A Uni­verse of Evil Par­ody

Ro­bot Chicken re­turns to the world of DC Comics for a new spe­cial, fol­lowed by the lucky sev­enth sea­son of the Adult Swim hit. By Thomas J. Mclean

Animation Magazine - - Tv -

Adult Swim’s long-run­ning stop-mo­tion par­ody se­ries Ro­bot Chicken is on its way back to the air, with Ro­bot Chicken DC Comics Spe­cial II: Vil­lains in Par­adise set to air April 6, and fea­tur­ing ev­ery­thing from vil­lain of­fice pol­i­tics, Lex Luthor’s daugh­ter com­ing to work with dad and a big vil­lain va­ca­tion to the beach.

It’s fol­lowed one week later by the pre­miere of the show’s sev­enth sea­son. Still run­ning the show are co-cre­ators and ex­ec­u­tive pro­duc­ers Seth Green and Matthew Sen­re­ich, who gave us the low­down on all things Ro­bot Chicken.

An­i­ma­tion Mag­a­zine: Even vil­lains have ori­gins. What are the ori­gins of this spe­cial?

Matthew Sen­re­ich: In our first spe­cial, we fo­cused on the he­roes and re­ally fo­cused in on Aqua­man, and from do­ing that we re­al­ized the vil­lain char­ac­ters from the DC spe­cial were pop­ping a lot more than we thought. Al­fred Molina brought so much to Lex Luthor that we went div­ing into the sec­ond spe­cial want­ing to do some­thing that was vil­lain­cen­tric. So we brought them to the fore­front and wanted to fol­low their path from work­ing at the Legion of Doom to go­ing on va­ca­tion in some ca­pac­ity.

Do you find you can do more things in a spe­cial with these char­ac­ters than in a reg­u­lar episode?

Sen­re­ich: When we have more time to find char­ac­ter arcs and get into their per­son­al­ity a lit­tle bit, it al­lows us to ex­plore who they are and how they in­ter­act with ev­ery other char­ac­ter out there. If you’re just do­ing a sketch on our reg­u­lar show you’re in and out and done in prob­a­bly less than two min­utes. Seth Green: And you can fo­cus on jokes.

What were the an­i­ma­tion chal­lenges on this show?

Green: There were a lot of char­ac­ters on the screen at the same time. We wanted some very com­pli­cated things. We have a cou­ple of elab­o­rate dancing se­quences where sev­eral char­ac­ters are dancing and singing at the same time. But the big­gest chal­lenge is that the third act of the episode takes place all at a beach en­vi­ron­ment that there were a lot of sketch re­quire­ments for but we had to be able to shoot it. We had to shoot it on mul­ti­ple stages, we had to shoot it with­out ex­pos­ing the lim­its of our sets — make it look like there was a con­vinc­ing hori­zon line. So we did a lot of things in forced per­spec­tive, we did a lot of fore- ground el­e­ments, we did a lot of tight com­po­si­tion to make them look and feel big­ger than they ac­tu­ally are. Hope­fully, no one will no­tice that our largest set is 10 by 10.

Any DC char­ac­ters you wanted to get in the show that didn’t make it?

Green: I al­ways like to see Apache Chief on cam­era, but we just didn’t have a place for him. We could have stuck him in the end bat­tle, but we were fo­cused on other things.

What’s go­ing on in sea­son seven?

Green: We don’t have a new open­ing se­quence, but the open­ing sketch is an Eyes Wide Shut par­ody. And then, just to tease the end of the sea­son, we evolve the chicken mythol­ogy a lit­tle fur­ther.

What are you ex­cited about in this sea­son’s batch of shows?

Sen­re­ich: We have a Ge­orge R.R. Martin sketch, kind of a Hitch­cock­ian thing with him.

Green: We have a good Game of Thrones thing.

Sen­re­ich: Chris Pine and Patrick Ste­wart are in a Star Trek sketch to­gether.

Green: Oh,yeah. “The Star Trek Night Crew.” That’s the ques­tion: The crew can’t be a 24-hour crew, so at some point there’s got to be a night crew in there.

Has your process for cre­at­ing the show changed much now that you’re on sea­son seven?

Sen­re­ich: I think, if any­thing, it’s just got­ten more ef­fi­cient. We’ve known this process for so long it’s just stream­lin­ing it and mak­ing it get eas­ier each sea­son.

Green: And we con­tinue to hire people that are ex­cit­ing to us, that are new that are still sort of dis­cov­er­ing their tal­ents and we work with them and give them a safe place to find them­selves and do their best work.

Do you ex­pect to do sea­son eight? Do you fore­see the show ever end­ing?

Green: We’ll def­i­nitely take a break be­fore we start writ­ing again, but I think we’re still re­ally hav­ing fun do­ing this. Matt at one point hy­poth­e­sized Ro­bot Chicken as a Satur­day Night Live, some­thing that could just keep go­ing that uses a spe­cific for­mat and if we con­tinue to bring in new writ­ers and old ex­perts and all con­tinue to work to­gether ... I don’t know! As long as it’s fun to make, I think we would.

Sen­re­ich: It’s al­ways got to feel like play­ing with friends.

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