"Flash Gordon: The Animated Series"
Since G.I. Joe: Retaliation has been moved up to be released next year, I need something to fill the gap in my summer movie queque. It wasn't until I found a clip of God riding a rocket cycle to the sounds of Queen in Family Guy that I found my answer: the 1980 adaptation of Flash Gordon!--which I have never seen before. It sparked an interest in the whole thing of FG's place in pop culture history, and I found that there was only one highly-praised TV adaptation: Filmation's 1982 TV film. People apparently hated the 1996 cartoon and the 2007 Syfy series, so I decided to come up with something of my own. Ladies and gentlemen, I give you...
A fancast for the return of Alex Raymond's creation to TV.
Comic BOOKS are hot right now thanks to The Avengers, and I feel comic STRIPS should get the revival they deserve--the early 90's was close, but no cigar. I thought Flash Gordon would be the perfect vehicle to spearhead this. Here's how the idea would flow:
-The show would be done in a combination of the same CG animation/art styles used by both Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Green Lantern: The Animated Series, with similar scripting styles. Both of those shows are great examples of outer space in animated form. Either that, or the show would use the same art/animation style used in Justice League: The New Frontier.
-It would air on not one, not two, but THREE different networks: SyFy, Cartoon Network, and G4.
-The show itself would stay true to Alex Raymond's original material, but would combine a variety of influences from past shows and films. In fact, most of the costume designs would be combinations of the comics, the Filmation series, and the 1980 film in terms of look. Same with the locations and scenery.
-A lot of characters would be 'ideal aggregations' of their past incarnations.
-Andrea Romano would be voice director, while Bruce Timm and Alan Burnett would produce. Greg Wiseman would direct most episodes.
-The opening theme tune would be an orchestral version of Queen's main title theme from the 1980 film. In the pilot, there would be a scene that mimics the famous sky fight scene in the film where the rocket is attacked by Flash and the Hawkmen--in fact, an updated version of Queen's music for that scene would be used.
And now the part you've been waiting for--the voice cast (I know there are a ton of characters in the world of Flash Gordon, but for now I'll start with this round-up):
Brian Bloom as the voice of Flash Gordon
I picked Bloom based on his portrayals of Captain America (on The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes) and Rip Hunter (on Batman: The Brave and the Bold). When he plays those two, he's got that voice that sounds like a classic film hero, perfect for our favorite hotshot space adventurer. In my show's take, Flash was the star quarterback of his high school football team (movie influence), but took up polo (out of curiosity) while attending Yale (comic influence). After graduating, Gordon became a pro polo player after discovering he was good at the sport. His getup would have the upper half of his uniform from Defenders of the Earth with the circles around the collar from the comics, while the pants would be blue (also from the comics), and the boots and chest symbol from the 1980 film.
Tricia Helfer as the voice of Dale Arden
I picked Helfer as she's no stranger to sci-fi (from her days as Six on Battlestar Galactica) or comics (voicing Black Cat in The Spectacular Spider-Man, Sif on The Superhero Squad Show, and Boodikka in Green Lantern: First Flight), and she could bring a strong n' sweet quality to Dale. In my take, Dale was a graduate of the Air Force academy, who first worked part-time as a travel agent (movie influence) before becoming a research scientist (1954 tv show influence) specializing in aeronautics. She'd wear something akin to both a Green Lantern 'flight suit' and the reactive armor from G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra.
Richard McGonagle as the voice of Dr. Hans Zarkov
I chose McGonagle as he as portrayed quite a variety of scientists in his acting resume, with the most recent being Dr. IQ High in Duck Dodgers, and Sardath, Prof. Carter Nichols, and Niles Caulder in Batman: The Brave and the Bold. He is more than qualified to voice Dr. Zarkov, and would also be doing an imitation of Chaim Topol's portrayal. In my take, Dr. Zarkov is an old friend of Flash's family. He formerly worked for NASA, but was fired because of his 'crazy theories' of invasion from another planet (movie influence). He ends up isolating himself for some time, and only comes out one day when Flash, with Dale tagging along, going up to visit him on behalf of his father. While they talk, a meteor shower hits Earth, and Zarkov ends up telling the two of them about his theories, as well as unveiling a spacecraft he designed to venture to the planet the meteors are coming from: Mongo. He convinces the two of them to join him to see why Mongo is attacking, and the trio ends up on the adventure of their lives.
Corey Burton as the voice of Emperor Ming the Merciless
Burton is a very talented and versatile voice actor, and for picking him for the role of the big bad, I was inspired by a few of his roles: Megatron on Transformers: Animated, V.V. Argost in The Secret Saturdays, and Count Dooku in Star Wars: The Clone Wars. Ming, in my take, is a despot with delusions of grandeur and an unwavering ruthlessness. I think of him, in this case, akin to the post-Crisis version of Lex Luthor mixed with Dr. Doom--he feels he deserves to rule because of his abilities and charisma. His getup would be a mix between the 1980 film version, the costume from Defenders of the Earth, and the color scheme of the Filmation version. He'd also possess the ring he used in the film. He would have the pointed ears of the DOE version, but with a light green hue in his skin. As always, in the pilot he tries to force Dale to marry him, only to be thwarted by Flash and his allies.
Emmanuelle Chriqui as the voice of Princess Aura
I picked Chriqui out of inspiration by her portrayal of Cheetara on the new Thundercats, and her upcoming role in the Tron cartoon. I feel she could bring the kind of 'exotic' (no offense meant to anyone) presence that Ornella Muti brought to the character in the 1980 film. Her costume would be a mix between her Filmation version (hairdo and tiara), the film, and the original comics, but later adopts a suit similar to Dale's when she renounces her ties to the throne. Like Ming, she'd have light green skin, and as always, she was complacent in her father's conquests, until the arrival of Flash, Dale and Zarkov. She falls for Flash and rebels against her father--though in my take, she renounces her ties to the throne and joins the anti-Ming coalition Flash helps to form. As with the previous incarnations, she later falls for, and marries, Prince Barin.
John DiMaggio as the voice of King Vultan
I picked DiMaggio for one good reason: his portrayal of Aquaman on Batman: The Brave and the Bold. They way he played him is akin to Brian Blessed's portrayal of Vultan in the 1980 film (sans the "impetuous boy" comment)--I'm even sure he could do a great Blessed impression! As always, Vultan rules the Hawk men of Mongo (as king instead of prince, in my take), and at first is an adversary of Flash and co., but becomes one of his greatest allies. I see his outfit as a mix between the Filmation version and the film--same goes for the rest of the Hawk men. And yes, he would scream "DIIIIIIVVVVVEEE!!!!" in the pilot.
Khary Payton as the voice of Prince Talon
I picked Payton because of his great amount of experience with comic book-based animation, namely Teen Titans, Justice League, Young Justice, and the Marvel: Ultimate Alliance videogame. Talon is an import from the maligned 1996 Flash Gordon series, where he is the son of Vultan, who was presented as a more conservative ruler. Here, the gimmicky parts of his character would be removed, and he'd dress like the way I described my take on the Hawkmen. He would definitely be his father's son, and during the course of the show, develop a budding relationship with another royal, the princess of the lion-people.
Michael Dorn as the voice of Chief Thun of the Lion-men
I picked Michael Dorn because (obviously) of his role on Star Trek: TNG, along with his voiceover roles on Gargoyles, Superman: The Animated Series, and a few Marvel shows here and there. He has that good, deep, booming voice for a lion of a man like Thun. Thun, in my take, design-wise would be like a cross between Beast from X-Men (in his feline state) and Chewbacca, and as always becomes the first ally of Flash on Mongo. Dorn would voice him with an African accent. His getup would resemble that of a Maasai warrior.
Kyla Pratt as the voice of Princess Thundara (pronounced Thun-dah-rah)
I picked Pratt because she has had VA experience--mostly Disney Channel shows, but still--and I think she would be able to pull off an African accent for the role. Thundara is based on the character Princess Thundar, who replaced Thun in the 1996 cartoon. Like her, she is close in resemblance to the female Thundercats, though with a tail. In my take, she is Thun's daughter and a highly-trained warrior, who becomes good friends with Dale, whom she trains, along with Aura, in her people's fighting style. Her getup would follow her father's lead and resemble a Maasai's traditional garb, with mix of the Dora Milaje from the Black Panther comics. As the series progresses, she develops a budding relationship with Prince Talon of the Hawkmen.
Troy Baker as the voice of Prince Barin
Baker is a very versatile VA, and he's played roles similar to Barin. Barin, in my take, would have an outfit resembling Green Arrow's "Longbow Hunters" getup with some of the costume worn by Timothy Dalton in the 1980 film. He would be a slightly younger version of himself, being the young ruler of the Arboria region of Mongo, which would be a series of tree "houses" that use the dense forest for cover. As always, he becomes one of Flash's best allies, and falls for (eventually marrying) Princess Aura.
Kari Wahlgren as the voice of Queen Fria of Frigia
Kari is a great voice actress, and has experience with a lot of comic-based cartoons. I picked her for Fria based on her portrayals of Emma Frost (yes, I did an ice queen joke there) and the Thor character Karnilla, queen of the Norns. Fria, in my take, would be very similar to her comics version, who wants Flash for herself. Though over time, she'd grow to become supportive of Flash's efforts to overthrow Ming.
Ian Anthony Dale as the voice of Prince Krotan (originally Kro-Tan)
Dale I've heard is quite the actor, and I have seen him cast as Scorpion from Mortal Kombat on this site, so I thought of no other character better for him than the son of Ming the Merciless. Krotan (I've renamed him) replaces Aura as Ming's heir in the Defenders of the Earth cartoon series, but I've brought him over here with a different take. He is still Ming's son, but is now the older brother of Aura, and is just as ruthless as his father. He sees both his father and Flash's band of rebels as hindrances to his own power grabs, and bides his time until he can take out his father and assume the throne of Mongo. He shows great resentment towards Aura for betraying their family.
Elizabeth Pena as the voice of General Kalanna
I chose Pena out of inspiration by her voice role of Paran Dul (a rogue Thanagarian commander) in Justice League/Unlimited. Kala (renamed Kalanna to avoid confusion with King Kala, ruler of the shark men) is an import from the 1980 film. In my take, like her film counterpart, she is one of Ming's most accomplished military commanders, and its most cold-hearted. She is a skilled marksman and sword fighter, rivaling even Ming himself. She also has a score to settle with Dale, who scarred her left cheek during a scuffle between the two in the pilot.
Dee Bradley Baker as the voice of Klytus
Baker is another voice actor whose skills are right up there with the greats. I picked him for Klytus because I pictured he could do a good impression of Peter Wyngarde, the original actor. Klytus is another import from the 1980 film, and in my take, he is one of Ming's most trusted advisers, and head of Ming's secret police force, all cyborgs like himself. He is also a very skilled interrogator, who, like the one from GI Joe (Cobra's Interrogator) can pry information out of a captive simply by talking.
And that is that! Tell me what you think, PLEASE! And just to share a little treat for looking at this....ladies and gentlemen, QUEEN!
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