TR Interview: Seth Green and Matthew Senreich on Robot Chicken and Star Wars Detours

By Luke Y. Thompson in Cartoons, Comics, TV, Toys
Friday, April 4, 2014 at 3:00 pm


In the last of our series of Robot Chicken interviews, we go straight to the creators, Seth Green and Matthew Senreich. Geoff Johns was scheduled to be part of the interview as well, but who knows - perhaps he read some of the nastier things I've said about Sir Lazer-Lot, and felt I should not meet the one Responsible This. But who am I kidding: most likely he had take a bathroom break or something.

Seriously, Robot Chicken gang - Sir Lazer-Lot must be fed to Mo-Larr on your show. Someday.

Luke Y. Thompson: So how often do you try to get Geoff Johns to show you the Ben Affleck costume, or confirm if the Rock is playing Lobo?

Matt Senreich: You know what's weird? We don't really do it. We've known each other for so long.

Seth Green: We don't really talk about it.

MS: You know the lines, and what not to cross. It's so casual between us, we've known each other for so long that it just...

SG: Sometimes you just forget, because we've known each other for a really long time, and sometimes you forget. We'll go to Cons together, and you'll see people shit their pants when they see Geoff Johns, and I'm like, "Oh, yeah! You're, like, 'The Dude'!"

MS: Yeah, we don't blink an eye. This might be our elaborate way of saying maybe we know it all. Ha ha ha!

LYT: When you want to do a DC special, is it as simple as you call him up?

SG: Yes.

MS: It was really that simple. When Geoff got this job - I mean, Geoff and I wrote our first pilot for TV together - that's how far back it goes, just from being friends before that. When he got the job, we were out to dinner one night, and he's like, "We should do a Robot Chicken DC special." I'm like, "Sure." And he's like, "OK!" And then the next day we were doing it. It was that fast and that easy to be able to pull something like that together.

But again, you start with the same people. We were all low-men on the totem pole, back when we were starting in comics.

SG: We've all been actors now for over 20 years, so...

MS: Yeah, we've been doing this since at least '96, and now we have the position to make decisions, and we just pull the triggers on those.

LYT: Is there anything he won't let you do with his characters?

SG: No, it's not like that. Usually, it's never a "Hey, don't do this with the character," it's more, "That's not possible," or "I'd prefer this iteration of the costume." But as far as creative restrictions, there's almost none.

MS: Yeah, the only restriction he had to start was this is TV-14.

SG: Which is not a lot of swearing...

MS: We know what that means, yeah. It's the same limitations Lucasfilm put on us.

SG: Although we blew it with the nudity. There's tons of nudity.

MS: Literally. That's what makes it TV-14.

LYT: So is the decision to focus on mostly the Silver Age versions of the characters - is that your choice?

MS: I wouldn't say it's all Silver Age. We were inspired by Super Friends. I mean, look at Superboy. Superboy is not Silver Age! [chuckles]

SG: And neither is that Poison Ivy! No, but we have some modern incarnations of the characters, but a lot of times the outfits are funnier or more interesting. It better serves the character interpretation we're going to use.

MS: Yeah, I think that's...

SG: And then we bounce all that off of him, and as long as it's cool.

MS: Yeah, I think it's finding the funniest versions of those characters to play with. That's what it boils down to.

SG: Right.

LYT: Or does it have anything to do with the fact that Megos are more poseable?

MS: They're not, as much as you think.

SG: We all have to customize, at this point.

MS: They're all customized, yeah. They look like Megos, but they're not Megos. Everything is wire armature with silicon - yeah, it's an elaborate process to make them look the way they look, because toys lose their poses.

SG: Yeah, animation - stop-motion animation is rendered over tens of twelves of hours, you know what I mean? Weeks and weeks, and you need something - even if something is durable for a child to play with it, it's not going to withstand the rigors of animation. It has to hold the pose firmly for hours at a time. No, toys just don't do that.

LYT: That's true. I've had many of them falling off my shelf. But Chemo, for instance, looked like the real Chemo.

MS: Yeah.

SG: Yeah. We were trying to figure out what that big robot was, because it was originally going to be - what's that guy? Metallo? Who is...?

MS: Metallo?

SG: No, no, no. Was that who it was? It was a robot.

MS: I don't remember.

SG: It was a robot in the beginning, and then I was in San Diego, and we hadn't started shooting yet, and I saw that massive Chemo build-a-figure, and I was like, "Pssht." I took a picture of it, and I sent it to Geoff, and I said, "Hey, what do you think about this for that scene?" And he was like, "Perfect!" Although he said we invented a piece of mythology, because now Chemo, according to Robot Chicken mythology canon, has a dad. Has a father that he wants to call.

LYT: I was going to ask, is it canon that Sinestro sunburns black?

MS: [chuckles]

LYT: Was that a conversation that you had?

SG: We did talk about it in the room that we had scheduled. We were like, "What if he's, like, crispy? What if he's like straight up blackened charcoal?" Everybody agreed that'd be the funniest.

LYT: It would be his Blackest Day.

MS and SG: [laughing]

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