ComicBook.com is live at the New York Comic Con event spread between the Javits Center, Madison Square Garden, and the Hammerstein Ball Room. The four-day event will cover topics from Nickelodeon to Netflix and everywhere in between with live panels, celebrity interviews, breaking news and more.
*** 12:15 pm Hey Arnold! Live Panel Discussion will have updates located below ***
12:17 -- Series creator Craig Bartlett on stage... OG Arnold Voicer Lane Toran ... Helga voicer Francesca Marie Smith ... Phoebe Anndi McAfee ... Olivia Hack all introduced onto the stage.
Legit excitement in the air.
12:19 -- Craig, How did we get the Jungle Movie?
Craig: We cant believe how cool it is to be doing this. I am sorry for the cliffhanger ending. I purposefully did that becasue I was daring Nick and Paramount NOT to make the Jungle movie... well, they didnt. Around four years ago, things had changed at the Nick Studios and new administration and they were 25-30 year old and they were asked what to do... and so they said, How about we bring back Hey Arnold. And honestly the interwebs and social media were a major influencer... so thank you.
IS this the same movie you wanted to do or is it new?
Craig: It changed a lot since then. We went about 60 episodes in and the parents had never written, so they werent great people... then I wrote "Parent's Day" and things got a lot worse because then you actually missed the parents. That original Jungle Movie was many many years in the making, but this one is new because we had another decade. It is more meta than ever and I think it checks every box.
Do you guys remember you auditions?
Toran: I didnt even audition for Arnold. I think I auditioned for Stinky, but someone in the back somewhere heard me, I guess, and they gave me Arnold.
Olivia: I was more nervous for this movie audition than the tv show becuse it had been so long.
Toran, you arent coming back as Arnold...
Toran: Yeah, I couldnt do it anymore so I was recast... BUT, I am back in the film as Che... and Che, is Olga's love interest.
Mason Val Cotton is the new Arnold and he is fantastic. He sounds more like Arnold than I think I do.
Francesca, lets talk Helga...
F: At the time, maybe its me... maybe its a child actor... but I didnt have a sense of how Helga was landing, so I didnt know if people liked her or what she was doing. We didnt have social media and didnt really do press, so we didnt hear what people thought so ratings were good and we just did it. The last five years or so, I got feedback on 'the' social media and at USC where I am getting my Phd., they did a panel called, "Move Football Head" ... and I had an exestential crisis. So when the question was about how women are portrayed on telelvision and was Helga just a bully and not a strong character... and so, largely, yes she is but largely for the sake of comedy. But there was osmething abuot her character at the same time that was tapping into an unspoken truth for a lot of people.
What is Helga up to today?
Craig: She would be the first female President of the United States... that could see through walls.
F: I feel like I need to make a Trump speech or something.... but I wont... so I think there is alot going on in the world today that Helga would have a lot of feeling abouts. So as she grows up and becomes more self aware and would likely try to make positive changes.
Rhonda has the biggest outfit change, she really goes through it.
Olivia: It is so tragic for her. She suffers an accident and loses the top half of her hair...
You talked about auditioning twice for the role, how has it been since the series ended?
Olivia: Well, it has only been a year between the show and movie, in the movie timeline so she is still stuck in her ways. Now, they update the technology and she has a cellphone and all that but so she is updated but still is very similar.
Starts outside Arnold house -- scored by Jim Lange -- it is a look at a lot scenes from the movie.
Mom Dad holding hands... zooms back into the jungle ... class has been selected to go to San Lorenzo... same as where his parents diappears... "Arnold it is not about you finding your paretns it is a class truip" ... quick cuts of all his friends with one line each... Helga becomes a massive helper and has her love locket of Arnold ... then more quick cuts to introduce fan favorites ...
now to the island, which is clearly scary... arnold scales the wall, all the kids are now turning against each other, Helga is mad, then happy... boat blows up... they see a cave drawing with his parents and he asks "Have you seen these people" ... then They find a hidden temple that matches a necklace...
Helga screams in a fit: Yeah, yeah Arnold.... We get it.
There is a lot of nostalgia and call backs.
12:48 -- Will we see Gerald and Phoebe reignte their romance...
Craig: Well there was a quick cut in the trailer that you saw it.... they kiss and it will be a storyline.
Oh, also... Nov. 22nd, the day after Thanksgiving it will come up. So get your leftover turkey sandwich then go to the theater.
12:50 -- We finally got to revisit the Jungle, but there was anotehr idea on the internet that puts Helga as a center?
Craig: We are really going way project at a time... what we really want is for this movie to go well and the audiences love it and then go to a season six. We have a ton of ideas for that and that is where we want to go with it.
12:57 -- How much updating did you do to the entire look and feel of teh show?
Craig: With all the technology that we have now we were able to quickly update pretty much everything, we kept most everything familiar. We were able to make the cast a little taller and fit their space a little more but we wanted it to be seamless.
Will we see more with Arnold and Helga?
Craig: Oh, yes for sure. This is in continuity. People sometimes forget we had two episodes after the Movie and so Arnold knows what he knows about Helga and Helga is getting frustrated with how Arnold cant articulate how he feels. It is something that I really liked about the boys. I wanted to keep them dense and not really nowing what to do with girls but kind of knowing a little or thinking they knew a little but also being more interested in go-karts.
Mom gets to the mic and goes on an agent rant trying to get her son a gig... audience grows very tired of it. Not a good way to wind this down.