Following a season in which Archer‘s unruly protagonists became entangled with, and entrenched, in the drug trade, the spies of the agency formerly known as ISIS will return to the world of espionage. However, there will be one very noticeable addition to the cast: Archer and Lana’s baby daughter Abijean.
“I think [having a daughter] is going to be impractical for Archer,” H. Jon Benjamin, who voices Sterling Archer on the FX animated comedy, told a gathering of reporters at New York Comic Con. “It’s like the office baby. It’s always going to be around, you know?”
“[Lana’s] very ambitious and she could give a shit,” Aisha Tyler said of her character, new mother Lana. “She wants to kick ass. She’s not going to stop just because she’s a mother. I think that the dynamic now is how do you figure out how to be a mom and deal with your co-workers and try to find daycare and co-parenting with somebody who’s a poor excuse for a human being, and a grandmother who is a controlling, alcoholic harpy — and trying to make sure they don’t blow up your baby with a stray grenade.”
Amber Nash, who voices human resources director Pam, believes her character is the only one — other than Lana – who will take to the new addition. “I think that Pam might be the only one that’s even halfway equipped to take care of a child,” said Nash. “Nobody should be alone with that baby in this cast. I think [Pam’s] gonna try to teach the baby about life.”
With her parents both involved in the spy business, creator Adam Reed hinted that little Abijean will get to mix it up a bit on missions. “[Abijean] does get brought along on a couple of missions,” he said. “Usually when Archer is supposed to get a sitter but doesn’t.”
“He doesn’t trust Malory to babysit,” said Jessica Walter, who plays Malory, the aforementioned alcoholic harpy. “Isn’t that sad?”
The show will hop from Argentina to the Swiss Alps and Area 51 in the upcoming season, and Kumail Nanjiani, Allison Tolman and Coby Bell will guest star in episodes. “Hopefully we will spend two episodes inside the human body, a la Fantastic Voyage,” Reed said.
One episode, titled “The Kanes,” will introduce Lana’s parents, played by CCH Pounder and Keith David, to Archer — and, regrettably, to Archer himself. “We see her mom and dad, and then some things go wrong,” said executive producer Matt Thompson. “There’s a scene where [Archer] offends her parents, and he offends them mightily. There’s sex involved. It does not go well.”
Of all the cast members, Judy Greer, who plays Malory’s secretary Cheryl, seemed most excited about returning to the spy-setup. “It’s really fun,” she said. “My character didn’t — she’s always been terrible. She’s always been like a snotty little snot-rocket, so in ‘Vice’ she was really lovely and easy to get along with and sweet and good-natured, so I really love playing this character. I really like when she’s working, because when she’s at work she’s so awful.”
For Archer Vice, the show had to scrap all the backgrounds it had amassed over the previous four seasons and start fresh, which was a bold move for an animated series. Now that the cast is back to its old tricks, Lucky Yates revealed that the new spy HQ will look familiar. “It looks exactly the same,” said the actor, who plays Dr. Krieger. “We rebuilt it to look exactly the same.”
The building may look identical, but the situation won’t be. The organization will no longer be called ISIS, a move inspired by the emergence of a real-life terrorist group bearing the same name. Instead, the cast will work with the CIA, including Malory’s new boss Agent Slater, played by Christian Slater.
“We’ve merged with the CIA and it’s hard for Malory because she’s not the boss anymore,” Walter said. “She has to work under somebody that rankles her terribly.”
Slater revealed that watching the series has been a favorite activity for he and his wife. “I wanted to reach out to the creator, Adam, and let him know,” he said. “After I saw the Burt Reynolds episode, I thought, ‘Something like that would be really fun.’ He wrote me back and we started a dialogue.” Now Slater will be a part of the sixth season, appearing to confound Malory and send Archer and Lana on missions.
Of the back-to-basics approach, executive producer Matt Thompson said, “It’s going back and doing what we’re good at. Spying, actually going to foreign countries, doing some dirty stuff, and hopefully having fun and stuff along the way — but at the same time the stakes are hopefully a little raised for both Archer and Lana, who don’t want to see themselves die in some foreign land.”
After all, who would take care of Abijean? Malory?
Archer returns in January to FX.
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