The Black Cauldron is one of the concluding episodes to the first season of the Pooh's Adventures Reboot franchise. Because of the grand scale of the episode, it is split into two parts; the first part is pretty much the first act of the original movie with a few changes added, while the second part is the second act of the original movie with the addition of a cliffhanger leading into the final episode of the first season, Nightmare on Bald Mountain.
Following the defeat of the Horned King at Maleficent's now abandoned fortress, Pooh and his friends manage to escape the castle and free the princesses of heart in the process. Once all of the heroes regroup back at Merlin's cottage in the Hundred Acre Wood, they resolve to stop the Horned King once and for all before he finds the Black Cauldron, which was released from its hiding place following Pooh and Tigger's destruction of the Soul Reaper. Although Piglet opts to stay behind out of fear of what the Horned King could do to them, Rabbit and Tigger manage to convince him otherwise due to their creedo dictating that they stay together no matter what. And so, our heroes prepare for the final journey into the heart of Annuvin.
But first, our heroes must stop by at a cottage in Caer Dallben, where Merlin explains that the owner of the cottage, Dallben, can provide them with something to help them find the Black Cauldron and prevent the Horned King from conquering all worlds. Once there, our heroes meet a young boy named Taran, who is Dallben's apprentice and assistant pig keeper. He dreams of being the great hero who is foretold to end the war against the corrupted darkness and bring back balance to the universe. Unfortunatley, his own overconfidence and inability to keep to his duties prevents him from achieving his goal. However, he soon gets his chance to prove himself when the young pig he watches over, Hen Wen, proves to be the very oracle that Merlin was talking about, and thus she must be taken to the hidden cottage at the end of the Forbidden Forest to keep her safe from the Horned King. Pooh and his friends vow to help aid Taran in keeping Hen Wen safe at all costs, but they're not so sure about Taran's ability to keep his promise...
Meanwhile at Castle Annuvin, the Horned King, slighty battered after his defeat at the Grand Hall of the Forbidden Mountains, vows to destroy Pooh and his friends for meddling in his affairs for far too long, assuring himself that in the process, he will finally find the Black Cauldron and open the Door to Darkness which will make him a god among mortal men. To help him achieve his goal, the Horned King uses the powers of the reconstructed Keyblade of People's Hearts to reawaken the slain and deceased souls of many of his followers. These include Maleficent, Jafar, Hades, Ursula, Scar, Shere Khan, and Cruella De Vil.
Meanwhile, out in the outskirts of the forest, Pooh's doubts are realized when Taran's own fantasies of herohood distract him from Hen Wen's wandering off, forcing him and the others to search the forest for her. All the while, the wolf pack and various evil trees prove to be very challenging for Pooh to overcome. Suddenly, our heroes are confronted by a furry critter named Gurgi, who wants to be Taran's friend and help look for Hen Wen...in exchange for an apple to eat. But he immediately runs off the very instant that our heroes hear Hen Wen's frightened squeals. The source of Hen Wen's distress turns out to be a flock of gwythaints and wolves, ridden by Maleficent's Goons, and sent by the Horned King to capture her. They manage to succeed in their mission despite Taran's failure to stop them, and everyone heads to Castle Annuvin to rescue her, ignoring Gurgi's warning to stay away from the castle.
Soon our heroes try to get in the castle without being spotted by the various goons and guards stationed around the corridors. They manage to get past the villains, but soon discover a party held by the evil henchmen in celebration of Hen Wen's capture, hosted by the Creeper, the Horned King's head servant. However, the party is soon interrupted by the return of the Horned King and his generals, who order Hen Wen to be brought before them and reveal the location of the Black Cauldron. Unfortunately, Taran accidentally slips off the balcony and reveals the prescence of our heroes to the villains. The Horned King inquires Taran to persuade Hen Wen to show the whereabouts of the Black Cauldron, revealing the identity of his generals in the process, and only manages to convince him when Hen Wen is nearly executed by the Heartless. As Hen Wen uses her scrying to show the Black Cauldron's location, the Horned King's greed to see more of the vision causes him to lunge out at Taran, forcing our heroes to run away from him and try to escape the castle. After battling a pack of wolves and the Creeper, our heroes just barley manage to escape before they are all captured and thrown into the dungeon.
But our heroes don't have long to stay there when a scullery maid named Eilonwy breaks them out, claiming to be a princess although Tigger and Rabbit don't believe her. As they head through the dungeons and hidden sewers of the castle, our heroes face off against Fidget and several of Ratigan's Goons before landing in a hidden tomb of the original king of Castle Annuvin. Taran soon discovers a strange object found on top of the tomb, a glowing and powerful sword named Drynwyn, and grabs it, hoping it would make him a powerful warrior. Our heroes soon discover a glimpse of what the Horned King is planning when Creeper hauls a load of objects into the Grand Hall of the castle, slipping past some guards. They soon free an old prince/bard named Flewdder Flam, but then wind up face to face a Guard, where, in the process, Taran uses the sword's now revealed magic to defeat the villain. Taran is soon overjoyed once he puts the pieces together about his sword, but doesn't have long to celebrate when the entire castle becomes alerted to the escape attempt.
As our heroes run past the hordes of villains sent to capture them, they soon manage to reach the castle drawbridge, where they are immediatley confronted with an entire army of dark ones, goons, grunts, and monsters, led by a ghostly Dark One, Garrett Krebbs. Pooh, Tigger, Piglet, Rabbit, and Eeyore soon draw out their weapons, and engage in a long battle against the villains. But just after all the monsters are destroyed and our heroes have completely exhausted themselves from the fight, another large army of villains, led by Creeper, soon appears to destroy our heroes in their weakened state. Thankfully, they are saved by Taran's magic sword, which he uses to cut the chains of the drawbridge loose for all the heroes to escape, leaving a guard dog with only the seat of Flewdder's pants (don't ask).
A little while after, Creeper, Fidget, and Voort reluctantly go up the stairs to the throne room of the Horned King to tell their master the bad news: that Taran and the Heroes have escaped from the dungeons. At first, the Horned King is furious, but soon calms down once he realizes that this could prove useful to his plans, thinking that our heroes would soon find Hen Wen and lead his minions right to her. So, he orders Creeper and the goon squad to send the Gwythaints to follow the heroes, to which the goblins reply all too willingly. Once Creeper and his fellow goblins leave the room, the Horned King then turns toward a magic mirror and begins speaking a strange tongue to someone he calls "master", telling this strange being that it is only a matter of time before the Black Cauldron is found, "and soon", he explains, "every light must fade and every heart return to darkness!", laughing in anticipation of the event to come.
Part 1 ends with a credits sequence featuring the various Disney Villains at their worst with music from Kingdom Hearts playing in the background, before finally ending with a chilling laugh made by a pair of glowing, yellow eyes.
Part 2 opens with Creeper heading into the animal pits, and setting loose the Gwythaints and Wolf Pack in order for them to find Pooh and his friends within the outskirts of the forest. Speaking of which, our heroes are currently sharing a moment of peace after the hectic chaos caused during the scuffle at Annuvin. However, Taran and Eilonwy are not getting along due to the fact that they can't decide what it was that saved them from the Horned King's forces. Taran claims it was himself, while Eilonwy argues that it was the sentient sword's magic that saved them. Thankfully, the two manage to put aside their differences and make up...just as Flewdder is ambushed by Gurgi. Taran orders the creature to shoo, but Gurgi reveals that he saw the tracks of Hen Wen just today, and he can lead our heroes to where they land if they just trust him.
Reluctantly, our heroes agree, and follow the creature towards an underground cave, which leads into a cave pool. Gurgi investigates the stone steps of the pond, but ends up causing all the heroes to be sucked deep beneath the pond into the realm of the fair folk. Once there, they meet the king of the pixie-type fair folk, King Eiddelig, and his grouchy servant, Doli. The two try to make our heroes leave due to them having seen enough and under suspicion of working for "him", going so far as to deny the prescence of Hen Wen in the fairfolk lands. But the lie is immediately caught, and Taran is soon reunited with Hen Wen. Although Eidelig is unconvinced of Hen Wen's powers, Taran proves it to him by allowing the oracular pig to finish her earlier vision of where the Black Cauldron can be found. The location is revealed to be that of the swamps of Morva, where Taran proclaims that in order to save the entire universe, including the fairfolk, he would destroy the cauldron the moment he obtained it, and he would do so with the magic sword, identified by Eidelig as Drynwyn, the sword of King Gwydion. The fairy king tries to warn Taran of the dangers to be found in Morva, but the boy refuses, saying he's not afraid. But Eidelig does insist on Doli tagging along to serve as the group's guide, reminding the boy also that Hen Wen will stay with the Fair Folk until our heroes return from their journey. And so, the Pooh Gang takes the fariy dust method of leaving the caves, driven alone by the thought of ending the Horned King's rule on the worlds with the destruction of the Black Cauldron.
Meanwhile, back at Annuvin's Castle Chapel, the clueless villains not in the lich king's apprenticeship murmur and plot with one another about the Horned King and what exactly he was planning all this time. After all, he must have brought them back from the darkness for a reason. So, they elect Shere Khan to find out what he's been planning, but once the tiger reaches the front doors to the Horned King's Grand Hall, he finds that he can not enter, most likely due to a magic spell that was cast to prevent almost anyone from entering. However, the tiger does overhear the Horned King talking to a large group of something about how he will make them Cauldron Born and make himself the master of all reality, while also planning to destroy the worthless fools he calls his "minions" once he achieves what he wants. The tiger, fearful about what he has overheard, runs back to the Chapel to warn the other villains about the Horned King's treachery at hand.
Meanwhile, it is late afternoon as our heroes finally make it to Morva, where upon arriving in the swamps, they discover the cottage of the three goddess witches: Orddu, Orgoch, and Orwen. Taran thus calls together a search for the Cauldron in the cottage, though no one is able to find anything...except for a massive army of frogs who were actually people that got turned into frogs by the inhabitants of the cottage. Upon finding this out, Piglet offers to leave the cottage now, but Gurgi soon announces the discovery of an entire room of cauldrons, no doubt used for the witches's magic ceremonies. Just then, the witches return and angrily threaten to destroy our heroes for intruding their cottage and setting loose the frogs, up until Orwen and Orgoch get into a fight on what to do with Flewdder Flam, either turning him into a frog or Orwen's boyfriend. Taran orders the witches to stop attacking them and give them the Black Cauldron, but Orddu has another idea in mind, give her the magic sword of Dyrwyn and they'll give our heroes the Cauldron. Taran at first refuses, but soon accepts the deal when he realizes that it is the only way to save the universe. As promised, the Cauldron appears to our heroes in a great earthquake, but when Pooh, Tigger, and Rabbit try to destroy the Cauldron with their keyblades and magic spells, they find out they can't even dent the thing. The witches return, cackling in glee over the situation, and tell the gang that the only reason they gave our heroes the Cauldron was because our heroes could do nothing with it once they found out that it can never be destroyed at all, thereby prompting them to give back the Cauldron to the witches and leaving them with both the sword and the cauldron for Orddu's private collection. However, Orddu does reveal that the Cauldron can be destroyed...so long as its evil powers are stopped first. She explains that in order to destroy the Cauldron's powers, a living being must climb into it on his own free will. However, there is a catch, the "poor duckling", as Orddu puts it, will never climb out alive due to the Cauldron's magic destroying the person in the process. Only then would the Cauldron be vulnerable enough for anyone to destroy it. Naturally, our heroes are furious at this revelation, to which Orgoch replies that the witches did say that they could have the cauldron..."It's not our fault you can't do anything with it." Orddu responds as they leave that "we always keep a bargain." Unbestknowen to our heroes, one of the shadow demons spots the event and gleefully heads back to the Horned King to tell him the good news...
That night, our heroes ponder on what to do with the situation at hand involving the cauldron, to which prompts Doli to leave in a huff, claiming as he leaves that "things never work out when you're dealing with people", and that Taran can go back to feeding pigs. Taran, now depressed, realizes that Doli is right and that he's not a true hero at all, although Eilonwy would disagree, revealing her true princesshood in the process and finally convincing the Pooh gang at last. Taran soon realizes what must be done and offers to become the Cauldron's sacrifice to end its power, but he doesn't have time to reveal this when the forces of the Horned King arrive to capture our heroes and the Cauldron, excluding Gurgi, who ran away to avoid capture.
As our heroes are dragged back to Castle Annuvin, Scar taunts them of how they've done well in bringing the cauldron right to the Horned King's clutches, but he is dumbfounded when Pooh asks now that the Horned King has what he wants, what'll he do with the villains serving him as their reward? At Midnight, when the moon is full and bright, the villains under the Horned King's command gather togther in a pentagram circle, and herald the arrival of the great demon king himself. As our heroes watch in sadness, the Horned King places the cauldron in the middle of the pentagram and taunts our heroes on how they've failed to stop him and how they will perish now that the ceremony is about to begin. As they watch, the lich places a skeleton inside the cauldron and chants a satanic spell to activate the cauldron, heralding the arrival of the Army of the Dead and claiming that darkness is the heart's true essence. The villains raise their staffs and wands into the air, causing a pillar of darkness to rise and create an eerie green mist to envelop the massive amount of skeletons in the Grand Hall. The staffs and talismans glow bright purple and red as black lightning strikes them all. The mist continues to thicken until it is transformed into a green pool. Curious to find out what is happening, a goon carelessly strikes his spear at the pool, causing it to emit dark lightning...and a skeleton pops out! Then another, and another! Soon an entire army of skeletons and wraiths has risen out of the ooze, attacking a helpless goon and turning him into another skeleton by exposing him to the dark mist. The cauldron born have arrived, and they want revenge on the world for banishing them away long ago, and now they have the capability to do so. The Horned King laughs in triumph, finally achieving his long-awaited goal of becoming a god of darkness. The disney villains ask what is their reward for serving him faithfully, and he replies to their question...by summoning twelve black cloaked figures to eliminate the pawn villains with their powers of darkness! The last remaining villain, Maleficent, cheers in triumph for removing the pawns from the picture and offers to join him in watching the spectacle from above. As the army of darkness leaves Castle Annuvin, the Horned King announces that it is his greatest triumph.
Meanwhile, back at the Grand Hall, Gurgi, having managed to slip back into the castle, has managed to free our heroes, asking them to leave this horrible place. But Taran refuses, claiming he still has to sacrifice himself to the Cauldron, but Gurgi refused to let Taran die, offering himself in the boy's place, to which he fulfills by jumping into the Cauldron itself, destroying its powers forever! But the Cauldron Born do not die, having already boarded the ships to leave Annuvin. Still, the Horned King senses the Cauldron's loss of power, causing him to become furious and attack Creeper in anger. As our heroes try to escape the castle to escape the Cauldron's fury, Taran and Pooh stay behind to see if Gurgi can get out of the Cauldron in time. But they are soon discovered by a furious Horned King, who threatens to make good on his promise to make all hearts become darkness itself. Taram decries foul on that lie, staying true to the fact that while hearts may be weak and sometimes even give in, deep down, there is a light that never goes out. Now the Horned King is extremely angry, roaring in abject fury that our heroes still understand nothing from his teachings even though they have come this far, and attacks with all his unbridled rage against the duo. During the battle, Taran is able to suprise everyone by reaching into his heart and summong Drywyn to attack the Horned King, causing the evil lich to lose his control and end up dragging himself to the Black Cauldron, where it uses all of its power to rind apart the monster completely, destroying him forever. Maleficent and Creeper, fearful of what has happened to their master, leave in fear to escape the castle's destruction. Soon everyone is running away from the castle, hoping to make it out alive before the castle collapses. Thankfully, everyone manages to escape, making it out just before the castle explodes and is sent to where the shadows lie...on Bald Mountain. Once the castle completely disappears, a shadow rises out of the ruins, and with the voice of the Horned King, claims that this is not over...the true master of darkness, Chernabog, has been freed thanks to the Cauldron Born ceremony and he will stop at nothing to plunge everything into darkness at last, before disappearing back into the darkness.
The three witches come to recover the now inert Black Cauldron. Taran has finally realized Gurgi's true friendship, however, and he persuades them to revive the wild thing in exchange for the cauldron, giving up his magical sword permanently. Fflewddur goads the reluctant witches to go ahead and demonstrate their powers by the revival, which they do.
Now understanding what they must do to stop Chernabog and his revived Cauldron Born army, our heroes, now including Taran and his friends, decide to go to the true final dungeon, Bald Mountain. With a heavy heart, they board the ship and blast off to what they might believe to be their final adventure...