For the past five seasons, the International Secret Intelligence Service has been central to Archer -- it is, after all, the underground spy agency where all the characters work. But when the FX animated comedy returns in January, ISIS will be no more. Well, at least the name will be no more.
The reason, of course, is the rise of the Islamic State, the real-world extremist group frequently referred to by the acronym ISIS (alternately, ISIL).
“We quietly did,” creator Adam Reed tells The Daily Beast. “We were waiting for it to go away — at least I was. Back in Season 5, FX said, ‘This might be a thing,’ and I thought, ‘Maybe it won’t be? Maybe it’ll be the mole that I’m gonna ignore and nothing will happen.’ We got sort of lucky and could organically make a merger with the CIA, so we went back and retroactively painted out the ISIS logos in parts of the show, and we just don’t talk about it in dialogue.”
Although the preview of the Season 6 premiere screened at Comic-Con International included the ISIS logo, the producers have since added a scene in which movers roll away the sign. Rerecorded dialogue now has Malory Archer (Jessica Walter) explaining to Sterling Archer (H. Jon Benjamin) that the agency has been taken over by the CIA. And that will be the last viewers see or hear of ISIS.
“We won’t say ISIS anymore, and the only visual representation of it will be that sign rolling off the show,” executive producer Matt Thompson explains. “It’s just the most awful thing, and we didn’t want to have anything to do with it. There were people online saying that we should address it and say, ‘Oh, I can’t believe these guys have co-opted our name.’ That’s the way South Park would do it, coming after them and saying, ‘These assholes stole our name,’ but that’s not the way the Archer universe works, where it’s all our own creations. In our universe, they don’t exist.”
However, no changes will be made to earlier episodes.