SDCC13: Robotech Interviews And Panel
Harmony Gold Team Revitalizes Franchise...
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As a lifelong fan of Robotech, I was incredibly excited about the new Love Live Alive movie coming out next week (see my review HERE). It was perfect timing with Comic-Con coming up, and it seemed as though that would be the major push at the show. Well, the guys at Harmony Gold dropped another bombshell on Preview Night about an upcoming comic book crossover between Robotech and Voltron! With all of that news and the hint of even more on the horizon I was looking forward to talking with the team behind Robotech and checking out their Comic-Con panel. Before the panel itself I had a chance to talk briefly with Svea Macek (Love Live Alive creative consultant), Steve Yun (associate producer), Scott Glasgow (composer), Jamey Scott (supervising sound editor), Tommy Yune (producer, president of animation at Harmony Gold), and Kevin McKeever (VP, Marketing).
I asked Svea about Love Live Alive, and what she thought was special about the project. It was the brainchild of her late husband and creator of Robotech, Carl Macek, who developed the story and adapted the original Japanese OVA. “It’s Lancer’s story, and it adds another level to the overall story. During war artists, like Lancer, have to adapt.” Macek is consistently impressed with the loyal fans, and looks forward to more Robotech coming soon. Her other current projects include illustrating a children’s book called “Cha Cha the Indoor Cat,” costuming work, and revitalizing other projects Carl began. Steve similarly described LLA as “fulfilling an old desire” on the part of Carl, who was eager to bring back the characters from the OVA. He described it as an “expansion with a retrospective on the New Generation summarizing some of the best parts.”
Scott Glasgow reminisced about his initial meeting with Robotech and the fans at the 2006 San Diego Comic-Con panel. He had known of Robotech, but that was the first time he saw footage with some of his previous music being used as the temp track. For composing the music on Shadow Chronicles Scott knew he had to incorporate the classic music from the series; the question was how? “Do I go in the direction of Hans Zimmer or John Williams? I went with themes for the characters, which can be used to add subtle touches and really tell a story through the music like a script.” For Love Live Alive, Scott returned to arrange some of the classic music for 2013. He described it as “dumping old stuff like the crazy electric guitars, making it sound more intense and modern.” Scott also added some intros and outros. Meanwhile, Jamey Scott had the task of putting together old and new music and sound as well as creating all new sound design for the brand new animation segments in the film. It was also a chance to bridge the film to Shadow Chronicles through the music.
Tommy called the Love Live Alive project “a challenge. In Japan after a successful anime series there will often be an additional episode or movie (OVA), but for MOSPEADA it was little more than a concert film. Carl decided to create something like the classic Robotech episode Dana’s Story - extend the flashbacks, create a linear story in the same format as Forrest Gump, and link the 2nd and 3rd Generations.” Tommy shared two cool anecdotes: first, when Cam Clarke originally came in to voice Lancer he didn’t know about the character’s cross-dressing alternate female personality! Second, in LLA they re-recorded some scenes with new dialogue. Can you identify them?
Kevin was super excited about Love Live Alive, and talked about it as a project 25 years in the making. We discussed the timelessness of Robotech and its survival through all these years, with great new features like this one growing the franchise and bringing in new fans. He likened LLA to the Robotech 1st Generation story Gloval’s Report, and talked about how Robotech always treats its viewers as intelligent, introducing elements and driving story without stopping to spoon-feed.
The announcement right before Comic-Con started was that we’ll be seeing a new comic book crossover with Robotech and Voltron from Dynamite. There wasn’t much more that anyone could tell me, but Steve described it as a cool miniseries and that Warner Bros. (currently working on a Robotech live action film) gave the okay on making new comics. Tommy described how “lots of people had come up with other Robotech comic book pitches over the years, but we were skeptical. This one had a real premise, not just a punch line. It has real characters and takes both worlds seriously.”
On the live action movie front, Harmony Gold was excited to announce that they’ve named their director, Nic Mathieu who is known for his imaginative and FX-heavy commercials. Beyond that, the parties involved are still working on the story.
I’m always interested in getting more Robotech toys, and I asked Tommy about just that. The latest push in collectibles is the new miniature game from Palladium Books and Ninja Division. There will be nothing coming out in any new categories due to the deal with WB, though existing product categories will continue through Toynami.
It was great to see the Robotech panel was packed with fans eager to learn more about their favorite franchise, and they cheered the whole way through at announcements about Love Live Alive, the live action film, miniatures, and everything else. See our panel presentation photos HERE! The broad strokes:
- Introduction of panelists including the Spanish voice of Rick Hunter and Scott Bernard
- Robotech will return to Netflix, Hulu, Apple, YouTube, etc. very soon with the new digital distribution deal with Lionsgate
- The Robotech Role-Playing Game from Palladium Books continues (I’m a huge fan of this game and it’s awesome!)
- Robotech miniatures are back in a huge way thanks to the Robotech RPG Tactics Kickstarter! Ninja Division and Palladium Books will be debuting the first minis at Gen Con next month, and there will be tons of products on the way including rare mecha, units from all generations, etc. One fun note: at this point of the presentation Tommy showed two photos of Robotech minis on display; they were both from my coverage of the Ninja Division booth at this year’s GAMA trade show (see it HERE)!
- Robotech novelizations are back on store shelves, and available on all eBook formats
- Get your Robotech 2013 Calendar on Robotech.com
- Toynami has plush VF-1 Veritechs in the works
- 25th Anniversary EPs will bring classic and new music including unpublished alternate versions, karaoke editions, etc.
- Live action film director announcement and a note that WB will offer Robotech merchandising
- Lots of discussion of Love Live Alive including how it came to be, the voice recording process, new mecha designs, music, and more. Released as a 2-pack with Shadow Chronicles
- Robotech/Voltron from Dynamite! Will definitely include robots, monsters, mullets, and mice
- Voltron’s World Events Productions Creative Director Jeremy Corray took the stage, impressive as always with his extreme enthusiasm and ability to fire up the crowd
Robotech fans have a lot to enjoy right now, and even more on the way. The team at Harmony Gold is dedicated to preserving the quality and integrity of the brand, both with Love Live Alive (out now!), the live action film with Warner Bros., and all other projects.