At a special event held in Glendale, California, the cast of Gravity Falls gathered to say goodbye to the show ahead of next week's series finale. Creator Alex Hirsch, also the voice of Grunkle Stan, Soos, the villainous Bill Cipher, and about half the population of Gravity Falls, came out, along with Jason Ritter, voice of Dipper, and Kristen Schaal, voice of Mabel. Music director Brad Breeck joined them, as well.
Jason Ritter came out with multiple Nintendo 3DSes. “He plays games everywhere he goes, all the time,” Hirsch said. He’s playing the Gravity Falls game, appropriately. “I’ve already beaten it, but I’m playing it again.,” Ritter admitted.
After doing a live table read of the first act of the first episode of the whole season (complete with live soundtrack by Breeck), the cast took part in a Q&A led by Drew Taylor of Disney Insider.
“I absolutely didn’t” have any idea it would become a phenomenon, Hirsch said. “I wasn’t anticipating the scope of their passion. I was so pleasantly surprised!”
He said that season two’s shift in tone, the deeper layers to the mysteries came from “a realization that you don’t have to sugar coat things with kids.”
Ritter said, “I knew I liked it, and it’s one of those things where you have no idea. I was really pleasantly surprised when it became what it did.” When fans started pointing out the little blips of Blendin Blandin after the first few episodes, that helped Ritter realize there was much more to the show. “Then I got super, super into it.”
Kristen Schaal likewise “knew it was cute when I saw it put together,” referring to the animatic. “I did the lines and screams in the first episode so many times, I was like ‘I hope this doesn’t take off!’” she joked. When they went to Comic-Con for the first time, she was amazed to see her “brilliant genius” fans.
Only four episodes had aired at that point, and Hirsch “couldn’t believe how many people were dressed up in costume. And it was little girls all the way up to grandmas.”
Ritter told a story about seeing people dressed as Robbie and Wendy when he was wearing his Dipper hat. So he waved to them and pointed at his hat. “Wendy” waved and said, “Cool, man,” and “Robbie” just went “whatever.”
“I felt so much like Dipper at that point! It was amazing!” he said with a laugh.
Dipper’s depth surprised Ritter as he got to know the character. “There was a lot of Dipper that was just me. I get passionate, excited about things! I have troubles talking to women sometimes, so that was familiar to me,” he said. He also liked trying to solve the mysteries of Gravity Falls in real life.
Schaal said that Mabel is, “similar to Jason/Dipper, the most like me. Or even the most that I want to be,” of any characters she's played. When she recorded lines for Mabel it was “an instant access to a well of joy that I guess I always have, but don’t always have access to. Now that the show’s over, I don’t know what I’m going to do,” she said soberly. “I don’t know what I’m going to do.” She deadpanned the statements, first looking at her castmates, then at the camera and audience to lots of laughter.
Hirsch praised his actors for being the “sweetest, nicest human beings alive,” and that when he recorded with them, he walked out of the room “feeling like I just hung out with Dipper and Mabel, and it was so much fun.”
Brad Breeck, the musician behind the show, said that he tried to put the entire “palette” of the series into the theme song, and went from there. Hirsch said the whole theme song process started with getting nothing but X-Files and Tim Burton style tropes.
“Musically, finding a way in to something that felt sweeping and epic and brought you in was so important.”
Switching to press questions, ComicBook.com asked about surprises they found while making the show.
“Dipper’s a lot more courageous than I was expecting,” Hirsch said. He started out writing Dipper as “just as much of a wimp as I was.” “I was never too worried it would be too scary for kids, but I kind of kept daring kids to tell me it was too scary.”
Ritter said he was surprised to see “how detailed that would all go,” referring to the mysteries of the story.
“I’m most surprised that the show is ending, that only happens on shows I’m on,” Schaal joked. “I was really surprised that they actually age. That’s something I never really see on cartoons.”
Hirsch planned to end the show when the summer ran its course from the beginning. “I tried a crazy experiment, and the craziest thing is that they let me do it.” Could it ever come back? “I love these characters enough that I wouldn’t want to take them to a place I didn’t believe in. That being said, it’s not inconceivable that we could do a special or something…” he said. “I think I’ll be busy,” Schaal joked. Hirsch also said a comic book would be a possibility. “Right now I’m content, but I can’t tell you what future Alex might want.”
Speaking of the future, Schaal predicted that Mabel would “find the love of her life at age 28,” and said she’d be a “really good teacher.” They joked about Mabel using puppets in lessons, and going "Dangerous Minds on the kids," really "breaking down walls."
Ritter thinks Dipper is still exploring as, “An Indiana Jones type. He’s hungry to solve mysteries, so he’d spend a lot of time trying to prove to people outside of Gravity Falls that these things really happened.”
Hirsch says Grunkle Stan in 30 years will either “have his head frozen like Walt Disney, or have his body taxidermied growling at the front of the Mystery Shack.”
Advice for accepting the end of the show? “We don’t like endings," Hirsch said. "Endings are scary. Finales are incredibly hard to write, it’s the second hardest thing to write after a pilot. No matter what we do, it’s going to be hard for fans because they love the show. I’ll say that I did this because I love the show. I never wanted to see Dipper and Mabel run out of mysteries and sit there and shrug at the TV."
“I love the fan community and all the things they create. I’ll be their fan now!” Hirsch said. He also teased that he is working on new projects, and fans can follow him, as well as Jason and Kristen into their new work. "Oh yeah, I got stuff going on," Schaal said.
The cast has a huge amount of favorite moments, but Hirsch’s initial response was “Stan with the pig strapped to him.” Ritter loved Mermando being self conscious about his hair being tangled. Schall said “I can’t choose, but when you asked that question I had a quick flash of a moment at the end of the Halloween special where the audience was put into the exhibit at the end.” Hirsch said the original ending to that was going to have the kids say “Hey Grunkle Stan that person you trapped is still there, and says they’re hungry.” They go in and give him popcorn and say, “Here’s some popcorn, M. Night Shyamalan,” so that the viewer was him the whole time… but he wouldn’t give them the rights to use his name and likeness. “I guess he doesn’t like twist endings!”
In the end, this is another step for everyone involved, and they recognize how significant it is for fans and cast alike.
“We all lose a piece of our identity at least three times in a lifetime,” Schaal said. Ending the series is one of those times.