The creators of King of Atlantis have released a preview of their upcoming animated series. The show is set to be the first ever animated TV series on blockchain, and will feature an all-star cast that includes Stan Lee, Michael Bay, and Elijah Wood.
The King of Atlantis Creators Preview Their Zany Animated Saga is a preview of the upcoming animated film. It was released on YouTube and will be released in theaters on November 28th.
The first chapter of Aquaman: King of Atlantis, a three-part animated epic based on DC Comics’ guardian of the oceans, will debut this week. Aquaman’s (Cooper Andrews) first day on the job as king of Atlantis is chronicled in the HBO Max miniseries, as he and his advisers Mera (Gillian Jacobs) and Vulko (Thomas Lennon) are thrust into an unexpected and hilarious fight against Ocean Master (Dana Snyder) and other underwater dangers.
Victor Courtright (Pickle and Peanut, Yo Gabba Gabba!) and Marly Halpern-Graser (Batman vs Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Teen Titans Go! Vs. Teen Titans) have created a one-of-a-kind middle ground between the aesthetic and characterizations of the live-action Aquaman movies (with the films’ director, James Wan, serving as executive producer) and a distinctly cartoony vibe, which is brought to Both Courtright and Halpern-Grazer have worked on the Cartoon Network animated series ThunderCats Roar, so they’re no strangers to raunchy animated productions. With Aquaman: King of Atlantis, the two combine the ThunderCats’ sense of flair and personality, as well as their love of Silver Age DC Comics, to create something really spectacular.
I spoke with Courtright and Halpern-Graser about their work on the miniseries ahead of the release of the first chapter of Aquaman: King of Atlantis. We spoke about how the project and its unusual narrative structure came together, James Wan’s participation, and the inspirations for the intricate underwater environment without giving anything away.
(Photo courtesy of DC Entertainment and HBO Max)
: To begin, how did you both come to be a part of the project? What was the pitching process like for the show?
Victor Courtright (Victoria): We were back on ThunderCats at the time, and there was a rumor going around about a possible Aquaman animated series. They were intrigued when I brought in a lot of sketches of this green-haired Aquaman that we’d all seen before, so they asked me to write up some ideas. Marly and I got down and jotted down a lot of narrative concepts and discussed a variety of possibilities for what this thing might be. It simply sort of brewed itself from there. Really, what we’re delivering now is so near to what we were talking about before.
Marly Halpern-Graser: I’m Marly Halpern-Graser, and I’m Yes, and this was all in 2019, so we had these discussions face to face. If you can believe it.
Courtright: I’m sorry, but I’m not able to.
That was something I was going to inquire about. How much of this procedure was completed before to COVID and how much was completed after?
Halpern-Graser: Prior to COVID, we essentially handled all of the pitching and idea development. Then, I believe, we received our green light and began production for two weeks before being forced to work from home for the remainder of the program.
Courtright: There was a change.
The choice to tell Aquaman: King of Atlantis in three episodes rather than shorter installments is intriguing. I was interested in learning more about how you arrived to that innovative choice.
Halpern-Graser: The three 45-minute specials was a format that we discovered early on in the planning process. We came up with a lot of the tales, villains, and characters we wanted to utilize first, before the structure, as Victor said. The format, on the other hand, occurred quickly. What I think is very amazing about it is that 45 minutes is more than enough time to convey a complete feature length narrative, despite the fact that it isn’t feature length. There’s enough room for a complete arc in there. It was incredible to be able to convey the whole narrative of three short films in the two years that we had. I believe we were able to accomplish so much more with the characters and push them so far than we could have done in just one film.
What role did James Wan play in the project? How did he assist you in maintaining your own continuity while drawing inspiration from the films?
Halpern-Graser: James Wan and Atomic Monster, as well as the rest of the crew over there, were all involved. We knew they’d be interested in doing an animation like this, so that was a major part of why we did it. And I believe the connection was fantastic.
What occurred was that they viewed, approved, and provided input on every single aspect of what we accomplished. Because we were utilizing their film as a springboard, they were very helpful in ensuring that we got Aquaman’s persona and viewpoint correct. Because they had spent so much time thinking about him before we even began, we felt it was critical that Aquaman serve as a kind of point-of-view character who could be easily identified. He’s from the surface world, and he’s suddenly responding to all of these weird, bizarre things in the manner that the viewer would, we hope. They were very useful in maintaining the grounded Aquaman persona in the spotlight.
Were there any outside-of-comic-books inspirations that you used to create the universe of the series? In terms of creature designs, the universe is so completely realized and interesting to look at when watching the episodes.
Courtright: Of course. This thing’s visual style is a mix of old monster movies, vintage animation, and our experience with ThunderCats. We collaborated with a lot of the same design team, as well as some of the board artists and some of our ThunderCats crew. We just sort of drew from everywhere, which is one of the things I love about the Aquaman universe: so many different things can work together. It was simply such a wonderful beginning place, such a good source of inspiration for making new, weird, and entertaining things.
Halpern-Graser: This Aquaman project is very different from ThunderCats, but one thing they both have in common is that they have always combined magic and science fiction in the same universe. The Atlanteans have a lot of super tech, but Mera’s ability to manipulate water is certainly magical. In Aquaman, these items are constantly side by side, which is a lot of fun to play with.
The first chapter of Aquaman: King of Atlantis will air on HBO Max on Thursday, October 14th, with following chapters airing on Thursday, October 21st, and Thursday, October 28th. Watch for a spoiler-filled interview with Courtright and Halpern-Graser later this month.
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