|“Today is about remembrance. We light lanterns to remember our ancestors, and to settle our debts. . . .”|
|— Master Wu|
|"Day of the Departed"|
|Season Special, Episode 1|
|Air date||October 29, 2016|
|Written by||David Shayne|
|Directed by||Peter Hausner|
"The Way Back"
"The Hands of Time"
Day of the Departed is a LEGO Ninjago: Masters of Spinjitzu TV special. It is preceded by Season 6 and is followed by Season 7. A teaser featuring the opening scene was released on August 18th, 2016, while the official trailer was released on September 30th, 2016. Day of the Departed aired on October 29th, 2016 in the United States. It follows the Ninja as they commemorate their ancestors and fallen friends on a sacred holiday. During this, Master Yang manipulates Cole into ushering in the return of the Ninjas' arch-enemies—forcing them into an unexpected and dangerous conflict. Cole is the focus of the TV special.
An alternate version of the episode was released on January 31, 2017 for several other countries such as China. This version is not in English and was produced by a different company than the original TV series. While it mostly focuses on the same plot, there are some differences that set it apart from the English version.
When Cole returns to Yang's haunted temple to seek revenge on the former Airjitzu Master who turned him into a ghost, he accidentally uses a powerful Dark Magic blade that unleashes the spectral forms of Ninjago's greatest villains and traps himself in the temple! While Cole battles for his freedom, the Ninja must return their ghostly foes to the Departed Realm before they gain the power to remain in Ninjago forever!
On the Day of the Departed, the Ninja hurriedly travel across the Sea of Sand, en-route to the Ninjago Museum of History. Upon their arrival, Wu reminds them of the holiday's significance: for remembering fallen ancestors and cherishing family. Dr. Saunders arrives, greeting Wu and the Ninja before presenting the museum's new exhibit, the Hall of Villainy, which houses life-sized mannequins of the major villains fought by the Ninja over the years, as well as a plaque describing the rare Yin-Yang Lunar Eclipse. Cole finds a painting of Master Yang, as well as the Yin Blade, which is on display. Cole calls out to Saunders and asks what the weapon is, but realizes nobody is paying attention to him. Cole hears Yang's voice imploring him to "close the circle." Realizing he's fading away as one of the departed, Cole takes the Yin Blade and sets off to face Yang.
The Ninja divide for their own personal memorials: Lloyd and Misako commemorate Garmadon at the Corridor of Elders; Kai and Nya remember their mother and father at their blacksmith shop; Zane remembers his father in Birchwood Forest; Jay spends time with his mom and dad at their junkyard; and Wu goes to the old monastery to remember his father. Realizing everyone is out celebrating, Ronin decides to steal from the deserted houses. Cole arrives at Yang's Temple, which is still floating in the sky. Cole confronts Yang, who he attempts to strike with the Yin Blade but misses, instead smashing it into an orb. Consequently, the Departed Realm is opened, and the spirits of the Ninjas' old enemies escape while Cole is detained by Yang's students. The spirits possess five of the six mannequins in the Hall of Villainy, bringing them to life. Speaking through a painting, Yang tells the villains they can remain in Ninjago by slaying the Ninja that defeated them. Pythor enters the museum and joins the villains as they discuss who to go after. Chen chooses to go after Kai and Nya, Pythor chooses Lloyd, Cryptor chooses Zane, Morro chooses Wu, and Kozu chooses Dareth, which leaves Samukai with facing Jay. Pythor proposes they gather reinforcements from the Hall of Sidekicks.
Cole is imprisoned in Yang's temple, where he learns of Yang's history. Yang taught his students to master Airjitzu, and around this time he found the Yin Blade, which contains enough dark magic to imbue immortality. Yang tested the blade on himself, but its powers backfired, turning him and his students into ghosts and defacing his temple. Yang then reveals to Cola that he plans to use the Yin Blade to tear open the Rift of Return to revive himself, while the revived villains distract the Ninja so they won't thwart his plans. With help from Eyezor and Zugu, Chen uses his dinosaur mech to attack Kai and Nya, who flee on the Raider Bikes. Cryptor and three Nindroids confront Zane, while Samukai fights Jay as Krazi and Frakjaw apprehend his parents, and Pythor fights Lloyd. Kozu and several Stone Warriors confront Dareth, who was responsible for taking control of the Stone Army. Morro has no intention of revenge; he tells Wu of Yang's plan and they set off to reunite the Ninja. Cole makes his way up through the temple after escaping his captor, fighting Yang's students along the way as Yang opens the Rift of Return. One by one, the Ninja defeat all the revived villains, except Pythor, who flees after realizing he can't win his fight. In the meantime, Yang does Airjitzu to reach the Rift, but Cole stops him, and a fight breaks out.
The Ninja reunite at the museum, telling each other what happened before Wu arrives with Morro, who proves his innocence by unveiling Yang's plan. The Ninja journey to Yang's temple while Morro's spirit peacefully returns to the Departed Realm. Cole battles Yang as the Ninja fly over on the Bounty. With his friends approaching, Cole's heightened vigor makes his arms rock-solid, and with them he shatters the Yin Blade. Yang's students cross through the Rift and become human again. Yang admits he failed his students and wanted to live forever so no one would forget him, to which Cole says he'll be remembered as the creator of Airjitzu.
Together, they ascend towards the Rift, but Yang tells Cole that someone has to remain in the temple as a ghost to be the "master of the house" due to the curse. Yang then decides to settle his own "debts" and launches Cole through the Rift just as it starts to close. The shockwave of the Rift closing causes Destiny Bounty to have a hard landing at the Airjitzu temple. The Ninja soon begin to worry if Cole didn't make it in time as Jay states he'd give anything to have his friend back. At that moment, Cole emerges from behind a rock a human again.
The Ninja celebrate the return of their friend before looking at the restored Temple of Airjitzu which Cole suggest they make into their new base. Not long after, the Ninja and their allies gather around a fire outside of Yang's temple after Cole told the story. Jay asks him if he was going to tell the story every time the holiday comes to which Cole replies only if Jay admits he was scared the temple was still haunted to which the latter states that was the case but says he was wrong as there are no more ghost. Cole confirms this while looking back to the temple and winks at Yang, who stands inside and winks back in return. Those surrounding the fire let their lanterns float into the night sky, concluding their celebration.
- Cole - Kirby Morrow
- Jay - Michael Adamthwaite
- Kai - Vincent Tong
- Nya - Kelly Metzger
- Master Wu - Paul Dobson
- Master Yang - Michael Donovan
- Zane - Brent Miller
- Lloyd Garmadon - Jillian Michaels
- Master Chen - Ian James Corlett
- Cryptor - Richard Newman
- Dareth - Alan Marriott
- Dr. Saunders - Michael Daingerfield
- Edna Walker - Jillian Michaels
- Ed Walker - Colin Murdock
- Kozu - Paul Dobson
- Misako - Kathleen Barr
- Morro - Andrew Francis
- P.I.X.A.L. - Jennifer Hayward
- Pythor P. Chumsworth - Michael Dobson
- Ronin - Brian Dobson (Credited as "Ronan")
- Samukai - Michael Kopsa
- The Royal Blacksmiths singing voice - Jeppe Riddervold
Several characters appear in the episode, but do not have voice actors. Three Nindroids, two Stone Scouts, and two Stone Swordsmen all appear in the episode. Eyezor, Zugu, Krazi, and Frakjaw also appear, yet do not have speaking roles, as well as Yang's students. Statues of Dr. Julien and Garmadon are also seen. Gayle Gossip makes a cameo in the crowd of people at the concert.
- The Rift of Return can only be opened every 3,721 years. This is a reference to The Empire Strikes Back, when C3PO says "the odds of navigating an asteroid field are 3,720 to 1."
- When Dareth puts on the Helmet of Shadows, he controls all of the Stone Warriors, including Kozu—although it may not seem this way. The Stone Warriors immediately turn on Kozu given Dareth's orders.
- Day of the Departed was confirmed during San Diego Comic Con 2016 along with the Hands of Time season. During the event, the opening scene of the episode was shown to the audience.
- This is the first episode not written by Dan and Kevin Hageman due to scheduling conflicts with them writing Trollhunters. It was instead written by David Shayne.
- Day of the Departed does not have an episode number. The last episode of Skybound was episode 64, and the first episode of The Hands of Time was episode 65.
- On September 30, Ninjago co-creator Tommy Andreasen confirmed via Twitter that the spirits of the deceased villains will possess the museum mannequins. In doing so, he confirmed that Chen and Morro died when the Cursed Realm was destroyed, while Kozu was destroyed upon The Overlord's defeat. On October 8, he confirmed that the original voice actors for the villains will reprise their roles.
- This is the first episode to feature several villains, including Samukai (last seen in "Wrong Place, Wrong Time"), Kozu (last seen in "Rise of the Spinjitzu Master"), Cryptor (last seen in "The Titanium Ninja"), Pythor, Zugu and Eyezor (last seen in "The Corridor of Elders"), and Chen and Morro (last seen in "Curseworld, Part II"). Some of these villains have appeared within the last ten episodes of the previous season, while others, such as Samukai and Kozu, had not appeared in over forty episodes, which aired four years prior.
- Nya is seen doing Spinjitzu for the first time since "Return of the Overlord." However, her tornado's colors have changed from crimson to dark blue, which is due to her unlocking her true powers as a Master of Water instead of using Spinjitzu gained from Dark Matter corruption.
- The episode marks the first time that the term Skulkin is used in the show instead of skeletons, with Samukai calling himself the "Skulkin general."
- The statues of Morro and Samukai are the only ones that look exactly like their original forms; Pythor is wearing his Rebooted robes, Cryptor's printing is slightly different, Kozu's color scheme has changed to include black as a predominant color, and Chen doesn't have gloves (Oddly enough, he does have gloves in the sets).
- Nadakhan and the Sky Pirates do not appear, as Jay's final wish in The Way Back erased most of Skybound's events. The Sky Pirates are the only villainous faction that does not appear (excluding the Serpentine and Captain Soto's crew, who have since allied with the Ninja).
- This marks the first time Pythor has fought one of the Ninja since Enter the Digiverse.
- Borg Tower returns to the Ninjago City skyline, despite being absent since Tournament of Elements.
- While holding up the head of the statue, Lloyd says, "You are still with me, dad!" This echoes part of Garmadon's last words to Lloyd in Curseworld, Part II: "Whatever happens to me, wherever I am—I will always be with you."
- In actuality, Yang doesn't ally with the revived villains. He uses them to distract the Ninja so they won't interfere with him opening the Rift of Return. The episodes focuses on Yang's conflict with Cole, while the return of the villains acts as a subplot.
- Similarly, Morro is the only revived villain to not seek vengeance, but instead redemption and forgiveness. This is likely due to the concluding events in Curseworld, Part II when he realizes the true meaning of being the Green Ninja. His claim of having "unfinished business" with Wu in front of the other villains was a ruse to hide his true intentions of helping the Ninja.
- As Dareth is being chased by Kozu and the Stone Warriors, a person wearing a Lord Garmadon costume can be seen.
- While Dareth is examining the costumes, a couple human Anacondrai Cultists can be seen in the crowd.
- Pythor allies with Yang despite having helped to save Ninjago before, going out of his way to harm Lloyd; he is also the only villain to appear in the special who isn't either sent back to the Departed Realm, redeemed, or both. This indicates that Pythor's assistance against the Anacondrai Cultists was motivated by personal anger over them mocking his heritage with their false Serpentine transformations, not a genuine change of heart regarding the Ninja.
- In Curseworld, Part II, Nya destroyed the Cursed Realm which consequently resulted in Chen's death. In Day of the Departed, Nya destroys the mannequin Chen is possessing using one of his own missiles—defeating him a second time. Zane also defeats Cryptor a second time, having shattered him apart at the end of The Titanium Ninja.
- Each villain's choice of target is due to a certain history.
- Pythor chose Lloyd due to "defeating" his father.
- Chen targeted Kai for turning Skylor against him, and Nya for unknowingly killing him by destroying the Cursed Realm.
- Cryptor challenged Zane because of their technical relations, and because he inadvertently destroyed him by slaying the Golden Master.
- Morro had unresolved business with Wu, as he claimed, but in reality sought to help him.
- General Kozu pursued Dareth for stealing control of the Stone Army, indirectly leading to his destruction by enabling Lloyd to reach and defeat the Overlord.
- Samukai went after Jay due to process of elimination, as the other villains all claimed a target before he could. However, Jay was also the first Ninja to use Spinjitzu against the Skulkin, inspiring the others to follow suit.
- The golden statue of Skales, which was previously seen in Winds of Change shortly before Morro possessed Lloyd, can be seen at the entrance of the Hall of Villainy.
- The Helmet of Shadows makes its return in this episode, having last appeared in Rise of the Spinjitzu Master. In its last appearance, it served the same purpose—for Dareth to control the Stone Army.
- This mark the last appearance of Cole as a ghost and the first appearance of him as a human since The Temple on Haunted Hill.
- Chen, Cryptor, and Samukai are all killed within one minute of each other.
- At one point, Kai asks Nya if she thinks that they'll ever find out what actually happened to their parents. This hints to the next season, The Hands of Time, where the siblings find out what actually happened to their parents.
- This is the first episode to feature Krux, the older brother and mastermind of The Hands of Time, though he remains under the identity of Dr. Saunders throughout the whole episode.
- In this episode, all of the Ninja (except Cole) used their signature weapons to battle their old enemies: Lloyd, Kai, and Nya used katanas, Jay used a pair of nunchucks, and Zane used a pair of shuriken.
- There is an alternate version of the "Day of the Departed" known as "Attack of the Cursed Specters" (乐高幻影忍者: 魔咒幽灵的进击). It includes an exclusive intro written by Tommy Andreasen, featuring the Ninja fighting to decide who gets the Raider. The desert scene is shorter as the Ninja have already been introduced. There are some other small differences between the special and this version. It is available only in Chinese.
- Villain Throwback videos (called "The Story of (Villain's name)") shows the Hall of Villainy before it is opened to the public. There are slight differences, such as objects lying on the floor or cracks on the walls. Dr. Saunders lets the viewer in (the trailer is from the camera's point of view), saying, "Welcome to the Ninjago Museum of History! I'm Dr. Saunders, curator of this museum. This is the all new hall of villainy exhibit, not yet open to public! You come, you see!" and tells the viewer the history of one of the villains shown in the hall.
- The Fangpyre symbol is visible on the replica of Pythor's Anacondrai Staff.
- Cole has a lantern with him while viewing the Hall of Villainy, but when he goes off to Yang's portrait, his lantern disappears for the rest of the scene.
- In the shot before Jay connects the Ultra Stealth Raider Jet to the rest of the vehicle, his eyebrows are absent.
- In the shot where Chen comes back to life, he no longer has his Departed Jade Blade and black gloves, despite having both when he was a statue. As Yang said, the Departed Blades are needed for the villains to be resurrected, so in actuality Chen's lack of a blade meant he never had a chance of being revived.
- When Samukai is first seen at the junkyard carrying Edna, he's wielding two bone daggers. Yet afterwards, the daggers are nowhere to be seen, having been replaced by his Departed Bone Axe.
- After being brought back to life, Cryptor's mannequin no longer has shoulder armor. The armor is absent all throughout the scene up until the last shot when Pythor proposed they go to the Hall of Sidekicks. This shot, as well as all the scenes after it, featured Cryptor with the armor on.
- During the credits, Paul Dobson is listed as having voiced Kozu and Pythor, but he only voiced Kozu. His brother, Michael Dobson, voices Pythor. In fact, both Michael and Paul were credited for voicing Pythor with their names sitting next to each other.
- The revived Nindroids, Stone Warriors and Fake Anacondrai were meant to have a green/ghostly appearance to them, but due to an animation mishap they do not.
- When the Chenosaurus' boxing gloves are replaced by buzzsaws, the gloves disappear in thin air.
- As Samukai does rock-paper-scissors with Kozu, Morro's statue can be seen on in the background, despite Morro being in possession of it at the time.
- In the same shot, the Pythor statue can be seen holding the Departed Anacondrai Staff, despite the real Pythor taking it earlier.
- Cole's Spinjitzu appears normal when the Ninja arrive at the museum, yet later, when he fights Yang's students in the temple, his Spinjitzu has a ghostly appearance. This could be because he was fading away.
- When the Ninja arrive on the Bounty and Kai says "We have to help him," he and Lloyd were wearing their Jungle Robes.
- When Kozu jumps onto the stage, there is a Stone Swordsman instead of Stone Scout.
- When Lloyd was about to be attacked by Pythor, he had a Golden Katana strapped to his back, despite him not having it on his back during the first half of the special.
- ↑ https://twitter.com/TommyAndreasen/status/792597043671957504
- ↑ https://twitter.com/TommyAndreasen/status/783290237996896257
- ↑ https://twitter.com/TommyAndreasen/status/781968010537897984
- ↑ https://twitter.com/TommyAndreasen/status/783559505921642496
- ↑ https://twitter.com/TommyAndreasen/status/782589389994065935
- ↑ https://twitter.com/TommyAndreasen/status/785001866195300352
- ↑ https://twitter.com/TommyAndreasen/status/800393815676829697
- ↑ https://twitter.com/TommyAndreasen/status/786110976416448512