Emru Townsend: When you started out with Gargoyles, you had sort of a universe in your head. How much was fleshed out before you actually had to start [production]?
Greg Weisman: Not much. When we started, I don't think I had a universe in my head. I think of it more like I had a direction I wanted to head in. In between the writing of the first and second season, I began to see a bigger picture for the show. The first season is very, very focused. Even in hindsight, it's very, very focused. It's got this arc of the gargoyles being this pro-active clan in tenth-century Scotland and suffering this horrific tragedy, waking up in twentieth-century Manhattan and becoming very reactive for the next six or so episodes. The arc is very strong towards directing them to moving back to who they really were, which was [to being] pro-active characters, from being reactive characters. Once you then say, this is a group of pro-active characters, not a group of reactive characters, you being to say, what is the world they're going to go out and be pro-active in?
It's at that point that the ideas and the universe began to come to me. Now, it's not like it's a watershed and suddenly it all floods in. [But] it's not like I didn't have some of the ideas before that, I certainly had ideas about the eggs, I certainly had ideas about Demona's true origins and Macbeth's true origins and things like that. The wider tapestry that the World Tour became was something that began to percolate more in between the first and second seasons. We decided to introduce the concept of Oberon's children, and we introduced Puck, and—I didn't know that Puck was Owen initially, but we were writing "The Mirror," which was Puck's first appearance. And suddenly I knew it was true. I don't want to call it inspiration, as if I came up with it, it was just, oh my God, Puck is Owen, and I called Brynne Chandler and Lydia Marano and I said, "Puck is Owen!" and they went, "We know! We just figured it out!" And it was just so right. We just suddenly figured it out. And a lot of what was so cool about writing Gargoyles is—and it happened a little bit to me on Captain Atom and I've read about it happening to other people too, which is that when things are really working, the characters begin to tell you what happens to them next. And you get an idea, and you're just, this is right. As if the Gargoyles universe really does exist in a parallel dimension, and all I'm doing is tapping into it.
Very Gardner Fox.
Exactly. Every once in a while, the idea will come too late and I'll be like, no, that's what I was supposed to have done!
So a lot of that flowed out of there. We'd break stories, and they weren't always easy to break, but when they broke they just felt right. We just knew we were headed in the right direction. And it was a good time. I appreciated it at the time. I'm not sure I fully appreciated it. In fact, I know I didn't. It's like you said, it's a collaborative medium. I wasn't the only writer there. Forget about just the writers, all the creators. I wanted to leave myself open to kismet, to serendipity, to someone coming in with a good idea.
You saw this thing with Vinnie here, he's talking about the episode where he threw the pie, well, we had two separate episodes that that episode, "Vendettas," became. One was an episode about the schmoe, you know, who is victimized unintentionally by the gargoyles and then he comes back for his revenge and Brynne had the idea about the pie. I decided on banana cream, but Brynne had the idea about throwing a pie in Goliath's face. We had another story idea about Hakon being the [ancestor] of Wolf and doing something with Wolf and Hakon's ghost. Then we're going along and we realize, these aren't two stories, this is one story. And we had to take—one of them had been Brynne's story, one of them had been Cary [Bates]'s story and they were both my springboards, but I'd given one to Brynne and one to Cary—and so I had to say, I'm sorry Brynne, but I've got to take your story away and give it to him because they're not two stories, they're one story. With one theme and counterpointing action and stuff like that. We needed to put them together.
You try to keep open, but there are certain long-term goals you set, certain tentpoles you know you want to hit, and like I said things began to feel right and the more I worked on it, the more forward my thinking began to go. So the universe-building, so to speak, becomes—the more you do of it, the more aggressive you become with it.