The April 2005 issue of NewType USA magazine is now arriving on stands with the latest production updates from Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles!
Last November, Newtype USA also ran a first-look preview into the upcoming Robotech sequel with exclusive sneak peeks of the new production. Due to space constraints, the interview between Chris Johnston of Newtype and Tommy Yune of Harmony Gold had to be edited for space to make room for more artwork, but now here's the uncut interview presented in its entirety for Robotech fans!
CHRIS: Tell us about the decision to create Robotech Shadow Force. Where did the idea come from, and why now?
TOMMY: The original concept was first proposed when I joined Harmony Gold a few years ago. It had undergone quite a few permutations and refinements into what is the now the gripping premise that will kick off The Shadow Chronicles. Although the working title of the feature pilot was Shadow Force, the overall new story arc is called Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles.
Harmony Gold had already been developing different proposals for Robotech spinoffs, but we felt that we had to return to the underlying roots that made the original series great - determined and engaging characters who are able to prevail against the odds of an overwhelming alien threat with amazing transforming mecha. Of course, none of this would have been possible without the steadfast guidance and support of our executive producer Frank Agrama.
CHRIS: Where does this fall within the Robotech timeline?
TOMMY: This storyline is charting new territory right around where final episode of Robotech had left off.
CHRIS: What is the story of The Shadow Chronicles?
TOMMY: As fans of the original series may know, the Robotech Expeditionary Force had been battling to liberate the Earth from occupation by a mysterious alien race known as the Invid, only to culminate in the cataclysmic departure of the Invid and the mysterious disappearance of the expedition's stalwart leader, Admiral Rick Hunter. This unresolved cliffhanger had left fans hanging since 1985.
The new storyline will reveal that these peculiar events, along with the Expeditionary Force's massive accumulation of Robotechnology are somehow all connected in an unfolding mystery that will once again threaten the survival of the human race.
CHRIS: Who's the alien threat in this show? Invid? Zentraedi?
TOMMY: Oh I can't give the new threat away, but it will be provide an intriguing level of depth behind the ongoing Robotech conflict.
CHRIS: Who are the main characters this time around?
TOMMY: One of the main characters in the ensemble is Scott Bernard, a surviving veteran of the bitter war to liberate the Earth. He'll be reunited with other individuals from his distant past that will present dramatic challenges to his commitment to the Robotech Expedition.
CHRIS: Are there returning characters from the original show? Who's back?
TOMMY: We'll see some familiar faces like Dr. Louis Nichols alongside others such as Captain Vince Grant, but there will be a substantial number of all-new characters who will round out the cast. The fate of Admiral Rick Hunter is ... well, I guess the fans will have to see it to find out!
CHRIS: Where is this show being animated?
TOMMY: Work originated in Los Angeles and we had been making quite a few trips to Japan, but the digital animation work has now moved on to DR Movie in Korea. Incidentally, DR Movie was also previously involved in the productions of Macross Plus and Yukikaze.
CHRIS: How is it being animated - is it a traditional cel production or will it use CG? How would you describe Shadow Force's look?
TOMMY: The entire anime industry has evolved tremendously with advancements in digital production technology ever since the original Robotech series had aired almost two decades ago. New animation will feature a digital 2D/3D production process. Cel-shading algorithms and compositing technology has matured to the point where we can have the best of both worlds incorporating the traditional look of anime cels seamlessly combined with cutting-edge CG mecha animation.
CHRIS: How many episodes are planned?
TOMMY: The premise leads into an ongoing storyline that can go on for 26 episodes or more, but we're kicking it off with a full-length feature.
CHRIS: When will US viewers get to see this show? Will it run on TV or will it be an OVA release?
TOMMY: It's scheduled for release [in 2005], which is incidentally the 20th anniversary of Robotech, as on OVA (original video animation) feature on DVD, but I'm sure it will get its run on TV as well.
CHRIS: What were the difficulties of making an original show based on Robotech, which itself was a compilation/amalgamation of three pre-existing Japanese properties?
TOMMY: We inherited a series that was created together out of the necessities of broadcast guidelines back in 1985. You know what? Call it serendipity, but the interwoven storyline actually worked quite well and has stood the test of time with DVDs continuing to fly off of shelves today. Perhaps it helped that the underlying work was all produced by the same legendary animation studio, Tatsunoko Productions. Therefore, it was very important for us to involve Tatsunoko once again when preparing to create a new show that was true to its anime roots. We were taking on quite a challenge with this new project and consulted extensively with Mospeada's original writer Kenji Terada. In the end we were quite fortunate to have the talented Ford Riley come on board and help shape this complex storyline with all its depth into a tight and cohesive screenplay.
CHRIS: Who is this show targeted at, primarily? Fans of the old show or an entirely new audience?
TOMMY: Because 20 years had passed since the original airing of the Robotech series, we had to take into account that new viewers will have little or no knowledge of Robotech's back story. This "newbie-friendly" story kicks off with fantastic action and unfolds with dramatic storytelling that will engage all viewers. Of course, hardcore fans of Robotech lore will enjoy reimmersing themselves back into the familiar world of Robotech that they fell in love with in the first place.
CHRIS: Are any of the original voice cast returning for parts in this show?
TOMMY: We've maintained a great relationship with the original cast, many of whom reprised their roles in the Robotech: Battlecry video game in 2002 and Robotech: Invasion which will arrive on game store shelves at about the time of this printing. Just like many of the fans, we look forward to hearing these familiar voices again.
Click here for the previous coverage of The Shadow Chronicles and Harmony Gold's announcements at the American Film Market!
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