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Artemis Fowl doesn’t reveal its villain, but the books do

The series main threat got a beyond-quiet introduction

Hooded Artemis Fowl villain (Opal Koboi?) speaks into her green beam communication device Image: Disney Plus

Artemis Fowl, now on Disney Plus, is the kind of movie that could’ve used a post-credit scene. Disney has finally released the long-promised YA adaptation, and while reactions may vary on the movie’s remixing of the source material, it sets up a clear sequel in the form of a shadowy villain. Who it is remains an unknown well after the credits.

Unless you’re a diehard fan of Eoin Colfer’s book series, Artemis Fowl gives you little idea of who is behind the nefarious master plan at the center of the plot. The movie, which seems edited to bits, never fully reveals who’s under the cloak, and consequently kills any stakes the cliffhanger-is ending may have had. Worse, it’s possible, considering the movie went straight to Disney Plus, that a sequel may never get made in order to actually unveil her identity, leaving movie-watchers confused ... forever.

But that’s OK, because the books explain it all. In theory.

[Ed. note: This post contains spoilers for the Artemis Fowl movie(s) and the second Artemis Fowl book, The Arctic Incident.]

In Artemis Fowl, a mysterious figure in Haven, the fairy world, kidnaps Artemis Fowl Sr. and spends most of the movie talking into a green hologram communication device. And that’s it. No after credits reveal or last-minute uncloaking to really raise the stakes for a sequel. It just kinda fizzles out.

“You have no idea the world you just entered, boy,” the villain says into her microphone.

It’s true! We don’t!

If Disney’s Artemis Fowl movie series follows the books, the kidnapper is Opal Koboi, the on-and-off antagonist of the franchise. If you watched the movie and thought, when is an evil mastermind going to do something, fear not: Opal is the villain you were waiting for. In the books, she’s a tech magnate that eventually ends up supplying the LEP with brand new weapons that rival centaur Foaly’s own designs — with their own special quirks, of course. She’s also hellbent on taking over the underground fairy word so she can rule it herself.

Artemis and the fairies of the LEP have more than a few run ins with Opal. In the second book in the series, The Arctic Incident, her involvement brings Holly, Root, Artemis, and Butler into an uneasy alliance. Which brings us to her presence in the movie.

artemis fowl shadow villain raises a right hand to perform magic Image: Disney Plus

In the first book, Artemis Sr. is presumed dead and absent from the action. In the second, it’s revealed that he was kidnapped by the Russian mafia, who were working with Koboi. The movie condenses the action, and while it doesn’t exactly explain how Fowl Sr. wound up in the mysterious villain’s grasp, just that he did, by the time the fairy invasion at the mansion is over, his son’s able to rescue him with magic. That leaves room for Disney to still move forward with a sequel mapped to the second book, and with Extremely Famous Actor Person Colin Farrell in tow.

One particularly confusing twist between the books and the movie’s is the absence of Artemis Jr.’s mother. In the books, part of his nefarious fairy-kidnapping plan was to heal his mother, who he gets closer and closer to as the books go on. But in Disney’s movie, she’s simply reported dead in the first few minutes. This kind of a change opens up much wider questions in the world, and what else could be changed, since Fowl Sr. has even had dealings with fairies and Opal herself in the past. You wouldn’t be wrong to think that Artemis Jr.’s mom might turn out to be the villain in the end based on her breezed-over absence in the movie, but if it turns out to be true, it would be another major difference between text and adaptation.

If the creative team plans to follow the rest of the plot of the second book as well, you can expect Artemis and the LEP to continue setting aside their disagreements from the first movie in hopes of saving both Haven from Opal. Emphasis on “if.”

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