Monday, July 23, 2018

'Invader ZIM: Enter the Florpus' Exclusive Teaser | + Artwork | San Diego Comic-Con 2018 | Nickelodeon

Watch the first EXCLUSIVE sneak peek of the upcoming Invader ZIM: Enter the Florpus TV Movie, released at San Diego Comic-Con! ZIM discovers his almighty leaders have no intention of coming to Earth and he loses confidence in his own amazingness for the first time in his amazing life – which happens to be the big break his human nemesis, Dib, has been waiting for!

“In Invader Zim: Enter The Florpus, Zim discovers his almighty leaders have no intention of coming to Earth and he loses confidence in his own amazingness for the first time in his amazing life, which is the big break his human nemesis Dib has been waiting for. At some point, GIR rides a tiny donkey, and that’s all anyone should really care about.”

Invader Zim fans have been eagerly awaiting the return of their favorite would-be world conqueror ever since Nickelodeon announced in April 2017 they were developing a new TV movie for the diminutive Irken. Now the wait is nearly over, after he finally made a crash landing at this year’s San Diego Comic-Con with the first look at new artwork and footage for Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus.

At a panel hosted by Nerdist's Hector Navarro, show creator Jhonen Vazquez and original voice cast members Richard Horvitz (Zim), Rikki Simons (GIR), Wally Wingert (Almighty Tallest Red), and Kevin McDonald (Almighty Tallest Purple), reunited to discuss the history and best moments of the cult classic TV series that originally debuted on Nickelodeon in 2001. They also offered some insight into what cans can expect from the new movie, which will find the normally overly confident Zim experiencing self-doubt leaving him vulnerable from his greatest foe. The event was topped off with a sneak peek at new character artwork and the first footage from the film.

It might be short on dialogue, but it’s big on excitement.

You can see the rest of the new character artwork below.

Even after all these years there is still nobody we’d rather the denizens of Earth be enslaved by than Zim.

If you want to read more about what you can expect from the movie, check out cast and crew had to say beforehand.

What are you most excited to see from Zim in his new movie? Invade the comments section below with your best ideas.

From Polygon:

Invader Zim’s creator on the alien’s return: ‘What I’m making isn’t going to be the best episode’

Creator Jhonen Vasquez talks to Polygon about the difficulties of reviving a beloved show

More Nick: Nickelodeon Greenlights "Invader Zim" TV Movie!

Invader Zim creator Jhonen Vasquez can’t promise that the long-awaited Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus! — the first new episode of Nickelodeon’s cult-classic dark comedy in more than 15 years — will be better than, or even as good as, the cartoon you remember.

The way he sees it, it almost definitely won’t be.

”What I’m making isn’t going to be the best episode of Invader Zim,” Vasquez told Polygon just ahead of the creator’s appearance at San Diego Comic-Con, where he and the rest of the team are sharing first details about the series’ one-off reboot.

”I would be battling people’s childhoods and trying to carve out space for a new favorite thing, and that’s the worst attitude to have when making this stuff.”

It’s a fair point when it comes to these nostalgia-fueled revivals, of which Nickelodeon has been building a whole roster over the last year. First came a 2017 TV movie that sought to conclude a major plotline on Hey Arnold!, which ended in 2004; then the kids’ cable network announced that Rocko’s Modern Life will be back for a one-hour special in 2018 after 22 years off the air. Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus! is third in the expanding lineup, and with an entire series of Rugrats reboots now planned, Nickelodeon is forcing grown-up fans to reckon with their childhoods on a regular basis.

Kids who watched Invader Zim during its brief run between 2001 and 2002 have had nearly two decades to build up the cartoon. The goofy sci-fi cartoon developed a certain kind of dedicated fanbase because of its surreal, even nihilistic sense of humor. Invader Zim looked and felt out of place when it premiered in 2001 alongside The Fairly OddParents; it told discomforting stories about an alien wanting to kill all humans, but without sacrificing silliness.

Still, Zim was a Nickelodeon show that didn’t feel right for Nickelodeon, even if that wasn’t the intention.

”The mission was not necessarily to make a kids’ show, and it wasn’t to make a show trying to shock people, either,” he said. “It’s just a particular kind of stupid.”

Kids with a high tolerance for weirdness found the combination hilarious and unique. So did adults, many of whom caught onto the show through its copious Hot Topic merch that has wildly outlasted the show. Thanks in part to that retail relationship, fans have had a long time to put Invader Zim on a pedestal and see it as a trailblazer, not just a Nick cartoon. And that may be where our disappointment could come from, if we don’t temper our expectations like Vasquez warns.

Maybe we feel this way from a rose-colored lens, but Enter the Florpus! doesn’t look like it will stray all that far from the original series. Its first teaser is filled with the same, familiar gross-out humor, sci-fi battles and Zim’s adorable companion Gir falling on his face. Between the montage of clips and Nickelodeon’s premise for the film — Zim falls into a depression after he’s abandoned by his idols, the Almighty Tallest, leaving an opening for his enemy Dib to finally expose him as an alien — Enter the Florpus! seems like a return to disturbing, comic form.

It’s important to remember that we’ve all changed, though, and both our and Vasquez’s tastes have too. Maybe Invader Zim won’t come back as the show it once was; and maybe that version of the show is the one that Vasquez no longer wants to do. When Enter the Florpus! airs, we could even realize that we’re better off finding the new Zim less than perfect, by our nostalgic standards.

”No matter that I’ve changed and want to show the world, ‘Look at what I can do now,’ you can’t bring that to Zim, because Zim is about not growing or learning any lessons no matter how many horrible things you do.”

Also from Polygon:

Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus! teaser shows not much has changed

Zim’s return to television after a half-decade keeps the humor and the weirdness

Invader Zim is coming back to Nickelodeon with a 90-minute special, Enter the Florpus!, and its first teaser looks much like the classic cartoon as we remember it. The cast and crew of the sci-fi comedy premiered the footage at the end of the film’s San Diego Comic-Con panel, and you can watch it above now.

Enter the Florpus! reunites fans with characters like Zim, the alien invader whose quest to conquer Earth is tripped up by his own stupidity; Dib, his mystery-obsessed classmate and arch-nemesis; and the extremely dumb and extremely adorable Gir, obviously. All three of them appear in the teaser, with slightly updated appearances to account for all the time that’s passed.

Details on what will follow are light, but Nickelodeon’s brief synopsis suggests that Dib takes advantage of Zim when he’s on the down-and-out, having just found out that the Almighty Tallest — his assigning officers from back home, the guys who sent him to invade Earth in the first place — aren’t actually planning on stopping by to see his hard work.

The teaser runs nearly three minutes, but there’s no dialogue attached to it. Instead, expect a montage of scenes where Zim and Gir check in with the Tallest, exercise in their front yard and make a gigantic mess all over the place. Dib gets serious about investigating Zim and proving to the world that he’s an alien, while his disaffected sister Gaz shows up both to rock out on her guitar and help Dib out.

It’s a lot of footage that we just wish we could make more sense of. Hopefully we don’t have to wait until San Diego Comic-Con 2019 for another look at the TV special. Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus! remains undated.


From The Beat:

SDCC ‘18: Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus — Want to Know the Plot?

We've got the trailer, too

“Well, we’re all almost already dead,” Jhonen Vasquez, creator of Invader Zim, says with a smile.

Vasquez and the voice cast of Zim are in a room tucked away in a corner of the Hard Rock Hotel, ruminating on the show’s longevity and how the announced TV movie, Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus came to be.

While it’s been nearly 12 years (!) since the show last aired, the voice cast and show’s creator seems like they haven’t missed a day apart from each other, gleefully pouncing on each other’s words, chasing surreal jokes (“Rikki’s bone fell out of his leg; it is now like a flesh-noodle”) down severely long hallways until a “Wait, you were asking a question” occurs between all the insanity.

While Nickelodeon has resurrected many of its shows that have had extended hiatuses — bringing back Hey Arnold, Rocko’s Modern Life, the Rugrats, and now Zim — this fun-loving crew were not the ones calling for more of the cult classic.

“It wasn’t any of our ideas,” Vasquez says, laughing and looking at his voice cast. “When the series ended, there were points in time where Nickelodeon wanted to talk about making more Zim stuff. It was like this thing that wouldn’t die!”

With years of steady rerun ratings and merch sales (“Thanks, Hot Topic!”), Nick repeatedly asked Vasquez about a potential Zim revival, with Vasquez giving the answer he always gave them: No.

“I didn’t want to do something just because people know it and just because there’s nostalgia attached to it,” he said. “I don’t like the idea of nostalgia. But I told them, ‘If I have an idea, I’ll bring it to you’. And, long story short, I had an idea and here we are!”

A day later, July 20 in Room 6A of the convention center, Vasquez is again joined by the returning voice cast (Richard Horvitz as ZIM, Rikki Simons as GIR, Wally Wingert as Almighty Tallest Red, and Kevin McDonald as Almighty Tallest Purple) as well as Enter the Florpus’ art director, Jenny Goldberg.

Goldberg says she grew up with the show, hoping she can bring what made the show unique to her to current fans and potential new ones with this TV movie.

“I want to channel how Zim made me feel, but update it,” Goldberg said. “It was this weird, special thing, and I feel like a lot of people got a lot out of it for that reason. The design, look, sounds– everything was so unique to itself.”

For fans who found solace in the eponymous comic when the show went off the air, Vasquez says the TV movie will have “jokes and moments” from the comics, but not any of the comic-specific characters; Enter the Florpus will focus on the main cast of the original series, “not a lot of side characters.”

A dialogue-less, music-backed (music created by Kevin McDonald, by the way) teaser trailer showed this, revealing the main characters in hilarious but bizarre situations: Gir and Zim are… working out a lot? Gir is swimming in pizza and waffle syrup?? Is that Dib in full-on conspiracy theory mode… with like, really long bangs???

While Enter the Florpus is a TV movie, questions of a series revival (like Rugrats) came up. The voice cast was up for it, while Vasquez cautioned it could be a “monkey’s paw” situation, adding he’ll wait and see the reaction to the TV movie first.

While Nickelodeon is somewhat tight-lipped about the movie’s plot (providing a bare bones summary via press-release), ComicsBeat was able to get Vasquez to spill an exclusive about the plot, told to no other outlet.

“It acts as if the series didn’t go off the air,” Vasquez said. “It’s not this great return, it’s just, they’re doing more stuff. We didn’t want spend time setting things up, wasting time, just wanted to get in the fun. Zim doesn’t need much set up. As long as they recognize the characters: this guy is angry, this guy is angry and yells, and this girl is angry and mutters. And this guy loses a lung and yells. Its Classic Zim. Also, now they’re genetically modifying dinosaurs. People were bored with T-Rexes, so they need like a new T-Rex/raptor hybrid. And then stuff goes bad. Classic Zim.”

You can view the teaser trailer for Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus [above.]


Also, from ComicBook:

'Invader ZIM: Enter The Florpus' Panel Recap

Invader Zim is back on Nickelodeon in the form of a brand new movie, and fans were thrilled to see what's in store at the Invader Zim: Enter The Florpus.

A clip montage plays from the original series. Moderator Hector Navarro takes the stage and introduces the panel's guests, which include creator Jhonen Vasquez, artist Jenny Goldberg, Zim voice actor Richard Horvitz, Gir voice actor Rikki Simons, Tallest Red voice actor Wally Winger, and Tallest Purple voice actor Kevin McDonald.

Fans are shown early concept art from Zim on the screen. "Not the first one, but was developing the series Squee at this point, so thought I’d be clever and sneak the character into the background," Vasquez said.

When asked what it was like to come back, Vasquez said "That was kind of part of it (the TMNT short), the process of making that was the process of working with the people that are there now (Nickelodeon). Jenny and I were developing our own thing elsewhere and it was a... horrible experience. The TMNT short sounded like amazing fun when I wasn’t having fun, and when the premise of it came up, Nickelodeon had been asking about Invader Zim for a long time. My experience elsewhere being absolutely unhappy, I thought the fact that someone wants something and is not looking to prove that someone wants something seemed like a good move at the time, and that’s kind of how it happened."

"My experience with Zim, I started helping out with the comics, but I grew up with Zim as well," Goldberg said. "It was such a weird dark thing at the time, this bizarre gross wonderful thing that in the context of everything else that existed at the time was this weird special thing."

Hit the next slide to see how the cast felt about coming back to the franchise!


Richard Horvitz is the voice of the off-kilter but beloved Zim, and he was a little anxious when it came to returning to the role 16 years later.

"I was a little anxious about coming back to do the voice again, as it's been 16 years since, but Rikki and I have been on the road at conventions," Horvitz said, asking "Do I still sound like Zim?"

"When we did the coming soonish things for Nick, I felt good and it sounded like the old days," Horvitz said. "And then I read the comments. Someone wrote 'is it me or does Horvitz sound like he smoked several packs a day', but someone came to my defense and said 'give the guy a break, he’s like 80.'"

Tallest Red actor Wally Winger has been wanting the series to return in some fashion for a long time, and now it's finally happening.

"It was something I had hoping and dreaming of since the show was canceled," Winger said. "Family Guy was way ahead of its time and got canceled and brought back, and Invader Zim was the same. It took 16 years but thank you for that. Its time has come!

After that art from the special debuts on the screen.

When asked what part in the process they are in with the film, Vasquez said it is all on Jenny. "Jenny’s doing everything. I ask how are you doing Jenny and she goes “I hate you”. She’s doing everything while I read. I sit on the couch and play video games to support Jenny."

Jenny gave a bit more details on the actual progress. "Getting animation from the team on Act 1 and finishing up the colors for Act 3," Goldberg said. "Very much in progress."


Since the original series concluded Invader Zim has found success in the form of comics from Oni Press, and the books have been well received amongst fans. There's going to be things that fans will recognize from the comics, and Jhonen explained the biggest differences between the formats.

"I don’t know if it’s so much the storytelling as much as the process," Vasquez said. "There’s a much shorter turnaround. You come up with a joke and in a month people react. For this, we’ve been working on it since 2015, so I look at this and go 'I don’t think this is funny'. Years of turnaround."

The rest of the cast, including Horvitz, did emphasize afterward that "It is funny!"

"I'm getting reacclimated to seeing this stuff come to life outside of your head," Vasquez said. "It’s weird and I’m never going to get used to it, but it’s cool."

There was going to be footage shown later in the panel, but nothing from Florpus is actually finished, even the footage shown at the panel.

"There’s little bits, even in the teaser there will be stuff you’ll recognize from the comics," Vasquez said. "It’s still its own thing, but there are moments I was enamored with.”

The cast then recalled some interesting exchanges with fans, including a surreal moment where someone bit Rikki. "One person Rikki was signing an autograph and she bit him," Horvitz said. "She bit my wrist," Simons added.

While Jenny is an art director for the project, her job tends to also include dishing out some therapy.

"First I’m a therapist to the crew," Goldberg said. "My job is I am the quality control funnel that everything passes through. Everything that is designed, every bit of color I provide a basis for what it is supposed to look like and then I pass it to our team of talented individuals and then they pass it back to me as a prop or design. Then Jonah draws over my drawing because it’s wrong. I make sure that they are on model and are right."


At this point graphics showing the comparisons between the original character portraits and the new ones for Florpus hit the screen, and most of the crew has received a few tweaks

For example, the first shown is an Invader Zim comparison from 2000 vs 2018. His costume is a brighter pink, and his gloves and boots are more pronounced. His teeth are also showing out of his smile and his eyes are more colorful.

Some remain unchanged for the most part, but most of the crew received some tweaks here and there.

The cast was then asked about hopes going forward, and Richard already had his answer ready.

"I’d like to have a new series," Horvitz said.

For Jenny, she just hopes they found a great balance between what fans loved about the original and some modern touches. "Hoping to make everybody feel the nostalgia, but modern and updated," Goldberg said.


After that, they took on some questions from social media, including one that asked how many Tallest were there before Purple and Red. Jhonen said "Make something up, that’s what we do", followed by the number "26…and a half" from Kevin McDonald.

A few new shots from the movie hit the screen, including an image of a lone room with a toilet that held a sign that read "Official Hiding Room".

Rikki was asked about Gir's favorite taco topping, but it doesn't seem to matter that much. "I don’t really think he cares about what’s on the taco," Simons said.

Next was a question about one of Zim's weaknesses, which is rain. If it hurts Zim, how does he bathe? "He bathes in bodily fluids, but not his own…so," Horvitz said. "Harvested".

At that point, they showed the new poster, which looks really slick. The one they showed has the Nickelodeon logo in blue to match the pink and blue color scheme from the rest of the poster, and Jhonen said it is the superior poster and looks far cooler, as they had to change the Nickelodeon logo on the official one to orange, though he didn't want to.

Horvitz didn't miss a beat here, saying "See ya’ll in 17 years!"

The cast said the footage that will be shown isn’t fixed or finished, Kevin did original music for it, and it won't be a story trailer, just a collection of cool and semi-finished shots.

Trailer begins.

Now text flashes on the screen. Star-filled sky pans down to Zim's house. Someone's wearing a Gazmat suit, segues to Zim flying in front of a large device. Pictures of screens and posters, followed by Zim putting his face back on. A frightened Zim points off camera. Guy with a soda burps and a lady bangs on a window, very scared person in front of Zim, Zim's parents then break down, followed by tv showing cuddly animals. A pizza sticker is seen on side of a computer, followed by Gir making a mess on the couch. Minimoose has a pizza sticker, then Zim is seen doing crunches with Gir. Gir then rolls around in pizza. Pushups with Gir, followed by Gir shooting waffles and syrup from a mini-launcher. Zim phase two. Gir jumps on the couch, then Zim lifts minimoose. Teenagers rock out, followed by a giant thing in space shooting stuff. Zim's house shoots out several tentacles, knocking out power for several city blocks, gearing up for something. Segues to the logo.

When asked if the movie will give fans closure or be more of a typical Zim ending, Jhonen said: "Zim endings are so weird and there’s baloney at the end of one, So yeah…"

"If you’ve read the comics you’ll probably recognize some things in there," Vasquez said. Recap kid is not going to be in the movie. The movie is, there’s stuff from the comics, but it’s not the comics. Because it’s just this one story it just focuses on the main cast, there’s not a lot of new characters and even the side characters. Minimoose is a big part of this. I love the idea of making Minimoose part of this when a lot of people have no idea."

The whole cast seems more than up for a new series. When asked if an opportunity presented itself would they return McDonald said: "Yes, but you better hurry up I’m getting old". Horvitz said, "Absolutely not!" He also added " Rikki has been crying in his room for 17 years. In this room."

When asked about returning, Horvitz couldn't be more thrilled. "I was excited," Horvitz said. "It was like we’d never been gone. The chemistry was there immediately. It was a great script, it was amazing. Signing a version of the poster. except it has an orange logo."


What's A Florpus? | Jhonen Vazquez Interview

IGN have unveiled a exclusive interview with Invader Zim creator Jhonen Vazquez, who talks about the brand-new movie, "Enter the Florpus"! In the interview, Jhonen also reveals that one of the original plans for Zim's comeback was a series, and talks about whether Zim will come back as a full series following the movie, and if there will ever be a Johnny the Homicidal Maniac TV series or movie!


Additional source: Nerdist.

Originally published: Friday, July 20, 2018.
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