Clockwise from center: Will, Hay Lin, Irma, Cornelia, and Taranee.
|Theme music composer|
|Country of origin|
|No. of seasons||2|
|No. of episodes||52 (list of episodes)|
|Running time||22 minutes|
|Distributor||Buena Vista International Television|
|Picture format||576p (4:3)|
|Original release||December 18, 2004 –|
December 23, 2006
W.I.T.C.H. is a French-American animated television series based on the Italian comic book series of the same name. The animated series was produced by SIP Animation in association with and with participation from Jetix Europe, The Walt Disney Company and France Télévisions. W.I.T.C.H. premiered December 18, 2004 and concluded on December 23, 2006 in the U.S., where it aired on ABC Kids and the Jetix blocks on ABC Family and Toon Disney.
The show follows five girls – Will, Irma, Taranee, Cornelia and Hay Lin – who have respective magical powers over the classical elements quintessence, water, fire, earth and air, which they use to fulfill their duties as Guardians of the Veil. The names of these five characters form the titular acronym, despite the characters not actually being witches. The show takes place in the fictional city of Heatherfield and various mythical worlds, primarily Meridian.
The Guardians must save Meridian from the evil prince named Phobos and Cedric, who are searching for Phobos' sister, the long lost princess of Meridian and true heir to the throne. They later find her and the Guardians then set about saving her from Phobos. When Meridian is freed from evil and true heir takes the throne, a new mysterious sorceress named Nerissa frees Phobos' top henchmen and reforms them as the Knights of Vengeance. Once the Guardians learn more about the sorceress and her evil plan of reuniting former Guardians, they are able to defeat the Knights only to have more powerful Knights of Destruction, in addition to the former Guardians attack them.
The Guardians' chief ally is Hay Lin's paternal grandmother Yan Lin, the original, former Guardian of Air, and the one that taught the girls about their magical abilities and destiny as the second generation of Guardians of the Veil. They are also helped by Caleb, a heroic soldier from Meridian, leader of the rebellion against Phobos, and Blunk, a frog-like goblin creature (known as a Passling) who takes things from the human world to Meridian (and vice versa), humorously mistaking everyday objects for other things or items of value. Matt, Will's boyfriend, accidentally learns about Meridian and when he sees the troubles there going on, he learns how to become a warrior to help them. They are also helped by the Oracle, leader of the Universe in Kandrakar, who was the one who chose the five girls.
Guardian powers and abilities
Each Guardian's powers are fueled and magnified greatly by the mystic temple Kandrakar, transmitted to the Heart via the Aurameres (the physical representations of the Guardians' powers). The Aurameres grant the same exact elemental powers to each of their guardians; for instance, powers held by Irma would also have been possessed by Cassidy. The keeper of the Aurameres is Luba, a cat-like being.
When the Guardians transform, they change form and grow wings, which help them fly. Also, the Guardians can combine their powers together and create a beam as seen on the first episode of the series. Since the Veil was taken down, the Guardians have to cross worlds by folding, with the help of the Heart of Kandrakar. Elyon and Blunk can fold as well.
In order to travel to another place in the same world, each Guardian can teletransport. Teletransporting is a difficult ability to learn and one can materialize into another solid object if not careful enough. If a Guardian teletransports while not connected to an Auramere or a Heart, then they will drain their life force.
It has been shown that if a Guardian uses her elemental powers and is not connected to an Auramere, it will drain their life force, making them much weaker. This may be why Nerissa aged so much faster than the rest of C.H.Y.K.N.
A Guardian can become a Quinto-Guardian, obtaining powers over all five elements. A Quinto-Guardian can gain the power to create solid ice out of thin air as with liquid water. The only known Quinto-Guardians are Cornelia (temporarily via the merged Aurameres) and Nerissa (by using her Seal).
The Guardians can also become one with their dragon (or the powerful nymph Xin Jing, in the case of the Guardian of Quintessence and Keeper of the mystical Heart of Kandrakar, Will) and literally become their element while increasing all of their elemental abilities to their zenith of strength. But this is risky and rather dangerous because it costs them their humanity and they could be easily controlled and enthralled.
Astral Drops and Altermeres
Using the Heart of Kandrakar, a Guardian can create an Astral Drop, a duplicate of herself, when the words "Spord Lartsa" (Astral Drops spelled backwards) are said. The Astral Drops are doppelgangers, summoned when the Guardians have to go on a mission and need doubles so their absence is not felt. Although a Drop is a perfect physical copy of a person, they possess none of their memories, and have no personality of their own. All the Astral Drops make their debut in "Ambush at Torus Filney". Cornelia makes another Astral Drop in "The Mogriffs", as does Will in "H is for Hunted".
An Altermere is an Astral Drop brought to life through the power of Quintessence. Unlike Astral Drops, they do not fade away when "Astral Drop" is said; they are actual living beings with feelings, emotions and memories. The concept of Altermeres is introduced in "H is for Hunted" when Will creates an Astral Drop to do her chores (laundry). Nerissa soon creates trouble by making it an Altermere. In "R is for Relentless", Nerissa tries to corrupt Yan Lin to her side, but can not. So she traps Yan Lin in the Seal of Nerissa and creates an Altermere double who does not realize she is not the real Yan Lin until Nerissa tells her. In "Z is for Zenith", Yan Lin introduces that Altermere to her family as her long-lost sister from China: Mira Lin.
- Will Vandom (Kelly Stables) is the 13-year-old leader of the Guardians of the Veil and the owner of the Heart of Kandrakar, later also the Guardian of Quintessence. Will moves to Heatherfield with her mother at the beginning of the series. Originally Will's powers primarily revolve around activating the transformation into Guardian form and sealing portals. However, in the second season Will fully gains her own elemental ability of quintessence, the fifth element, which grants her electrokinetic and life-granting abilities. In addition, Will is able to communicate with electrical appliances. Her only love interest and boyfriend throughout the series is Matt Olsen.
- Irma Lair (Candi Milo) is the 12-year-old Guardian of Water whose ability allows her to control water, and in the second season, the power of mind control. Irma acts as the series' comic relief, providing witty dialogue and remarks, which is often a source of irritation for Cornelia. Irma is appointed as the station manager of Sheffield Institute's radio station, she titles her radio segment Lair on the Air. Unlike the other Guardians, Irma does not have a boyfriend despite her affection for Andrew Hornby and the unrequited attention from Martin Tubbs.
- Taranee Cook (Kali Troy) is the 12-year-old Guardian of Fire, able to create and manipulate fire, and in the second season, she has the ability to telepathically communicate with the other Guardians. Taranee is dedicated to her schoolwork, and often uses her intellect to defeat enemies. Her boyfriend is Nigel Ashcroft, whose social circle initially causes mistrust by Taranee's parents.
- Cornelia Hale (Christel Khalil) is the 13-year-old Guardian of Earth granting her the ability to control earth and plants and in the second season, she gains the power of telekinesis. Cornelia is vain and haughty, and is often a foil to Will. But she begins to warm up to her eventually, throughout the series. She is best friends with Elyon Brown, later revealed to be the missing Princess of Meridian. Cornelia becomes romantically involved with Caleb. His duties in Meridian later cause a rift in their relationship.
- Hay Lin (Liza del Mundo) is the 12-year-old Guardian of Air which enables her to control air, and also become invisible in the second season. Her paternal grandmother, Yan Lin, was the previous Guardian of Air and introduced the new Guardians to their roles. Hay Lin is of Chinese descent and her parents own the Silver Dragon, a Chinese restaurant, where Hay Lin works part-time. Hay Lin enjoys art and is a free spirit. Despite her original distaste for dating, Hay Lin becomes infatuated with Eric Lyndon who eventually becomes her boyfriend.
- Caleb (Greg Cipes): Caleb is a 15-year-old human teenager, who started Meridian's resistance movement. Caleb is usually accompanied by Blunk. Personality-wise, Caleb is brave and reckless, as well a strong and quick-thinking leader and a good fighter. He tends to be a little arrogant and bad-tempered, with a sarcastic streak. He also fails to understand how girls' minds work (something that gets him in trouble with Cornelia from time to time). Although he puts on a tough and uncaring attitude, Caleb is a loyal friend who sticks to his beliefs no matter what. Even though he is the only one of the main characters who has no special powers or abilities he is more than able to hold his ground against more powerful opponents with his experience, quick thinking and hand-to-hand combat skills. Although his most preferred weapon seems to be a sword he is skilled with the use of other ones too.
- Blunk (Steve Blum): Blunk is a small and smelly creature who lives on Meridian. He is a Passling, a short toad goblin-like creature who travels through the dimensions to find and steal goods to sell. Blunk went to Earth with Caleb and the Guardians and quickly made a home there: the Silver Dragon's dumpster. Blunk, being able to sniff out portals, frequently went to Earth and back. He spent half his time on Meridian finding goods, helping the Guardians and selling to customers, and the other half on Earth finding goods, helping the Guardians and sniffing out portals for them. Blunk often helped Caleb in his missions, and when he was almost eaten by Cedric and Miranda, Caleb was greatly worried about him and called him a "friend". Blunk was so happy with Caleb that from then on, he sticks by him.
- Elyon Brown (Serena Berman): Elyon was born in Meridian, lone daughter to the Queen and King and heir to the throne. However, after the disappearance of her parents, a Meridianite named Galgheita took her to Earth to evade the wrath of the cruel and heartless Phobos, her evil brother, and to protect her from him, as he had plans to steal her superior magical powers. Elyon was raised there as a normal girl by the Browns, Meridianites whom Elyon believed to be her parents. Cedric eventually tells her about her identity and turns her against the Guardians, convincing her to go to Meridian, where he teaches her to wield and use her powers. After staying by Phobos and Cedric's side for a while, Elyon realizes that Phobos and Cedric are heartless tyrants lusting after her powers and helps W.I.T.C.H. defeat them. Elyon then stays in Meridian, along with her surrogate parents, and assumes her rightful place as the Heart of Meridian.
- Matt Olsen (Jason Marsden): Matt Olsen is Will's classmate and starts off as her crush, later becoming her boyfriend. He is the lead guitarist and main singer of his band, Wreck 55. His musical talents have been showcased in a few episodes, particularly "S is for Self" ("The Demon in Me", and "The Will to Love", a song written for Will). He first appeared in "Happy Birthday Will". Matt first learns about the Guardians in "The Stolen Heart", when he accidentally follows Caleb and the girls through a portal and finds himself in Meridian. After seeing Will in her Guardian form, Matt considers himself a part of the team. After participating in the major events in "The Final Battle", Matt decides that he wants to help, though the Guardians (mainly Will) are reluctant, in case he should be injured. As a result of this, he asked Caleb to train him how to be a warrior in "D is for Dangerous". See below for his information as Shagon.
- Yan Lin (Lauren Tom) – see below
- Prince Phobos (Mitchell Whitfield) is the primary antagonist of the first season. He is the ruler of Meridian, in spite of his missing sister being the rightful heir. He seeks to remain ruler of Meridian by defeating Elyon, the lost Princess and the Guardians of the Veil.
- Lord Cedric (Dee Bradley Baker) is Phobos' General who is able to shape-shift into a human-snake hybrid. He commands Phobos' army of monsters and was tasked with locating the missing Princess in order for Phobos to absorb her powers. In the first season, he comes to Earth and opens a bookstore, under the false identity Cedric Hoffman, in order to attract the Princess.
- Nerissa (Kath Soucie) is the original former Guardian of the Veil who was gifted the power of quintessence and original Keeper of the Heart of Kandrakar, the predecessor of Will. She is introduced as the second season's primary antagonist. Nerissa aims to regain control over Kandrakar and the other magical realms. She is successful in procuring the Hearts of several worlds. In order to achieve her aim, throughout the season Nerissa creates groups who can fight the present Guardians. These include the Knights of Vengeance, the Knights of Destruction and C.H.Y.K.N., the original five Guardians of the Veil, of which Nerissa the fifth member and leader.
The Knights of Vengeance
- Raythor (Steve Blum): Raythor was a high-ranking knight of Phobos. Raythor debuted in "The Key". When Caleb escaped from the castle, he managed to get out of handcuffs by using a key. This leads Raythor to suspect that Vathek (the rebel spy cell guard) helped Caleb to escape. The Guardians rescue Vathek and take down Raythor. As they do, Will hides the key in Raythor's uniform, so when Cedric and his troops arrive, they arrest Raythor for stealing the key, and Raythor, not Vathek, is thrown into the Abyss of Shadows. Raythor then appears in "A is for Anonymous" after crawling out of the Abyss of Shadows in a malnourished state. He joins with the other knights of Phobos to form the Knights of Vengeance. Raythor is made leader since he's a good strategist, who thinks before charging into battle. Raythor has a desire for vengeance and hates Queen Elyon, the rebels, and especially the Guardians. But when Phobos breaks his oath to the Guardians in "W is for Witch" and releases the Lurdens and the Knights of Vengeance, Raythor is ashamed and decides to join the Guardians.
- Frost (Dee Bradley Baker) and Crimson (Michael Bell): Frost the Hunter was a high-ranking member of Phobos' army. Frost makes a cameo in "Ambush at Torus Filney" but his real debut is in "Framed" where he and his mount, the three-horned rhino Crimson, go to defeat the Guardians in Elias Van Dahl's painting in which they are trapped. Frost challenges leadership to the Knights but Raythor outsmarts him in a mini-battle. He participates in all the Knights' activities proving to be a useful member, along with Crimson. Frost lacks intelligence and is a downright brute; his dimwitted-ness is shown by naming his black-green rhino Crimson. Frost is also very impatient, has a short temper, and never thinks before he acts.
- Miranda (Grey DeLisle): The youngest of Phobos' associates who, like Cedric, is a shape shifter with one human and one animal form. Her human form is a small Asian girl in her early teens with shoulder-length black hair, wearing a green and yellow dress. Her animal form is a hairy, four-legged, four-eyed spider-like creature with the power to climb walls and shoot webs. She was entrusted with the task of spying on the Guardians on Earth as a student in Heatherfield under a human identity, Melinda. During the second season, she is recruited by Nerissa to join the Knights of Vengeance and is turned into a spider by Phobos as a way to punish her for siding with Nerissa. She is placed in Cedric's cell. Near the end of the second season, Miranda sides with Cedric after he swallowed Phobos as the two of them are revealed to have a love relationship.
- Sandpit (Kath Soucie): Sandpit was originally a living pit that swallowed and imprisoned any victims that walked over it. Sandpit first appeared in "Ambush at Torus Filney" capturing Caleb after going for a false story about the Seal of Phobos. Irma and Taranee combined their powers to transform Sandpit into a shiny glass lake. In "A is for Anonymous", when Nerissa is starting to form a group of Knights, she visits Sandpit and through the power of Quintessence, Sandpit came back to life and worked for Nerissa. Since coming back to life, he is now a tall new humanoid form that is free to wander. He joined the Knights of Vengeance, mainly using his powers to protect the Knights by blinding or trampling enemies. When Phobos breaks his oath and attacks Meridian, freeing his minions, Sandpit is convinced by Raythor to join the good guys, the Guardians.
- Gargoyle (Dee Bradley Baker): Gargoyle is a giant rock monster who worked for Phobos, protecting and guarding the moats from any rebel that dared to try to sneak into the castle. He is very large, but he only has one eye and cannot speak, only roar. In "It Resumes", Gargoyle made his debut appearance fighting the Guardians after rescuing Will from Phobos. When Gargoyle reached through a portal to grab Irma, Will quickly closed the portal, chopping the left hand off. Nerissa meets up with Gargoyle and convinces him to join the Knights of Vengeance after she recreates his left hand as a club/boulder weapon. Gargoyle's main job was to smash down any buildings and to carry the other Knights on his head. Raythor, the former leader of the Knights of Vengeance, convinces Gargoyle to join the Guardians as Phobos has no loyalty, honesty, or honor.
- Tracker (Jeff Bennett) and Sniffer (Dee Bradley Baker): Phobos's most effective scout and hunter, who is often employed to locate or hunt down an individual, even if he possessed no prior knowledge of the target's whereabouts. He was given the task of hunting down Caleb, who was either hiding underground in the Infinite City or on Earth. This task caused him to repeatedly tangle with the Guardians. After Phobos's first defeat, Hunter flees the castle and is recruited by Nerissa to join her Knights of Vengeance, where he serves as a loyal fighter and continues to hunt down his prey, specifically the rebels and the Guardians. Sniffer is a huge black dog and is very good at sniffing wherever there is a scent and is very strong, fast and agile. The Tracker has an army of bats at his disposal to attack his enemies and be scouts for him, while his main weapon is a glowing green electrical chain capable of doing massive damage.
The Knights of Destruction
- Shagon (Jason Marsden): Shagon has the appearance of a muscular man with large, black, feathery wings and a golden mask as his face. He has the power to generate yellow-green light beams from his eyes, fueled by the hatred of his enemies. Matt Olsen and Mr. Huggles are captured by Nerissa. Using Matt's hatred he feels for her and the power of the Heart of Meridian, Nerissa transforms Matt into Shagon, thus gaining control of his mind and body. He assumes Matt's identity during the day (the Guardians see him during school), so he can spy on the Guardians. Shagon gets Will to hate him because of her deep and strong romantic love for Matt and he teases her, saying that he hurt Matt. Shagon loves to torture the Guardians themselves, particularly Will. In the episode "S is For Self", it is revealed that the real Matt still exists in Shagon's mind. In the same episode, Matt eventually breaks free from Shagon's control by using his love for Will as a weapon and destroys Shagon's soul, therefore regaining control of himself.
- Khor (Dee Bradley Baker): Khor has the appearance of a terrifying beast with no wings and gorilla like arms for his extra pair of legs. He has the power to jump on others to attack, which is fueled by the anger of his enemies. Mr. Huggles and Matt are captured by Nerrissa. Using the anger Huggles's felt for her and the power of the Heart of Meridian, Nerissa transforms Huggles into Khor, thus gaining control of Huggles's mind and body. In the episode "S is for Self", it is revealed that the real Huggles still exists in Khor's mind. In the same episode, Huggles eventually breaks free from Khor's control by using Nerissa's power as a weapon to destroy Khor's soul, therefore regaining control of himself.
- Tridart (Jim Cummings): One of the Four Knights of Destruction, created by Nerissa using her Quintessence power from the numerous icy stalactites found in the cave which Nerissa was sealed in. He represents the despair Nerissa felt in her prison. Tridart has the appearance of a bald, tall, winged man made from ice. He gets his power from the despair and fear of his opponents. Tridart controls the element of ice. His weapon is an axe from which he can conjure icy blasts. He was destroyed by his own creator in "S is for Self", as he and his form was absorbed by Nerissa when she reformed C.H.Y.K.N. to be Guardians again.
- Ember (Cree Summer): One of the Four Knights of Destruction, given life by Nerissa with her power over Quintessence from the lava which flowed around Mount Thanos. She represents the pain that Nerissa felt for killing Cassidy. Ember gets her strength from the pain and hurt of her opponents. She looks like a lady with a pointy hairdo made from lava. Ember controlled the element of lava. Her weapon is a lava trident that shoots lava blasts. Ember appeared to have some kind of "relationship" with Tridart. She was killed in "S is for Self" by Nerissa when she was absorbed by her.
- Cassidy (Susan Chesler): A russet-haired woman and past Guardian of Water, she was entrusted with the Heart after Nerissa's betrayal, but was later killed by an increasingly bitter and jealous Nerissa, in retaliation, by being pushed off a cliff on Mount Thanos. Cassidy, before she was killed by Nerissa, was a caring and life-loving woman who was close to her mother. In the second season, her spirit was raised by Nerissa's exceptionally powerful elemental abilities of Quintessence, and was later restored to a physical body. After being released, she was reunited with her elderly blind mother and continued the teenage life that was stolen from her forty years previously.
- Halinor (Betty Jean Ward): A blonde-haired woman and past Guardian of Fire, she is kindhearted, although she can be cowardly and insecure. She didn't believe that the present Guardians, Will and her friends, were strong enough to defeat the forces set against them, so during an especially hard battle she tried to steal the Aurameres in order to become a Quinto-Guardian. However, she accidentally put the Aurameres into Cornelia, who became the Quinto-Guardian instead. Nerissa used this weakness (betraying others when afraid) in order to take control of her.
- Yan Lin (Lauren Tom): The former Guardian of Air, she is Hay Lin's paternal grandmother and a helpful advisor to the new Guardians. In the second season, she is captured by her former best friend and fellow Guardian, Nerissa, and cloned via an Altermere, who was corrupted and forced to work for Nerissa.
- Kadma (CCH Pounder): The former Guardian of Earth, she had remained on the jungle-like world Zamballa as queen. She wielded the mystical Heart of Zamballa until she was corrupted by her former best friend, Nerissa, and forced to use her elemental abilities over the earth.
- Nerissa (Kath Soucie) – see above
Recurring and supporting characters
- Susan Vandom (Lauren Tom): She is the mother of Will. Susan divorced from Tony Vandom after he had left her. Susan cares so much about her daughter that she was ready to sacrifice her relationship with Will's history teacher Dean Collins and move away from Heatherfield just because she feared Will did not like the neighborhood.
- Tony Vandom (Dan Gilvezan): Tony Vandom is Susan's ex-husband and Will's father. He divorced Susan and disappeared for six months. He is now visiting and is engaged to a Sarina Sanchez, who Will believed was Nerissa.
- Anna Lair (Candi Milo): Anna Lair is Irma's mother. She looks a lot like Irma, only taller and with longer hair. Her personality is similar to Irma's, too, but she is a little more mature.
- Tom Lair (Byrne Offutt): Tom Lair is Irma's overweight police officer father. He is a party animal and a sports fan who hates when the garage gets dirty and has little patience for fussy people.
- Christopher Lair (Cesar Flores): Christopher Lair, always called Chris, is a brat and Irma's younger brother who enjoys annoying his sister and her friends. He is in first or second grade and likes amusement parks, toy cars, and scary stuff. He strongly resembles a male version of Irma and has exactly the same hair and eye color as she does, and also has a bit of a Spanish accent.
- Theresa Cook (Mia Korf): Taranee's mother and a judge. She's very strict and does not approve of Taranee seeing Nigel after he got her in trouble for defacing a statue.
- Lionel Cook (Dorian Harewood): Taranee's father, and a very good cook. It seems he works as a chef. He is allergic to fur, and by extension, Mr. Huggles. Yet, he thinks animals are very cute and regrets his allergy.
- Peter Cook (Ogie Banks): Taranee Cook's brother. Peter seems to be between 16 and 18 years old. He used to date Cornelia (posing as her "older sister Lillian") while she was mad at Caleb for choosing Meridian over her. Peter has dreadlocks and is a gifted basketball player, skater, and ice skater. Taranee thinks of her brother as cool and nice.
- Elizabeth Hale (Nancy Linari): Elizabeth Hale is Cornelia and Lillian Hale's mother. She is always cheerful and hates the fact that Cornelia does not like to show her face that often. She looks just like Cornelia except she has glasses and shorter hair.
- Harold Hale (Jim Cummings): Harold Hale is Cornelia, and Lillian Hale's father, and is very rich and owns a successful bank. He seems to be strict in the embarrassing way, like at the car wash.
- Lillian Hale (Alyson Stoner): Lillian Hale is Cornelia's little sister. She is eight years old, and has blond hair and big blue eyes. Lillian likes to play pretend, hear fairytale stories or even play games with her classmates or sister. Annoying Cornelia and playing pranks on her has also become a hobby to her. During the second season, it is revealed that Lillian is the Heart of Earth, the center of mystical power on Earth.
- Napoleon (Edward Asner): Napoleon debuted in Season 2 in "B is for Betrayal" as the Hale's family cat, during which Lillian named him Napoleon. Later on, in "U is for Undivided", Lillian wishes that Napoleon would talk and when she leaves the room, Napoleon starts talking, freaking Cornelia out in the process.
- Chen Lin (James Sie): Yan Lin's son and Hay Lin's worrisome father who does not believe that she is old enough to take care of herself. He, like the rest of Hay Lin's family, is of Chinese origin.
- Joan Lin (Rosalind Chao): Hay Lin's Chinese mother. She seems to be stricter than her husband but less worried about Hay Lin. She is not always as nervous as Chen Lin, either.
- Yan Lin (Lauren Tom) – see above
- Herbert Olsen (Val Bettin): Matt's grandfather, who seems to take on a parental role. He is very kind but not organized. He owns a pet shop and gave a Will a part-time job.
- Mister Huggles (Dee Bradley Baker): Mister Huggles is Matt's pet dormouse. In "The Rebel Rescue", he was given to Will by Matt as a present, although Will's mom did not allow her to keep it. See above for his information as Khor.
- Principal Knickerbocker (Candi Milo): Principal Knickerbocker is the head of the Sheffield Institute. Knickerbocker is strict but fair. She thinks highly of the W.I.T.C.H. girls but low of Uriah and his gang.
- Dean Collins (Cam Clarke): A history teacher who dates Will's mother, Susan. He was believed to be a monster from Meridian and was attacked by the Guardians.
- Galgheita Rudolph (Marianne Muellerleile): A math teacher at Sheffield Academy. She is a Meridianite, and the nanny who stole the Seal of Phobos and brought Elyon to Earth as a baby. In her true form, she is a frog-like creature.
- Martin Tubbs (Dee Bradley Baker): An unpopular nerd who has a helpless crush on Irma. He sits with the group at lunch and hangs out with them a lot. Martin is also a technology expert, and knows a lot about computers and machines. He has blond hair and wears red glasses.
- Andrew Hornby (Byrne Offutt): Andrews Hornby is a cool, popular kid at school with brown hair and a dark voice and is Irma's semi-secret crush. He is a little bit older than her and in the higher grades, but Irma and Andrew do have a weak relationship, as he approves of her apologizing to Martin.
- Nigel Aschcroft (Michael Reisz): Red-haired Nigel Ashcroft is Taranee's big crush and later her boyfriend. He is a member of Matt's band "Wreck 55", which was revealed in the episode "Walk This Way", which also began his relationship with Taranee.
- Eric Lyndon (Justin Shenkarow): Eric is Hay Lin's crush and later boyfriend. He is a new kid in Heatherfield who lives with his grandfather, Zacharias. Eric is convinced by Uriah to join the Dunnsters, as he is good at playing the saxophone. He has shiny black hair and dark eyes.
- Uriah Dunn (Byrne Offutt): A troublemaker at school, disliked by Elyon, Alchemy, and W.I.T.C.H. He has a gang for a while consisting of Kurt, Clubber, and Nigel. Uriah has orange spiky hair.
- Laurent Clubberman (Greg Cipes): One of Uriah's gang members, Laurent Clubberman is usually called "Clubber". He is blond and fat. Clubber is shown to be actually good at art, winning the art contest for his bunny painting in "X is for Xanadu".
- Kurt Van Buren (Steven Blum): A member of Uriah's gang, Kurt Van Buren is very obese and has purple-dyed hair. He started learning the drums when he was six and quit when he was seven, but his short drum lessons actually helped The Dunnsters during the Battle of the Bands.
- Alchemy (Lauren Tom): Alchemy is one of the best friends of Elyon and Cornelia. She has reddish-brown messy hair and big mellow-blue eyes. She is in the same classes with them, and seems to be the least feminine of them all. Whenever she is upset, she cheers up by listening to real depressing music. She has a small cat for a pet.
- Bess and Courtney Grumper (Tracy Martin and Courtney Peldon): Bess and Courtney Grumper are two twin girls known as "The Grumper Sisters". They have bright red hair and green eyes. They love spreading gossip. They are into fashion, and are rivals of Cornelia.
- Aldarn (Dee Bradley Baker): Aldarn is the son of weapons maker Aketon and the second-in-command of the Meridian Rebellion. He is the best friend of Caleb and helps him in almost all his missions.
- Vathek (Lloyd Sherr): Phobos' prison keeper, Caleb's friend and a spy for the rebellion. After Phobos is removed from the throne Vathek becomes the prison keeper for his cell.
- Julian (Loren Lester): Julian is Caleb's father and former co-leader of the Meridian Rebel Army. He was believed to be dead but Aldarn's father Aketon discovered that he was actually in prison in Phobos' underwater mines, from where he was rescued.
- Drake (Michael Bell): Drake is a captain of the rebel army and a good friend of Aldarn and Caleb. He debuted in "Walk This Way".
- Tynar (Daran Norris): Tynar is a castle guard for Phobos. When Cedric, him, and the other guards tried to capture Caleb and Blunk, he was severely wounded, and left behind to rot. The Guardians decided to take him to Earth to cure him. As a reward, he decides to join the rebels and spread the knowledge that what Phobos had told them were lies.
- Thomas and Eleanor Brown (Mark L. Taylor and Vanessa Marshall): Elyon's adopted parents, Meridianites who raised her on Earth to hide her from Phobos. Their real names are Alborn and Miriadel.
- Jeek (Paul Eiding): Jeek is an evil passling and Blunk's nemesis. A smuggler much like Blunk, he has a tendency to make deals with the bad guys.
- Trill (Candi Milo): Trill is a good-natured red-headed woman who worked in the castle during the reign of Phobos. She passed information onto the rebels and has helped the Guardians on some occasions. Eventually, it is revealed in "J is for Jewel" that she is really Nerissa in disguise and she only wanted to capture Elyon's powers.
- Guards (Mitchell Whitfield): The regular guards of Phobos are large bulky men that seem to have not much of a personality, although they are capable of thinking for themselves. Some of them join the rebellion and help the rebels in "The Final Battle". In season 2, they become the Royal Guards for Elyon, on the good side now.
- Lurdens (Dee Bradley Baker): The Lurdens are monstrous creatures who have brown or green skin. They have huge teeth and are mute. They work in Phobos' grain plants, and help the guards fight the rebels. Unlike the Castle Guards, they never joined the rebel army but always remained loyal to Phobos.
- Oracle (Michael Gough): A powerful wizard, and mentor to both the old and new Guardians.
- Luba (Iona Morris): A cat-like member of the Council of Kandrakar and the keeper of the Aurameres. She was forced to guard Kandrakar alone after Nerissa trapped the other Council members inside a miniature version of the Veil in season 2.
- Mage (Betty Jean Ward): A powerful sorceress who guarded the Infinite City during Phobos' reign. She used the Heart of Kandrakar to create the Star of Threbe, implying that she may have once been a Guardian and the Keeper of the Heart like Will and Nerissa.
- Halinor (Betty Jean Ward) – see above
- Ironwood (Masasa Moyo): A Zamballian, who like all Zamballians, looks like a purple tree. She is a thoughtful leader of the Zamballians. She was made Regent of Zamballa when Kadma was taken by Nerissa, and was later given the job permanently. Ironwood now holds the Heart of Zamballa.
- Bough-Breaker (Nika Futterman): Ironwood's Zamballian son. He is still a small, young tree and obedient to his mother's advice.
Various worlds play an important role in the W.I.T.C.H. series. Earth is the home of the Guardians of the Veil, later the Infinite Dimensions while Meridian, Kandrakar and Zamballa are mystical dimensions that are introduced as the story progresses and the evil forces get stronger. In "V is for Victory", Nerissa also briefly visited a place called Aridia, a desert realm home to giant rock creatures, in an attempt to steal its Heart.
The Hearts are the sources of immense mystical energy for each of the worlds they come from. They can be represented by a jewel, a talisman or a living being. Prominently featured in the series is the Heart of Kandrakar, a pendant that allows W.I.T.C.H. to transform. Most of the time a mystic Heart is found to be in the form of living being, as it is for Earth, Meridian, and Aridia.
The planet where humans live and no-one knows of different kingdoms like Meridian or Zamballa or any creatures that exist there. It is home to each generation of five Guardians of the Veil.
The main human-populated city, in which the second generation of Guardians of the Veil live. It is also where original, former Guardian of Air, Yan Lin, still lives with her son, daughter-in-law, and granddaughter Hay Lin. Its main known high school is Sheffield Institute, with Mrs. Knickerbocker as principal.
It also happens to be the home of Lillian Hale, Cornelia's eight-year-old younger sister and the mystical Heart of Earth itself. For twelve long years, the younger sister to Prince Phobos of Meridian was taken for safety and raised by Alborn and Miriadel, who posed themselves as her "human" adopted parents Thomas and Eleanor Brown.
The Silver Dragon
The Silver Dragon is a Chinese restaurant and is the place where Hay Lin and her family live. Her parents and her Grandma Yan Lin run the Restaurant. The Silver Dragon made its debut in season 1's "It Begins" when Hay Lin has some weird phases of sneezing and the room exploding. This is also the place where Will, Irma, Taranee, Cornelia and Hay Lin learnt they were Guardians and were given the Heart of Kandrakar.
The basement is where they all meet up and hang out (Blunk calls the basement "Guardian HQ"). The Guardians spend their time in the basement on planning their attacks and next moves. Yan Lin is always there to help the Guardians on some occasions.
Meridian is by far the most important world seen in the series, as most of the action takes place here.
Meridian is a kingdom far away under the watching eye of the Oracle. It is ruled by a single Queen, who has powerful magical powers and is the center of mystical energy in the dimension (the Heart of Meridian). As of season 2, the Queen is Elyon Brown. This world has streets full of merchants and extraordinary caves. People here live mainly from agriculture, although some have other jobs.
Meridian has many different creatures like Larveks, Mudslugs, Mogriffs, Sandpit, Hermeneutas, Passlings, Kaithim, etc. Some creatures can change between an apparently human form and a beast form, such as Cedric and Miranda.
Meridian is the most frequently traveled-to place for the Guardians in season 1. Throughout season 1, Meridian is the only known dimension to the Guardians besides Earth as the Veil was raised and not much was known about the other worlds like Zamballa, Kandrakar and Aridia. Much of the action happened on Meridian in season 1 and the Guardians frequently traveled there to help, and stop Phobos' schemes. An important place in Meridian is in a large village next to the castle, which is on top of high land extending upwards. This is where Phobos lives and is the main centre of activity since the Guardians repeatedly attack it.
The Infinite City
The Infinite City made its debut in season 1's "A Service to the Community". The Infinite City is below Meridian and the Guardians didn't know at first, but Caleb tells them and shows them. The Mage guards the city. The city is underground and has lots of pillars running along it. The city is colored lime green, but in daytime the city appeared to be red, orange and cream.
Nobody knows who created or built the Infinite City and when, as it has a mysterious past and the city is infinite and keeps going on and on in all directions. The Infinite City was kept secret from Phobos because the Rebellion used it as their base of operations. One way of getting down into the city is by using a secret passage in a disused area of land and going through a little cupboard. It then leads down some stairs and into the city itself. Just a few yard's way is another passage, and under there seems like a basement but inside is a waterfall where the Mage stays and guards the city.
Kandrakar made its debut in "B is for Betrayal". The Guardians frequently went to Kandrakar for answers, such as why their powers had improved and become stronger. The Council of Kandrakar's job is to look over the whole universe and protect its worlds from any evil. It has its own five Guardians to help accomplish this task and protect the universe from harm. The Guardians also have a leader who wields the pink orb necklace of the mystical Heart of Kandrakar itself, which transforms them and greatly magnifies their elemental powers. The Aurameres are housed in one of Kandrakar's rooms and are guarded over by Luba.
Zamballa was first introduced in the season 2 episode "P is for Protectors". Zamballa is a purple world with a jungle stretching out as far as the eye can see. At the center is a pyramid, the palace where Kadma lives while the Veil is still in effect. The Zamballans themselves look like walking purple trees. In "Z is for Zenith" the Heart of Zamballa is returned and Kadma abdicates from her throne to live a more humble life on Earth, while Ironwood takes the Heart and is made Queen herself.
Two seasons were produced in total, adapting plot elements from The Twelve Portals and Nerissa's Revenge comic arcs from the original series. Each season consists of twenty-six episodes, resulting in a total of fifty-two episodes overall.
An unaired 15-minute pilot episode exists, which was never fully animated. It was used to test the show with a focus group in 2003. The first episode of the series was originally meant to air on Halloween, with corresponding themes.
SIP Animation announced the production of an animated series based on the comic books in 2002. The show was immediately picked up for a full order of 52 half-hour episodes. According to Justine Cheynet (associate producer in the first season, story editor in the second), SIP had come to Disney with the initiative of producing a cartoon based on the Disney-owned comics.
The first season of the show took roughly 18 months to produce, with about 200 people working on it. Work on the series began in spring 2003, in collaboration with Disney Channel. In September of that year, Andrew Nicholls and Darrell Vickers were hired as supervisory producers, and would serve as showrunners throughout the first season. The show's primary target markets were considered to be Italy, France (represented by SIP Animation), the United Kingdom (Fox Kids UK), and the United States (Disney Channel). As such, while Nicholls and Vickers were officially employed by SIP, they would be working with guidance from all four of these countries.
A team of freelance writers was also brought in under their supervision, ultimately being responsible for just over half of the first season. Due to the show's unusually heavy use of continuity for a cartoon, Nicholls and Vickers planned out the season arc and even individual episode stories beforehand, and gave the other writers very careful instructions covering even smaller details of the series to avoid contradictions and repetition throughout the episodes. The director for this season was Marc Gordon-Bates, who was unfamiliar with the series and surprised that he was offered the position over other directors with greater interest in the project and more relevant prior experience.
At the outset, the show was more oriented towards comedy (early marketing described the series as an action comedy) than the original comics, which were primarily of the fantasy genre, but in common with the source material was targeted towards the female audience. Early on, the writers were informed that the show was now to be aired on Toon Disney and the Jetix block on ABC Family, as part of a changing business strategy being pursued by Michael Eisner (chairman and CEO of Disney at the time). As such, the show was reoriented to appeal more to boys, including more action and additional focus on the few major male characters. By this point, the first 7 episodes had already been fully scripted (with several more outlined), and had to be rewritten.
For the second season, Disney decided on a "darker, more fantasy-driven approach", with less humor. A completely different team of writers was hired, with Greg Weisman now serving as supervisory producer and showrunner, and Norman J. LeBlanc as the new director of the show. According to Nicholls, Weisman had decided against re-hiring him and Vickers to work on the second season due to considering them "sitcom writers". (Although W.I.T.C.H. was indeed their first non-comedy series, Weisman's impression may have resulted from omissions on IMDb of shows not under the auspices of the Writers Guild of America, which included numerous other animated series they had worked on.) This may have been a factor in the hiring of other comedy writers during the season, as the network considered the early scripts to have insufficient humor.
The writing team for the second season was given "marching orders" to incorporate more material from the comics, and bring the two mediums closer together. At the same time, only the first season of the show was considered official, and as such the first 26 episodes could not be contradicted, while there would continue to be certain differences from the comics. Weisman emphasized the seamless nature of the transition between seasons, especially in production aspects such as character voices and model sheets. The episode "J is for Jewel" was considered to be a turning point during the season, before which a lot of work had been done to set up the new direction of the series.
According to Justine Cheynet, the show ended after 52 episodes as a result of "very little to no interest both from the investors' and the producer's side in making a third season". There were no plans for a movie.
Changes from the comics
Although the basic structure of each season follows the respective arc of the comics, and the show shares a great deal of plot points and characters with the source material, there are many differences as well. At the start of production, the showrunners had only approximately the first 6 issues of the comics – about half of the first arc – to work with in developing the overall storyline for the season (for comparison, the first 27 issues were made available to the writers of the second season, which covered slightly beyond the end of the second arc). More than 20 creatures had been created specifically for the animated series by the end of the first season. Certain further changes requested for story reasons were denied by the network in light of the comics' popularity and existing fans.
The first season showrunners encountered numerous challenges in adapting the comics material, which had been written with a static narrative in mind, to the dynamic medium of television. According to Andrew Nicholls:
The multi-panel page format permits certain digressions from logic which, from the fluid pace of a comic book, don’t become apparent. They aren’t pointed-to; made obvious, by the stricter requirements of a linear timed narrative. We never understood, if the W.I.T.C.H. girls’ job was to protect the good people of Meridian from this great evil in their land, and if they could open a portal anywhere they wanted... why they didn’t just pop open a hole and escort all the good guys through it, back to Earth, where there was plenty of food and nice clean houses. We couldn’t understand why, if this wall was created eons ago to divide Good from Evil… why there were good people living on the evil side. Nobody answered these questions to our satisfaction, they just said “Do whatever you can do.”
One of the major differences is the variety of powers the Guardians have in the first season. During the screenwriting stage, questions arose from the network as to why the girls did not use their powers more in a given situation. As a result, certain powers they had in the comics were not among their abilities during the first season, such as telepathy, "instincts" about people, and communicating with appliances. In the second-season episode "C is for Changes", this changes as the Guardians gain most of the remaining powers they had in the source material.
The character of Caleb was altered significantly in the show, including his visual appearance. In the comics, he had clear facial markings that made him obviously different from a regular human. In the show, they are not present for multiple reasons: child test audiences found them unnerving; when animated, they looked too similar to a beard; and in the animated series, in contrast to the comics, he spends extended periods on Earth blending in with the inhabitants, which would be much more difficult to accomplish otherwise.
Blunk is an original character created for the cartoon, and does not appear in the comics. A comedic sidekick smuggler, his role and prominence in the story became increasingly important as the show shifted its focus from comedy to action during production of the first season, as one of the few major male characters in a series now trying to appeal to boys. The character's name was reused from a failed pilot, created by Howie Mandel and produced by Nelvana, that the first season showrunners had worked on. Second season showrunner Greg Weisman admitted to initially disliking Blunk, but came to view him as an invaluable part of the team, particularly as a result of the bonds between Blunk and the main characters that had begun to form in the first season.
In the comics, Will's dormouse is introduced quite early into the first arc. In the cartoon, this only occurs in episode 24 of the first season. Although the showrunners tried to have this take place earlier in the series, the network did not approve it for some time. According to Andrew Nicholls, this may have been due to its similarity to the naked mole rat Rufus in Kim Possible, another Disney series.
The character Vathek starts out as an enemy of the Guardians in the comics, but in the show he is already on their side. This was changed to streamline the first few episodes due to the number of characters that had to be introduced.
Early into production, Nicholls had suggested changing the name "Kandrakar" out of sensitivity toward the ongoing events in the real-life Kandahar in Afghanistan. This request was initially ignored, but ten episodes in the writing team was informed that the spelling had been changed to "Candrakar", with later episodes referring to it as "Candracar". However, the "Heart of Kandrakar" is consistently spelled that way throughout the closing credits of both seasons. Certain character names were changed as well: Laurent was referred to by his nickname "Clubber" instead as it was considered more appropriate for a bully character, and in the second season, Thomas Vandom's first name was changed to Tony for legal reasons.
The animation studios for season 1 were Wang Film Productions and Hong Ying Universe, while Dongwoo Animation animated season 2. Hong Ying and Pipangaï provided digital ink and paint services for the second season. The 3D animated design of the Heart of Kandrakar used throughout the series was made by Maga Animation Studio.
The series has been considered anime-influenced animation in terms of its visual style. First season director Marc Gordon-Bates cited anime such as Neon Genesis Evangelion as design inspiration. The original comics are themselves drawn in line with manga conventions, as opposed to the more rounded style traditionally used by publisher and co-producer Disney. Co-executive producer Olivier Dumont noted that the high-quality animation was intended to be true to the detailed artwork of the comics series.
The original, international title sequence shows the girls and their powers in a story version with unique footage for the opening, and music by the composers of the show, Alain Garcia and Noam Kaniel. In the original international English version, the opening theme is "W.I.T.C.H." performed by Sabrina. The intro sequence of the second season, storyboarded by Richard Danto and Bruno Issaly, is changed to incorporate the new plot developments and characters, along with a remix of the theme composed by David Vadant.
The US version, composed by Adam Watts and Andy Dodd, shows action clips from some episodes and scenes from W.I.T.C.H. demo reels from various animation studios. It uses a demo version of the song "We Are W.I.T.C.H." until episode 14, when it is replaced with a version sung by Marion Raven. The footage and theme are unchanged for the remainder of the US series. It has been explained that once the American broadcaster had chosen a different song, it was decided that a new opening should be made for it instead of the other way around, and the intro was unchanged in the second season as the network "wanted consistency in case they aired both seasons simultaneously".
In Italy, a different opening was used, consisting purely of clips from the show and first international intro sequence. It was composed by Max Longhi and Giorgio Vanni, and performed by the group Lucky Star (Emma Marrone, Colomba Pane, and Laura Pisu).
In the United States, a special one-hour preview of W.I.T.C.H. aired on December 18, 2004 on the Disney-owned ABC network's Saturday morning children's programming block, ABC Kids, and on December 19 on ABC Family and Toon Disney as part of their Jetix programming blocks. The series proper premiered January 15, 2005 on ABC Kids and ABC Family, and January 17 on Toon Disney. On January 28, 2006, it began airing on Disney Channel.
As W.I.T.C.H. is based on a Disney comic series and was produced in association with Jetix Europe, it has been broadcast worldwide on the Disney-owned Jetix channels, as well as Jetix-branded television blocks, including that on Family in Canada (November 26, 2005 – March 10, 2007; reruns until August 26, 2007). In Canada, it was broadcast on none of the English-language terrestrial TV networks, but the French version was shown on the CBC's French-language television network Télévision de Radio-Canada (September 10, 2005 – October 27, 2007; reruns until April 25, 2010). In the United Kingdom, BBC's children's strand CBBC had aired it. In the Republic of Ireland, it was broadcast on RTÉ Two's The Den. In Australia, it was shown on Seven Network and its affiliates. In New Zealand, the show was aired on the 2 Kids block on TV2.
In France, where this TV series was primarily made, it was terrestrially broadcast on France 3. (The second season was known as Dimension W.I.T.C.H. in the country.) In Italy, where the original comic came from, it was shown on Italia 1.
W.I.T.C.H. has been released on DVD in Europe, Australia, Brazil, Malaysia, and the Philippines (also in VCD format) containing episodes of the first season, which was divided into volumes of varying number of episodes. Each volume contains 2 art cards, each featuring one of the W.I.T.C.H. girls.
In the UK, the first three volumes were released in 2006 on 1 May, 19 June, and 21 August respectively. In October 2007 the volumes were re-released as a DVD box set along with the box set of volumes four, five and six, containing the rest of season 1.
In the early stages of the first season, the series was a major hit and a TV breakout in the US. The two-episode premiere registered record ratings across ABC Kids and the Jetix blocks on ABC Family and Toon Disney, both as a preview and in regular airings.
In Europe, W.I.T.C.H. was the most popular Jetix original series for third-party sales as of fiscal year 2007, when the second season was delivered. All of the major Jetix Europe originals, including W.I.T.C.H., ranked "as one of the top two shows in their timeslots in all of the markets in which they aired."
Toon Zone reviewed the first two episodes, praising most aspects and noting that the show stood out on Jetix. In an interview following the conclusion of the first season, it added: "What makes this a unique series is the approach to the characters, all of whom are fallible and utterly human."
Comic Book Resources considered the series to be a "real gem of the '00s" that strikes a balance between action, comedy, drama, and "that slice-of-life sweet spot", and called for the show to be revived on Disney+.
Polygon compared W.I.T.C.H. very favorably to Winx Club, another magical girl series that had also debuted in 2004, and argued that the revival Fate: The Winx Saga would have worked better as an adaptation of W.I.T.C.H. based on its darker and more complex themes.
Awards and nominations
A soundtrack for the series was released in January 2007: Music From and Inspired By W.I.T.C.H. Among other tracks inspired by the series, it includes full-length renditions of the first international theme as well as the US version.
The song "The Power of Five" by Jillian Escobosa was used for promotional material and official websites prior to the TV series' launch. An official Italian music video was created by Marco Pavone for "W.I.T.C.H. Is In the House".
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