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Cartoon Network Revs Up Megas XLR

Cartoon Network's is offering a homespun new comedic action/adventure cartoon, MEGAS XLR, featuring reptilian aliens from the future bearing down on New Jersey, seeking to destroy an 80-foot robot thats been reconditioned by 20-something gearhead raised on videogames. Its an original concept from creators George Krstic and Jody Schaeffer., which premiered May 1, 2004 at 9:00 pm with 25 episodes to follow Saturday nights on Cartoon Network.

The series is in production at Cartoon Network Studios in Burbank, California. It stars Coop, (voiced by David DeLuise) who grew up on a steady diet of videogames, professional wrestling and custom cars. One day, while scavenging through the local dump, he discovered an 80-foot-tall robot and took it home to tweak it. As a result, Megas (Mecha Earth Guard Attack System) is one incredibly powerful robot with some idiosyncratic touches: time travel, dimensional shift, a head made from a '70s muscle car and lots of chrome. Coop's best friend, Jamie (Steve Blum), helps him understand the enormous mischief-making power of possessing a giant robot.

While Coop is busy cruising around the Garden State in a giant robot, he attracts the attention of the Glorft, a race of evil reptilian aliens from the future who have turned their sights on conquering Earth. They detect Megas' presence in the past and head back to eliminate it - and Coop.

Kiva (Wendee Lee), the original designer and pilot of Megas, also travels back from the future to retrieve her creation. When she arrives, she finds that Megas has been so customized that Coop is the only one who can operate it. Kiva must enlist Coop to pilot the robot to save the Earth and treat Megas as a serious weapon, not an overgrown toy. Coop means well and has natural ability as a pilot, but he has a short attention span.

MEGAS XLR co-creators and exec producers Krstic, who was born in Ohio, and Schaeffer, a New Jersey native, both attended the prestigious School of Visual Arts in New York. They worked together on the critically acclaimed, Emmy-nominated series MTV DOWNTOWN.

"George and I came up with the idea when we were playing videogames. We said 'Wouldn't it be cool if we made a cartoon about a guy that used his videogame experience to pilot a giant robot? said Schaeffer. "Basically, we were validating our own lack of a life."

They placed a pitch pack and animated trailer into the hands of then CN programming exec Linda Simensky, at the 2000 ComicCon, as she was on her way to a panel. She called them a few months later, the show went into development and was greenlit by November of 2002 for the first season.

"MEGAS XLR has a unique look. We took aspects of anime and traditional Western-style animation and storytelling and crammed them together," said Krstic. Its an homage to the old giant robot anime that a lot of us grew up with. Its the past parts our typical Saturday morning anime, Godzilla, wrestling, giant robots, sci-fi and videogames.

A lot of the humor is derived from either paying homage or out right mocking anime conventions, Krstic continued. A lot of our villains, settings and plot lines are inspired by what we grew up watching, like Japanese mecha anime.

Supervising producer is Chris Prynoski while line producers are John Cawley and Kelly Crews. Krstic story edits while Alain Matz is head writer and Jack Monaco serves as staff writer. Storyboard artists are Prynoski and Kelsey Mann, coordinated by Bob Miller.

Schaeffer handles art direction with assistant art director Edward Artinian. Character/prop designs are by Serapio Calm and Brian Moyer, while Antonio Cannobio is background design supervisor. Nora Murphy and David Patton are color stylists.

Collette Sunderman is casting director for the voices that also include Clancy Brown, Scot Brutus Rienecker, Kevin Michael Richardson, Bruce Campbell and Richard McGonagle. David Hollander supervises music, Roger Hinze is the picture editor and Hacienda Post handles post-production sound services.

Sunmin Image Pictures, Co. Ltd. does overseas animation with additional services by Titmouse Inc.

Brian Miller is supervising producer for Cartoon Network Studios, Jennifer Pelphrey is director of production and Jay Bastian is exec in charge of production for Cartoon Network.