‘We Love The Bronies': The Cast And Writer Of ‘My Little Pony’ On MLP And Its Fans [SDCC]
If the announcement of an upcoming comic book series based on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic wasn't enough to satisfy your curiosity about everyone's favorite equestrian pals, don't worry. In addition to a teaser for Season 3 of the show, members of the voice cast and the writing staff joined the press for a Q&A session where they discussed everything from potential crossovers to the impact of the show on breaking down gender barriers and the "sociological phenomenon" of the community of fans. And yes: They love the bronies.
Check out the teaser, as well as highlights from the session with writer Meghan McCarthy and voice actresses Tara Strong (Twilight Sparkle), Andrea Libman (Fluttershy and Pinkie Pie), Tabitha St. Germain (Rarity) and Cathy Weseluck (Spike) below!On the show's surprising popularity among older fans:
Strong: We love the bronies. They're the best fanbase ever, they're so hilarious and supportive and creative and giving, they give so much to charity and they're always there for us if we're putting silly stuff on Twitter or if we're raising money for charity. Any panel I've done or anything I've done, they're the most supportive and loveliest fanbase and we love them.
St. Germain: They have rollickingly healthy inner children, which I don't think in years past men would have been able to express in the same way, because they lived in a much more severe sort of projection. I just love that there are so many people who are in tune with their creativity. These guys make videos and music and stories and astonishing art, and make whole worlds with it. I just think they're awesome.
McCarthy: I think the design and the music and everything about the show really inspires people to do their own thing and take it to their own places, and I think that's part of why there's this embracing. It has a really rich, deep mythology that appeals to a sort of male fantasy on other types of shows, and we have it here as well.
Weseluck: I think it's quality all around. The storylines are fantastic, and the boys can relate as well as the girls nowadays to a sense of empowerment for the girls, but I think they can relate to the storylines and it's not really a gender thing. It connects to all people, and it's a kudos to the show and the excellence of it. It's attracted an audience that's so broad that we've never seen it before, and that's including the bronies.
Libman: I also think people connect to the character traits, because the characters are so well-defined, so well-developed that no matter what your gender is you can connect with being shy or being smart, and that's why it's so inclusive.
On the development of Rarity's voice:
St. Germain: When I auditioned, I think the reference they gave was Audrey Hepburn, because there's something so generous. In spite of the fact that her voice sounds really quite posh, she always extended herself a lot to other people, and that's the quality they were looking for, not specifically Audrey Hepburn. I grew up in a country called Swaziland, and a lot of people had English as a second language, but they spoke with real clarity and enunciated everything because they were always perfecting the sound, and I just like that sound. The element of the Connecticut hoity-toitiness is just fun, and it's always fun as well when a character is a bit full of themselves or a bit pretentious too. It's just a foil because there's so much ego involved that you can only go down, right? It's great to play with those opposites: I'm everything and I'm nothing, I'm everything and I'm nothing. Which is an actor's entire life.
St. Germain: For me, the most significant character change is that I had a sudden family. I had a sister and a mom and dad, and I was the only one in the family who spoke in this particular way. That was a choice they made in the other room. Did I voice the mom? I think I may have, yeah, and I said "Should I do the same voice?" and they said "No, she's just normal." So that was peculiar but interesting, because you just have to integrate whatever you get, and it becomes part of the fun. That means something, then, about Rarity. It means she's not from New England or indeed from anywhere. She's made a choice to speak the way she speaks and be the way she is.
On a crossover they'd like to see:
Weseluck: My Little Mad Men?
On taking storyline input from the cast:
St. Germain (In Rarity's voice): I have repeatedly asked for monologues.
McCarthy: It's not something where they'll suggest a storyline, but knowing how talented they are and where they can take their voices and the types of things they can do and emotions they can convey definitely influences us. We know we can do a story where Pinkie Pie just loses her mind, because we know Andrea will just take that to a great place. That's the kind of back-and-forth and that's the influence, having the knowledge that you can just give them something and they are just going to plus it.
On the idea that, as Comics Bulletin put it, "happiness is making a comeback":
Libman: What a great thing to say!
Weseluck: That's coining it really well, because that is what it is. It's a feel-good show, and people are just drawn to it like moths to a flame.
Libman: A flame of happiness.
Weseluck: It's created a community that's a sociological phenomenon, quite frankly, and then to try to figure out what does it part of the fun. It's just the end result.
On the possibility of a full-length movie:
McCarthy: No. Not with me.
On the homage to The Big Lebowski and easter eggs in the show:
McCarthy: Very rarely are those things written into the script, but then when it goes to Studio B and the board artists and Jayson Thiessen, supervising director, I think they have a lot of fun. They have to populate this world with these background ponies and they're like "oh, they're at a bowling alley, eh?"
On why you should watch the show:
Weseluck: You should watch My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic because it is a wonderful show of excellence. It focuses on the heart, and leaves you feeling wonderful about yourself and gives you something you can share with someone else.
Libman: You should watch My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic because it's fun and awesome.
On the emotional impact of the show among fans, including one who said that seeing the show stopped him from killing himself:
Weseluck: I've had so many people, all of us have had so many people come up to us and say "if it weren't for the show, I wouldn't be here. My life wouldn't have changed, I would've stayed lonely and depressed, I had no friends" and you're just brought to tears. This show, to me, is healing the world. It's healing levels that have not been touched before, or that we've pushed away or denied, and if the show can do that, and there has to be no mental assessment or figuring it out, it's just simply happening? This is miraculous. It's a true, genuine success, and I'm thrilled to be part of that.