First, we talked about Green Lantern's deep mythology with showrunner Giancarlo Volpe. Then we went into his past to see how his previous work on Avatar: The Last Airbender and Star Wars: The Clone Wars helped prepare him for Green Lantern: The Animated Series.Today, we look at the romance of the series, talk about how the Red Lanterns have developed, get some teases at the future beyond "Prisoner of Sinestro," and even get to show you an exclusive clip from that episode, revealing Sinestro in a full scene for the first time. Newsarama: Giancarlo, it sounds like even though the original choice of the Red Lanterns as the main villains was based off usage in other media, stuff like that, since then you've really embraced them. Once it was decided that they'd be the featured ones, was it difficult to figure out how to use them?
Giancarlo Volpe: I think again when Sinestro was off-limits, the Red Lanterns became the obvious choice. Indigo - especially at the time in the comics - the Indigo Tribe was much more mysterious, so we didn't really know how to play them. And Larfleeze, the Orange Lantern, is just a one man band.
Nrama: A one man band that we all desperately want to see on the show!
Volpe: Yeah, I know, and I think it's already been leaked that he'll be on the show [Newsarama note: Geoff Johns leaked that back at Comic-Con International: San Diego in July 2012]. But we didn't know that the Orange Lantern Corps would be enough to carry the season. So Red Lanterns seemed like the obvious choice once we knew it wouldn't be Sinestro.
We did have to make the conscious choice early on to make them a bit more calm, and able to hold conversation, than they are in the comics. I remember there was a lot of back-and-forth on Razer. We knew we wanted Razer to join the team, and we talked about how that would work: would he be a raving lunatic for a few episodes and they'd have to calm him down, and the more we talked about it, it was just a lot of steps to cover. So it was simpler to make them just a little more calm and collected, and focus on them being vengeance driven.
I know that a lot of fans had a lot of problems with how the Red Lanterns differ from those in the comics during those first few episode, but it seems like that's gone away! (laughs)Nrama: What about Aya, she seems like she's had maybe the most character growth of any of the main characters. What was the origin behind her?
Volpe: Well originally when I was being hired for the job, there was this promo poster that Bruce Timm had drawn. Razer looked a lot older, and Aya was just referred to as "the robot," and they, at my job interview, mentioned "maybe Razer will have a thing for the Robot."
(laughs) And I loved that! You know I mentioned before that I like having romance in there. I had mentioned that one of my favorite couples at Marvel was Scarlet Witch and the Vision, and it was okay that a human fell in love with a robot, it wasn't really questioned that much. So we thought that wasn't a bad avenue to explore.
So once we committed to having this girl robot on the show that would eventually fall for Razer, it became "how will we roll out her character?"
It was Jim's idea that she be the navcom for the ship. So then we thought we'd really take our time with it, and she didn't even need a body at first. So we didn't introduce her body until the fourth episode. I remember too she didn't even leave the ship until episode five when she sneaks out. And you don't see her fight until episode 9, I think. So it was really fun to step out her progress.
That's one of the things you can do with original characters more than you can get away with established ones. If you were watching Hal really struggle to use his ring, the fans might get frustrated that he seems so behind the curve versus how he is in the comics. But if you see Aya not sure how to use her abilities, it's somehow endearing. That's the difference between original characters and established ones.Volpe: It's - I was going to say 50/50, but it's almost more important to introduce than to honor the fans. I know that's a tricky thing for me to say, but you have to go into these things assuming the viewer doesn't know much - especially with our target demographic.
There are a lot of guys who are probably college age or college graduates that grew up on Justice League [the Timmverse series], and there are guys my age that grew up on Superfriends. But the average six year old may not know much about Green Lantern at all outside of maybe the movie. So we couldn't assume that anyone knew anything. I remember being a particular stickler about that.
I never wanted Sinestro to walk in the room and have everyone go "Ooo the dreaded Sinestro!" They wouldn't know, if he hasn't become a bad guy yet! So we do this thing in our show where Hal really loves Sinestro. He's just like, "that dude rocks!" [As you can see in our exclusive clip directly above this answer! - Lucas] He really admires him! So, the hardcore fans who've been reading this stuff will get the trouble, the potential danger of Hal Jordan idolizing Sinestro. But the young fans will hopefully think "well if Hal Jordan likes Sinestro, then I do too!" And potentially, if one day things go awry with Sinestro, the new fans will go "I didn't see that coming!" and the hardcore fans will go "Yup, knew that was going to happen!"
It seems like if you introduce or tell the stories from that angle of let me introduce the characters for the first time, it tends to satiate both causes.
Nrama: So, beyond "Prisoner of Sinestro" that we know a little bit about now, what can you tease for us about the rest of the season?
Volpe: That's a good question, I'm trying to think about what's safe to say. Larfleeze has been confirmed. We'll see the return of a lot of characters. Carol will be back… as a Star Sapphire!
Anti-Monitor is running amok. There's been a lot of talk, I've seen people say "are we trying to do Crisis on Infinite Earths" but no, we're not trying to do that. That would probably be too huge for our budget to be honest, even if we wanted to do that. But the fact that Anti-Monitor has the ability to wipe out entire universes; we tried to make that apparent in the "Steam Lantern" episode. Our universe is very much in danger right now because of that, so don't take anything lightly, there's a lot at stake this season.
Nrama: Well I'm sure people are very excited that that's coming and that new episodes are back. But I bet people will miss your special "twitter episodes" you've been posting in the break! Will you ever do something like that again?
Volpe: You know, I think I should hold off right now because I don't want to steal thunder from the actual show. (laughs) The main thing I was trying to do was keep momentum going during the break. I wanted people to feel like they could have something they could check in on while waiting for new episodes to air.
it was fun for me, too, because I wanted to write more about those characters. And the central thing for me was "this isn't canon." So I could do sillier things I could never do on the show, and the more I did that the better. Now that the show is on the air, I tried live-tweeting the "Steam Lantern" one, that was kind of fun. But I don't want people paying attention to twitter when they're supposed to be watching the show!
I think I'm more excited now that people are actually watching the stuff we spent months on instead of something I whipped up in a few minutes just to make the fans laugh.
Nrama: So we shouldn't hold our breath for those to become future episodes, or radio plays?
Volpe: (laughs) Probably not! But I do love it when the fans record the fake episodes and post them online. That's just hilarious. There've even been some crew participation as well. It was really fun.
Nrama: Very cool! If there's one upcoming moment or character that you just can't wait for fans to see, what would it be?
Volpe: Hmm… Zilius Zox in his underwear. (laughs). I'll just leave it at that!