(Quick note: Today marks three years since I first got the idea to write Missing Parents)
Not long after finishing The Legend of the Peaceful Warrior, I got a ton of ideas for details about what happened to Humphrey in the woods after he was taken from his parents. I had told myself that Legend was the last sequel, so it would be okay to do one prequel that went into more detail about Humphrey’s puphood, but I told myself that this was the last one. No exceptions. Guess we all know how that worked out.
Thinking of a story for this new prequel was actually quite easy because I already knew what was going to happen. Coming up with a title, on the other hand, was much more difficult. I thought of a bunch, but none of them sounded right. “A Hero’s Past” was the best out of them all, but I still wasn’t sure. However, I got impatient because I had been spending days thinking of a title and I wanted to start writing, so I just went with it. Looking back now, I don’t know why I didn’t like it to begin with.
I knew that this story was going to cover a very large piece of time, as it was meant to explore all of Humphrey’s past before the first movie. So obviously, it started with his birth. At first, I planned to include the births of all the main characters, but I figured that would be redundant and stupid, so I just stuck with Humphrey.
This is when I began to put a timeline together. With a prequel being added to the mix, the timeline was getting bigger to the point where I needed to figure out Humphrey’s age and the passage of time and all that since the chapters in the beginning would be jumping around a bit. So, here’s what I did.
In The Legend of the Peaceful Warrior, Humphrey died on his birthday. Missing Parents starts on Father’s Day. As far as the year, I just made it the same year I wrote the story, 2018. Father’s Day of 2018 was on June 17th. I then read through the story and figured out the date of Humphrey’s death from there. Two days pass between the first chapter and when the group leaves, making their date of departure, June 19th. They also encounter Owen and the Northern Pack on that day. They leave the next morning, June 20th.
In the middle of chapter five, it’s stated that “they traveled for a few days” and it never specifies how many. But since I was the author, I figured I could change it. So, I picked five. Any time it states they traveled for a few days, I assumed it was around five. So, when they found Kenya and rescued her, it was June 25th. However, that led to an inconsistency when I went to create the map since the sense of scale was always changing between stories.
In Missing Parents, it takes them a day to reach Owen’s pack, but when Runt goes to get help in The Next Generation, he’s there and back in the same day. So, this became one of the only inconsistencies in my stories and since it’s just a fanfiction and is written for passion more than complete and total accuracy, I decided it was okay to let it go, especially since it wasn’t really noticeable unless you were looking for it. The irony is, as you’ll come to realize, I put a lot of work into making these as consistent as possible and went and fixed several things. Also, I really didn’t want to go through the trouble of changing who knows how many things to try and get this little thing right.
However, I did eventually come up with a way to kind of explain it. In the instances where it takes them a day to get between the Western and Northern Pack (which only happens in Missing Parents), they don’t really know where they’re going and are moving fairly slow. Every other time they go there, they now know how to get there, where it is, and they’re usually running, so that’s my explanation for that.
Humphrey is shot the next morning, June 26th, and they find Adam that day too. The next day, June 27th, Humphrey learns the true story of what happened to his parents. The group learns that the Rogue Wolves invaded the Western Pack, and they leave. Five more days pass and they get back to the pack on July 2nd. The whole rest of Legend takes place in one day, so that meant Humphrey died on July 2nd, which also meant he was born on July 2nd.
Now for age. While age and passage of time is never specified in the movies, I gave it my best guess and went with what most other people seem to agree on. I decided to count by human years because it made everything so much easier. Humphrey seems to be about 22 in the original movie and, going by human years, the pups seem to be about five in the second movie. Which made Humphrey 27. One year clearly passes between the second and seventh movie, as Runt says in seven that King kidnapped him last winter, making Humphrey 28 in seven.
I guess about another year passes between seven and eight since the pups’ fur looks darker in eight, making Humphrey 29. I made another year pass between eight and Missing Parents since he died on his birthday, making him 30. As a result, this formed an amazing coincidence. If Humphrey was 30 in Legend, and 22 in the original movie, that means eight years passed between the two. Also, Missing Parents and Legend takes place in 2018. Eight years before 2018 was when the original movie takes place, according to my personal canon.
The original movie ended up taking place in 2010 in my canon, which just happened to be the very same year it was released in theaters. I didn’t plan for that to happen, it just ended up lining up like that. The thing was, only the beginning of the movie could’ve taken place in 2010 because Kate left in the fall and came back in the spring, so the year changed. If the rest of the movie happened in 2010 and the opening in 2009, Humphrey’s age would be one year off. The only thing left to do was figure out what year Humphrey was born. I simply subtracted 30 from 2018 and ended up with 1988.
I have since created a complete timeline of all the movies and stories and it all stemmed from the fact that Missing Parents starts on Father’s Day and that Humphrey died on his birthday. The inconsistency with the scale of the map started when I wrote the scripts for The Next Generation, Rise of the Hunter, and The Final War. My original plan was to release The Final War on September 17th, 2035, the 25th anniversary of the original movie. So, I set the climactic battle of the story to also take place on that day. That would be about 17 years since I wrote Missing Parents, which is where I got the 17-year time jump between Legend and The Next Generation. I eventually scrapped the idea of releasing it that far into the future but kept the date of the climactic battle.
Then when I wrote the beginning of The Next Generation, I had the characters remembering Humphrey because it was around the time of year that he had died, which was on his birthday. This posed a problem. The Final War was set to have its climactic battle on September 17th and now The Next Generation was starting around July 2nd. So, I now had a limited amount of days across which these three stories would have to take place.
I read through the scripts and thankfully I had been detailed enough to always specify when the day ended or when more than one day passed at a time and they all just barely matched up. That said, there wasn’t much wiggle room to change how many days pass in the stories so when I found the inconsistency of scale and where packs were located relative to each other, I kinda had my hands tied. I wanted to fix it, but to do that, extra days would need to be added in and if I did that, then the final battle wouldn’t happen on September 17th, which is something I really wanted to happen as a cool callback to the very first movie. So, I eventually decided to just leave it.