Fans of Cartoon Network’s stop-motion animated pop culture parody “Robot Chicken” filtered into a packed room at Comic-Con to catch a preview of the show’s upcoming season plus a first look at the creative team’s new “Titan Maximum” series.
The preview started as fans continued to find seats or places to stand along the back wall of the room. The clip depicted Santa Claus telling a naughty boy that it was time to die, beginning a stream of raunchy action figure sketches full of decapitations, booty shaking and ’80s cartoon references. Among the most applauded sketches were segments featuring “M.A.S.K.,s” which pointed out the characters’ masks were really more like helmets; Count Chocula singing YouTube meme “Chocolate Rain”; a lion making love to a bumble bee; Daniel Day Lewis cast as a robot humping a washing machine; and a “Dark Cristal” parody with a hip-hop Jen voiced by T-Pain.
In attendance was the show’s creative team, including Breckin Meyer, Seth Green, Tom Root, Doug Goldstein, Rob Senreich, Mike Fasalo, Kevin Shinick, Dan Milano and Mike Fasolo, and head of Adult Swim Keith Crawford.
The panel began by promoting the upcoming Robot Chicken Skate Tour, a free, touring roller derby-style event for fans of “Robot Chicken” that premiered at Comic-Con. They were careful to point out the event was for roller skates and not skateboards.
Next up, the panelists mentioned their new Voltron-inspired action show, “Titan Maximum,” that they would preview at the close of the panel, with the synopsis: “One hundred years in the future, Saturn’s moon Titan is defended by Titan Force Five, an elite squadron of young, brash pilots whose spaceships combine to form the giant robot – Titan Maximum.”
Meyer chimed in with the show’s tag line and battle cry, “It’s time to punch the fuck out of it!” prompting the crowd to cheer.
The panel was then opened to audience questions, with the first fan asking if the creators had ever written sketches that were too offensive and needed to be censored. Goldstein explained that his “Toot Fairy” sketch was probably the darkest sketch in the history of the show and that Cartoon Network still allowed it.
Another fan asked if the show would ever crossover with other programs from Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim program block. Senreich pointed out that there had already been subtle “Family Guy” crossovers given Green’s voice acting on both shows.
Asked if media mogul Ted Turner, who created the eco hero Captain Planet, would ever return as a character or if more contemporary video games such as “Gears of War” would be parodied, the “Robot Chicken” crew said “maybe.”
Given the creators’ workloads working on multiple projects, a fan asked if “Titan Maximum” production would interfere with the making of “Robot Chicken.” Green and Senreich explained that they had enough of a hiatus between series to fill their time equally between the two shows.
Things turned quickly back to comedy when a fan inquired as to which voice actor portrayed which Hollywood starlet on the show, since Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan and the Spears sisters are often mocked with generic drunk girl voices. “[Meyer] and I split that,” said Green as Meyer cut in, explaining, “They pretty much sound exactly the same,” to a laughing crowd.
Meyer proceeded to reenact the voice with Green for several minutes with the audience cheering.
The panel also commented that there would be more anime parody on the show, but that they mostly focus on topics from their youth.
Next up, the panel listed each of their favorite sketches. Green’s favorite was a Voltron break dance, Senreich’s was a 1776 sketch, Root liked his Gummi Bears parody, Shinick was proud of “Law and Order: KFC,” Fasolo liked the show’s “Star Trek” sketch and Milano’s favorite was “Grand Theft Mario,” which Green admitted he originally didn’t think would be funny. Crawford’s favorite sketch was the new “Dark Cristal” music video.
One fan wanted to know about the creative process for the show. Milano described it as a hodgepodge where the writers tried to come up with as many ideas as they could.
The next audience members asked about “Robot Chicken’s” “Star Wars” episodes, with one fan wondering if viewers would see more Admiral Ackbar and Boba Fett in the future. “I think it’s fun in doses, Ackbar is my favorite character – that guy kills me,” said Meyer.
Another fan wanted to know how the comical rivalry between the “Robot Chicken” and Seth Green’s other animated show “Family Guy” resulted from both shows animating their own “Star Wars” parodies. “Well, I’ve been a series regular on ‘Family Guy,'” said Green before Meyer interrupted, “Dear diary, I asked Seth a question – he’s a dick!” to a laughing crowd.
The next audience question inquired as to why the show’s creators chose stop-motion techniques using action figures over other forms of animation. Green explained the beauty was in the form’s tangibility.
When a fan asked about celebrities voicing themselves in parodies on the show, Green was quick to jab contributor Joey Fatone. “He’s not busy,” joked Green. “Now that he’s done with ‘Dancing With the Stars.'”
Green explained that the show reaches out to celebrities and sometimes celebrities reach out to the show, noting T-Pain asked when he’d be on the show when he encountered Green at the MTV Movie Awards.
Milano recounted one exception, however, explaining that Bob Barker was not interested in voicing his “Blade” parody, in which the retired Barker takes up a hands-on pet neutering campaign resulting in an eventual death match with a shape-shifting Snoop Dogg.
The panel then transitioned to discussing “Titan Maximum.” “We’re making a giant robot show with ships that are as stupid as possible and cause as much destruction as possible,” they said.
A “Titan Maximum” trailer then rolled, showing off the series’ main cast of teenagers. Several celebrities will voice new characters including Rachel Leigh Cook and Billy Dee Williams. The show will premier September 17 with a half hour pilot followed by 15 minute installments after that.
The clip mostly featured character banter and one-liners with a brief glimpse of the Titan Maximum robot dancing. As the clip ended, fans applauded and cheered.
The panel broke down as Meyer began impersonating the show’s drunken starlets again and Senreich lifted him over his shoulder to carry him off the stage to applause and a standing ovation.