Sunday is "Kids Day" at NYCC, so Netflix brought in the creators and stars of The Last Kids on Earth to talk about the show coming in Spring 2020 based on the popular book series by Max Brallier. On hand were showrunner Scott Peterson, Brallier, the voice of June Del Toro – Montse Hernandez, and the voice of Jack Sullivan – Nick Wolfhound.
The series follows a group of kids who appear to be the only survivors of the zombie apocalypse, hence the name. However, the series isn't as dark and gloomy as that description suggests. Instead, Brallier described it as a fun-pocalypse.
The show premiered with a special covering the first book in the series earlier this year. The panel said they already knew when the next season would air, but they couldn't tell us. I wish I could tell you the audience understood, but given the number of 6-10 year olds in the audience, that's not really the case.
There were lots of questions from the audience regarding what would make it into the show from the books. The answer was pretty simple…if you keep watching, Netflix will keep greenlighting, and all your favorite scenes from the books will make it.
To that end, Brailler did say that he is going to try to pick up the pace of the books, going from one a year to two. Douglas Holgate, the artist on the books, happened to be in the audience and seemed pretty surprised by this announcement, so the two of them may have some talking to do. While they're at it, Holgate was also surprised when Brailler said the series will probably end after 10 books. Writers, talk to your artists.
Asked about how they found the voices for their characters, Hernandez and Wolfhound came at it from different directions. Hernandez said that, while can be very shy, she channeled her inner cool person to play the tough chick June. Wolfhound looked to the big screen, channelling Jack Burton from Big Trouble in Little China.
Wolfhound said the interview process took about three months before he had the part. Wolfhound revealed that he also tried out for the role of Dirk, but admitted that Charles Demers does the voice better than he could.
Wolfhound also seemed to put his costar on the spot when he revealed that Hernandez has a habit of eating during takes. Despite half the cast being in Los Angeles and half in Vancouver, they record the show at the same time, listening to each other remotely. Hernandez will count the lines to see how long she has, but she's not very good at timing it as the rest of the cast ends up having to wait for her to finish chewing to continue the scene.
Peterson noted that it usually takes one to two years for an animated show to be greenlit once a studio shows interest, but given how well drawn the characters in the book already were, along with the large fan base, they were able to cut that time down dramatically. That said, it still takes the animators about a year to go from script to finished episode, and that's with Atomic Studios dedicating about 120 employees to the show.
Peterson then showed a couple of very brief clips in different stages, storyboard, animatics, animation and composition. This was a nice way to show the kids in the audience just how much work goes into an episode.
Peterson and Brailler also had a couple of toys based on the books, including a sword and a monster, with the promise of many more to come early next year to coincide with the return of The Last Kids on Earth for a second season.