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Toonzone @ MCM London Comic Con May 2017 – Jeremy Shada & Hynden Walch ‘Adventure Time’ Panel


London received two visitors from the Land of Ooo in the form of Jeremy Shada (Finn the Human) and Hynden Walch (Princess Bubblegum). As they took their seats, Hynden prompted Jeremy to pose a question to the audience- “What time is it?!”, with “ADVENTURE TIME!!” being the rousing response. The panel was focused entirely on audience questions, with Jeremy encouraging fans to put them on the spot with “socially inappropriate” ones much to Hynden’s amusement.

The first question asked about the production process for recording, specifically if the cast all record together in one session. Jeremy responded that although it varies with productions, on Adventure Time they record as a group which he and Hynden agree allows the actors to deliver better line reads as they get to play off each other in real time.  Hynden elaborated that during this process they are presented the episode’s storyboards as a guide, with the final animation created with a margin of improv for what the cast generate in the recording session.

Asked by the moderator if they had any idea about how deep the show’s lore would go, both agreed they didn’t but feel the number of seasons the show has enjoyed has allowed the writers to craft it to the level it has reached. Queried as to if they have a favourite actor to work with on the show, they responded that they enjoy working with everyone in the Adventure Time ensemble. Similarly they don’t aspire to take over any established character on the show as they feel the voice and performance of the established actor playing the character is key to defining their identity.

With so many episodes they find it difficult to pick a favourite, though on a technical level Jeremy enjoys episodes with larger casts as they have more fun recording those. Inspired by the Elements mini-series, one fan wanted to know if they had to be transformed into candy what kind they’d pick. Hynden would want to be a marshmallow, commenting it would probably be relaxing.

Asked if they ship Princess Bubblegum and Finn together, they offered an intentionally stilted “Suuuure”. More seriously they’d both be up for Adventure Time doing a crossover with Steven Universe, Jeremy mentioning he’s good friends with Steven’s voice actor Zach Callison.

Regarding being asked to create voices during a session for incidental characters, both agreed the rapid nature of voice acting work means you largely have to wing it and hope it’s what they want. Ironically, they related stories of going to auditions with new voices prepared and then bluntly being asked if they can just give voices they’ve established for characters like Finn and Starfire, Hynden noting it then becomes a question of how you make that voice just distinctive enough from the established character they’re asking for. Concerning overall advice for getting into voice acting, Jeremy cautioned that no actors will rarely share the same path of getting into the industry. Hynden stressed the need to have an agent but the catch 22 of getting an agent requiring union membership and acting experience but you can’t get experience to begin with without an agent. She also feels you need to know how to gauge a good performance from yourself; don’t rely on the director to pull one out of you.

Jeremy’s favourite ‘nonsense word’ from the show is Shmowzow, whilst Hynden’s is ‘shlizz’ (as in ‘What the shlizz?’, noting the show offers many creative ways for them to swear without actually swearing).

A German fan wished to know why Princess Bubblegum knew how to speak the language. Hynden admitted it was mostly a random trait but she’d studied German as a child and so is able to work with the language when the script writers request it.

A little boy wanted to know their favourite emotional and funny episodes. For emotional, they agreed on the ongoing Marceline and Simon subplot. For funny, Jeremy offered ‘Card Wars’ (“I floop the pig!”).

Regarding how physical they get when performing, they have to remain mostly still as the microphone will pick up sounds like rustling of clothes. Jeremy summed it up as exerting large internal movement, but not externally.  Asked if they’ve ever challenged a script for not feeling an action is true to their character, it’s rare that such large changes are approved and thus they just respect the script they’ve been asked to read.

A boy dressed as the Nolan-verse incarnation of the Joker asked for a spoiler about the ultimate relationship of Finn’s parents. When told they couldn’t discuss major spoilers, he sprung his trap- “Why so serious?”- to everyone’s amusement.

Although they aren’t really involved with the episodes they both really like the Fiona and Cake alternate universe. Asked about the Bubblegum and Marceline ship,  Hynden politely responded that it’s overall canon status wasn’t fully clear and that hints to it primarily existed because of the writers being aware it was a very popular ship in the fandom. I would note that various scattered minor shipping questions had received similar responses from both guests across the panel, likely due to the potential powderkeg that shipping preferences can often be in fan communities.

The final question concerned bad line reads, with the pair agreeing that oddly many times they had in fact been asked to make a line increasingly flatter from their initial read.