Who do we have to hit with a mallet to get any sort of update on the return of Animaniacs? The reboot was announced two years ago and barely anything has been heard since, even though we were promised a Fall 2020 premiere. Fortunately, a few new nuggets of info have recently come to light, mainly thanks to a new interview with voice actor Rob Paulsen (Yakko and Pinky) in Animation Magazine.
First things first: if you haven’t already figured this out by now, the show is NOT premiering in the fall of 2020 as originally planned. Paulsen says the episodes are mostly done on his end and are going through post-production now, but COVID-19 has made it difficult to complete the show 100%. For one thing, it’s hard to assemble a full orchestra in a small room under those conditions. Oh yeah, and…
THE ORCHESTRA IS BACK Paulsen confirmed the series, just like the original, is being scored with a rich 30-piece orchestra and two of the original composers, Steve and Julie Bernstein. are doing the work! Richard Stone, the main composer, won’t be back because he tragically passed on shortly after scoring the final episode of the first run…but fittingly, that entire episode was a tribute to him.
THE VOICE ACTORS ARE BACK We’ve known for a while that Paulsen would be returning as Yakko, because the Warner Siblings were confirmed to keep their original voices in 2019. But there are some returning cast members you might not suspect. According to this separate article, Broadway singer Bernadette Peters is returning (which must mean a confirmation for Rita). For reasons unclear to us, Frank Welker is not among the cast this time…instead, Ralph the Guard’s voice is listed as Terry Crews, which could mean a different Ralph.
THE SERIES CREATOR IS….NOT BACK Paulsen mentions Tom Ruegger a lot in the interview, and thanks him repeatedly for his work on the original, but he kind of glosses over the fact that Ruegger was never called in to offer any input for the thing. It wasn’t a classy move for WB to shut out the original mind entirely, and I wish he’d brought that up at some point.
THERE COULD BE SOME NEW CHARACTERS Paulsen says he’s also doing the voices of Otto Scratchansniff and Squit, which I guess means more Goodfeathers even though gangster movie parodies were fresher in 1993 than they would be now. But the staff writers are also trying out some new ideas for shorts. Paulsen says he hasn’t voiced any of the characters for those shorts, so he doesn’t know what to expect. But apparently South Park’s Trey Parker is voicing multiple unknown characters.
We now know more than we did before, but not enough, and in some cases we know less….when can we expect the show?? In a world of uncertainty, no one knows. The return of Animaniacs is due out sometime on Hulu.