Monday, August 19, 2019

Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus | Official Trailer | Netflix

Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus | Official Trailer | Netflix

ZIM discovers his almighty leaders never had any intention of coming to Earth and he loses confidence in himself for the first time in his life, which is the big break his human nemesis, Dib has been waiting for. Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus arrives on August 16th, only on Netflix! Click the following link for more info!:

Though we have gotten several teasers for Enter the Florpus, this is the first preview that actually gives us a better look at the whole story. Plus, we finally get to see more of Zim’s nemesis Dib (and his sister Gaz). And before you ask, yes, those are flaming peanuts.

Created by Jhonen Vasquez, Invader Zim premiered on March 30, 2001, running for 27 episodes over two seasons on Nickelodeon, winning an Emmy Award and an Annie Award for individual achievement in animation (which went to storyboard artists Kyle Menke and Steve Ressel, respectively) - and getting “The Doom Song” stuck in jillions of puny human heads. The series chronicles an alien named Zim who arrived on Earth from his home planet of Irk with imperialistic intentions of conquering the planet (in order to gain favor with his Irken home race). Wildly ineffective but hilariously earnest, Zim and his robot companion GIR attempted to blend in and study the human race while simultaneously trying to enslave it. Despite Zim and GIR's subpar disguises, the only humans who realize they are extraterrestrials are school-aged paranormal investigator Dib. Invader ZIM boasts a devoted fandom. The series is produced by Nickelodeon.

The 2D-animated TV movie, directed by Jhonen Vasquez and Jake Wyatt and produced by Nickelodeon in Burbank, will see original voice cast members Richard Horvitz (The Angry Beavers) and Rikki Simons return as fan-favorites ZIM and GIR, alongside Andy Berman as Dib Membrane and Melissa Fahn as Gaz Membrane. Additional voice actors reprising their original series roles include: Wally Wingert as Almighty Tallest Red; Kevin McDonald as Almighty Tallest Purple; Rodger Bumpass (SpongeBob SquarePants) as Professor Membrane, Dib and Gaz's father; Olivia d'Abo as Tak, ZIM's Irken nemesis; and Paul Greenberg as Poonchy, one of ZIM and Dib's human classmates, as well as Jhonen Vasquez, Eric Bauza, Breehn Burns, Justin Roiland, Fred Tatasciore, Jenny Goldberg, Mo Collins, and Michael McDonald.


Invader Zim creator discusses the world-conquering revival movie on Netflix

The creator of the Invader Zim movie cares nothing for your puny human nostalgia

It's time for another rousing chorus of the "Doom Song," because Invader Zim is coming back more than a decade after it was canceled by Nickelodeon. This Friday (August 16), Netflix will upload Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus, a movie special that brings Zim, Dib, Gaz, GIR, Professor Membrane, and the rest of the gang back for another whacky sci-fi outing that involves chocolate pudding, inter-dimensional space holes, and a truly heartwarming message about world peace — just don't expect a genuine series finale. Series creator Jhonen Vasquez laughs in the face of such an earthling concept.

"There really wasn't any goal, other than to make more Zim," Vasquez tells SYFY WIRE. "I keep saying that the whole point of the movie is that it's just more Zim. I've been getting a lot of fans [who are] very happy that finally, they'll get to see Zim finish the way that it should've been finished a long time ago. There's nothing to finish, there's just more stuff. There's just more running around and screaming and being horrible."

The series, which followed the misadventures of an inept alien invader (voiced by Richard Horvitz) sent to conquer Earth simply because he annoyed his superiors so much, always had the makings of a cult classic. Vasquez infused the show with a unique combination of absurdist humor, impeccably hammy voice acting, and shockingly jarring animated imagery. Much like Rocko's Modern Life, Invader Zim got away with a ton of stuff that you wouldn't think an alleged "kid-friendly" show would be able to do. Nevertheless, the cartoon property endured and its still-growing fan base (helped along by a series of Oni Press comics, which Vasquez co-wrote with Eric Trueheart) led to Enter the Florpus.

"For the longest time after the series ended... I guess Nickelodeon picked up on the fact that fans weren't shutting about it and [the network] would contact me every now and then about just working on more Zim. Either another series or whatever," Vasquez admits. "Ultimately, it just kind of turned into 'whatever.' Like [they said], 'We would just like to do anything Zim.' I knew that a series wasn't the right thing at the time and I talked about miniseries stuff, and then that turned into a single story that turned into this. And they went for it. At the time, Nickelodeon was incredibly enthusiastic about Zim stuff, so we made this movie, and that's pretty much it."

In terms of plot, we won't give too much away, but rest assured it has to do with our eponymous extra-terrestrial antihero realizing that his bosses — The Tallest (voiced by Wally Wingert and Kevin McDonald) — may not have cared much for his Earth-conquering mission this whole time. Falling into a self-pitying spiral that involves a nacho cocoon (yes, a nacho cocoon), Zim's drive to take over our planet is revitalized when he learns about a new invention from the innovative Professor Membrane.

"It really wasn't a controlled thing," Vasquez says of coming up with the film's plot. "I wasn't sitting around going, 'What if Zim does this? What if Zim does that?'"

Vasquez says he wanted the story to come naturally and that he didn't want to force anything on everyone's favorite busybody alien. But time passed — about a month since he'd last spoken with Nickelodeon — and while driving in the Bay Area, he says, "I just pictured like a black hole with giant Lovecraftian fish circling it. And this doesn't end up in the movie at all. None of that ends up in the movie at all, but I ended [up] trying to figure out how do we get to that scenario that was this thing that was gonna absorb the Earth? And I just worked backward from that and that started becoming the movie. On the drive, I called [Nickelodeon] up and I was like, 'Hey, I've got some ideas here,' and they were into it and it just went from there."

He adds: "Also, I started randomly singing a song in the shower one day and that ended up becoming the other big piece of the movie. And that's how I made a movie."

Above all else, Vasquez wanted the movie to feel like a natural continuation, albeit with one major caveat: He didn't want to exploit fans' nostalgia.

"When it came time to figure out what do about it, I didn't jump right into it," he explains. "I really wanted to make sure that I had an idea that justified spending several years [working on it]. Everything's going to be sort of a certain pile of misery and it had to be worth the misery. At the time, I just thought, 'This is pretty funny!' And we just went forward with it... I didn't want to address the changes in our times or any of that kind of thing. I didn't want it to feel like 'He's back and he's better than ever!' He's not better than ever, he's just as horrible as he's ever been. It was just important for me. I get really uncomfortable watching stuff that cashes in on nostalgia."

The creator's view of nostalgia manipulation is one that would make Kurt Russell's R.J. MacReady very proud indeed.

"I definitely go in with this wary attitude that someone is taking advantage of an audience," he adds. "Taking advantage of, 'Hey, remember this thing? Here's a thing that isn't that thing, but it's wearing that same skin on its face.' It's just where my brain is; it's just how I work. This stuff really comes from the same place as that old stuff. It wasn't me trying to recapture it. This is just the stuff that I think is funny... It was a lot like the kind of stuff that I loved growing up and I still do. And the kind of stuff that I love doesn't always try to make everybody happy."

Even so, it's hard not to feel a rush of wistfulness with all the original cast members coming back to voice their characters, including GIR (Rikki Simmons), Zim's insane robot companion; Dib Membrane (Andy Berman), Zim's fellow classmate and the only human who recognizes the alien's dangerous potential; Gaz Membrane (Melissa Fahn), Dib's cynical sister; and Professor Membrane (Rodger Bumpass), Dib and Gaz's genius father whose lab coat famously obscures his mouth.

"That was one of my favorite things," Vasquez admits. "Going into a production, you have a certain amount of points allotted to your forcefield and you know they're just gonna get depleted as you get further and further along. So, there are these things that I knew would replenish our forcefield a little bit. Working with the actors; working with Kevin [Manthei], the composer. Those things always kind of give me new life.

"I was looking so forward to having Richard and Andy and Melissa and Rikki and everybody back," he continues. "The cast is super focused. We didn't really expand on characters. It was really, really, really fun... I love doing the voice directing and acting along with them. I do a couple of voices in the movie and for the first time, I actually voiced kind of a major character."

That "major character" goes by the name of Clembrane, and he's one of the funniest and wackiest parts of Enter the Florpus. Funnily enough, this role was actually designated for Rick and Morty co-creator Justin Roiland. His schedule was so busy, however, that he only ended up playing minor characters.

"We needed a particular voice and he's got such a distinct voice for me," Vasquez says. "He was busy with some show of his, but what ended up happening was by the time he was able to come in, Richard and everyone had been hearing my voice in the temp recording over the animatic and it was kind of just like, 'That's the guy now.'"

So, Roiland became, among other characters, Foodio 3000, Professor Membrane's cooking robot. Vasquz reveals that Foodio 3000 was actually meant to make its debut in the original series and had been written into future scripts, but the show was canceled before the character was introduced. So, in reality, Foodio 3000 made its official debut in the Invader Zim comics. For Vasquez, Roiland was a natural fit.

As for why the series was canceled after just two seasons in the early 2000s, there's no clear answer. Speaking with SYFY WIRE last year, Richard Horvitz offered up his own theory, pointing to how the tragedy of 9/11 turned audiences away from apocalyptic stories about doom and world domination.

"I never point to any one particular thing," Vasquez says. "The show could've come out at any point in history and I don't think it would ever really be appropriate... I think there's always horrible things happening in the world and genuine comedy comes from horrible things. At the time, it just happened to be things like Columbine and 9/11 and then people freak out because they don't want to offend anyone's sensibilities. It's a justified response to a certain extent; there's people who have been affected and they don't want to be reminded of this awful stuff … I just think that it did not jive well with Nickelodeon's image."

He continues: "But it might come down to ratings. If the show still wasn't their cup of tea, but was doing incredibly well, then that might've been a different story. We were never going to be SpongeBob huge."

So, will Enter the Florpus lead to more Invader Zim in the form of another movie or even a revival series?

Well, to quote any Magic 8 Ball out there, "Future unclear, check again later." That being said, Vasquez is still brimming with ideas for more stories, especially since Nickelodeon was adamant on bringing the character back in some way, shape, or form.

"I honestly can't say. It comes and goes. It's such a roller coaster of emotions that we're on, and it's been non-stop," he says. "When we were working on the movie, Nickelodeon was pretty insistent on talking about more episodes, talking about pitching the idea of producing another season. Anytime I start hearing stuff like that, my brain can't help but get going. I start thinking, 'How would we do this? Would I be involved?' I would want to be involved in some way, but I wanna do other stuff. I never close the door to the idea of these characters … A lot of the people [who supported the movie] sort of moved on to bigger and better things and then talk about more Zim died down … I didn't really push it because I was busy with the movie. So who knows? It really depends on who's in control at the time and what they're into. They were really into Zim. Now, I don't know. It's hard to say."

Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus will attempt to conquer our planet via Netflix on August 16.


From Gizmodo Australia:

Invader Zim Creator Jhonen Vasquez Discusses Alien Daddy Issues And Turning Misanthropy Into Art

When Invader Zim first began airing on Nickelodeon back in 2001, there really wasn’t anything quite like it in the animation space, particularly when it came to series squarely aimed at a younger audience.

Invader Zim was filthy, and often morbid in the way it depicted a world well on its way to falling apart long before Zim showed up planning to conquer Earth. That grossness was a big part of what ended up endearing the show to fans.

Ahead of Invader Zim’s return to the small screen in Netflix’s upcoming Enter the Florpus special, we spoke with series creator Jhonen Vasquez about what it’s been like to watch as the show developed a cult following in the wake of its initial cancellation — and how Invader Zim’s dark, misanthropic ethos feels even more relatable today.

Gizmodo: How has Invader Zim becoming a cult classic with a dedicated fanbase influenced your own relationship to the franchise?
Jhonen Vasquez: Is it horrible to say it doesn’t influence it that much? I’m always happiest working on things when I feel it’s coming from a genuine place driven by my own needs and wants. The audience is an observer with this stuff, not so much a contributor, but an observer that I hope is enjoying what’s happening.

So I guess the process of working on Zim stuff, the show, comics, or this movie, hasn’t changed a whole lot in terms of the audience being in on the creation. I sometimes try to feel it, that whatever it is that is having an audience like that, but it’s not in my makeup. It’s why when I attend conventions or meet fans out in the world, sometimes in the weirdest places, it’s great to actually talk to one who clues me in as to just how my stuff exists in their world. Surreal, flattering, and just forever strange for me to hear about.

Gizmodo: Talk to me a bit about Dib’s relationship with Professor Membrane. Membrane’s always been an absentee father, but Enter the Florpus really centres how his absence has factored into Dib’s sense of self. What were the things about their relationship you wanted to hammer home in the movie?

Vasquez: Yeah, Membrane’s a bigger part of the story here than he was in the series. His inattentiveness to Dib’s mission was always a thing but in the movie, it’s a driving force for everything that happens. It was a way of taking advantage of having more time to tell a story while still pulling from easily graspable concepts like being frustrated by your parents’ seeming inability to recognise your greatness, even if you’re not exactly thinking of the consequences. Dib’s the “hero” of Invader Zim, but he’s also the villain, and he doesn’t just strive to help, he strives to help and be recognised for it.

Gizmodo: It’s really interesting how Zim and Dib end up on these parallel quests for approval from their father figures. What are the aspects of Zim and Dib’s dynamic with one another that you wanted to put front and center with Enter the Florpus?

Vasquez: It’s always been there, but it just happens to be what drives the movie. They’re not exact mirrors of one another, but they have a lot in common, and looking for validation from their respective “dads” is one of the core things. Thing is, neither one of them is approaching the problem from the perspective of “Am I good? Please tell me.” They’re approaching it more as “BEHOLD HOW GOOD I AM! WHAT’S WRONG WITH YOU THAT YOU’RE NOT SAYING SO?!”

Gizmodo: Where does the filthy aesthetic — the saliva, Gir rolling around in cheese, etc. — that’s always defined Invader Zim come from?

Vasquez: That I’m not entirely sure about. I think it’s probably just the result of my fidgetiness when drawing, this OCD need to fill spaces up with little scratches and shapes. All that grime is hypnotic to throw down and I love how it sits on a page and thus in a background in the show. As for the world itself, it was always a world in decay, a place where people were oblivious to the state of things around them, sitting in squalor but complaining about everything else besides the awfulness of where they were.

Gizmodo: You’ve spoken about how, for you, Invader Zim never really ended in 2006, and it’s true that the story’s continued in the comics based on the series. But why bring Invader Zim back in 2019 as an animated feature? What new kinds of stories did you want to tell given how things have changed since 2006?

Vasquez: The things that informed the series back in the day were general enough that there was no real need to address anything more modern. It really is just more Zim, and it works just as well, or as horribly, now as it did then. The series went off the air in 2002 and since then, a whole lot has gotten more absurd and nightmarish and, if anything, the world of Invader Zim doesn’t seem as outlandish as it did. That’s maybe really sad, right?

Gizmodo: Invader Zim was always meant to be a darker, and relatively more mature show for a slightly older demographic, but the way we think about animation aimed at young people has shifted somewhat since the original series aired on Nickelodeon. How’d that shift influence your storytelling when you began working on Enter the Florpus?

Vasquez: More so than dark subjects, the concern was more for how much friendlier and sensitive shows can be now. Invader Zim doesn’t come from a mentality of showing how open and sensitive people can and should be. I’m not even complaining about shows that tackle the more nuanced, understanding behaviours as some of them are beautiful shows!

It’s just that Invader Zim is designed as a nightmare place, a world of terrible people doing terrible things in a terrible place, and not as a celebration of cruelty but as a celebration of recognising what is messed up and being able to laugh at it. I guess I’ll know if I stayed true to the spirit of my own universe if people tell me what an awful human being I am for putting this nonsense out into the world in this day and age.

Gizmodo: Knowing what you know now about working in the animation space, what (if anything) would you do differently if you were trying to get something like Invader Zim off the ground today?

Vasquez: I don’t know how to do anything any way other than my own. Pitching Invader Zim today would be a lot like pitching it back then, and hoping the person I’m pitching to gets it and knows we’re not trying to ruin the world and that sometimes a kid getting his eyes pulled out of his head is hilarious.

Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus hits Netflix on August 16.


From DB - Dublagem Brasileira:

Invasor Zim E O Florpus Chega Amanhã Com Trabalho Da Unidub.

O elenco de vozes principal, com Vágner Fagundes, Wendel Bezerra e Rodrigo Andreatto foi mantido.
Estreia amanhã na Netflix a animação Invasor Zim e o Florpus (Invader Zim: Intro the Florpus), um resgate da série produzida pela Nickelodeon, que originalmente teve duas temporadas transmitidas entre 2001 e 2006 nos EUA.

No Brasil, a série original foi exibida pela primeira vez pelo canal Nickelodeon e reprisada na Nick at Nite nas madrugadas dos finais de semana.

A dublagem, para alegria dos que acompanharam o desenho, acabou mantendo o elenco principal de dublagem original da animação, com Vágner Fagundes dando voz ao personagem Zim, Wendel Bezerra interpretando o GIR e Rodrigo Andreatto dublando Dib.

Uma mudança significativa foi na voz da personagem Gaz que agora recebe a interpretação de Flora Paulita. Na dublagem da série original, feita pela Álamo, a voz da irmã do Dib teve a atuação de Eleonora Prado com substituição de Márcia Regina.

Nessa nova história, Zim aparece para começar a próxima fase do seu plano alienígena para conquistar a Terra, seu adversário Dib Membrana quer desmascará-lo de uma vez por todas.


From Polygon:

Invader Zim creator Jhonen Vasquez on why his ‘pulsating garbage bag of filth encrusted rabid weasels’ is back on Netflix

Enter the Florpus will be just as Zim as ever

Invader Zim, one of Nickelodeon’s most bizarre and beloved animated series from the early 2000s, is back with a new Netflix special: Enter the Florpus. The series holds a special place in the cartoon canon as the one of the weirdest, most horrific, and arguably most beloved series of the early millennium. In the years since it was last on the air in 2006, the series’ infamy hasn’t faded.

Nickelodeon brought back series creator Jhonen Vasquez for Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus nearly 20 years after the original cartoon aired on Nickelodeon. After catching up with him last year during San Diego Comic-Con, Polygon picked Vasquez’s brain over email about returning to the series, maintaining its characteristic flavor, and the ironic proliferation of Zim merch across the past decade.

Polygon: Invader Zim is back. How are you feeling as you finally bring the project to a conclusion — and to go back on all those years of teasing?

Jhonen Vasquez: What do you mean “go back”? I swore the Zim movie was just a huge hoax and I stand by it. Just because SOMEONE made a movie to make me look like a liar doesn’t mean I will back down. I just hope people like this movie someone made or that, if they hate it, they hate it so much they die.

You’ve said that Nickelodeon was after you for years to do more Zim. What convinced you to do it, or did something keep you from doing it before now?

My mind was on other matters, really! In the recent years leading up to production on the Zim movie I was elsewhere developing other things that just didn’t fly. Heartbreaking stuff sinking years of your life into something people will never see and then seeing generic stuff churned out in place of what you were trying to do. Those years are just sorta buried with no real proof of your existence.

I hadn’t planned on doing more animated Zim, but Nick’s latest approach just happened to sync up with me wanting to work on something with a greater chance of actually happening. Even then I knew I wouldn’t work on anything until I had an idea that justified the work beyond simply providing something because people wanted it. I had to think it sounded fun.

Nickelodeon has been no stranger to bizarre animated programming over the years, but in the era that Invader Zim aired, I think it’s safe to say that its tone was uniquely creepy, pessimistic, and counterculture. Nickelodeon has said it was canceled in part because of low ratings, so what changed the network’s mind?

Some Eternal Sunshine stuff went down. Mainly I think that Nickelodeon, like most places, isn’t a person so much as a collective with a makeup that changes as people come and go. The Nick I dealt with back during the series isn’t the Nick I dealt with to work on that TMNT short or Enter the Florpus — it was a whole new bunch of people who, in many cases, were people who worked under the people of old, and they maybe just got it a bit more than those people of old. They had time to see what Zim turned into and how it was still creating interest no matter how much time passed.

The tricky thing about returning was making it clear to the new Nick that inviting Zim back meant inviting Zim back, a thing that wasn’t going to be something else, they were still inviting a pulsating garbage bag of filth encrusted rabid weasels into their studio. For the most part everyone understood what they were signing on for.

From what I understand, Nick producer Mary Harrington originally approached you about pitching a show to the network, after she discovered Squee! and Johnny the Homicidal Maniac (both books I think I picked up at an indie comic convention and devoured when I was probably too young to be reading them). As a fan of both, I still think it’s fair to say that you wouldn’t expect a studio exec to draw a line from JTHM to “let’s give this guy a show for kids.” Were you surprised to be approached by Nickelodeon? Did you have a sense of what it was about your comics that they wanted to bring to TV?

I wasn’t surprised at all. I don’t think from a single place that can’t process stuff coming from other directions. Yeah, I love horror movies and things that come from nightmares, but I love fantasy and adventure and kids shows and musicals and all kinds of things that make up a person that exists beyond a two-dimensional projection of “that guy who draws murdery stuff.”

The chance to make a show for kids also didn’t mean I had to narrow my ideas down to “What do kids like?”, it only meant another opportunity to ask “What do I like?”, and there’s plenty of crossover there.

Invader Zim is a zany cartoon show full of screams and body horror — and it’s also chock full of anti-corporate, anti-conformist, anti-consumption, dare I say ... anti-capitalist ... themes. And I think it’s safe to say many of those themes are also present in JTHM. You made a kids show where Santa was a scam, corporations were capricious monolithic edifices constructed only for greed, public schools failed their students in every conceivable way, and everyone turned a willful blind eye to Earth’s existential threats. I’m not going to tell you it was an inaccurate depiction, but I would like to hear about why you and the rest of the team integrated those ideas so deeply into the show’s world-building. Do you find an irony in the proliferation of Invader Zim merch given the show’s own sendup of mass media and cultures of consumption?

I’m not sure just how much stuff is out there, really. I’ve always been very disconnected from what gets made and where it gets sold. There’s this whole other universe of what Zim is presented AS versus what it is to me and the people who make it. The show is preoccupied with mindlessness in general, an obliviousness to horror that allows for horror to be normal. I love getting my hands on certain kinds of merch, but I’m more the kind of person who likes having replicas or things that ARE in our world what they are in the world of the show, like having Gaz’s shirt or Dib’s briefcase more so than shorts with drawings of the characters on them. Who wouldn’t love a Bloaty suit of their own?

Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus premieres Aug. 16 on Netflix.


From ComicBook:

Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus Trailer Released by Netflix

Like an unstoppable death machine, Invader Zim is back! On Wednesday, Netflix released the first full trailer for Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus, an upcoming movie sequel that is set to hit the streaming service later this month.

You can check out the official synopsis for Enter the Florpus below!

"Zim discovers his almighty leaders never had any intention of coming to Earth and he loses confidence in himself for the first time in his life, which is the big break his human nemesis, Dib has been waiting for."

A number of the television series' original voice actors are set to reprise their role in the movie, including but not limited to Richard Horvitz as Zim, Rosearik Rikki Simons as GIR, Andy Berman as Dib, and Melissa Fahn as Gaz.

After years of the film being in the works, Netflix announced that it had required distribution rights for the project back in May, to the delight of fans.

"It was something I had hoping and dreaming of since the show was canceled," Wally Wingert, who voices Almighty Tallest Red, said during the show's San Diego Comic-Con panel last year. "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!"

While the initial Invader Zim series wrapped up in 2006, the franchise has lived on in the world of comics, something that will play into Enter the Florpus in an interesting way.

"If you’ve read the comics you’ll probably recognize some things in there," series creator Jhonen Vasquez said at SDCC last year. "...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."

What do you think of the latest look at Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below!

Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus will arrive on Netflix on August 16th.


From Decider:

‘Invader Zim’ Creator Jhonen Vasquez Isn’t Quite Done with His “Controlled Headache”

In 2001 Nickelodeon aired a short-lived cartoon about a screaming alien hellbent on bringing doom to the Earth. Now, almost a decade later Invader Zim is coming back to rule us all with the premiere of the series’ first film, Enter the Florpus! Ahead of the movie’s premiere on Netflix, Decider spoke to the creator behind one of the most insane, random, and delightfully horrible kids shows to ever exist, Jhonen Vasquez.

According to Vasquez when Nickelodeon first approached him, they wanted to target children seven to 12 years old. But as Zim’s hordes of teenage, Hot Topic-loving fans grew, that hope was dashed.

“They had a target audience, and then there was what we were making. Those were two different things. Not that I wasn’t trying to make shows for like really young viewers,” Vasquez explained.

Even though Invader Zim became a cult TV staple for 2000s-era teens, Vasquez’s favorite fans are still the ones it was originally designed for.

“I always love hearing from little kids and the elderly about my show,” Vasquez said. “Kids they’re like ‘I didn’t like him. He’s too green.’ And you’re like ‘Oh, I’m sorry.’ Or they tell you why they like it ‘Because he’s real green.’ And you’re like ‘Yep, he sure is. Thank you so much for your honesty and your opinion.’”

By contrast, his interactions with his older fans are often less authentic.

“If someone meets me they’re like ‘Hey I used to really like your stuff.’ And I’m like, ‘Thanks?,” Vasquez joked. “You didn’t have to put it that way, but I get what you’re doing. You don’t want to seem like you’re a drooling fan monster. But I didn’t see you as that until you talked to me that way.”

Returning to a creation that was always in the back of his mind wasn’t an issue for the director. But making the screaming doom-filled world of Invader Zim bearable for 70 minutes was. “Even when I’m not watching my own stuff I’m incredibly conscious of my time and thus an audience’s time,” Vasquez explained. “Stepping back to Zim, honestly it couldn’t just be 90 minutes of your typical episode. There had to be a little bit more structure and a little bit less insanity.”

He then added, “I think I failed on some of that because — I’ve seen this thing a couple of times and I’ve been like, ‘Holy shit! Oh my god. This is a lot.'”

Vasquez likened the tone of Invader Zim to “a controlled headache.” “When we started work on this again I knew we can’t update it,” Vasquez said. “It’s just a thing that always seems relevant because there’s so much awful stuff in the world. There’s always awful people, there’s this growing negligence of awful around you. That’s just Zim’s world. Zim’s world is people who are incredibly preoccupied with little things that become huge, huge deals while the world around them is decaying. So bringing it back is kind of like yeah. It makes sense.”

In the series, characters would routinely turn into horrible blob monsters and demonic possessions and curses abounded. Vasquez traced his unapologetically disturbing kids show to his own childhood spent watching horror movies with his brother. “We would laugh nonstop at some of the worst stuff, and not laugh because we were like, ‘Ha, ha, ha, murder. Human lives being squandered.’ We laughed because we knew it was fake and we knew it was wrong,” Vasquez explained.

That horror translated to creating Invader Zim. “I can’t speak for all the other kids of the planet but remembering just me growing up, I had and still have a fascination with things that weren’t easy to process. They stuck with me and they bothered me,” Vasquez said. “I think the world inside of a kid’s brain is nightmarish in a different way than the sorted out, ‘I’ve figured it out and I’m miserable and empty inside’ kind of adulthood that happens. With kids it’s just this nightmare world of infinite possibilities and infinite configurations of horror. And so I never wanted to pull back when making Zim as a kid’s show. When things are supposed to be scary, I wanted them to be scary, not just a nod at scariness.”

But don’t expect Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus! to be the most disgusting, horrific version of the original series. As he explained, translating Zim into a movie actually forced the team to focus on the more human side of this weird show. “It was an interesting balancing act. There are a couple of scenes in the movie where characters say things that still have to sound like the character you remember but they’re expressing something that they never had a chance to in the series. Knowing when to play it off as a joke or undercut it as a joke was an interesting thing to try to pull off, versus in the series we never cared,” Vasquez said. “It was 15 or 22 minutes, and it was like it doesn’t matter. The world’s going to reset in the next episode. Let’s just move on.”

Yet at the same time he was careful not to make the special too mushy, even when its dealing with complicated topics like Dib’s relationship with his emotionally distant dad or Zim finally realizing that his leaders hate him. “The show isn’t about love,” Vasquez noted. “It’s enough for the show if you recognize that these characters have relationships with one another. I never wanted it to feel you know cloying or insincere.”

As for whether he would ever consider returning to the series after the movie, it’s a possibility. Vasquez noted that producing this movie was “one of the most supportive environments I’ve ever worked in” and that a few Nickelodeon executives were excited about the idea of an Invader Zim revival. However those executives have since moved on from the company. At the moment, only fans have seriously discussed rebooting the series.
“If it was a thing where someone said you press this button and there will be more Zim, just the experience of working on the movie and having the crew and the cast back, I wouldn’t say no. But I think it would have to be done in some way where I’m able to do other stuff,” Vasquez said. “It would be interesting if there was a way to put a team together with me writing but not necessarily being the showrunner whose life is bound to the show. Kind of with the comics so I’m still around to ensure that the identity, that the personality is still there. But I’m off working on something where character’s heads are being cut off and no one is saying, ‘You can’t do that!'”

According to Vasquez, there are people who worked on the series he believes would be interested in showrunning. However at the moment he’s more interested in exploring projects that aren’t quite as limiting as his Nicktoon. “Zim is incredibly focused,” Vasquez explained. “To stay true to that world you really just have to look at a very limited range of emotions and they’re all real nasty. I want to be able to stay in a nasty world but also be able to do a little bit more than that, things that I think would start feeling insincere if you start pulling them off in Zim.”

Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus! premieres on Netflix on August 16.


From ComicBook:

Invader Zim Creator Jhonen Vasquez on Intentionally Avoiding Nostalgia

If you've already seen Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus on Netflix, then you know that the special largely avoids referencing previous characters or events in addition to having just about no extraneous cameos. While some continuations or revivals would pack their time with nostalgia callbacks, Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus basically ignores this route -- and it's totally intentional.

While speaking with ahead of the release of Enter the Florpus, creator Jhonen Vasquez explained that the choice to avoid cameos and the like was a deliberate one, seemingly influenced in part by his hatred for specific sequences in Rogue One: A Star Wars Story, of all things.

Keep reading to learn why exactly Vasquez went with a different method, which parts of Rogue One he actually loved, and what it is about nostalgia that irks him so much. The special actually features a number of classic characters, but it actually feels rather conservative with cameos and such. Was this a deliberate choice? Was there anything, any sequence, or any character you really wanted to fit in there, but couldn't make work?

Jhonen Vasquez: It was very deliberate, real deliberate, just because it comes from my disdain of that sort of thing in playing on people's sense of nostalgia. I talk about this a lot. One of the reasons that I held off on doing any more Zim stuff again was because people were like, "It's a great time. Everyone is really excited about their old properties coming back." And I'm just like, "I don't give a shit. I'd rather it exist because it's coming from something other than trying to fill a space."

I mean, nostalgia is responsible for some of the worst shit out there, and it's responsible for taking me out of the moment in nostalgic properties that I've enjoyed. Like, I dunno, nostalgia is just [...] there's just continuations of things that started a long time ago, but they're just as relevant now.

I bring up Rogue One ... I bring up Star Wars a lot, that sort of thing. I'm not the biggest Star Wars fan, but I'm a big fan of movies, and I grew up with Star Wars. And I fucking loved Rogue One. I thought Rogue One was one of my favorite Star Wars movies, but the worst shit in that movie was all those little reminders of like, "Hey, hey, guys, this is from Star Wars. Remember this, remember these guys in the alley? They're from the cantina in A New Hope. Isn't that great? Are you not entertained?"

And I'm just like, "No, I'm really distracted. I don't need this. You're telling me an OK story. This is cool. Shut the fuck with all these references."

So, the last thing that I want is to fill the movie with things that aren't the story. It's a cheap ... I don't know, I feel like it's cheap. There's no work put into it, because you're just hoping that someone recognizes something [...] So yeah, there really aren't a lot of things that are in there just to make fans go, "Hey, I recognize that."

Sort of anti-nostalgia?

Yeah, you know? I mean, you can't really avoid that there's a certain element of nostalgia that will bring people in. You can help it, we're human. We remember when things were from another time, and things were better, and we dressed even worse than we do now. You know? That's going to bring a lot of people in. But hopefully, when they're sitting there, they don't forgive the flaws just because it's a thing that they liked before.

I hope they like it because it's a good thing that stands on its own.

What do you think of Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus? Have you watched the Netflix special already, or are you saving it for a special occasion? Let us know in the comments [...]!

Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus is now available to stream on Netflix. You can check out all of our previous coverage of the title right here. If you're still on the fence, here is a brief excerpt of our official review:

"Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus should really set the parameters for all returning Nickelodeon shows going forward. It’s almost entirely self-contained, with little to no prior knowledge required, and manages to invoke what was amazing about the original show without kneeling at the altar of nostalgia. It’s just a new, good Zim story that happened to release on Netflix rather than Nickelodeon itself."


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Originally published: Wednesday, August 14, 2019 at 20:24 BST.

Additional sources: Epicstream, Google Translate, GeekTyrant.

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