Swat Kats creator gives an interview about the show, with a few days left on Kickstarter!
by Patch O'Furr
Enjoy Christian Tremblay’s interview with Dogpatch Press below, and help make a cool show happen here:
Demand from devoted fans is bringing back the Swat Kats TV series for the first time in 20 years. Fandom kept the show alive since it was canceled in 1994 with only two seasons. If you missed it, here’s the lowdown from Swatkats.info:
SWAT Kats: The Radical Squadron focused on the characters of Chance Furlong and Jake Clawson, two ex-Enforcer pilots. They were discharged from the Enforcers after disobeying the orders of Commander Feral, which resulted in the destruction of the newly built Enforcer Headquarters.
Having been blamed for the incident, the two were fired and sent to work in a military Salvage Yard to pay off the debt for its destruction. At their rate of pay, it would take them the rest of their lives.
Not wanting to be out of the law enforcement picture, the two decided to become vigilantes. Using their own ingenuity and the resources of the salvage yard, they built their own super sonic jet: the Turbokat. Donning the aliases T-Bone and Razor, they took to the skies as the SWAT Kats.
By using unorthodox weapons and tactics, the SWAT Kats were able to handle situations that often left the Enforcers helpless. Taking on adversaries such as Dark Kat, Dr. Viper, The Metallikats and the Pastmaster, they became the popular saviors of Megakat City.
Show creator Christian Tremblay’s publicity team got in touch, and said that he “really wants to connect with the furry community for their continued support of the franchise.” What an honor! (Thanks for question prep by Pup Matthias and communication from Sam Weller.)
We asked Christian to introduce his career and business:
How did you get the opportunity to start producing shows?
(Christian): We own TV rights and feature film rights, so we can produce the new TV series by ourselves and with the partner of our choice.
Was it challenging to move from producing with Hanna Barbera to your own studio?
It is always challenging producing new entertainment, it requires major investment and partners (broadcaster, co-producers, investors, etc.) But the big advantage is that Swat-Kats is an existing brand with a fellowship of Fans, it is a proven property, so we are not starting from scratch, which helps a lot!!
Tremblay Bros. studio has the label “transmedia”. Have you had success with moving into new and interactive media?
We are currently involved with major worldwide Brands and developing these for all medium of exploitation. One of them is FELIX THE CAT, we are producing the new animated series ( the other projects projects are still confidential, and can’t comments about them). We have also done projects directly for licensing exploitation, and others that went from mini clip on TV to mobile.
Are there any notable details about the size of your team or shape of your organization, and how you will produce this new show?
We have created an incubator with Prime Focus World, one of the leading VFX groups in the world, for the purpose of creating new content and producing it all in house. We will look to maximize the creative input within their different facilities around the world, best suited for this series.
Conceiving, developing, and bringing back Swat Kats:
Where did you originally get the idea for Swat Kats, and how did you develop the series?
The idea came from a line of Sleepwear design we did, and when we received one of the latest production samples, my brother thought the big cat character I designed looked like a jet fighter pilot (referring to the USA air force using cats, i.e. F-14 Tomcat.) From there, we added new character as a team jet fighter pilot, fighting crime in a megapolis with bigger-than-life recurring villains…..Thus Swat-Kats was born!
Did anime and comic books of the time influence the look of the show?
Of course, we had always loved anime and comic books for the feel and design of it.
What inspired the creation of unique villains of the show, like Dark Kat and Dr. Viper?
The creation of those characters, including Pastmaster and The Metallikats, came about so we’d have a rogue gallery of villains that we knew could inspire multiple episodes.
Why were conditions ripe for a revival?
We love the project, and always wanted to bring it back. Plus, we live in a time where the power of people, the Fans, can really make a difference. The technological platforms existing today enable independent producers to do things that were almost impossible to achieve before, such as Kickstarter.
How hard was it to manage the Kickstarter campaign, and did it perform as expected?
The Kickstarter campaign was a charm to put together. We, of course, benefited from the fact that Swat-Kats was a known property with a big fan base, but none the less it was a great experience. We listened to the fans, we made constant updates and brought in surprises to keep the campaign exciting, and it did perform way better then we could have expected.
Do you have any ambitions not directly listed in the goals?
The goal is to bring back Swat-Kats and build a franchise based on the rights we control. That project has all the potential to achieve it, from the entertainment to licensing & merchandising, to gaming and overall media point of view.
Will the new show be 2D animation?
Yes, with 3D integration.
What direction will the story go?
We are bringing the legacy of the series forward, with deeper understanding of the characters. The series will be a continuation of where we left off.
Will Razor and T-Bone face new enemies?
Will they face issues that reflect what’s going on it our world today?
Yes, we are not in 1993 anymore and the world has changed quite a bit! That will reflect into the series.
Questions by a furry, for fans and artists!
Are you familiar with the Furry Fandom? If yes, how did you discover it and what was your experience like?
Yes we were. We have watched and seen many programs that talk about it, it is really cool.
Do you see any trends to come for anthropomorphic media in general?
We do. First, we are working on a project that has anthropomorphic animals, and we always love it. We were discussing recently about it, and we think that Disney’s Robin Hood was one of the last animated movies where all characters were anthropomorphic. Then we heard about Zootopia! That’s great!
Let’s talk about Swat Kats as more than business and part of culture. Many furries are fans of the show, myself included. Many fans have created their own fan art, fan fiction, and cosplay based on the show. What is it like to know that many people were so personally touched by the show, and hope to see it rise again? What ways have fans kept it alive that you appreciate the most?
It is an extremely rewarding feeling to know that something coming out of our mind, could have had an impact in people’s live. We grew up ourselves watching shows that had impacted our lives, and being able to do it, it is quite special and a lot of responsibility. Seeing drawings and cosplay, and fan sites, the stories they invent is all great and a profound joy….we thank you all for being fans!
There are a lot of creative artists and animators inside Furry fandom, many trying to break into the industry. Do you have any words of wisdom for these aspiring artists?
This is an important subject of mine and a personal mission. I’m building a program about this exact subject matter, that I can share with you in the very near future — within 2 weeks from now. But in the interim, artists shall strive to become exceptional in their skills and discipline themselves to become really good. That will open up opportunities for breaking into the industry. But there are key elements that would too long to explain, that’s why I’m building an aspiring talk, to share my experience as well as giving tools. To create is a blessing, a god given gift that must be nurtured and shared to the world, so I encourage all to pursue it… it is MAGICAL!
Are they able to apply to work on the show when it goes into production?
If the talent is strong enough, opportunities are always there.
Thank you again Mr. Tremblay for your time. I and many others from the Furry fandom and beyond wish you the best of luck.
It is a genuine and real pleasure, THANKS TO ALL!
More info sources:
- Blog covering the project since 2010: THE SWAT KATS PROJECT: A Radical Revival.
- Flayrah’s background from 2012: ‘SWAT Kats’ to return, thanks to Kickstarter?
- Furstarter evaluates the Kickstarter campaign.
- Austrian Furry blog looks at the campaign.
- Reddit IAmA with Christian Tremblay
- 2nd Reddit IAmA with Christian Tremblay
- Video interview by Jason Cooper about Kickstarter campaign
Ted Turner, the owner of Turner Entertainment, was reportedly displeased with the level of violence in the cartoon, going on record to claim in an interview to Entertainment Weekly after the show’s cancellation, “We have more cartoons than anybody: The Flintstones, The Jetsons, the Smurfs, Scooby-Doo. They’re nonviolent. We don’t have to worry that we’re encouraging kids to kill each other – like SOME of the other cartoon programs do.”, which seems to indicate he canceled the show solely to keep Hanna-Barbera’s image of a squeaky-clean family company. Interestingly, Buzz Potemkin, the show’s executive producer, attempted to save the show from being canceled, but was overruled.