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The Magnus Protocol | A Spoiler-Free Review

A ‘Prequel’/ Sequel/ “Sidequel” to The Magnus Archives Podcast

By Finja Hennicken

Artwork by Noémi Gottmann

The Rusty Quill production company has been releasing a steady string of highly acclaimed podcasts since its founding in 2015, with none as notorious as the tragic horror podcast The Magnus Archives. Recently, the first three episodes of The Magnus Protocol, the eagerly anticipated ‘prequel’/sequel/“sidequel” to The Magnus Archives, have dropped. Theories about this podcast’s connection to the original Magnus Archives’ plot are already abound online.

Though many listeners have only just now tuned in, The Magnus Protocol has been around for a while. In October last year, the first episode premiered on Patreon and, in September of last year, Rusty Quill released a Magnus Protocol themed alternate reality game. As part of the ARG, players were thrust into the new setting of the show, the Office of Incident, Assessment, and Response (O.I.A.R.). Though the now-finished game revealed interesting lore and background information about The Magnus Protocol, it’s not essential to understanding the plot of the new podcast. Similarly, listeners don’t have to listen to all 200 episodes of the original Magnus Archives to enjoy The Magnus Protocol, as the new show is set in an alternate universe. In fact, Alexander Newall (CEO of Rusty Quill) claims in the opening of The Magnus Protocol that those who’ve already listened to the tragic horror of The Magnus Archives and still come back for more are ‘really weird people.’

Those who are not interested in playing the ARG, and who are not Patreon members of Rusty Quill, have had to wait until this year to finally hear the remastered first three episodes of The Magnus Protocol. The first episode introduces the new cast of characters through the perspective of Sam, the O.I.A.R.’s newest hire, and establishes the tone of the podcast. Old computers, mysterious incidents, troubled pasts, and witty banter drive the plot of the first episode and intrigue the listener. The second and third episodes revert to a familiar format for old listeners of The Magnus Archives, as most of these episodes are spent listening to statements or, according to the terminology in this new universe, ‘incident’ reports.

Two familiar voices, those of Jonny Sims and Alexander Newall who played the main characters in The Magnus Archives, appear as text-to-speech programs on the computer in The Magnus Protocol. Listeners are keen to find out what the appearance of their voices in this new universe means, as well as who the third text-to-speech voice, Augustus, may be. Another question sure to be answered throughout the three planned seasons is whether the character Gwen Bouchard is in any way related to Elias Bouchard, a character from the original podcast. 

Though the similarities to The Magnus Archives are obvious, I was happy to hear that there is a larger variety of accents in this new show, as the original mainly featured characters with RP accents. There is even a Scottish character in The Magnus Protocol  Colin from IT! The new intro music, which is a more dramatic variation of the theme, was also a highlight. The first three episodes were a perfect introduction to the universe of The Magnus Protocol, establishing the O.I.A.R., the characters’ personalities, and a great many questions. I would have expected nothing less from the creators of The Magnus Archives. With new episodes releasing every Thursday and only three episodes to catch up on, this is the perfect time to tune in!


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