“I went in to read for this, and I was literally the loudest Asian girl,” Kelly Hu says about getting the role of Stacy in the Disney XD series “Phineas and Ferb.” The “Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles” actress joked that when casting Asian characters in animated shows, you must cast Asian performers, adding that the whole reason she got the role was because none of the other Asian voice actresses who auditioned could get suitably angry.
Hu was joined by Dee Bradley Baker who voices Perry the Platypus who revealed the curious process of voice “acting” a platypus that neither talks nor emotes, while character designer Greg Guler tells stories about developing “Gargoyles” for Disney during this Denver Comic Con panel.
“At the time, ’Batman: The Animated Series’ was very hot,” Guler tells the audience, saying that the popularity of the show inspired Disney to have their own dark TV show. They sent Guler away with the broad concept that they wanted something moody with bat wings and he came back with several concepts which Disney ultimately disassembled and reassembled into a final character design they were satisfied with.
Similarly, with “Phineas and Ferb,” Guler was recruited by series creators Dan Povenmire and Jeff “Swampy” Marsh to broadly mock up the characters from the show. Guler joked that Disney executives weren’t happy with the triangular initial designs. To this day, he’s surprised at some of the color choices that Povenmire and Marsh’s art team went with for the characters (he was surprised to find that Perry ended up being blue in the final animation).
He says that “Phineas and Ferb” is a “heavy” series where a single episode might have multiple costume changes or maybe involve 80 characters.
When asked about her favorite song from the series, Hu complained that she couldn’t sing, while Greg Guler told the assembled audience that the creative team behind the series has an embarrassment of musical talent including its creators, who have been known to take up a guitar and just jam with the production staff while developing the many songs peppered throughout the series.
When asked about the Marvel Comics crossover, “Mission Marvel,” Guler says that the many of the animators on the “Phineas and Ferb” team were ecstatic to be working with characters from the House of Ideas. Guler says personally, he was disappointed that their team couldn’t get access to more characters from the Marvel U–the special features Spider-Man, Iron Man, Thor, Red Skull, M.O.D.O.K., Whiplash, and Venom. Likewise, he’s not sure if the voice actors who’ve been playing the characters in the most recent incarnation of the Marvel animated U will be available for “Mission Marvel,” although he adds that the four-parter, which airs this fall, is still in production.
That doesn’t seem to be the only element of the production in flux: in the initial announcement for the special, Disney touted Jeff Marsh’s redesigns of the Marvel characters so that they would better fit into the world of Danville. Guler added that they couldn’t quite get the sign-off to completely redesign the Marvel characters to match the angular look of the “Phineas and Ferb” cast, but they were able to reach some kind of halfway point.
You can check out the trailer for “Phineas and Ferb: Mission Marvel” below.