Interview
Greg Weisman
Emru Townsend: So there were serious talks about spinning off some of the characters, I guess mostly from the World Tour.

Greg Weisman: One of the spinoffs was with Brooklyn. TimeDancer, having him jumping around through time. One of the spinoffs was Pendragon, which was King Arthur and Griff. One of the spinoffs was The New Olympians, from that episode. And one was Bad Guys, which was Dingo, Hunter, Fang, Yama, and Matrix. That was the Dirty Dozen homage. And that's the one we got the furthest on. Were you here yesterday?

No, I wasn't.

We made an animatic reel for that, about eight, ten minutes long, a mini-episode of Bad Guys. It was great fun. Disney killed it just before we finished that reel, so I paid my own money to finish it because it was just driving me insane. Years later, Disney Channel was interested in it for Jetix. About a year, two years ago. They were very excited about and then, again, they got cold feet. It was funny—

But it's still the bad guys.

It's edgier. It's funny and edgier. It's not that quirky, kooky, Teen Titans sense of humour, it's this edgy kind of thing, and it's something—I'm not saying Adult Swim would be in the market [for it], but it's something that although I do think we had plenty in the episode, big robots getting blown up, all this stuff for younger kids to enjoy, there was this sophisticated edge to it for adults to enjoy, that I don't think they were interested in. At least they haven't been, up to this point.

Do you think that part of the reason was that the bad guys were the heroes? It's kind of hard to sell that idea.

It is. In fact, I've tried to sell that idea and I also had a show called Disney's Villains, which I've been dying to do for years, which featured Cruella De Vil and Captain Hook and Don Karnage and Mad Madam Mim and all these characters from all the Disney cartoons and TV shows and features, in sort of this big mixed universe thing. In that show, in Disney's Villains, they would actually be trying to do bad stuff and failing [both laugh]. In Bad Guys, it was The Dirty Dozen. You had a bunch of people who were under coercion but were in fact trying to do the right thing.

The original title for Bad Guys was The Redemption Squad, then someone pointed out to me that it might sound a little bit like they were some kind of Christian group evangelizing [both laugh]. We changed the title but the idea that was important to me was that idea of redemption. You had five guys, who whether they were willing to come out and admit or not, wanted to make good. They'd done bad stuff and wanted to change. I love that idea. Just love it. Yeah, it's a hard sell. Just one notion too complicated, or something. Or maybe the characters weren't young enough. They had no marquee value, or at least very little. And they weren't a bunch of teenagers, or a bunch of kids, or a bunch of babies. They were grown-ups.

It's interesting that you mention that, because again, outside of the existing superhero canon, Spider-Man, Batman, Superman, and the rest of them, most cartoons at this point—

Even Spider-Man, they're playing him again like a teenager.

That's true, the early college level. But no one's much older than teens now. There's Teen Titans, and Kim Possible—which is enormous fun, I love that show, but it's mostly just kids. Actually, it's surprising how much adult interaction there is in Kim Possible, considering it seems to be aimed more toward the tween set.

I know. I worked on Kim briefly, I did one episode. It's a fun show, I love that show. But they do seem to have a sort of ceiling as to how... I think there's stuff in that show for adults to appreciate, that's not what I'm not talking about. But in terms of the situations they'll allow Kim to get into, there's a ceiling on it. And I'm not bothered by that, because for that series it's appropriate. But if you're setting out to develop or create something new and you want to push upward, they're not all that interested. Particularly at Disney, I have to say. But not that different at any of the other places.

It's one of the things that I've wondered about ever since they first announced that there was going to be a Buffy animated series. Well, that's great, but the show, although ostensibly about teenagers, does deal with a lot of adult themes. Never mind the decapitations and staking through the heart, that on its own is [troublesome]. But hey, there was a Highlander cartoon, so hey, what can you say.

When they first announced the Buffy animated series I was desperate to get work on it. I couldn't even get my foot in the door. But I want to work on that so badly.

It looks absolutely great, or at least the bits you see online.
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