“Teen Titans Go!” producers Michael Jelenic and Aaron Horvath spent a luxurious afternoon in the CBR Tiki Room at WonderCon Anaheim to discuss the new series, from the reunion of the original “Teen Titans” cartoon’s voice cast to taking the characters to places they’ve never gone before to the reactions they receive from fans at conventions and more..
Plus, a spoiler-filled video review of the first episode of “Teen Titans Go!” by seven-year-old Sienna Chin Gerding!
On developing “Teen Titans Go!” and reuniting the “Teen Titans” voice cast: “I think it was easier to bring the old voice cast back,” said Jelenic. “That original cast is great. They’re perfect. I didn’t realize how perfect they were until we started working with them, but the reason the old show was successful more than the superhero stuff was they made five characters that people identified with. So, to me, I thought if we were going to revisit these characters, let’s go with something we know that works. Especially — we’re taking these characters and doing stuff that you might not expect to do with superheroes. I think those characters we know and we love ground all the weirdness that Aaron and I are injecting into this property.”
On the show’s new artistic style: “It’s all inspired from Glen’s designs,” said Horvath. “We distilled his work down into very adorable, obviously comedy-based characters. There’s a lot of sharp angles that are still in there, but everybody’s been squished down and their heads have all gotten bigger. There are little details, like Robin’s mask — for a superhero show, it’s great because he needs to look mean and serious, but for a comedy show, he needs a really wide range of what he can do, so we’re playing with shapes a lot.”
On pushing characters to extremes for “Teen Titans Go!”: “Robin had to be the aspirational character on the old show — no flaws, super serious, a leader — now we’ve done the opposite,” said Jelenic. “He’s probably the most flawed character. He’s the only one that doesn’t have super powers, he’s very insecure about that. He’s type-a, so he’s obsessed about everything and we take that and push it to this weird extreme. The actors have really helped us get to these weird extremes because their performances. Khary [Payton], who plays Cyborg, we had no idea how loud he could get. From the first script to the last one, I find every line I write for him is shouting because he’s got all this great energy. He’s another surprise. I didn’t realize how versatile he was comedically. He’s so much fun to write for.”
On the reaction they get meeting fans at conventions: “Whether it’s a 40-year-old man or a 7-year-old girl, [these characters] play an important part in their life somehow, and it is pretty interesting to get the feedback from them,” said Jelenic. “If they think you did something wrong, they will tell you. There is no politeness at the con. I did a ‘Wonder Woman’ movie where she didn’t fly, and they made it clear they prefer her to fly. But conversely, if you do something right — when I worked on ‘Brave and the Bold,’ it was great to see fathers with their kids saying, ‘This is a show we can watch together. Thank you for that.'”