibility and place between the alternate universe’s lore and the core lore make Arcane even more interesting to the fans of the League of Legends game and TV show.