The popular animated series Amphibia, starring Brenda Song as the voice of Anne Boonchuy, a human girl that is transported to the world of Amphibia -- which is full of frog-people -- after opening a magical box is officially set to return this weekend for its Season 2 premiere. Additionally, the show has already been renewed for a third season. Ahead of the premiere, ComicBook.com had the opportunity to speak with Matt Braly, the creator and executive producer of Amphibia, all about Anne, what lies ahead, and various odds and ends like soggy socks and Kermit the Frog.
Amphibia, if you're not familiar, also features Justin Felbinger as the voice of Sprig Plantar, Amanda Leighton as the voice of Polly Plantar, and Bill Farmer as the voice of Hop Pop. The new season is set to air weekly on Saturdays rather than in chunks, which is a significant change from how Disney handled the first season and will feature guest stars like the aforementioned Kermit the Frog and George Takei, among others.
"Matt's vision, authentic storytelling and undeniable passion for his characters have brought the fantastical world of ‘Amphibia’ to life for kids and families around the world," said Meredith Roberts, senior vice president/general manager, Television Animation, Disney Channels, as part of the announcement that it was renewed for a third season. "We are excited for viewers to follow Anne and the Plantars as they go on new adventures in season two and unravel more mysteries through season three."
Amphibia Season 2 premieres this Saturday, July 11th, at 8:20PM ET/PT on Disney Channel. It will continue to air weekly as part of Disney Channel's new Saturday night animation block, which also includes Big City Greens and The Owl House. You can check out our previous coverage of Amphibia right here.
Are you excited about the upcoming season of Amphibia? What do you think about the Season 3 renewal? Let us know in the comments, or hit me up directly on Twitter at @rollinbishop to talk all things animation! And keep reading to check out our full interview with Matt Braly!
WHAT SEASON 2 HAS IN STORE
ComicBook.com: Now obviously, Season 2 has yet to air. What can you tell us about it?
Matt Braly: Season 2 is a paradigm shift. In the first season, we were more or less trapped in one location. And in the second season, we will be embarking on a kind of road trip adventure.
I did get a chance to watch the first two episodes. And it's pretty clear that it's going to be a very, very different experience. Why the change of pace here?
The first season, the entire goal was pretty much to endear you to the characters and solidify their relationships. And for this second season, we're now going to have a little bit of fun with them, where we travel the world, and they're actively exploring and looking for a way to get Anne home. I think that I've always thought of these seasons as acts or chapters. And I feel like that plays into it where you can look at Season 1 and distinctly think to yourself, “Oh, they're in the valley. They're in Wartwood. I think this is a Season 1 story.” And Season 2 is like, “Oh, they're out on the road. I think this is a Season 2 story.” And Season 3 is, “Question mark?”prevnext
ON GOING WEEKLY
Right. And it's not just a change of scenery for the show itself. Logistically, there are some pretty big changes for the show. Correct me if I'm wrong, but it's now going to be airing weekly on Saturday nights.
That is correct. And that is something that I am incredibly excited about. And it's such an interesting topic of discussion, even in our community of animation, where streaming has changed things for us.
Can you speak a little bit more about that? Why do you think it's going to be beneficial to Amphibia to air weekly?
The design of the show is a blend of episodic and serialized storytelling. And for a show like this, it actually is not really designed to be binged all at once. It's designed to be enjoyed over time. There's a long-form story arc that is playing underneath these self-contained stories. So the whole goal is that every week you can enjoy a little adventure, but over the course of the season, as it rolls out, you can piece together this much bigger story. And I believe that this kind of rollout, this kind of airing of a TV show, breeds a real connection to the audience, a real relationship.
We saw that earlier this year, or I guess last year with The Mandalorian, where a show that was coming out weekly, we were on the edge of our seat. We loved it because we felt like we had something to look forward to every week. There was a slower pace and we didn't feel this kind of -- we can't help ourselves. When we have 20 episodes in front of us, we often will watch them all. I'm incredibly guilty of this myself.prevnext
It's interesting that you talk about the construction of the show. Obviously, the first season held a lot of its cards close to its chest. We didn't meet Sasha until later. And of course, we still haven't officially met Marcy in any capacity. But it sounds like, and it looks like from all the Season 2 promotional stuff, that Marcy will be a figure in Season 2?
Marcy will be a key character in Season 2.
I was going to say, there's that brief change to the intro where it looks like it might be Marcy in that cloak, which we then see a very similar cloak in the book in episode one. Hm, question mark, question mark, question mark?
LET'S TALK SHOES AND SOCKS
Now, I have to ask, and I'm sure you've gotten this question many, many times, will Anne ever get shoes?
Love this question. I do get it a lot. I was just answering another question the other day that was like, the twigs and the leaves in her hair. And it's all from the same place. I love it. No. So there's two ways to tackle this. From a character design point of view, the reason why she has one shoe and leaves in her hair, is so that when you looked at this character, you would always feel like, “Oh, she's not where she's supposed to be. And, “Oh, maybe she doesn't have it all together.” So that was something that we just always wanted to communicate from a kind of like a canon logistics point of view. I imagine the leaves, she does pick them out probably every morning. But then right when she comes out the door, new leaves get stuck in there.
A constant state of disarray.
Yeah. And as for the shoe, your guess is as good as mine. Maybe it's sentimental.
Just really enjoys having soggy socks maybe?
Yeah. It's so funny you ask because that is such a thing for so many people that I was not aware of, a sort of phobia.
Soggy socks? Or just no shoe?
Yeah. Soggy socks, specifically, or dirty socks. We shouldn't get into it. But I just remember being like, “Oh, this is like a much bigger discussion than I thought it would be.”
Looking back on earlier, “I mean, yeah, no shoe is fine. It's fine.”
I remember there were development discussions about the shoe stuff where it was like, "Well, we got to give her two shoes. We wouldn't want her to step on anything sharp." And I was looking at other characters who are barefoot. And I was like, "Well, you're not worried about them."prevnext
RESPONSE TO SEASON ONE
That's true. That's true. So to get off of the shoes and socks conversation, obviously again, we just got the Season 2 premiere date and the Season 3 pickup. How have you felt overall to the response to the first season and the most recent news here?
I'm very happy with the response to the first season. I felt like it was very warmly received. And this news, I think people were very excited by and excited at the idea that the show was progressing. I read probably every comment made on the internet about the show. It's hard to do, but I do it. Yes, even the YouTube comments. And I have to say that, I do take that feedback and we do take it back into the shop and have discussions about certain things. And I think that something that I took away from Season 1, was that there was a lot of impatience for the overall story to get moving. And I believe firmly that, “no, no, no, it needs to be like this so that you're tricked into really loving these characters. You need to spend time with them doing ordinary things in order to truly love them.”
And that's like a storytelling philosophy thing, but I do 100% acknowledge the idea that people are like, "Yeah, but what's the story story?" And so for Season 2, I think there is a lot of excitement for them leaving the valley and traveling and actively exploring and looking for a way to get Anne home.prevnext
ON GUEST STARS
One thing we haven't really touched on yet is there are some big-name guest stars coming up? And I guess how did -- especially for a show like Amphibia, the biggest get, Kermit the Frog, how did that come about? And is there anything you can say about it?
Yeah, absolutely. So this whole idea of a Muppet voicing a character really came from Chris and Shane Houghton, who are the creators and showrunners of Big City Greens. And it's so funny because in retrospect, when I was working on Big City Greens for them and with them, they pitched this idea to me so much. They were like, "What if Fozzie Bear came in? And he was just a voice actor. That's the bit. He's not a Muppet at all. He's a voice actor." And I remember just not really getting it. But now, here we are, and Kermit is going to be a voice on our show, like an actor? And I remember reading the headline for the Season 2 press release. It said, "Season 3 Greenlight. Kermit the Frog and George Takei to Star in Season 2." And I was like, "This is brilliant."
Right. Because Kermit, ostensibly, is also a person somewhere behind all that.
Yes, yes, yes, absolutely. And so, it was really important that we got the most famous of amphibians to voice a character in the show. We shot a behind-the-scenes featurette with Kermit, where he comes and he's a frog consultant on the show. And in that very piece, he razzes our casting department. And then is like, "Fozzie was a voice. What do I have to do to be a voice? I'm Kermit the Frog." You know what I mean kind of thing. And so, I'm so pleased that there's... It's fun that Kermit is coming to do a voice on the show, but also, there's almost a mythos here already.
Right, it's like wrestling, almost. There's the kayfabe of, “He's Kermit. That's who he is.”
WHAT STORY AMPHIBIA HAS TO TELL
Now obviously, you can't talk any spoilers and I'm not going to dig for any, but what can you say about what you're most excited for people to experience in this upcoming season?
There are so many twists and turns with Season 2. We take some big swings, and I just cannot wait to see how people react to them. Also, and this is worth noting, something that really excites me. In the first season, we had one double-length story, which was our finale reunion. In Season 2, we have four.
You mentioned that you think of the seasons as chapters. How far are you looking in terms of chapters? Are we 50% through the story of Anne? Are we looking at multiple seasons past three potentially?
I can't comment in terms of how many or for how long, but I will say that this show follows a very traditional three-act story structure and that this is the second act.prevnext
ANIMATING THROUGH QUARANTINE
Is there anything else you'd like to add about Amphibia, anything at all?
No, we're so excited to be coming out weekly. I'm so proud of our crew, that we were able to put this thing together in a work from home environment. That's been crazy, dude, just bananas. And there were times, just to be realistic, where I was like, "I don't know if we're going to be able to do this. I don't know that we're going to be able to air this summer." Because there were just so many logistics. There was so much equipment and so many hiccups, you know what I mean? It's so difficult to edit stuff, satellite from home with your editing team. Oh my gosh, the frustration. So I'm sort of in disbelief that it's coming out. So I'm so grateful to the crew, most of all.
How far along in Season 2 were you all when you transitioned to work from home?
When we transitioned into the work from home set up, we had just started boarding the Season 2 finale. And so, to tell you a little bit where in the process we were, that meant that we had, I would say, maybe three or four half hours back in color. So we had a little bit of color, and we had a lot of animatics and it was the worst time for this to happen.0comments
Right, because you've just got tons of partially completed stuff.
That's correct. That's correct. By the way, not that there was ever a good time for this to happen.prev