San Diego Comic-Con Diary, Day Three

Published on July 25th, 2010 in: Cartoons, Comics, Conventions/Expos, Gaming, Media, Movies, Science Fiction, Toys and Collectibles, TV, Underground/Cult |

By Christian Lipski

Read:
Day One’s Diary
Day Two’s Diary

venture bros thumb

After going to bed sometime after 1 a.,m. the night before (late dinner), Saturday morning was pretty much a wash. I had a press conference for Futurama at 11:30 a.m., so I took off for the convention center. The room was about two-thirds full, and we all shifted about until the event began.

Matt Groening, David X. Cohen, Billy West, Maurice LeMarche, and Lauren Tom filed in to have their pictures taken before ascending the dais. They apologized for the absence of the voice of Bender, John Dimaggio, but it was explained that “Dimaggio” was Italian for “running late.” He did show up presently, and the conference began.

Futurama Panel
Futurama Panel

Cohen confirmed that 26 episodes of Futurama were ordered by Comedy Central, and Groening stated simply that it was the “constant chronic support from the fans” that kept the show going after being cancelled and restarted twice. Dimaggio pointed out that this made Futurama a zombie show.

Groening was asked about the amount of censorship that Comedy Central imposed, and his answer was that there was actually none. In fact, the only censorship notes they’d ever gotten were for an episode parodying censorship, and even then Comedy Central suggested that some of their bleeped words could actually be said on the air.

Tattoos
Tattoos

According to Cohen, the season finale will happen to be the 100th episode, and will be about discrimination against the mutant people, in which Leela leads a series of protests with the mutants. Mark Mothersbaugh and DEVO will guest star as members of the mutant underground.

One reporter asked the cast to relate in more detail the way that fans provide encouragement, and John Dimaggio took the spotlight. He was getting a tattoo late at night (as he advised all kids to do), and the proprietor mentioned that the Simpsons and Futurama characters were popular requests. At that very moment, a man was getting a tattoo of Bender on his neck. Dimaggio approached the gentlemen and revealed his identity as the voice of Bender. After a brief proof of this claim, the man was convinced, and had Dimaggio sign his neck, which was immediately tattooed on, cementing the experience. Groening mentioned that he had seen Comic-Con attendees dressed as Fry, Dr. Zoidberg, Bender and Amy.

Groening and Cohen talked more about upcoming episodes, including the holiday “Tales of Interest”-like episode which was described as a “musical environmental rap” experience that will feature the inevitable pairing of Coolio and Al Gore. Groening promised that there were still secrets scattered throughout the series that had yet to be revealed, but that Fry being his own grandfather would be referenced in next week’s episode, which also features a time machine that only goes forward. The episode, “The Late Philip J. Fry,” has what its creators consider to have “everything [they] like to do in a show.”

The next question for the cast was to ask which secondary character they like to voice. Lauren Tom chose Amy’s mom (which she revealed to be based on her own Grandmother), Billy West chose the ball of light from “Love’s Labours Lost In Space,” Dimaggio picked Earl the Robot, and LeMarche pointed out that all of his characters are secondary characters.

“In your work, you have ups and downs; how do you know when the failures are signals that you should call it a day?” This question prompted some thought-provoking answers from the cast. West explained that “success never taught me a thing; I only learn from my failures. Plus, I didn’t stop because I had no other skills.” LeMarche demanded that artists refuse to give up: “You must create. Hollywood is filled with people who didn’t give up.” He noted that director Ed Wood was known as a terrible director, but that he still stayed true to his own vision.

Tron
Tron

Cohen, who studied physics and computer science in college, spoke to a question about the science references in the show. He has writers with PhDs in the sciences who let their love of real science inform the writing. They like to hide jokes in the background “for the 12 people who will get it.”

Before wrapping the conference, Groening indicated that a clip would be shown in the following panel that would show Comic-Con a thousand years from now.

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