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Paul writes...

Hi Greg! As you're a big Shakespeare fan, I was just wondering if you ever come over to London and check out any performances of Shakespeare's plays at the Globe Theatre? If you do, would you be able to share any memories of your favourite performances there, please? The Globe Theatre's a great venue - I try to get over there every now and then!

Greg responds...

I've never been to the Globe. Last time I was in London, it wasn't built.

I've been to London many times, but not once recently. I'd love to go again, but money is a bit tight these days. I wish a convention would invite me.

Past memories include seeing Ian McKellan as Coriolanus. An amazing Macbeth at a very small theater. I also saw a fantastic Henry V in Oxford.

Response recorded on March 05, 2018

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Marvelman writes...

1) Do you like film/tv adaptations of Shakespeare?

2) Which are your favorites?

3) Anthony Hopkins starts shooting King Lear for the BBC in
September. Excited?

Greg responds...

1. Many of them.

2. Branagh's Henry V and Much Ado About Nothing are favorites. But there have been many others that I've liked/loved/admired/etc.

3. Yes, actually.

Response recorded on March 05, 2018

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Clockwork writes...

Hi Greg

I'm curious to know, have you ever seen Epic Rap Battles of History and are you familiar with any of the battles? There are a lot of good Shakespeare and superhero battles that I'd think you would love. I'm also a contributing user of the ERB Wiki and we are an active and striving community of nerds who have noting else to do.

Thanks for you time and being the best.

Greg responds...

I'm not familiar.

Response recorded on October 31, 2017

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Todd Jensen writes...

I remember your mentioning that in the proposed "Weird Macbeth" story, you'd cast Goliath as Macduff. It recently occurred to me that that would fit the "none of woman born" element (as with Demona earlier) - if in a different manner than the Macduff of the original play.

I don't know if that was one of the reasons you'd cast Goliath for that role, but I thought I'd mention it.

Greg responds...

It's all in there.

Response recorded on June 30, 2017

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Marvelman writes...

1) For some reason, I can't get into stage productions of Shakespeare, but if you put Shakespeare on the screen, I usually love it. I don't understand this. Could it be that film and television have made my imagination lazy? Thoughts?

2) I know King Lear is supposed to be the pinnacle of the Shakespearean oeuvre, but I just can't get into it. Lear is such a jerk that I can't get past it! It's like asking me to sympathize with Donald Trump! Thoughts?

Greg responds...

1. I have no answers for you. I love Shakespeare on stage. LOVE IT.

2. I don't know what you expect me to say. I disagree. But I can't make you love Lear. Perhaps try to imagine a backstory for him. In any case, just in terms of language alone, he's lightyears more interesting than Trump.

Response recorded on June 16, 2017

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Beleg Aglar writes...

What were the books and films (if any) that inspired the everything in the show Gargoyles, because I know that some of it was William Shakespeare's Works, some was D'Aulaire's Books of Greek and Norse Myths, maybe Le Morte D' Arthur by Sir Thomas Mallory,Holinshed's Chronicles in the case of the Weird Sisters, and The Mummy's Hand in the case of Tanna Leaves, and i know where stuff like Anubis, Anansi, Raven, Coyote, Grandmother, Thunderbird, Banshee, Crom Cruach, Cú Chulainn, Hound of Ulster (or Hound of Cullain), Fu Dog, The Green Knight, The actual Macbeth, the actual Duncan, The actual Canmore,Lulach, Gille Coemgáin of Moray, Gruoch of Scotland, Robin Goodfellow (AKA Puck), Quetzalcoatl, Yeti, Actual Crime in Manhatten, The Golem of Prague, Will-o'-the-wisp, and Tengu come from i just would like to know the books you probally read first that made you want to put that stuff in the show.

Greg responds...

Didn't you list most of them above?

I don't have a concise reading list. It was everything that influenced me (and others who worked on the show, as I was NEVER a one-man band) all rolled together.

I've read a lot of Arthurian stuff, including Mary Stewart, Roger Lanclyn Green, Mallory, etc. I've read and seen all of Shakespeare. I've read Hugo and a lot of books on mythology of different cultures. Movies including Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Pal Joey and many others, particularly those adapted from Damon Runyon stories. The list goes on. Plus tons of comics.

Still the biggest influences were probably HILL STREET BLUES, GUMMI BEARS and maybe STAR TREK (the original series).

For more, check out the INFLUENCES archive here at ASK GREG.

Response recorded on May 05, 2017

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Marvelman writes...

Have you ever read Shakespeare's Dog by Leon Rooke? (It is the story of Shakespeare's marriage to Anne Hathaway as told from the perspective of Shakespeare's dog.) Here it is on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Shakespeares-Dog-Novel-Leon-Rooke/dp/0880010932. It's quite funny.

Greg responds...

Nope.

Response recorded on July 13, 2016

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OREGON SHAKESPEARE FESTIVAL 2016

Really had a great time all last week at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon.

Went up with my dad, daughter, son and a couple of friends. We saw eight plays in four days, and every single one was - at minimum - highly enjoyable. And some just blew me away.

We saw:

Great Expectations
Roe
Twelfth Night
The Wiz
The River Bride
The Winter's Tale
Vietgone
Hamlet

Some truly amazing work. Plan on going back in September to see the three plays we missed: Yeomen of the Guard, Richard II, Timon of Athens.


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Daniel writes...

I estimate Macbeth is, or at least was, a fan of theater given that he knew Shakespeare well, liked the Macbeth play, and borrows his aliases from it.

1. What are some other plays he was particularly fond of? Of any genre or time period. The idea of Macbeth attending Broadway musicals makes me smile.

2. Did he ever try his hand at acting or play-writing? Especially in the more modern times, the stage seems like the last vestige for an immortal to physically revisit some of those olden days. Can't say if it would be nostalgic or not for him though.

Thanks Greg,
- Daniel

Greg responds...

1. I'll leave that to your imagination.

2. I think so.

Response recorded on April 27, 2016

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Giant Boy writes...

1. Was there any references to the works of Shakespeare in Young Justice?
2. Watched "Monsters" episode from Beware the Batman. Enjoyed the return of Metamorpho and the show's general take on him. Good work on the writing. Liked the reference to the Outsiders. Can't wait to see whether Harvey Dent takes up Anarky's offer.

--Giant Boy

Greg responds...

1. Yep. Nothing major, but I could hardly get through a series without sticking something in there.

2. Glad you liked it. Unfortunately, I missed it. Still haven't seen the finished product.

Response recorded on December 06, 2014

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Catherine B writes...

I just wanted to write and just give you some thanks for some of the great shows you have helped create, Greg.

Young Justice I enjoyed thoroughly, though I am more a fan of the first season than the second; I like fewer characters and more characterization as opposed to detailed plots just as a personal preference. I will also say I was not a fan of how Wally West was handled but I am sure you have heard your share of them. I will just say that the Wally of the comics and the Wally of Young Justice seemed to be entirely different characters which seemed a shame to me, given all that could have been done with him. He had such a rich comic book history that I really do not understand why more was not done with it but that is your creative decision. Just not my cup of tea.

I adored your version of Dick Grayson however. He was competent without being overly skilled; he suffered under pressure but learned from what he was exposed to. His relationship with Wally in Season 1 was one of my all time favorites. Thanks for the great run!

Secondly, I could not write you without mentioning Gargoyles. I mean, wow. I think I was in fifth or sixth grade when I first caught it on the air. I just remember being deeply enthralled with it. I thought Elisa was an awesome character, as I did not see a whole lot of strong female leads back then and she was definitely that. I also adored the interesting family background you gave her. So often, characters fall into the stereotypical white, black, etc and she brilliantly avoided those.

I also firmly owe you thanks for igniting my interest in Shakespeare. I remember that I saw "City of Stone" when we were having to pick plays and such to read/analyze for school and after seeing that awesome four parter, I went right to my English teacher and asked if I could read MacBeth. It is still my favorite of the Bard's works.

The characterization of Demona was incredible. Most villains are so one dimensional but all the villains of Gargoyles were so well fleshed out. I am a creative writer myself and working on my first work to aim towards publication and I definitely count Gargoyles among my top inspiration for how to do characterization. To this day, I will tell people if they want to see a well fleshed out villain, go watch Demona from Gargoyles. I honestly would rank her about equal to Gollum from "Lord of the Rings." She can be diabolical, sneaky, cruel and yet you can totally see why she would have turned out that way and I can switch very easily from feeling such anger at her to feeling overwhelming pity. Bravo, my good Sir!

Greg responds...

Thanks. Always nice to have the work thoughtfully appreciated.

Response recorded on October 07, 2014

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LINKS

I'm back (briefly) after a great trip to Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Saw eight plays (Comedy of Errors, Richard III, Tempest, Into the Woods, Great Society, Two Gentlemen of Verona, Wrinkle in Time, Family Album) in four days, and though I didn't love every play, I have to say that every production was stellar.

Then last night I saw a very cool production of King Lear at the Theatricum Botanicum in Topanga Canyon, starring Ellen Geer as Lear.

Anyway, I'm in town for just a few days, then I leave again to drop my daughter off for her junior year at Tulane and take my son (starting his senior year of high school next month) to look at a number of schools, including Tulane, Emory, Duke, UVA and Georgetown. ROAD TRIP!!

Starting in September, I'll be in town for the foreseeable future, and I promise to get back to answering questions here. Meanwhile, here are some cool links:

Warner Archive Podcast interview, regarding Young Justice:
http://bit.ly/wacyjpod

In case you need to know where to find the Young Justice Blu-ray:
http://bit.ly/yngjs1

And another podcast:

http://www.goldenspiralmedia.com/as-09-arrow-squad-episode-09-interview-with-greg-weisman-of-young-justice (specific episode for Arrow Squad)

http://www.goldenspiralmedia.com/ccu-02-central-city-underground-episode-03-interview-with-greg-weisman-of-young-justice (specific episode for Central City Underground)

http://www.goldenspiralmedia.com/ (general website)

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/arrow-squad/id891769883?uo=8&at=1l3v5ck (iTunes link for Arrow Squad)

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/central-city-underground-flash/id904991850?uo=8&at=1l3v5ck (iTunes link for Central City Underground)

And some sights promoting Rain of the Ghosts and Spirits of Ash and Foam:

Plain Talk Book Marketing http://www.plaintalkbm.com/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/Gillianfx
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00EAUDZM6
Book Information: http://www.plaintalkbm.com/family-portrait-novel/
Facebook Fan Page: https://www.facebook.com/FamilyPortraitNovels


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APOLOGIES

Hey gang,

I'd like to apologize for not getting to many of your questions recently. It's really due to all the travel I've been doing this summer - and the need to fit a LOT of work in between the trips.

Some of you have commented that the same excuses don't seem to apply to my Twitter account, and that's true. But the difference is that I can tweet from my phone at odd times and before bed - AND with little thought.

I've tried doing Ask Greg from my phone, but it's just too difficult. I'd rather give considerable thought and have the option of answering questions in depth. But if you want to make quick contact, by all means follow me on twitter at @Greg_Weisman.

The travel isn't over, either. I leave Monday for Ashland, Oregon, for my family's annual trip to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. For the curious, we're seeing the following eight plays over four days & nights:

THE COMEDY OF ERRORS by William Shakespeare
RICHARD III by William Shakespeare

THE TEMPEST by William Shakespeare
INTO THE WOODS by Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine

THE GREAT SOCIETY by Robert Schenkkan
THE TWO GENTLEMEN OF VERONA by William Shakespeare

A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L'Engle and Tracy Young
FAMILY ALBUM by Stew and Heidi Rodewald

We're really looking forward to it.

Anyway, then I'm back for half a week, before the family takes another trip - this one to (a) drop my daughter off at college for her junior year and (b) take a road trip to look at five different colleges in five different cities with my son before he enters his senior year of high school. The entire trip will take eleven days, bringing me to the end of August.

But in September, my current plan is NO TRAVEL. (Stop #6 on the Gargoyles 20th Anniversary Tour is Long Beach Comic Con, which is driving distance. http://longbeachcomiccon.com ) So I should be back to answering a few questions every weekday regularly. Thank you for your patience.


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My CONvergence 2014 Schedule

So the #Gargoyles20 U.S. Tour continues. Stop #3 is CONvergence in Minneapolis, Minnesota. (Well, actually in Bloomington, Minnesota, but close enough.) http://www.convergence-con.org

This is a big one for us. It includes a number of events that we used to do at the old Gathering of the Gargoyles Conventions, which ran from 1997-2009. And I know a bunch of Gargoyles fans will be attending, so it'll also be a reunion of sorts.

My schedule for the long weekend is quite packed - which is just how I like it!

THURSDAY, JULY 3, 2014
2:00pm - 3:00pm GARGOYLES RADIO PLAY AUDITIONS
Ever wanted to be in a radio play? Now is your chance! We are holding auditions for a live performance at CONvergence! You don't even have to be a fan of Gargoyles to enter. You just have to know how to read! Casting: Myself and Jennifer Anderson (Talent Coordinator on The Spectacular Spider-Man and Young Justice). Casting decisions will be posted by 7:00pm on Friday, July 4th. ATRIUM 7.

3:30pm - 4:30pm BUFFYVERSE TEN YEAR ANNIVERSARY
Okay, so Gargoyles ISN'T the only show celebrating an anniversary. The Buffy/Angel universe has been off the air for ten years. Let's reminisce and talk about the impact these shows have had on TV fantasy since their cancellation. Panelists: Myself, Tim Lieder, Cetius d'Raven, Madeleine Rowe, Mark Goldberg. EDINA.

7:00pm - 8:00pm OPENING CEREMONY
If it's not exactly a magical invocation, it is nonetheless our official kick-off for the convention! Join CONvergence mascot Connie as we welcome our Guests of Honor, give out some awards (including the Mark Time and Ogle winners), and get this party started. Panelists: Myself, Amy Berg, Emma Bull, C. Robert Cargill, Sarah Clemens, Scott Lynch, Marina Sirtis, Frank Paur, Matthew Ebel, Dawn Krosnowski, Greg Guler, Rob Callahan, Windy Bowlsby, Michael Lee. MAIN STAGE.

9:00pm - 10:00pm GREG WEISMAN'S FANCY BASTARD PIE COMPETITION
Geek Partnership Society is excited to host the Greg Weisman Fancy Bastard Pie Competition at CONvergence 2014! It is open to all CONvergence members who wish to participate. The goal is to make a pie that Greg Weisman, herein to be known as "Fancy Bastard", likes best. The winner will be told super-secret Young Justice spoilers. Find out [some of] what would have happened in Season 3! (But winner must swear to secrecy to claim prize.) See below for some helpful hints.* CABANA 110.

FRIDAY, JULY 4th, 2014
11:00am - 12:00pm GARGOYLES RADIO PLAY AUDITIONS
Ever wanted to be in a radio play? Now is your chance! We are holding auditions for a live performance at CONvergence! You don't even have to be a fan of Gargoyles to enter. You just have to know how to read! Last chance to audition! Casting: Myself and Jennifer Anderson (Talent Coordinator on The Spectacular Spider-Man and Young Justice). Casting decisions will be posted by 7:00pm on Friday, July 4th. ATRIUM 7.

12:30pm - 1:30pm FROM TV TO COMICS
We'll discuss the TV shows that expanded into the comicverse, such as Buffy, Smallville, Young Justice and Gargoyles. Did they succeed? Were any of the comics improvements on the shows? How did canon change during the transition? Panelists: Myself (Gargoyles, Young Justice), Shawn van Briesen, Jonathan Palmer, Greg Guler (Gargoyles), Karine Charlebois (Gargoyles, Bad Guys), Christopher Jones (Batman Strikes, Young Justice, Bad Guys). PLAZA 2.

2:00pm - 3:00pm SIGNING
Myself, Christopher Jones (Young Justice, The Batman Strikes, Parallel Man) and Greg Guler (Gargoyles, Phineas and Ferb) will be holding a signing session. Both Chris and Greg always have an array of stuff (books, prints, etc.) to sell and sign. But this time I'm pretty darn prepared as well. First off, I'll be selling and signing copies of my first novel RAIN OF THE GHOSTS for $10 cash, which includes the book, a personalized signature and signed copies of the original development character designs by Kuni Tomita for the television version of Rain that never was. In addition - and by popular demand - I am selling and signing an array of my animation teleplays for $20 cash from such series as Gargoyles, Team Atlantis, DC Showcase (Green Arrow), Men in Black: The Series, The Spectacular Spider-Man, The Batman, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles, W.I.T.C.H., Young Justice and even the 2009 Radio Play "The Spectacular Spider-Man Meets Gargoyles". I'll also sign anything else you bring and put in front of me for FREE - especially if you buy my book. ;) CONVERGENCE CENTRAL.

3:30pm - 4:30pm CREATING GARGOYLES
This is what we used to call (at the Gathering) the Rocky Horror Gargoyles Show. The creators of Gargoyles show clips and tell stories of how the show came to be. Lots of visual aids. Panelists: Myself (Creator, Supervising Producer/Story Editor, Writer), Frank Paur ( (Supervising Producer/Director), Greg Guler (Lead Character Designer). ATRIUM 6.

7:00pm - 8:00pm TIME TRAVEL THEORY
Let's assume for a moment that Time Travel is possible. This panel will explore the theories behind such technology. We'll explore quantum realities, temporal anomalies and all other challenges our theoretical time travelers will be face! [Now, I suggested this panel, but then they went and put some actual scientists on the damn thing. So I may quickly be embarrassed into silence.] ;) Panelists: Myself, Nicole Gugliucci, Jim Kakalios, G. David Nordley, Amy Berg. ATRIUM 4.

8:30pm - 9:30pm GARGOYLES Q&A
Join the cast and creators of the "Gargoyles" series and SLG companion comic books to ask and talk about the property. And, as always, Cosplayers are welcome! Panelists: Myself (Creator, Supervising Producer/Story Editor, Writer), Christopher Jones (Bad Guys guest artist), Marina Sirtis (voice of Demona and Margot Yale), Frank Paur (Supervising Producer/Director), Karine Charlebois (Gargoyles Guest Artist, Bad Guys Artist), Greg Guler (Lead Character Designer, Gargoyles Guest Artist). MAIN STAGE.

SATURDAY, JULY 5th, 2014
9:30am - 10:30am GARGOYLES SIGNING
Myself, Marina Sirtis (voice of Demona and Margot Yale) and Frank Paur (Supervising Producer/Director) will be holding a signing session. Again, I'll be selling and signing copies of my first novel RAIN OF THE GHOSTS for $10 cash, which includes the book, a personalized signature and signed copies of the original development character designs by Kuni Tomita for the television version of Rain that never was. In addition - and by popular demand - I am selling and signing an array of my animation teleplays for $20 cash from such series as Gargoyles, Team Atlantis, DC Showcase (Green Arrow), Men in Black: The Series, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles, W.I.T.C.H., The Batman, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, Young Justice and even the 2009 Radio Play "The Spectacular Spider-Man Meets Gargoyles". I'll also sign anything else you bring and put in front of me for FREE. CONVERGENCE CENTRAL.

11:00am - 12:25pm GARGOYLES RADIO PLAY REHEARSAL
This is a closed session - for those who were cast in the Radio Play - led by Myself, Jennifer Anderson (Talent Coordinator on The Spectacular Spider-Man and Young Justice) & Marina Sirtis (voice of Demona, Margot Yale and Queen Bee). ATRIUM 6.

12:30pm - 1:30pm GARGOYLES RADIO PLAY PERFORMANCE
Fans and professionals - including Myself (voice of Donald Menken and Lucas "Snapper" Carr), Jennifer Anderson (Talent Coordinator on The Spectacular Spider-Man and Young Justice), and of course, Marina Sirtis (Deanna Troi from Star Trek TNG and the voice of Demona, Margot Yale and Queen Bee) - perform a LIVE, ORIGINAL Gargoyles radio play! ATRIUM 6.

2:00pm - 3:00pm GARGOYLES BIOLOGY AND CULTURE
A "what if" panel about the biology and culture of the Gargoyles universe. Creators and performers speculate about anything and everything going on outside the frames of the TV series. Panelists: Craig A. Finseth moderates Myself (Creator, Producer) and Greg Guler (Lead Character Designer). ATRIUM 7.

3:30pm - 4:30pm RAIN OF THE GHOSTS
I'll be reading from and talking about the world and characters of my novel "Rain of the Ghosts" and its sequel, "Spirits of Ash and Foam," which comes out July 8th, 2014, one week after the convention! ATRIUM 3.

7:00pm - 8:00pm ONE ON ONE WITH GREG WEISMAN
Hal Bichel will moderate a one-on-one panel with Myself. PLAZA 2.

8:30pm - 9:30pm SIGNING
Once again, I'll be selling and signing copies of my first novel RAIN OF THE GHOSTS for $10 cash, which includes the book, a personalized signature and signed copies of the original development character designs by Kuni Tomita for the television version of Rain that never was. In addition - and by popular demand - I am selling and signing an array of my animation teleplays for $20 cash from such series as Gargoyles, Team Atlantis, DC Showcase (Green Arrow), Men in Black: The Series, The Batman, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles, W.I.T.C.H., Young Justice and even the 2009 Radio Play "The Spectacular Spider-Man Meets Gargoyles". I'll also sign anything else you bring and put in front of me for FREE. CONVERGENCE CENTRAL.

10:00pm - 11:00pm BLUE MUG
Ever wonder about the sexual habits of Gargoyles? Ever wonder who was sleeping with whom among the Young Justice Team or the cast of Spectacular Spider-Man? Join us for for a late night peek at your favorite animated series. This panel will get blue! (So attendees will be carded!) Panelists: Myself, Christopher Jones, Mara Cordova (Last Tengu in Paris Artist). It is also rumored that Edmund Tsabard (an unfancy bastard and Last Tengu in Paris Writer) may make an appearance. EDINA.

SUNDAY, JULY 6th, 2014
11:00am - 12:00pm PROTOFEMINISTS IN SHAKESPEARE
Shakespeare portrayed several intelligent, independent, and self-aware women--Juliet, Lady Macbeth, Katharine, Beatrice, Viola, Rosalind. We'll discuss the problematic and the remarkably (for the era) fleshed-out aspects of their representation. Panelists: Myself, Elizabeth Bear, Ashley F. Miller, Joseph Erickson, Alexandra Howes. EDINA.

12:30pm - 1:30pm GARGOYLES FAN PANEL
It's the 20th Anniversary of Gargoyles. Come share your favorite moments from the show. As always, Cosplayers are welcome! Panelists: Daniel Mohr moderates Myself, Ryan Alexander, Robert Wagner, Maggie Schultz, Jennifer Anderson, Karine Charlebois. ATRIUM 6.

2:00pm - 3:00pm SIGNING
Myself and Greg Guler (Gargoyles, Phineas and Ferb) will be holding one last signing session. Greg G. always has an array of stuff (books, prints, etc.) to sell and sign. And I'll be selling and signing copies of my first novel RAIN OF THE GHOSTS for $10 cash, which includes the book, a personalized signature and signed copies of the original development character designs by Kuni Tomita for the television version of Rain that never was. In addition - and by popular demand - I am selling and signing an array of my animation teleplays for $20 cash from such series as Gargoyles, Team Atlantis, DC Showcase (Green Arrow), Men in Black: The Series, The Spectacular Spider-Man, Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles, The Batman, Batman: The Brave and the Bold, W.I.T.C.H., Young Justice and even the 2009 Radio Play "The Spectacular Spider-Man Meets Gargoyles". I'll also sign anything else you bring and put in front of me for FREE - especially if you buy my book. CONVERGENCE CENTRAL.

3:30pm - 4:30pm YOUNG JUSTICE
Creative minds behind the Young Justice TV and comic book series will talk about this fan favorite. We're planning some special surprises as well. And, as always, Cosplayers are welcome! Panelists: Myself, Marina Sirtis (voice of Queen Bee), Christopher Jones (Artist YJ Comic). MAIN STAGE.

5:00pm - 6:00pm CLOSING CEREMONY
It's not over 'til the gynoid sings - or something like that. Join CONvergence mascot Connie and our Guests of Honor as we say farewell to another convention. Shenanigans may ensue. Panelists: Myself, Amy Berg, Emma Bull, C. Robert Cargill, Sarah Clemens, Scott Lynch, Marina Sirtis, Matthew Ebel, Frank Paur, Dawn Krosnowski, Greg Guler, Windy Bowlsby, Rob Callahan, Michael Lee. MAIN STAGE

SEE?!! I told you there was a lot. And that's only the stuff that I'm doing. CONvergence is jam-packed with all sorts of pop culture nutritional goodness. So stop by and say hello!!

*In the interest of Full Disclosure, Fancy Bastard would like all to know that he especially likes the following pies:
APPLE
BERRY (pretty much any kind of berry or a mix of same)
PEACH
APRICOT
PUMPKIN
BANANA CREAM (herein to be known as the funniest pie)
Combinations of some of the fruit pies can be great. Contestants are welcome to try other pies at their own risk.

Fancy Bastard does NOT especially like the following pies:
PECAN
Anything with Chocolate or Lemon or Meringue
Raisins in Apple Pie
Almost never Cherry, though he has tasted the rare exception...


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Todd Jensen writes...

I noticed that in the blurb for "Rain of the Ghosts" a) there are a few names borrowed from "The Tempest" (such as the Ghost Keys also being called the Prospero Keys, and your protagonist has a friend named Miranda), and b) the story is set in the area of the Bermuda Triangle. Was this influenced by the theory that one of the inspirations for "The Tempest" was a shipwreck in the Bermudas in 1609?

Greg responds...

I don't think it'll surprise anyone to learn that "The Tempest" will play a role in the Rain series as a whole, though not so much in the first two books. Beyond that, I'm not going to spoil.

Response recorded on January 06, 2014

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Matthew writes...

Since you are a big Shakespeare fan, I thought to ask if you've read A Midsummer Tempest by Poul Anderson? It's set in a world where all of Shakespeare's plays really happened?

Greg responds...

No. And I won't, so as not to crowd my head with other folks' ideas. Sounds really cool, though. We were trying to accomplish the same thing (among other things) on Gargoyles.

Response recorded on August 26, 2013

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Twitter vs. ASK GREG - To the Death!!!

Twitter vs. ASK GREG - To the Death!!!

So for the first time in nearly a month, I lurked on a few sites and someone was bitchin' (that's right, I said it) about the fact that I was tweeting a lot but hadn't spent much time here at ASK GREG.

Mostly, the responses that person received from other fans were dead obvious, but they bear repeating:

1. Twitter is a lot more convenient. I can tweet with my phone during downtime. (I tend to do it while I'm doing my isometric neck exercises.) I can also do Ask Greg with my phone during downtime (as I did yesterday when I was stuck at an airport), but (a) it's much more difficult because the screen is so small and (b) I have no access to the materials that some questions require. So Ask Greg answers done on the phone tend toward the short and unsatisfying.

2. Stop acting so entitled. Greg Weisman has NO obligation, explicit or implicit, to answer any questions on ASK GREG ever. Let me repeat that: Greg Weisman has NO obligation, explicit or implicit, to answer any questions on ASK GREG ever. I do it because I enjoy doing it (most of the time). But if for any reason I take a break for however long, that's life. I will not be made to feel guilty about it.

Those are the two main points, but there are a couple others:

3. I've been traveling A LOT. Since the end of May, I've taken four trips up north to Lucasfilm, one trip to Denver Comic Con, one trip to Oregon for their Shakespeare Festival and a family trip to EUROPE. I still have both San Diego Comic Con and New Orleans MechaCon (http://www.mechacon.com/) coming up in the next couple months, plus at least one more trip to San Francisco for Lucasfilm. When I travel, internet is a dicey prospect at best, and that's on top of the fact that the reasons for the trip tend to preclude me having the free time to post on ASK GREG.

4. I've been SWAMPED with work. That's a good thing. (In fact, these are all good things.) I have tight deadlines on Star Wars Rebels, a looming deadline on the second book in the Rain of the Ghosts series, plus a few other random freelance things that I'll mention (perhaps) when they're finished. Lots of work means less free time to post at Ask Greg.

As for Twitter, I'll admit I might be a little addicted, but the bald-faced truth of the matter is simply that I was basically coerced into joining Twitter by my book publisher, my agent/manager and my family. I am making an extremely conscious attempt to raise my profile there (and gain followers) for the sake of RAIN OF THE GHOSTS. I make no bones about that. I'm not trying to hide the fact AT ALL. I want/need the book to do well, and Ask Greg just was NOT reaching enough people. Hence Twitter.

Having said that, I have no interest in using or allowing Twitter to replace ASK GREG. Folks have asked me questions on Twitter, which I've either ignored or used as an excuse to nudge the askers over here. It's a tad difficult, since the ASK GREG Question Asking Function here is currently down until I catch up, but whatchagonnado? ASK GREG still matters to me, and Twitter hasn't changed that at all.

So really, the title of this ramble is a sham. The two resources are not in conflict at all. I'm hoping Twitter brings MORE people to Ask Greg and maybe, vice versa. (And maybe that's the real reason for this post. Heh heh heh.)


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Liam writes...

Ha, Dingo's name is Harry "Monmouth", and he's taken in by John Oldcastle, who takes the name Falstaff. I just got that. Well played, sir.

Greg responds...

Thanks.

Response recorded on December 12, 2012

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EXALT writes...

Some questions about Macbeth and Shakespeare...
1)Did Macbeth have a particular reason to choose the names Lennox and Macduff as his alias? I mean, why those and not, for example, Donalbain and Seyton?
2)You previously stated that Macbeth was mostly amused by the shakespearean version of his story. Is this true also regarding Shakespeare's portrayal of Gruoch?
3)A)What do you think is Macbeth's favourite shakespearean comedy?
3)B)And his favourite tragedy?

Greg responds...

1. I seem to recall Michael, Brynne or Lydia having a clever reason for why Macbeth specifically chose those two, but I can no longer remember what it was.

2. Ultimately, it was so far removed from the truth, that all Macbeth could be was amused at the bad history (which he was already long-accustomed to) and marvel at the artistry and the truths revealed there even if they were not hi truths. As for Gruoch, he saw so little (really nothing) of his wife in the boy playing Lady Macbeth that he couldn't be too upset. It may have also helped that the name Gruoch was.never used in the play.

3a&b. I'll leave that for each fan to imagine.

Response recorded on December 10, 2012

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F.H. writes...

I've seen the novel The Mysteries of Udolpho pop up multiple times in the series (Young Justice), and I've scanned the Wikipedia page (I would read it, but Outlaws of the Marsh isn't something you flick through in an afternoon, and my to-read list is long enough already), and I can't see anything tying it to the plot outside of a girl with a bad father, which would be Artemis, I guess?

1) Is there reason or rhyme to this, or is it just you showing off your literary power level, as you're known to do (which we all love, by the way).

And another question on a similar idea:

2) Where's the Shakespeare, man? Your name on a show promises Shakespeare, and YJ remains bardless. Bring a little of him back from Oregon for the team, wont you?

Greg responds...

1. It's kinda the original gothic novel.

2. Stuff has to fit, you know? If I just wedge it in artificially, how does that help anyone? And I find it hard to believe there have been NO Shakespeare references at all. That seems unlikely.

Response recorded on December 06, 2012

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Marvelman writes...

Hi Greg,

I'd like to make an observation about "Salvage."

It's that moment where the creature says (through Blue):

Where is the stillness of wood, of stone, of crystal, of metal? All this noise, all this life is pain. We sense the power in this place - power enough to destroy us, to end the pain, to be still again.

And Superboy says, "I can identify."

And then it hit me…

Oh that this too too solid flesh would melt…

the thousand shocks that flesh is heir to…

I wondered if we were intended to hear an echo of Hamlet in Connor and the… whatever it was. One of the reasons that Hamlet is so despondent is that he believes the girl he loves has betrayed him. Then, I remembered that the girl Connor loved and probably still does betrayed him.

So, my question is: am I reading too much in to this? Or, did you intend for there to be deliberate overtures of Hamlet in this scene and in Connor's character in general?

Greg responds...

I'd love to say otherwise, but it wasn't in my conscious mind. But you know, it's all rattling around in my brain, so...

Response recorded on November 28, 2012

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Marvelman writes...

Did you have Beatrice and Benedict in mind when you created the Wally-Artemis dynamic?

Greg responds...

Shrug. I suppose it'd be cool to answer yes, but the truth is - and I'm not pretending otherwise - it's a pretty common trope, and mostly what we had in mind was Wally and Artemis and tracking how they'd react as individuals.

Response recorded on November 14, 2012

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YOUNG JUSTICE: INVASION: EPISODE: 210: "Before the Dawn": Premieres!

YOUNG JUSTICE: INVASION: EPISODE: 210: "Before the Dawn": Premieres: this Saturday, October 13th as part of Cartoon Network's DC Nation block. (It repeats Sunday too.) Check local listings for times.

Keep in mind, this tenth episode of Season Two was plotted before we knew if we'd get the second half of the season. Once we got that pick-up, we assumed this would be our hiatus episode. Instead, we took the break after 207 (which was a great and exciting stopping point, so no complaints). But nothing changed about our story in 210. This is a significant episode on every level: plot, character and LOTS of action. Don't miss it!

I'm posting this reminder a couple days early, because I'm leaving this afternoon to head up to Ashland, Oregon for the Shakespeare Festival. But believe me, my DVR is set to record both YJ and Green Lantern.


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Battle Beast writes...

Greg:

I've told you this a couple of times, but I wanted to tell you again. It was the first time I saw "The Mirror," and Brooklyn uttered THE line: "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

At the time, 1995, I was only 12 and hardly knew what Shakespeare was, but the line... the name of the play... it stuck with me forever.

Because of you, and Michael, and Brynne, and the other writers... I owe my love of Shakespeare. Can't thank you enough!

My favorite of the Bard's works is, of course, "Dream" but, of the 18 or so of his works I have seen, I happen to love "the Tempest," and "Titus Andronicus" as well.

I got to see "Dream" again last night, for the third time, and again, I laughed myself silly.

I remember asking you if you'd ever seen the play, and you said "Many times."

I was just wondering, which of the Bard's plays is your favorite?

Once again, thank you for opening up a new world for me.

Greg responds...

I've answered this before, so you can check the archives for more details, but I don't have one favorite play. I like many, many of them, and even like bits in plays that I don't love entirely. And I'm always open to see a new production of ANY of Shakespeare's works.

But I'm very glad that we were able to inspire a love of Shakespeare in you. It's very gratifying.

Response recorded on September 05, 2012

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Anonymous writes...

Hello Greg,

I ask a question before about Superman and Superboy from Young Justice before, but now I have a personal question about Gargoyles that I have wondered about off and on, for a while now.

Much of Gargoyles was inspired by Shakespheare, whose works I became familiar with from Patrick Stewart, and really enjoy myself.

My question is: What Princess Kathrine in some way named for the character from 'The Taming of the Shrew,' because when we first meet her she certainly acted like a shrew and then later on she becomes 'tamed' in a way?

Thanks.

Greg responds...

I don't think so. Michael Reaves named Katharine, I think, before we all got started on the Shakespeare kick with Macbeth.

Response recorded on August 16, 2012

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Todd Jensen writes...

Though I haven't seen "Coldhearted" yet, I've read a bit about it, and learned that Perdita originated in a Green Arrow story that you wrote a couple of years ago, meaning that you created the character. Did you name her after the Perdita of "The Winter's Tale"? (I thought it likely, given your fondness for Shakespeare, but wanted to make certain.)

Greg responds...

Yes. The Lost Girl.

Response recorded on May 16, 2012

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Mel writes...

Hi Greg,

I have a MacBeth question this time. You mentioned a while ago that MacBeth has worked as a stage actor in the past. I thought that was such an interesting tidbit about a guy we don't necessarily know a ton about. Was that you idea, and if so, what inspired it?

You also mentioned that you saw MacBeth as acting in a lot of George Bernard Shaw plays probably. Why is that? Shaw was pretty political - do you think that influenced MacBeth's decision to do those plays?

Greg responds...

1. Yes.

1a. It just felt right. Plus I like the idea of him collaborating with Shakespeare.

2. Yeah. It just felt like Shaw's work would appeal to Macbeth.

Response recorded on May 04, 2012

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Harlan Phoenix writes...

1. Would you be willing to get into the inspiration behind "Doc Shakespeare"?
1b. If so, what was it?

2. Was the pursuit of a live action pilot at the time driven by a purely creative desire, or more about taking advantage of specific commercial/economic advantages present at the time? Or a combination?

Greg responds...

1. Research, research, research. The more research I did on Shakespeare and his family, the more fascinated I became with his eldest daughter.

2. Both.

Response recorded on March 06, 2012

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Phoenician writes...

So the story behind this ramble actually goes back two years, starting when I first read your Ramble on EQUIVOCATION:

http://www.s8.org/gargoyles/askgreg/search.php?rid=817

Regrettably I would not have the chance to attend the Oregon Shakespeare Festival that year, dedicating my travel expenses to the last Gathering in Los Angeles. Before I go any further, can I say that I am quite jealous that you and your family go every year to Ashland? Because I am d:

Anyways, it didn't hit me until about month or so later that I could simply buy a copy of the script just as you had mentioned doing. A thorough look at (and a telephone call to) the OSF's Tudor Guild Gift Shop revealed they had quickly sold out of their entire supply, and that odds were, it'd be a while till they got more, if ever. Of course, by the time I DID check back with them, the OSF was done foe the season and Equivocation was not being performed again in the near future.

Fast forward to summer 2011, where I stumbled upon a copy of the play script at my old college in Los Angeles. I don't know how the conversation started, but the person I was talking to mentioned that the school was trying to get permission to perform the play that school year!

But before I allowed myself to get excited, I remembered I was only in town for the week to visit some friends I hadn't seen in over a year since I graduated in May 2010. My friend sympathized that my horrible, horrible timing wouldn't have me in Los Angeles if and when they did perform the play (and especially after hearing me recite your ramble from 2009 with alarming precision) he was generous enough to let me take a script with me back home!

I tried to be patient, reminding myself that I had waited two years to find a copy and that the AskGreg queue was closed during the Young Justice hiatus, but that VERY short flight back to Phoenix was suddenly felt like an eternity. Of course, its just my luck that even though I read it back in early August, I only JUST now remembered to write this rambling as yesterday (November 5th, 2011) was Guy Fawkes Night.

So did I enjoy the play, even when I only read it as a script?

In a word: YES. :D

But one thing is for sure: I really, really want to catch an actual performance now. I won't go into too much detail here (since you've seen the play and I don't want to spoil others that might read this before catching/reading the play themselves), but I will say this play reminds me quite a bit like Shakespeare in Love (a film I also remember you writing about more than once), though its obvious that (even if Stoppard and Cain were working with the same muse) this is a noticeably older Shag than the Will we saw in the 1998 film. For one, Shag's working for the King James VI/I and not Queen Elizabeth. For another, the only person caring for him these days is the very mature Judith. Finally, he's now an established name (he'll still be remembered in, oh, fifty year's time!), though the romances and comedies seemed to have been eclipsed with his slew of historical plays, earning him the reputation of killing "more Kings than any man alive."

The various references to Shag's other plays were fun, especially Hamlet and Macbeth. Speaking of the Scottish Play, remembering what you said about how Macbeth (in the Gargoyles Universe) was a drinking buddy of Shakespeare's, I vaguely wonder how the events in Equivocation looked from his perspective. ;)

I'll also say that after briefly mentioning "Doc Shakespeare" in your Equivocation ramble, I made sure to pay close attention to Judith's interactions with Shag, if only to one day have them as a reference point in understanding the characters . . . much like I hear Roger Lancelyn Green's works are a good place to see your early inspirations for King Arthur.

I must also admit to re-reading your thoughts from 1999/2000 about how Shakespeare in Love opened a door to understanding Will as a man . . . and having missed out on the 2005 Gathering in Las Vegas, I can only imagine how you treated Will (and Judith) in Doc Shakespeare. I guess I'm just hopeful to one day see you a work of yours introduce William Shakespeare the man, be it in the Gargoyles Universe or some other original work (and references in shows like The Spectacular Spider-Man will always be fun too).

I'll end this by saying THANK YOU so much for recommending Equivocation. I look forward to watching a performance one day (may the stars align soon) and its only a matter of time before I find my way to Ashland for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Greg responds...

Well, I've seen Equivocation twice now. That first time in Ashland, and again here in Los Angeles (Westwood, specifically) at the Geffen Theatre, starring Joe Spano (from Hill Street Blues) as Shag. He was also fantastic in the part. I just love this play.

His take on Judith is different from mine, as is his take on Susannah (who doesn't appear but is mentioned). But I've got no complaints.

I do tend to shy away from portraying Will Shakespeare himself in my stuff. It makes me nervous. Even in Doc Shakespeare, Will is an off-screen presence. Talked about - but never appearing.

We do try to go to Ashland every year, and I've never been disappointed. Ashland was also the first place I ever saw Stoppard's ARCADIA, which may be one of the most brilliant plays I've ever seen.

Response recorded on February 08, 2012

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SO WHERE HAVE I BEEN? Updates & Debunks

Hello everyone,

Haven't posted here in a while, and since I did a bit of message board lurking this morning, it seems to have led people to believe all sorts of odd things, so...

Where have I been?

Well, in early June, my family and I went to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon.
We saw seven plays in four days. Six of them (Henry IV, Part Two, The Language Archive, To Kill a Mockingbird, Julius Caesar, Love's Labours Lost and Measure for Measure) were just stellar productions. Everyone was great, but I'd like to particularly single out Susannah Flood in both Language Archive and Mockingbird, Dee Maaske in Mockingbird and Michael Winters as Falstaff in 2HenryIV.

Coming back from that, I was understandably swamped and didn't have time to post.

Next, I went to Minneapolis for the always great ConVergence convention. I did about thirteen panels. Some of which, like Gargoyles and Spider-Man and Young Justice, I felt qualified to be on. And some, like Dexter and Galaxy Quest, my only qualification was being a fan of whatever we were talking about. This was my third ConVergence, and it continues to be the best run convention I've ever attended. And now that the Gathering of the Gargoyles is no more, it has become my FAVORITE convention to attend.

Returning from ConVergence, I then got quite ill. In fact, I'm still home sick today. (Home sick as opposed to homesick, clear?)

So THOSE are the reasons I haven't posted. Nothing nefarious.

Next topic: YOUNG JUSTICE UPDATE.

We have aired episodes 101-109 (i.e. Season One, episodes 1-9).

(Yes, episode 110 accidentally was posted on Cartoon Network's website, but I'm going to pretend that never happened.)

Episodes 110-115 are in the can, i.e. they are completed and ready to air.

Episode 116 awaits only the final on-line, i.e. the final review of the episode. This has been delayed ONLY because I've been out sick this week.

Episode 117 will have it's sound mix on Friday. (I hope to be back at work by then.)

Episode 118 has been edited and work progresses on scoring and sound effects.

Episode 119 is ready to begin post-production.

Episodes 120-123 are being animated in Korea.

Episodes 124-126 are in layout in Korea, while we finish the final color models here in the States.

Episodes 201-202 (i.e. Season Two, Episodes one and two) - Are fully recorded and are in storyboard. (201 was written by me. 202 by Nicole Dubuc.)

Episode 203, written by Kevin Hopps, is almost fully recorded. We have one actor left to pick up, who has been out of town. It is also in storyboard.

Episode 204, written by me, will record this week. It is also in storyboard.

Episode 205 - Brandon Vietti, has turned in his draft of the script. I have to read and edit it.

Episode 206 - The outline, written by Peter David and edited by me, went out Monday for notes, which are due tomorrow.

Episode 207 - Kevin Hopps turned in his outline, which I need to read and edit.

Episode 208 - I'm writing this one. I'll start the outline, after I've edited the outline to 207.

Episode 209 - Jon Weisman turned in his outline, which I need to read and edit.

Episode 210 - Kevin Hopps is working on his outline.

We do NOT yet have a pick-up beyond episode 210, but our bosses have told us to start blocking out episodes 211-220 in anticipation of one.

Episode 211 - We've broken this story. I still need to find time to write up the Beat Outline, though I have it all on index cards.

Episode 212 - We've got the basics of this one down, but we (i.e. myself, Brandon and Kevin) still need to finish breaking the story.

Episodes 213-220 - We've got a very clear sense of the arc and what things need to happen, but we haven't started on these yet.

NEXT TOPIC: DEBUNKING YJ RUMORS

False Rumor #1: YJ IS A GREG WEISMAN PRODUCTION
Everywhere on the Internet, all I see is that YJ is Greg Weisman's show. That's just blatantly false. This is a VIETTI/WEISMAN production. Just as Spectacular Spider-Man was a COOK/WEISMAN production and Gargoyles was a PAUR/WEISMAN production. I am not, nor have I ever been, a one-man show on ANY project I've EVER worked on. EVER. And in particular, on YJ, it's extremely unfair to Brandon to leave him out of consideration. Brandon is heavily involved in every aspect of production, INCLUDING SERIES DEVELOPMENT AND STORY. He's been right there with myself and Kevin Hopps breaking every single episode. It's been a team effort from day one. Many of the series' best ideas came/come from Brandon. And this is aside from the fact, that of course, Brandon can write - but I cannot draw, which arguably makes him MORE important to the production than I. I am exceedingly proud of this series and my own work on it - though certain very vocal fans seem to think I shouldn't be - but that doesn't change the fact that Brandon and I are a team.

False Rumor #2: YJ WAS RUSHED INTO PRODUCTION
Another blatant misconception. Look, Brandon and I are both perfectionists. Neither of us would deny that we'd LOVE to have more time on each and every episode. But that's not the same as being rushed. Let's make a comparison: on Spectacular Spider-Man, I basically had one week to develop both the series and the entire first season. Then Vic Cook came aboard, and we raced to get into production in less than two months. Brandon and I had seven months to develop the series, break the first season (which granted had twice as many episodes as the first season of Spidey) and head into production. The show isn't and never has been rushed. That's not to say the schedule isn't tight. But we haven't aired a single episode that wasn't ready to air. And we won't.

False Rumor #3: YJ ISN'T AIRING NOW BECAUSE WE'RE REWORKING EPISODES BASED ON INTERNET CRITICISM
This is my favorite. I love it the most because the first person I saw who posted this rumor also said that I'd deny it. So here I am denying it, which of course serves to PROVE that he or she was correct, see? Let's be clear: for better or worse, this series is COMPLETELY unaffected by internet criticism BECAUSE of schedule. Everything of any significance was set and DONE before even the pilot movie aired last November, so we couldn't address fan concerns even if we wanted to. And, honestly, we don't want to. We don't in part because there is way less consensus than some people seem to think. For example, for every post I see expressing hatred for "Hello, Megan!", I see a post that likes it. And personally, I like it. Brandon likes it. So why would we change it, even if we could? In fact, even Season Two is moving forward more or less disregarding "fan" criticism. Brandon and I always had very clear ideas for what we wanted to do in Season Two (and even Season Three, should we get one) and those ideas haven't changed. As with every series I've co-helmed, all we can ever do is write and produce to OUR OWN passions - and then just cross our fingers and hope enough people share our passions to make it a success. Anything else is doomed to failure, because if we're not passionate about it, it'll show in the work, and then no one will like it. And just to make it clear: WE LIKE OUR SHOW!! Doesn't mean you have to - but don't try to tell me I don't.

So why aren't we airing new episodes now? That's a fair question that I don't have an answer for. After all, we have six unaired episodes in the can, with four more on the verge of completion. It's a Cartoon Network decision. Some fans have argued that they shouldn't have started airing ANY episodes until ALL episodes were in the can. But that too is a decision above my pay grade.

My best guess - and that's all it is - is that CN will air new episodes - starting with 110 ("Targets") - in September. The good news is that the later they wait, the more weeks they can go uninterrupted by reruns. I do know that Season Two (i.e. "Young Justice: Invasion") will begin airing as part of DC NATION in March of 2012. And by then ALL of Season One will have aired. So do the math.

People have asked me if I'm bummed about losing momentum by this delay. But the thing is we've ALREADY lost all momentum. So as long as they PROMOTE us whenever they finally do start airing us again, then pragmatically I'm good. Yes, I'll admit to a certain level of frustration in that I want our stuff to get out there, but if CN has a plan to make the most of the episodes, then more power to them.

Anyway, I think that's it for now. I'll get back to answering questions on ASK GREG as soon as I can find the time. (But keep in mind that San Diego Comic-Con is fast approaching. Note: Young Justice has a panel scheduled for Sunday, July 24th at 10am, with a signing to follow. I'll also be signing Gargoyles comics (and whatever else anyone might want) at the SLG Booth from 11:30am to 12:30pm on Thursday, Friday and Saturday (July 21, 22, 23).


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Liam writes...

Gargoyles obviously had a lot of influence from Shakespeare, and so did Spectacular Spider-Man, towards the end of the series. Will we be seeing at least a little bit of that theme in Young Justice?

Greg responds...

No comment.

Response recorded on March 18, 2011

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Todd Jensen writes...

I think that this is just a coincidence, but I decided I should mention it to you.

I was rereading Chapters Three and Four of "Bad Guys" today, because of their link to New Year's Eve, and noticed that the captions stated that the Eastcheap Island adventure took place five days after the confrontation with Sevarius. We know that the Sevarius adventure was on New Year's Eve, so the encounter with Falstaff must have taken place on January 5. And January 5 is Twelfth Night - a holiday after which one of Shakespeare's comedies was named.

I was amazed and impressed by that revelation, but I assumed that it must be a coincidence; the Eastcheap adventure draws on Shakespeare, of course, but on Falstaff rather than on "Twelfth Night". Still, when I mentioned it in the comment room, Matt suggested that I share it with you, so I did.

Greg responds...

Thanks. I'll be honest, it was PROBABLY a coincidence. I think. But it's been SO long since I actually wrote the script (way before the book came out, which was already some time ago) that it's possible that I had Twelfth Night on the brain and timed it that way to amuse myself. I just can't remember.

Response recorded on February 01, 2011

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Richard Jackson writes...

Have you ever seen Orson Welles' adaptation of of Henry IV, Chimes at Midnight (titled Falstaff in some countries)? I really enjoyed it. After all, Welles as Falstaff. It doesn't get any better than that.

On the same note, who is your favorite Shakespeare screen actor? Olivier? Welles? Branagh?

Greg responds...

I have not seen Chimes at Midnight, and I definitely consider it a gap in my education.

I guess I'd have to say Branagh... just because -- from a cinema standpoint -- Henry V was a revelation to me.

Response recorded on January 20, 2011

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Todd Jensen writes...

Some time ago, I mentioned a book by Eleanor Prosser called "Hamlet and Revenge", which argued that Hamlet's goal to avenge his father on Claudius was not a righteous duty, but a misguided and dangerous quest. Recently, I thought about a passage in it in connection to "Clan-Building: Volume Two".

In one of the early chapters, the author discusses Kyd's "The Spanish Tragedy", one of the leading revenge-plays before "Hamlet". The protagonist, Hieronimo, is out to avenge the murder of his son Horatio. After discovering his son's body near the start of the play, he decides not to bury it until he can achieve his revenge, an act which, Prosser comments, would have unsettled the audience.

This reminded me of the scene in "Clan-Building" where, after Demona reports the slaughter of the Sruighlea cell by Constantine and Gillecomgain, True suggests that they hold a Wind Ceremony for the dead gargoyles, and Demona rejects it in favor of pursuing revenge on the humans who did the deed. I just thought I'd share it with you.

Greg responds...

Thanks. I like the parallel a lot. And I agree with what it reveals about character... though I've never read "The Spanish Tragedy" unfortunately. At least not yet.

Response recorded on July 29, 2010

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Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2010

Hey gang,

I just got back from taking my kids to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon. Saw five uniformly great productions:

Hamlet

Henry IV, Part One

Twelfth Night

Merchant of Venice

Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice

Can't recommend any or all of them strongly enough...


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David B. Jacobs writes...

Just felt like throwing this out there:
TSSM's cast are all BRILLIANT Shakespearean actors! Pass it on.

Greg responds...

Thanks. I thought they did a great job too!

Response recorded on March 08, 2010

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Todd Jensen writes...

I checked out from the library today (I'd checked it out once before, but this time, I thought of mentioning it) a book by Roger Lancelyn Green called "Tales From Shakespeare", that retells many of the plays. (All of them comedies, tragedies, and romances: he doesn't tackle any of the histories, though in his retelling of "The Merry Wives of Windsor", he mentions near the start about Falstaff's association with Prince Hal.) Since you liked Roger Lancelyn Green's take on King Arthur (enough to even make it one of your sources for the "Gargoyles" take on him), I though that you'd be interested to know about it (assuming that you haven't heard of it yet).

Greg responds...

I've heard of it, but haven't read it.

Response recorded on February 03, 2010

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oneuke writes...

CON-JOURNAL
OF A SORT

Never having truly posted to this site before (or any other for that matter) I thought that now would be an appropriate time to speak of the Gathering. I won’t bore you with memories like the look and grief I gave my brother (a PhD in Bio-chem.) who told me about a really well written Disney cartoon and the humble pie I ate after watching the first show. Or the joy my oldest daughter experienced after asking a question of Keith David at the 2001 con and he responded by giving his famous line “I’ve been denied everything, even my REVENGE.” Caiti was 8 at the time. Or of how my youngest daughter, Ally, started watching Gargoyles when she was 2 and became instantly enraptured with Lexington. Then heard his voice 2 years later in the dealer’s room, shouted out “It’s Lexington” and ran over to hug a complete and somewhat startled stranger (Thanks for being so understanding, both then and now, Thom). Or…but I digress.
And so, as per Greg’s request, and with apologies to W.S.:

Why so sad, coz?
This is the time call'd the Gathering of Gargoyles.
And he or she that shares this meet, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this time is nam'd,
And rouse at the name of Gargoyles.
He that shares this time, and sees old episodes,
Will yearly on the vigil recount to his clan,
And say ‘Tis the time of the Gathering.'
Then will he bring out his memories and show his photos,
And say 'These friends I met and these moments I had on this day.'
The old forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he'll remember, with advantages,
What adventures he had that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Greg the Creator, Keith, Salli and Thom,
Michael and Marina, Bill, Ed and Jeff-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb'red.
This story shall the good man teach his clan;
And the time of Gathering shall ne'er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we clan of brothers;
For he or she to-day that shares this time with me
Shall be my brother; be he or she ne'er so far,
This day shall bring them near;
And those who stayed away
Shall think themselves accurs'd they were not here,
And hold themselves cheap whiles any speaks
That Gathered on this final meet.

Thanks for the memoriesâ€"may there be many more to follow.
(Hey, Greg's not the only one who can borrow from Shakespeare)

Greg responds...

I LOVE THAT!!! Thanks...

Response recorded on January 06, 2010

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Kyle S. writes...

Hey Mr. Weisman, love Spectacular Spider-Man. One of my favorite episodes was Opening Night. I loved the Shakespeare interwoven with the story. Now, my friend just played Flute in a community production of A Midsummer Night's Dream. I thought it was fantastic, but it was very untraditional. The play opened with the 'How now spirit' line, and then broke into song out of the fairy's speech, and then proceeded to Act 1. Theseus entered setting up a hole of golf and Hippolyta was reading a fashion magazine. This was all very funny, but the one quirk I almost didn't like was that Puck was a puppet. Seriously, he was a little green muppet-looking guy operated by a girl wearing black to blend in with the background (even though her head and hands could be seen since it was outside in broad daylight). In a lot of cases, it worked out for the best, but it was odd. The dialogue was mostly unchanged (some parts were abridged), but my mom was able to understand the entire thing because it was so untraditional.
Which brings the question: what is your favorite adaptation of A Midsummer Night's Dream? Oh, and are the guys who played Lysander and Demetrius named characters from the comics? Were any other minor name characters given roles?

Greg responds...

Jason Ionello played Lysander in the M-cubed Dream. We never had to figure out who played Demetrius.

I've seen the play MANY, many times. I don't have one favorite production.

Response recorded on November 23, 2009

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Bazell writes...

You have a strong Shakespearian background, so hopefully you'll see where I'm going here. About Romeo and Juliet, there is discussion as to whether it is a tragedy of character or situation. That is, was the tragedy the circumstances in which the titular character found themselves caught in, or was it the characters' own folly in their youthful rush for love (seemingly damn the consequences)?
A similar argument could be made about Spidey. Although Spider-Man is the iconic hero, the story is largely the tragedy of Peter Parker. Over and over through the decades the fabled Parker Luck (though I don't think you use the phrase in your show) has always been there, overshadowing Spidey victories with Parkers personal woes (be they emotional, social or something more serious). How would characterize the situation? Is the Parker Luck a product of Pete's own foibles or is it more entwined with his surrounding circumstances?

Greg responds...

My thinking is more... holistic than an either/or answer can provide. We act, we react, etc. to varying stimuli -- some in our control and/or range of influence, some completely outside it. And then all that gets mixed together. We blame ourselves for things we can't control. We shift blame for things we might have. And everything in between. That's how I view life: as a mess, basically. So when I read about either Romeo & Juliet or Spidey/Peter my thinking runs the same way. Not either/or but characters (hopefully recognizably HUMAN characters) struggling to make sense of the mess.

Response recorded on November 13, 2009

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Shadow Wing writes...

Have you ever seen the play "The Complete Works of William Shakespeare (Abridged)"?

If you haven't, I strongly recommend it. It's a very intelligent, but extremely silly play that keeps people laughing almost constantly. As a Shakespeare enthusiast, I think you'd enjoy it.

Greg responds...

I have not seen it, but I'd like to.

Response recorded on September 30, 2009

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G2009 Radio Play

G2009 Radio Play - Act One

4. NARRATOR
The Spectacular Spider-Man Meets Gargoyles. RELIGIOUS STUDIES 101: A HANDFUL OF THORNS. Act One. Late that night atop the Eyrie Building…

Dominique and Kafka sit. GOLIATH and ELISA MAZA STAND and KISS.

5. GOLIATH, ELISA
<kiss>

6. GOLIATH
There are some human customs I will never get used to Elisa. <kisses her again> This is not one of them.

7. ELISA
You’re in a good mood.

8. GOLIATH
I am. Hudson and Lexington are back from Europe, bringing Coldstone and Coldfire with them.

9. ELISA
<chuckle> Not to mention Brooklyn returning from forty years of TimeDancing with a mate, a son, a beast and an egg.

10. GOLIATH
The clan has doubled in size. What challenge can the Fates throw at us now that we cannotâ€"

11. NARRATOR
The sun rises. Goliath turns to stone.

12. ELISA
<groan> You just had to say that out loud, didn’t you?

Elisa and Goliath sit. MAY PARKER and PETER PARKER STAND.

13. NARRATOR
Meanwhile, in Forest Hills…

14. MAY
Peter, what are you doing up?

15. PETER
Studying for today’s English final. It’s on Midsummer Night’s Dream. And I missed seeing the Cliff Notes version.

16. MAY
Which may explain why you and Miss Allan are no longer a couple.

17. PETER
Aunt May, you know we didn’t break up because I missed her play.

18. MAY
You’re right; I shouldn’t be glib. I suppose there’s no chance that you and Gwen…

19. PETER
I don’t know. Not now anyway. Not when Harry’s hurting so much from the death of his father.

20. MAY
It hardly seems possible that Norman Osborn is gone. The Bugle says he was the Green Goblin, but I’m not sure I can believe that.

21. PETER
Sometimes, Aunt May… it’s, okay, to believe everything you read…

May and Peter sit. GREEN GOBLIN and BLACKIE GAXTON STAND.

22. NARRATOR
At a dive bar downtown, the Green Goblin BURSTS in on his glider…

23. GREEN GOBLIN
<tsk, tsk, tsk> Blackie. This place is scummy even by your pond-scum standards. Quite a comedown from your last gig…

24. BLACKIE
Tell that to the whacko who set a flaming super-villain loose in The Big Sky. Oh, wait. That was you.

25. GREEN GOBLIN
Yes. Yes, it was. <maniacal laugh>

26. BLACKIE
Weren’t you supposed to be dead?

27. GREEN GOBLIN
I was also supposed to be Osborn, but you didn’t buy that, did you? Just one of the many little tricks I keep up my sleeve. Nothing’s changed, Blackie. The Goblin’s still in charge.

28. BLACKIE
You hear me arguing?

29. GREEN GOBLIN
No. Now, gather my Pumpkin-Heads…

Blackie and Goblin sit. Kafka and Dominique STAND.

30. NARRATOR
At Ravencroft, Dominique Destine and Dr. Kafka supervises six inmates who work to excavate a sub-basement.

31. KAFKA
I still don’t understand what you expect to find down here.

32. DOMINIQUE
Vertros Ravencroft, the founder of this Institute, was a quirky soul. An intimate friend of Freud and Conan Doyle, he was a true believer in both psychotherapy and spiritualism.

33. KAFKA
You speak as if you knew him.

34. DOMINIQUE
Now how would that be possible?

35. KAFKA
It couldn’t, of course… But the dig?

36. DOMINIQUE
Yes. Ravencroft was also a collector. I have reason to believe he buried certain items of his collection here. Now, Doctor, didn’t you say you had meetings scheduled…

37. KAFKA
You’ll be all right down here alone?

38. DOMINIQUE
Your orderlies are in the hallway. And I’m quite self-sufficient. So run along.

Kafka sits. OTTO OCTAVIUS STANDS.

39. DOMINIQUE
Excellent work, Doctor Octavius. Very precise.

40. OTTO
Thank you. I appreciate having something to occupy my hands…

41. DOMINIQUE
Your hands? Not… your arms?

42. OTTO
Arms? I… I hope you’re not referring to my unfortunate… b-b-breakdown.

43. DOMINIQUE
What would be the point? Believe me, Doctor, no one better understands the advantage of creating a false front.

ELECTRO STANDS.

44. ELECTRO
I’ve blasted away another section of cement.

45. DOMINIQUE
Thank you, Maxwell.

46. ELECTRO
Don’t. Call. Me. That.

47. DOMINIQUE
Don’t. Tell. Me. What to do… Electro.

48. ELECTRO
Uh… okay.
(asides to Otto)
She’s a little scary.

49. OTTO
Indeed.

Otto and Electro sit. DOMINIC DRACON, JOHN JAMESON, EDDIE BROCK and CLETUS KASSADY STAND.

50. DRACON
I blame Mace. When that crook cheated me, I lost face. But when I get the jewels back, they’ll respect me again. Did Mace bury the jewels here?

51. DOMINIQUE
Maybe he did, Dominic. Keep working.

52. JOHN
What’s the point? How is tearing up a basement supposed to bring me Colonel Jupiter’s power?!

53. EDDIE
Shut up and dig.

54. JOHN
You like doing this?!

55. EDDIE
I hate it. But I need that hate. I need to keep the hate alive.

56. DOMINIQUE
Such an interesting crew. And what do you want out of life, Cletus…

57. CLETUS
Nothing too fancy. <chuckles> Just a little carnage.

Cletus, Dominique, Eddie, John and Dracon sit. GWEN STACY and Peter STAND.

58. NARRATOR
That afternoon, at Midtown High…

59. GWEN
Hey, Pete. How’d you do?

60. PETER
Ugh, horrible, probably. I mean you know English is like my worst subject. It’s all so subjective andâ€"

61. GWEN
Peter.

62. PETER
Okay, okay… not the look! I probably aced it. Happy?

63. GWEN
That you did well. Always.

64. PETER
Thanks. Look, Gwen, I--

HARRY OSBORN STANDS.

65. HARRY
Well, what have we here? My best friend and girlfriend conferring in a corner. Planning a surprise party for me?

66. PETER
Uh, it’s not your birthday, Harr.

67. HARRY
I thought maybe it was a thank you bash. For giving you both these…

68. GWEN
(reading)
“You are cordially invited to spend Spring Break traveling by private jet to Miami, where you’ll stay, all-expenses-paid, at the Osborn Winter Compound on the Beach…"

69. PETER
You’re inviting the three of us to spend a week together in Florida?

70. HARRY
Not just the three of us…

KENNY KONG, FLASH THOMPSON and MARY JANE WATSON stand.

71. KONG
Osborn, dude! You rock!

72. FLASH
Seven days in the sun and surf.

73. KONG
All you can eat!

74. FLASH
Girls in bikinis!

75. FLASH, KONG (UNISON)
Score! <laughter>

76. MARY JANE
Hi, Sha Shan. Hi, Glory.

77. FLASH
Sha Shan… uh… So… how much of that did you hear?

78. KONG
Look, Glory, you know I meant you, right? I mean who else would I want to see in a bikini. Uh, you’re not gonna break up with me again, are you?

Kong and Flash sit. SALLY AVRIL, RAND ROBERTSON, LIZ ALLAN and JASON IONELLO STAND.

79. SALLY
Oh. My. God. Harry, I just found the invitation in my locker. And all I have to say is that you can be my super-dweeb sugar-daddy anytime you want!

80. HARRY
You okay with that Rand?

81. RAND
‘Scool. You can be my super-dweeb sugar-daddy too.

82. PETER
Exactly how many people did you invite to this thing?

83. HARRY
A handful. Kenny and Glory. Flash and Sha Shan. Rand and Sally. Hobie and Mindy. M.J. Gwen. Oh, and you and Liz, of course.

84. GWEN
Harry… Liz and Peter broke up.

85. HARRY
You did?! Wow. I had no idea. Guess I’ve just been so focused on my own problems. My Dad dying and everything. That’s why I need this trip. Gotta clear my head, you know? But maybe you two could reconcile…

86. SALLY
I don’t think so!

87. LIZ
It’s too late for that Harry. I’m with Jason now. We totally fell in love doing the play together.

88. JASON
We did?

89. SALLY / LIZ (UNISON)
Yes, you did. / Yes, we did.

90. LIZ
You don’t mind if I bring Jason instead of Petey, do you.

91. HARRY
The more the merrier.

92. LIZ
Thanks, Harry. You’re a doll. Kisses!

Liz, Sally, Jason and Rand sit.

93. HARRY
Pete, you’re still invited too. Course, it’s more of a couple’s thing. But M.J.’s guy is in prison…

94. MARY JANE
Thank you, Harry. Hadn’t been reminded of that in the last five minutes.

95. HARRY
Sorry, sorry. It’s just that I can’t help remembering the Fall Formal. You two made such a great pair! Don’t you think so, Gwen?

96. GWEN
Great.

97. PETER
I… suppose we could go… as friends. Just as friends.

98. MARY JANE
We’ll talk later, Tiger.

Mary Jane, Peter, Gwen and Harry sit. Kafka and CURT CONNORS STAND.

99. NARRATOR
Late that afternoon in Dr. Kafka’s office…

100. KAFKA
Doctor Connors, it’s good to see you. I’d heard you moved to Florida.

101. CURT
I did. But I never stopped working on a cure for Max Dillon. I think I’ve made some real progress.

102. KAFKA
That’s wonderful news. Max is downstairs… doing “work-therapy”. I’ll take you to him…

Kafka and Curt sit. Otto, Dominique, Electro, Dracon, John, Eddie and Cletus STAND.

103. ELECTRO
Ms. Destine. I think I found something.

104. DRACON
Is it my jewels?

105. OTTO
It… it appears to be a spearhead. It looks quite old.

106. DOMINIQUE
Give it to me.

107. ELECTRO
Sure, sure.

108. DOMINIQUE
Yes. This is it. I think we’re done, boys.

109. OTTO
Indeed. And just as the dig brought us right up against Ravencroft’s outer wall.

110. ELECTRO
You mean this wall?!

111. NARRATOR
Electro blasts a huge hole in the wall. When the smoke clears, the Vulture is waiting. He grabs Octavius.

VULTURE STANDS.

112. VULTURE
You’re coming with me, Otto.

113. OTTO
No, no, stop. I don’t want this life anymore… I’m trying to get better!! Let me go!!

114. ELECTRO
Shut it, Doc! It’s for your own good!

115. OTTO
Nooooooo!!!!

Otto, Electro and Vulture sit.

116. NARRATOR
Vulture and Electro leave with Octavius. Dominique watches them go.

117. DOMINIQUE
Well, that was diverting. And such excellent timing as well: it’s sunset. <transformation scream>

118. NARRATOR
With the setting of the sun, Dominique Destine transforms into a gargoyle… just as Kafka and Connors enter…

Kafka and Curt STAND.

119. KAFKA / CURT
Oh my god… / What in the world?!

120. NARRATOR
Demona effortlessly slams them both against a wall and turns to the remaining inmates…

121. CURT, KAFKA
<impacts, moans>

122. DEMONA
Listen carefully, humans. For I have listened to you. I can make all your petty little dreams come true. Dominic demands respect.

123. DRACON
Yes.

124. DEMONA
John craves power.

125. JOHN
Yes!

126. DEMONA
Eddie needs hate.

127. EDDIE
YES!

128. DEMONA
And all Cletus desires is a little carnage.

129. CLETUS
Or a lot. I’m not picky.

130. DEMONA
Then stick with me, boys. Respect, power, hatred, carnage. These are things I know…

DEMONA, Cletus, Eddie, John and Dracon sit. ALAN O’NEIL and GEORGE STACY STAND.

131. NARRATOR
Later, the police arrive to investigate…

132. O’NEIL
And you never met this broad before in your life…

133. KAFKA
She had excellent references, Officer O’Neil. It’s not like I grant just anyone access to my patients…

134. O’NEIL
And you wonder why people think they belong at Rykers.

135. GEORGE
There’s nothing else you can tell me, Doctor?

136. CURT
I’m sorry, Captain Stacy, but no. It was a creature.

137. GEORGE
Like that Lizard-thing from last fall?

138. CURT
No! No. Nothing like that. More like… like those things on the news that blew up the clock tower.

139. GEORGE
You mean the 23rd Precinct.

140. CURT
Yes.

141. GEORGE
You’re saying a gargoyle kidnapped those men.

142. CURT
Yes. No. I don’t know. Can I leave now?

George, O’Neil and Kafka sit. DILBERT TRILBY and NED LEE stand.

143. NARRATOR
But outside…

144. TRILBY
Doctor Connors! Dilbert Trilby, Action News. What can you tell our audience about the escape?

145. CURT
Nothing. No comment.

146. NED
Hey, Doc. Remember me? Ned Lee from The Bugle. Can you just tell me who escaped? Doc Ock? Electro? Colonel Jupiter â€" I mean, Colonel Jameson?

147. CURT
I’m sure the police will issue a statement. Now, I have to go.

Trilby sits. CALYPSO EZILI, KRAVEN THE HUNTER and GULYADKIN STAND.

148. NARRATOR
Connors hurries away down the street, as a limousine with dark-tinted windows pulls up in front of Ravencroft.

149. CALYPSO
We are too late, my love. The Christian Totem is gone.

150. KRAVEN
Gulyadkin and I will track it for you.

151. GULYADKIN
<low lion growl>

152. CALYPSO
I’m afraid that is beyond even your impressive abilities, Sergei, my love. But I have my own ways, as you well know…

153. KRAVEN
Of course, Calypso.

154. CALYPSO
Who is that? That man trying to hail a cab?

155. KRAVEN
He is a stranger to my eyes. Yet his scent is familiar.

156. CALYPSO
His aura glows with primal energies and may be of use to us.
(to Curt)
You need a ride.

157. CURT
What? No. No, thank you. I’ll get a cab.

158. KRAVEN
She wasn’t asking.

159. CURT
<scream>

160. NARRATOR
Kraven drags Connors into the limo, which quickly drives away…

Curt, Kraven, Calypso and Gulyadkin sit.

161. NED
Hello, Robbie? I’ve got something.

J. JONAH JAMESON, JOE “ROBBIE” ROBERTSON and FREDERICK FOSWELL STAND.

162. JONAH
Is that Lee? Put him on speaker.

163. ROBBIE
Now, Jonah, stay calm…

164. JONAH
Don’t you tell me to stay calm, Joe Robertson. It’s not your son at risk. Lee, you there?! I’ll give you exactly three-point-seven seconds to tell me John’s all right!

165. NED
Wish I could, Chief. But he disappeared with the rest. There are six inmaâ€" uh, patients missing. It’s not clear if they busted out or were kidnapped.

166. JONAH
Well, of course John was kidnapped. You think my son would--

167. ROBBIE
Ned, give me the whole list.

168. JONAH
Who cares about the listâ€"

169. ROBBIE
It could provide a lead to John.

170. NED
Doc Ock. Electro. John. Uh… let’s see. Edward Brock Jr., Cletus Kasady and Dominic Dracon.

171. FOSWELL
Dominic Dracon? The old mob boss? There’s a name I haven’t heard in a while.

172. JONAH
Foswell, you know that world! Find out where Dracon might have gone!

173. FOSWELL
You got it, J.J.

174. JONAH
Lee, you stick to the damn super-villain angle! Ock, Electro. What’s their next move?!

175. NED
Right, boss!

176. JONAH
Robbie, I want every available man on this. No, damnit, I want every man, woman and child on this, available or not. Call Parker. Put Benny the copyboy on it. But Ms. Brant on it. I want John Jameson safely back in his mother’s arms in six-point… six-point…

177. ROBBIE
It’s okay, Jonah. We’re on it.

178. JONAH
Good. Good. I’ll… I’ll hit the streets myself. I’m still the best damn reporter in New York City! Just have to make a call first. Well, what are you all waiting for, get out! Out!

Robbie, Ned and Foswell sit.

179. JONAH (CONT)
Hello, is this WVRN? Travis Marshall, please. Travis? It’s Jonah. I got a lead for you on the Ravencroft thing.
(pauses, listening)
Whaddayou care why I’m helping the competition?! I know I hate television! You don’t have to tell me that! I’m not trying to sandbag you, damnit, I… I’m just trying to find my son… any way I can.

Jonah sits. SPIDER-MAN STANDS.

180. NARRATOR
That night finds Spider-Man swinging through the city…

181. PETER (VO)
If I didn’t know better, I’d think Harry was trying to torture me and Gwen. Then again, M.J. is quite the consolation prize. Ah, man, what am I saying? I’m in love with Gwen. Gwen. Gwendolyn Stacy. Just have to get through the next few weeks and then Harry’ll be in a better place, and she and I--

182. NARRATOR
Pete’s ringtone plays Itsy-Bitsy Spider.

183. SPIDER-MAN
Hello?

Robbie STANDS.

184. ROBBIE
Pete. Joe Robertson. There’s been an incident at Ravencroft.

Robbie sits.

185. SPIDER-MAN
Uh huh… uh huh… Wait, who’s missing? Uh oh. Him too? Oh, crap. Sorry, I mean-- What?! Seriously?! Uh, right. Yeah, I’ll keep my eyes open. Camera lens at the ready. Thanks for the heads up. Bye.
(to himself)
Whoa. At least this day can’t get any worse!

SMUGGLER #1 stands.

186. SMUGGLER #1
What the hell are those things?!

187. SPIDER-MAN
When am I gonna learn not to say that out loud?

188. NARRATOR
Spidey swings down to find two men in a van being attacked by two gargoyles, Obsidiana and Zafiro…

ZAFIRO and OBSIDIANA STAND.

189. SPIDER-MAN
Hi there. Hate to interrupt, but this lady-esque-blue-creature-thing matches the description of another lady-esque-blue-creature-thing who just busted some folks out of Ravenâ€"

190. ZAFIRO
What is he babbling about?

191. OBSIDIANA
I have no idea. I sense no connection between him and the source of the disturbance. But these two…

192. SMUGGLER #1
Keep her away from us!!

193. SPIDER-MAN
You see, now I’m on the horns of a dilemma… Uh, no offense. It’s just an expression; I wasn’t referring to your rather striking… Never mind. See in this particular Spider-Man’s experience, when genetic misfits attack ordinary human beings, I’m gonna have to side with the humans.

194. ZAFIRO
Qué sorpresa. A human with no knowledge of the situation leaping to defend one of his own.

195. NARRATOR
Zafiro attacks Spidey.

196. ZAFIRO, SPIDER-MAN
<ad lib battle efforts, impacts>

197. NARRATOR
Obsidiana rips open the top of the van.

198. OBSIDIANA
<rip effort>

199. SMUGGLER #1
Stay back!

200. NARRATOR
The two humans open fire on her, forcing her to leap away… The van peels out. Obsidiana tries to follow, but Spidey webs her wings together.

Smuggler #1 sits.

201. OBSIDIANA
Por favor! You don’t understand the powers that are gathering!!

202. SPIDER-MAN
And you’re the one doing the Gathering, I take it!

203. OBSIDIANA
No!

204. ZAFIRO
Enough!

205. SPIDER-MAN
<impact grunt>

206. NARRATOR
Zafiro slams Spidey into a wall. By the time the web-slinger recovers, the gargoyles are gone…

Zafiro and Obsidiana sit.

207. SPIDER-MAN
<groan> For a guy with no legs, that snake-thing can move…

Spider-Man sits. George and MARIA CHAVEZ STAND.

208. NARRATOR
Not far away…

209. GEORGE
Captain Chavez.

210. CHAVEZ
Captain Stacy. What brings you to what’s left of the 23rd?

211. GEORGE
It’s the Ravencroft thing. I’ve got corroborating witnesses telling me a gargoyle was involved.

212. CHAVEZ
<sigh> I miss the days when being a cop didn’t involve a working knowledge of The Twilight Zone.

213. GEORGE
Welcome to the Freak Show.

214. CHAVEZ
Anyway, as it happens, the Gargoyle Taskforce is meeting right now. First trailer on the right. Ask for Bluestone.

Chavez sits. MATT BLUESTONE, MORGAN MORGAN, MARGOT YALE and Elisa STAND.

215. NARRATOR
Minutes later…

216. GEORGE
And that’s all I know…

217. MATT
Well, that is interesting, or, you know… really, really scary.

218. MORGAN
I’ll say, Detective. With or without a gargoyle, I’ve heard Ock and Electro are bad news. And that Cletus Kasady: he killed five people before--

219. MARGOT
Forget Kasady. Any idiot can bring a serial killer down. It’s the gargoyle we should be concerned with. It’s what I’ve been saying all along! Those monsters are dangerous!

220. MATT
I think what A.D.A. Yale is saying, Captain, is that the Taskforce is on it. We’ll let you know if we hear anything. And we’ll be checking in with all our sources, won’t we, Detective?

221. ELISA
And fast.

Elisa, Matt, Margot, Morgan and George sit. Smuggler #1 and Demona STAND.

222. NARRATOR
Meanwhile, a van with a torn up roof pulls up to a Gramercy Park Mansion… The driver speaks into the intercom…

223. SMUGGLER #1
Longinus sent me.

224. DEMONA
Leave the package. Then take your money and go. While you still can.

225. SMUGGLER #1
Geez, who lives here? Dracula’s daughter?

Smuggler #1 sits. Eddie, John and Cletus STAND.

226. NARRATOR
Demona collects her package.

227. EDDIE
The old guy’s asleep. What’s that?

228. DEMONA
A simple wooden shaft. The prize of Adolph Hitler’s personal collection. After his… demise, his remaining followers smuggled it to Brazil. I paid handsomely to have it smuggled to me.

229. EDDIE
Why? I mean sure, it’s the shaft of a spear. Completes the set with that arrowhead you took from Ravencroft. But why do we care?

230. DEMONA
Here’s why.

231. NARRATOR
Demona joins the spear and spearhead together. Instantly, it radiates incredible power.

232. DEMONA
The Holy Lance. The Spear of Destiny. The weapon that pierced the side of the Christ. Do you still want power, John? This is power.

233. JOHN
Give it to me. Give it!

234. DEMONA
No. This power is mine. But I will use it to give you back your own…

235. NARRATOR
She points the Spear at John Jameson. The magic surrounds him and transforms him into Colonel Jupiter!

236. COLONEL JUPITER
<transformation scream> Yes! The power is mine! I am Colonel Jupiter!

237. DEMONA
For what that’s worth… Now for Eddie.

238. VENOM
<transformation scream>

239. DEMONA
Happy now?

240. VENOM
Extremely. We are Venom again.

241. DEMONA
And what about you, Cletus?

242. CLETUS
(pointing at Venom)
I’ll have what he’s having…

243. DEMONA
As you wish… Carnage.

244. CARNAGE
<transformation scream>

245. VENOM
All right, Demona. You’re the Mirror Universe Wizard of Oz. But what now?

246. DEMONA
Mine is the Power. But I still require the Kingdom and the Glory. This is only the first act, humans… or whatever you are now. The main event is still to come…

Demona, VENOM, CARNAGE and COLONEL JUPITER sit.

END ACT ONE

TOMORROW: ACT TWO...


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Hal_Emmerich writes...

Hey Greg

In several responses, you have indicated that the events of A Midsummer Nights Dream did occur, albeit in a different manner. This actually leads me to a series of questions surrounding the existence of the Immortal Bard I was wondering if you'd answer.

#1: Was the play itself written in the Gargoyles universe?
#2: Did Shakespeare actually have knowledge/involvement of the events, or was he merely writing from folklore and legend?
#3: We've seen that characters from both Macbeth and Midsummer Nights Dream exist in the Gargoyles Universe and are real. Did any of the other plays occur as well (The Tempest for example)? If so, were they written in Gargoyles Chronology, and did Shakespeare have any special inspiration/connection to writing them.

Thank you for your time.

Craig

Greg responds...

1. Yes.

2. I'm not revealing that at this time.

3. All the plays were written. As I've mentioned before, a version of events in "The Tempest" and other plays also took place at various times. Sometimes Shakespeare had special knowledge. Other times he didn't.

Response recorded on July 02, 2009

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Oregon Shakespeare Festival 2009

I've been meaning to post this all week.

Last Friday, my family and I headed up to Ashland, Oregon to attend the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The Festival runs for nine months a year, producing 11 different plays. During the summer months, there are nine productions going on in repertory at any given time. We saw five plays in three days, and just had a blast.

We started Friday night with Shakespeare's HENRY VIII, and this was the best production of this play I've EVER seen, including the production I saw in London years ago. Vilma Silva as Katherine and Anthony Heald as Wolsey were both fantastic.

On Saturday, we saw EQUIVOCATION, a new play by Bill Cain that was the highlight of the entire trip (which is saying a lot)! Equivocation is set during the reign of King James I of England (a.k.a. James VI of Scotland). William Shagspeare has been commissioned to write a play about the Gunpowder Plot, and his attempts to tell the truth -- and not get hanged in the process -- are played out. The cast of characters includes his daughter Judith (and for those of you who saw my "Doc Shakespeare" radio play at the 2005 Gathering in Las Vegas, you can imagine how fascinated I was by this), the King, SIr Robert Cecil, Guy Fawkes and various members of the Kings Players. It also features bits of King Lear, Macbeth and Henry VIII, giving a sense to the origin of those plays as well as Shakespeare's later "romances" such as Pericles, Winter's Tale, Cymbeline and The Tempest. Anthony Heald, so good the night before as Cardinal Wolsey is fantastic as Shag. An actress, whose name escapes me unfortunately, is wonderful as Judith. (She played Anne Boylen in Henry VIII) and four other actors (all fantastic) cover all the other parts. I liked this play so much, I immediately went to the gift shop and bought the text. And stayed up reading it that night.

Saturday night, we went to see a Nigerian play called "Death and the King's Horseman", based on a true story and set during World War II. This was a fascinating look at African vs. European (Western) values and theater.

Sunday, we saw Shakespeare's MACBETH. I've seen a LOT of productions of Macbeth of course, but there were a lot of cool elements to this version, including a sense that the Weird Sisters weren't done with Fleance at the end, which was something completely fresh to me. It was also great to see it right after seeing Equivocation.

Finally, Sunday night we saw a wonderfully funny production of MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.

In addition to the shows, we had a number of wonderful meals -- and okay, a couple mediocre ones too -- in Ashland. And my daughter, father and I had a great hike through an absolutely gorgeous park.

All and all, I can't recommend the Festival, Ashland and especially EQUIVOCATION enough.


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Anonymous writes...

Why was the role of Tombstone recast? I know Keith David originally voiced him in the pilot and that Kevin Michael Richardson replaced him.

Greg responds...

Keith went to New York to play Oberon in A Midsummer Night's Dream. So Kevin stepped in. Both did a great job.

Response recorded on June 09, 2009

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RTS writes...

*SPIDEY SPOILERS*

Hi Greg.

Great work on Season 2, I might not know exactly how the system works, but I see no reason why it shouldn't be renewed. Hopefully by the time you answer this you will have good news to tell about that, but for now, a few questions regarding what's been done so far.

1) In season 2 episode 8, "Accomplices", we see Black Cat spray something onto a window before going through it, we then see the window wobble around or something after she goes into the vent. What did she do to the window, exactly?

2) Was the lead into Hobie Brown first speaking in the role of Puck something you planned well ahead of time, or did Hobie's silence become a running joke before you made that decision?

3) On the subject, any chance that you tried to get Brent Spiner to do the role?

4) In "Growing Pains", I couldn't help noticing that a certain "Greg Weisman" is named on the cast list shown at the end. I was just wondering whether you have ever performed any role in "A Midsummer Night's Dream", since it is mentioned in one of the FAQs that you've taken acting classes in the past.

5) You're the best. (This isn't a question)

Greg responds...

SPIDEY SPOILERS!!!!!!

1. First she melted the real glass with acid. Then she replaced it with a reflective "paper" that mimicked the look of the glass. Sorry if that wasn't clear.

2. The former.

3. The role of Hobie? No.

4. Yes, I've been in "Midsummer" as Theseus and in another production as Philostrate.

5. Right back at ya.

Response recorded on May 20, 2009

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Blaise writes...

Hey Greg! Long time, no question.

I know I should ask something related to "Gargoyles," or "Spider-Man," but instead, my question is about a Shakespeare character.

A couple of nights ago I caught a televised version of the Royal Shakespeare Company's production of "King Lear" on KCET (with Sir Ian McKellan as Lear, no less). Seeing this production, I was reminded of your affinity for the character of Edmund.

I would be very interested to hear your thoughts on Edmund's "change of heart" towards the end of the play. Why the change? What brought it about? You played Edmund in a production, yes? How did you perform this scene?

Greg responds...

My interpretation is that Edmund's world has been rocked. Up to just before receiving his mortal wound, he was consistently atheistic, a non-believer capable of exploiting the beliefs of others for his cynical ends. I believe he KNEW he was fighting Edgar at the end, and I believe he was confident that he was the better warrior. But if Edgar could beat him, despite his "legitimate" brother's lack of ability, then maybe there's some truth to the notion that God favors the sword of the man in the right. To Edmund, that might be the only possible explanation for him having lost that duel. (Ironically, he wouldn't take non-superstitious factors into account, like the psychological hardening of Edgar over the course of the play.) "Some good I mean to do before mine own end," says Edmund. At the end of his life, the victory of Edgar has made him -- if not quite a believer -- superstitious. If Edgar can win, then maybe God, the soul, fate, the stars, right and wrong, etc. do have an influence on the actions of man. So he's hedging his bets on the afterlife by providing some truth. It's not exactly selfless, though not ENTIRELY cynical, since I can't imagine he's fully conscious of all this, given the complete lack of time to process events.

I'm not sure if I was a good enough actor to play all the nuances of the above, but that's how I view it. And in the one act play that I wrote about Edmund in college, that's the interpretation I used.

Response recorded on April 29, 2009

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Wesley Nichols writes...

One thing I am curious about is your view of the events in Shakespear'es Midsummer Nights Dream. After seeing the play, I had always been more sympathetic to Titania than Oberon, yet from your responses, in the Gargoyle Universe,you seem to set the actual event as more sympathetic to Oberon. What caused your decision to take that route?

Greg responds...

I'm not sure I'm more sympathetic to Oberon AT ALL. I think he has some positive qualities in the play and some extremely NEGATIVE qualities, and my theory that he's the (illegitimate) father of the changeling boy born of a young virgin he therefore must have seduced before she died in childbirth, doesn't per se make him sympathetic, though I do think it makes his actions more understandable. Admittedly, if your interpretation was that he wants the boy for sexual purposes, he's a monster, and I sound like a sympathetic revisionist/apologist/jerk by comparison. But if you don't attribute that horrific interpretation to the play, then all I've done is motivate his actions with something specific.

Response recorded on April 16, 2009

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DarkFae writes...

Did the events of a Midsummer Night's Dream happen in the Gargoyles Universe? And if so did they happen as Shakespeare wrote them or differently?

Greg responds...

Events occurred, but I'm not going to go into it at this time.

Response recorded on August 22, 2008

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Wesley Nichols writes...

I once heard/ read that when the Midsummer Nights Dream was performed during William Shakespears time, Puck was usually portrayed by a child (can't remember where I heard this, but I believe it was an english teacher in high school). Did you ever consider giving puck the appearance of a child?

Greg responds...

I've never heard that, and it doesn't sound too likely to me. So... no.

Response recorded on August 11, 2008

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Algernon writes...

I'd like to start by wishing a happy Easter to those who cerebrate it and to those that don't, have a great day anyway. Now lets talk Spidey...

S
P
O
I
L
E
R
S

Market Forces

Another solid episode with a lot of different threads running through it. We start getting to know J. Johna Jameson and he's a lot of fun, I especially liked the whole hyperactive 'perpetually ten minutes to deadline' attitude they gave him. Interestingly this incarnation of ole Jolly Jonah doesn't seem to be particularly Anti-Spidey, I don't know if you've completely dropped it or if you're going to incorporate it later.

Also returning are Flint Marko and Alex O'Hirn AKA the future Sandman and Rhino respectively. O'Hirn's "ram him with a truck" move is a very Rhino-esque tactic, nice bit of foreshadowing.

When I first heard that Shocker wasn't going to be Herman Schultz I was a little weirded out but this episode erased all my doubts. Montana makes for a pretty charismatic villain with warped sense of honor. by the way, how weird is it to see the bad guy espousing the Moral of The Day(TM)?

We also meet Betty Brant and Robbie Robertson, I'd guessed that Randy from Peter's school was indeed his son but it's nice to have confirmation. big shout out to Phil LaMarr who managed to make father and son sound both reminiscent yet distinctive. Some nice interaction between Pete and Betty but is he trying to get the poor women tossed in jail.

Norman Osborn gets some nice development in this episode, teaming up with the Big Man to set up a sort of Supervillians'R'Us. That's what sets Osborn apart from Spidey's other rogues. Take away Vulture's wing and he's just a bitter old man. Take away Electro's lightning and he's just the school handyman. Take away Venom's symbiont and he's just a dweeb with a persecution complex. But take away Green Goblin's Glider and Pumpkin Bombs and he can still make your life a living hell as plain old Norman Osborn.

When I first heard that Keith David would be replaced as the Big Man I was rather disappointed but I was very impressed by Kevin Michael Richardson's performance. he really nailed the part, so much so that I wouldn't have noticed the change if I hadn't heard about it before hand.

All in all another job well done.

Greg responds...

Keith did a great job in Episode One, but then he headed out to New York to play OBERON in Central Park. (Still can't compete w/Shakespeare.) Kevin stepped in and I think did an admirable job. He's really made the part his own without making it a different character.

Response recorded on April 17, 2008

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Anonymous writes...

what is lady macbeths plan to kill duncan?

Greg responds...

In which universe?

Response recorded on June 05, 2007

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KirK writes...

2 - In the gargoyle version of macbeth retold via City of Stone flashbacks, why is it that the character of hecate seen in the original play was never featured?

Greg responds...

What role would she have played?

Response recorded on May 01, 2007

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Anonymous writes...

With particular reference to act 4 scene 3, is it believable that in the space of one scene Iago is able to convince Othallo that Desdemona is unfaitful

Greg responds...

Depends on the performance, I would think. I've been convinced of it many times.

Response recorded on March 30, 2007

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Danny Dyche writes...

I've read a book which might interest people who understand certain references in "Gargoyles". Ruled Britannia by Harry Turtledove is an alternate history novel in which William Shakespeare writes a play about Queen Boudicca.

Greg responds...

Sounds cool.

Response recorded on March 09, 2007

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Makhasu writes...

You've said that Macbeth sometimes works as a stage actor. In what sort of productions? How well does he get along with taking orders from the directors? =)

Greg responds...

He's done some Shakespeare, certainly. Probably other stuff as well. Maybe some Stoppard or Shaw. I could definitely see him doing some Shaw.

And I'm sure he got along just fine with the directors. He's not a prima dona or anything.

Response recorded on March 06, 2007

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maricar writes...

im asking about the famous line of lady mcbeth one of shakespeare's charater which starts with "blood, blood, blood"

Greg responds...

What about it?

Response recorded on January 22, 2007

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Psycho girl writes...

(Cough, Cough HACK!!!)

(Sniff) Oh, my head.....I know that I said I was going to do a HUGE ramble on my favorite episodes, but (cough) gosh darn it, I got pneumonia and have been in and out of the ER lately. :( I sad.

So, since this is the last day in Jan. and your closing down the asking part of the site, I decided to post one...last.....post for now. (Cough)

Greg: "OH, THANK GOD!!!"

Have you ever been to the Utah Shakespearean Festival Greg? Its very good, heck it's a Tony Award-Winning program! They do tones of great shows, some of them even out doors on their....well out door stage. This year, they are doing:

The Merry Wives of Windsor
Antony and Cleopatra
Hamlet

From June 22 to September 22 this year! (Plus more but Im not typing it...im tired.)

For more info on the Festival: please go to www.bard.com for tons of info and stuff!!! Its COOL!!! I go almost every year. (its a little easier for me because I live in Utah, and I LOVE da mountains!! Born and raised here baby!!)

I have a website that you might like, its www.lost-civilizations.net. Its got info on the Easter Island heads, Atlantis and much more! Since you like that sort of stuff, Im sure you'll like it.

Well, good by America and all the ships at sea. (Mwah-ha-ha.....COUGH, COUGH, COUGH!!!)

Greg responds...

I've had pneumonia myself. I'm hoping you're fine by now. But I do sympathise. It sucks.

I have twice been to the Utah Festival. Once with my wife. Once with my brother. Had a great time both times. Would love to go again, but haven't been able to manage it.

Response recorded on January 16, 2007

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Psycho girl writes...

Hi.....uhhhh.........hi again.......I have some more questions about Oberon and Titania...but they refer to the show, not the play. So I put up a separate post so it could go under a separate...thingy.

1. When was the changing boy born in your show? (I KNOW....I used changeling last time!!! I SPELL BAD!!!....or wuz I right last time...? ARG!!!)

2. Is the boy a grown-up now in the show?

3. What did Titania think of the play "A Midsummers Nights Dream?"

4. So....I was wondering......what did Titania whisper to
Fox?.................Uhh......Mr. Weisman.......hello?.....hrm, where did he go?

(DING-DONG!!!)

Oh my, the doorbell! I have company! Yay!

(Opens the door to find Greg Weisman standing at the door with a baseball bat)

Oh my goodness! Its Mr. Weisman at my house! Have you come to tell me what Titania said?

Greg: (lightly tapping the bat up and down on his hand) Yeah....something like that...Are you familiar with the story "The lady, or the Tiger" by Frank R. Stockton?

Yeah....

Greg: Well, its sort of like that.

Oh.....ok.

Greg: And for asking me that question in the first place....(raises the bat)

Uh, oh.....erk!..... :)

Im just being stupid right now. Thanks again.

Greg responds...

1. Changeling. And I haven't placed this event on my timeline as yet.

2. I'm not saying.

3. I'm sure when she first saw it she was far from pleased. I like to think that she's matured enough now that she's come to appreciate its finer qualities.

4. <cricket chirp>

You're welcome.

Response recorded on January 11, 2007

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Psycho girl writes...

Hello! (snickering).......Ah, another glorious day to be alive!!! What an honor to live in such a world we live in!! :)

Well Im back, with a vengeance.

I have to tell you something, when I twas a little girl watching "The Mirror" and hearing (learning) about "A Midsummers Nights Dream", I was curios and whipped out my mothers "Completed works of William Shakspere" book and tried to read it. But.....I was to young (or stupid...?) to understand it, so I tried it again when I was 16 and really enjoyed it! Also, when I bought the second season DVD set and watch "The Mirror", it re-kindled my interest and I re-read it. WHY is I telling U this? Well, I have a question about the story that I still (unfortunately) don't get... :(

1. WHY did Oberon want the changeling boy? And......

2. Why wouldn't Titania let him have the boy? (I know that Titania and the boys mother were friends...is that why?)

I hope that I don't sound too stupid...but I just don't understand that part. Well, that's my Shakspere Q. Have a nice, happy, and all-around good day!

Greg responds...

1. I have this theory that the boy was his son. Many scholars theorize that he had a romantic interest in the boy. Others point out that fairy lore is just FILLED with fairies capturing and keeping small children.

2. That's it mostly, I think. I also believe there's a certain perverse satisfaction in keeping something from Oberon that he wants. And like Oberon, there's the fairy tradition of capturing and keeping small children.

Response recorded on January 11, 2007

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Axem Gold writes...

A few months ago at the library, I checked out the VHS Macbeth (Orson Welles directed and played the lead role). According to the credits, Malcom was played by Roddy Mcdowall (Proteus). Did you know about that?

Greg responds...

Yep. I have my copy of that version of Macbeth sitting right over there on the shelf. No, the other shelf. Yeah. See?

Response recorded on December 22, 2006

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Mandolin writes...

Greg -

(Insert Mandi's G2005 con journal here.)

For a variety of reasons which involve exploding lightbulbs, bad cosplay, and a possessed automobile that no one really wants to hear about, I don't think I'll get my con journal done before August 31st. Oh, I'll get it done anyway, but I have the feeling it won't be done by the deadline and you just need the numbers before then. Better a late con journal that's not crappy and tainted by my need to hurt various contractors. So I was there, I came, I saw, I had fun, G2005 was over far too soon, and I'm looking into making you a "Lunatic Most Trusted" button.

(Incidentally, if I don't make it to G2006 or you read this before I do, I forgot to ask you something at the Blue Mug-A-Guest when you said you were a Shakespeare freak - did you ever see "Goodnight Desdemona (Good Morning Juliet)?" I'd recommend it if you haven't; best play I've ever been involved in, and it messes with Othello and Romeo and Juliet SO MUCH...)

Now watch. Now that I've given up getting it done before the deadline, I'll get it done in time anyway. Oh well...

Greg responds...

Haven't seen that play. No. Sounds cool though.

Response recorded on December 15, 2006

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Dan writes...

How far does Iago's manipulation fuel Othello's jealousy?

Greg responds...

All the way to Cyprus.

Response recorded on November 08, 2006

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renee writes...

what is the whole concept behind racism in the drama of orthelo

Greg responds...

Read OTHELLO and find out.

Response recorded on November 07, 2006

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Mercy writes...

I have no questions, just writing my review and support for the Gargoyles DVD.

I love it so much. I watched it all the minute I ripped it out of the Christmas wrapping!It brought back so many memories! I was fourteen when the show aired and watching it all over again has made me more aware of storylines I didn't pay attention to before. Really, no other animated series has ever topped Gargoyles.
I especially love the commentaries and wished there had been more, but I'm sure that's simply asking too much. I love all the inside information and spoilers. I especially enjoyed the warmth and humor through out the commentaries.
I would like to put in my part in saying that I desperately, desperately want to see Gargoyles Season II come out and soon. I may be a poor college student but I would happily spend my financial aid money to buy season two instead of textbooks!

On another note, I want to thank you Greg Weisman for adding Shakespeare into the series. It inspired me to read Shakespeare, love Shakespeare and now I'm on my last year of college hoping to one day soon, teach Shakespeare.

Greg responds...

That is tremendously gratifying. Thank you for relaying that here.

Response recorded on October 24, 2006

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Josh writes...

Why are there no pauses between scenes in Shakespear's plays?

Greg responds...

By "pauses", do you mean "act breaks"? Cause they have those between acts.

Response recorded on October 19, 2006

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Laura (Ackerman) Sack writes...

Just read the resume you posted- two things caught my curiosity: One was in reference to the Disney Afternoon block, "Developed animated feature length idea, The Tempest", and the other was "1999: Macbeth, DREAMWORKS FEATURE ANIMATION. Writer". I hope my memory isn't failing me, but I don't remember either being discussed on Ask Greg. Were these straight adaptations of the Shakespeare, inspired by, reminiscent of...?

Thanks in advance for answering.

Greg responds...

At Disney, the Tempest idea I had was inspired by the play. Followed the basic outline of the story, but wasn't the play itself.

At DreamWorks, I developed TWO versions of Macbeth. One dead on, i.e. the actual play. And one that was inspired by the play, but told from a different point of view.

Of course, none of this stuff was for the Disney Afternoon block.

Response recorded on September 20, 2006

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Todd Jensen writes...

Just looked over the resume that you included in one of your most recent answers, and thought that I'd tell you that I found it amusing and very appropriate that two projects that you'd worked on were feature-length animated versions (which apparently wound up being scrapped before completed) of "The Tempest" and "Macbeth". I certainly can't say that I'm too surprised that you'd be working on them.

Greg responds...

No, it's not particularly surprising, just a bit depressing. I also spent some time working on a Midsummer Night's Dream animated feature. But that never got off the ground either.

Response recorded on September 19, 2006

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Todd Jensen writes...

I remember your mentioning at the Gathering 2001 about your idea for the odd little two-parter about Goliath and Co. getting trapped in a performance of Shakespeare's "Macbeth". Was this idea of yours at all influenced or inspired by the famous superstitions revolving around the "Scottish Play"?

Greg responds...

Not per se.

Response recorded on September 14, 2006

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Paladin writes...

Dear Mr. Weisman-

I was wondering if you could clarify how William Shakespeare fits into the Gargoyle universe. Was he aware of the Third Race in some regard, or was he just a very talented writer whose stories were closer to truth than fiction?

Thank you for your time, and for your creation.

Greg responds...

Will's place in our world is a story I've yet to tell, but want to tell -- eventually in the comic book. So I'm not going to spell it out here, other than to reiterate what I've already revealed: i.e. that Macbeth was a friend to Will, though Will never knew that Macbeth was MACBETH.

And, oh, yes, Will wrote his plays.

Response recorded on September 13, 2006

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Laura (Ackerman) Sack writes...

I was reading your answers to the Oberon/Titanina Family trees (November 2004) and two things caught my attn:

"Lord Oberon married Titania (who became Queen Titania after Mab was overthrown). (Note: Oberon intentionally did not take the title of King. Retaining his "Lord" title is his semi-skewed attempt at being more... egalitarian.) "

-When you say that Titania 'became' queen while Oberon chose not to 'take' the title king- do you mean that Oberon's claim came from Titania and not from Queen Mab or his conquest of her? (Queen Mab is his mother, right?) Is Titania queen or queen consort?

I know in many cultures that seem to have inherited kingship the facts are actually differnt. Take Macbeth, for example: Luach was probably the first son to directly inheret a crown from his father in Scottish history. Macbeth's claim was as good as Duncun Canmore's, but Gruach came from an older line than either. Are Oberon's children similarly not straight forward? With near imortality succession probably doesn't come up all that much anyway.

You also wrote:
"Oberon also has at least two sons by mortal women: Merlin and the changeling boy from Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream". "

I cannot believe I didn't notice you saying that before! When I read/saw Midsummer, (one of very few plays I can't get into while reading but love to watch), I always assumed the boy was the mortal child of a beloved, all-to-mortal, devotee of Titania's. The complete disregard for the boy shown by Oberon stealing him away (both physically and magically from Titania's attention) always left Oberon a bit too scummy for me to be fully happy with the 'all the couples were reunited and lived happily ever after." (Though, I'm told if my knowledge of mythology were more complete I would know the royal mortal couple don't end so happily, or at least longly, either.)

If the boy was in fact Oberon's, than the disregard might be feigned as a ploy to get him from Titania. Oberon is immediately made less scummy.

Barage of questions:
1.In the Gargoyles universe, how true to the Shakespeare is the 'true' story?
2.Was Titania aware that the child was her husband's?
If so, was her care for the boy as innocent and real as they seem (to me) in the play?
3.What made Oberon father a child with a worshiper of his wife? Coincidence? Meaness? Was she a worshiper of Titania at the time or did that come after?
4.I think, but do not remember clearly, that the woman did not die in childbirth. What did she die of, and could Oberon have been of help preventing it? Did he try?
(My pet theory is that Titania has tried to help Renayrd out a bit in his illness, but there is only so much she can do without being obvious. And even if she were to use blatant magic, there is still only so much she can do. Medicine and healing, though we take it for granted, is still 'big magic'.)
5. What ever did happen to the changling after the events of the play? Or, if you don't want to go into specifics, is he alive or at least have a unnaturally long life?

Apropo of very little- last summer I caught a rather good preformance of Midsummer in a Shakespeare in the Park(ing Lot). (Not as good as their Richard II that they seemlessly reordered to make the first half as flashbacks during the second.) Uneven. but with real flashes of brillance. Instead of dual roles, they had the traditionally dual roles played by exchangable pairs. The Oberon and Titania I caught had fantastic presence.

thank you

Greg responds...

Titania is Queen Consort, technically, but it's also a position of not a little authority at the top of the feudal pyramid, answerable ONLY to Oberon... and even he is somewhat reluctant to order his Queen around. Note that when the Weird Sisters report that everyone but Titania and Puck have arrived for the Gathering, Oberon immediately states that Titania may come and go as she pleases.

In any case, Oberon's claim to his throne comes from both being the son of Mab and being the one who took Mab down. It does not come via Titania.

As for your Midsummer Questions, this is a story I hope to tell one day, so I'm going to be stingier...

1. We'll have to see.
2. I prefer to leave the answer to this ambiguous.
3. She was already a worshipper. His motives... are also best left ambiguous for now.
4. I'm not revealing this now.
5. Ditto.

Response recorded on September 05, 2006

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Troubies Do Doobies

I've plugged 'em before. Now I'll let them plug themselves...

Subject: Much Adoobie Brothers EXTENDED!

Troubadour Theater Company EXTENDS

Los Angeles Times' Critics' Choice

Much Adoobie Brothers About Nothing

NOW Playing through Sunday, September 24.

Scroll down to read the rave reviews.

Miles Memorial Playhouse
August 10 - September 24
Thurs - Sat 8 pm, Sundays 4 pm
1130 Lincoln Blvd., Santa Monica CA

La Mirada Theatre for the Performing Arts
October 1, 2006 7pm

All Tickets $25

On Sale Now and Going Fast!
troubie.tix.com

CRITICS' CHOICE! "Put it all together and you have the truest hallmark of any Troubadour show...bad wigs, rock star preening and outrageous comic riffs (that) LEAVE THE AUDIENCE BREATHLESS WITH LAUGHTER!"
--Daryl Miller, LA TIMES

["All true" --Greg Weisman]

GO! "A SCREAM! Another LAUGH FILLED TRIUMPH FOR THE TROUBIES!"
--Martin Hernandez, LA WEEKLY

"HILARIOUS! DELICIOUSLY FUNNY! UNDER MATT WALKER'S FIRST RATE DIRECTION, THE WHOLE EXPERIENCE is a RAMBUNCTIOUS BUNDLE OF JOYFUL COMIC ANARCHY!"
--Terry Morgan, VARIETY

["Matt Walker is an effing genius" -- Greg Weisman]

CRITIC'S PICK! "IT'S ALL TOTALLY BITCHIN'! MATT WALKER, WHO ACCOMPANIED BY HIS USUAL PARTNER IN HILARITY, BETH KENNEDY, AND THE LOVELY LAUREN GIRA - BRINGS DOWN THE HOUSE! A PITCH-PERFECT JEN SEIFERT PARRIES BRILLIANTLY WITH ERIC ANDERSON! A BALLS-OUT ROCK 'N' ROLL BASTARDIZATION OF SHAKESPEARE! RIGHT ON!"
--Jennie Webb, BACKSTAGE WEST

CRITIC'S PICK! "WILD! HILARIOUS! THE IMPRESSIVE SMARTLY MOUNTED PRODUCTION, AND WALKER'S SHARP SAVVY DIRECTION WITH ROLLICKING PERFORMANCES JUST ASTONISHES! DON'T MISS IT!"
--Gerri Garner, AMERICAN RADIO NETWORKS

"Nobody does Doobies like the Troubies"

www.troubie.com


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Richard von Heinz writes...

1) Why did the producers of the show go with iron as the general weakness for Oberon's Children when many of them like Raven, Odin or Anubis were figures from mythologies that didn't see iron as a sort of "god kryptonite". In fact the Fenris wolf from norse mythology was able to snap his iron chains and had to be finally chained with a magical one and many of the gods and demons of the Far East didn't seem to have a problem with iron.

2)In relation to the first question why was Oberon the king and lord of the third race that included such beings as Odin and possibly Zeus and other godhead when in the traditional stories he was just a minor king of the fairies or elves?

In general I'm just rather curious why you put so many of the qualities found in fairies and elves such as Oberon and the iron weakness onto mythological figures such as Odin, Coyote or Anasi which in the end from my point of view kind of diminishes the gods.

Greg responds...

1) When combining so many mythologies, certain choices have to be made. Since we were putting a traditional "fairy" figure like Oberon at the top of our feudal pyramid, using iron made sense. I understand your objection, even sympathize with it, but I also don't regret our decision.

2) Well, a short answer is that we wanted to diminish the gods a bit... or put another way, we wanted to create a unifying system for them all. A feudal system. Oberon and Titania got priority, because in general SHAKESPEARE got priority. Titania, as far as I know, is not a traditional figure but an invention of ol' Will's. I've always freely admitted to being a Shakespeare fanatic, so his characters, including Macbeth, Oberon, Titania, Puck, the Weird Sisters, etc. were always going to have featured roles in this series. Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference, and I was the guy in charge. That doesn't make me RIGHT in some transcendent sense, just means that I had the right to create the universe I wanted to play in. So I did.

Response recorded on August 24, 2006

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Troubies

In my praise of the Troubador Theater Company, I forgot to include their website address:

www.troubie.com

The website itself may not be that impressive, but bookmark it for future reference. Heck, a bunch of you are coming to Gathering 2006 in Los Angeles. Maybe we can all plan to attend a Troubie show together.


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"Tonight we're gonna party like it's 1599..."

Yesterday, I took my kids to see "Hamlet, The Artist Formerly Known As Prince Of Denmark". It's a fairly faithful adaption of Shakespeare's Hamlet, set to the music of Prince with a ton of clown shtick thrown in for good measure. For folks of a certain age, like me, who remember the 1984 joy of total emersion in Purple Rain, it was a blast. And my kids really liked it too. Plus, hey, Shakespeare to boot!

And all of it, the brilliant work of the Troubador Theater Company. Matt Walker, who directed the show and leads the company and plays Hamlet, is an f-ing genius.

(Oh, and that guy on stilts... Whoah!)

I think this is my favorite Troubie show since "A Midsummer Saturday Night's Fever Dream".

The talented Troubies are celebrating their tenth anniversary. Other shows of theirs include:

"Fleetwood Macbeth"
"The Comedy of Aerosmith"
"It's a Stevie Wonderful Life"
"Alls Kool that Ends Cool"
"A Christmas Carol King"
"Funky Punks with Junk in their Trunks"
"Santa Claus is Coming to Motown"
"Twelfth Dog Night"

Coming in November... "Little Drummer Bowie"

If you're in L.A., you really don't want to miss it.


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Todd Jensen writes...

This is another comment rather than a question, but I thought that you might find it interesting.

A few days ago I was visiting the local Borders, and noticed a book in the Shakespeare section about Shakespeare in popular culture. When I peeked inside, I found that it briefly mentioned the inclusion of Macbeth, Oberon, Titania, and Puck in "Gargoyles" as an example of Shakespearean characters cropping up in pop culture. It didn't say anything more about the series than that or go into detail, but I thought that you might find it amusing.

Greg responds...

Cool. Do you remember the name of the book?

Response recorded on June 21, 2005

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Christina (CelebornEstel@aol.com) writes...

I've been a fan of Gargoyles for a while and I was wondering what a few characters were based on. The mythology is put into the sotry so well and fits like a puzzle. Anyway, I was wondering who the Weird Sisters and Megus. The mythology of the story is beautiful and the plot is extraordinary. So, That's my question- What were Megus and The Weird Sisters based on?

Greg responds...

The Weird Sisters were based primarily on the Weird Sisters, from William Shakespeare's play MACBETH. They were also influenced by various triple/lunar goddesses from various mythologies, in particular the Graces, The Furies, the Fates/Norns.

The Magus is more of an "original" creation. He begins, I think, as fairly standard D&D wizard material. But I like to believe that he transcends the stereotype.

Response recorded on June 28, 2004

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Balrog writes...

I have been reading the archives and was wonderig about one thing about a Shakespeare character and wondering something about it.

Why is Calaban(presumuble Caliban)to be a antagonist, I been cheking about the Tempest and thougt that he would be more suited in a role of protagonist,given to childis presonality.

That's just my opinon on the issue.

Greg responds...

You have no idea what I have in mind for the character, so it's a little odd to be challenged on the point.

But your welcome to your opinion.

Response recorded on June 25, 2004

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DeShawn writes...

Did you make up Oberon, or is he apart of real legend and myth.

Greg responds...

He's part of real myth & legend, and more importantly Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream".

Response recorded on June 03, 2004

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Orianna, the elven mage writes...

Alright, this may seem a bit strange to ask, but I'm working on a fan fiction that included Puck.
I need to know all I can about him.
So will you please help me out on this.
Bassically I need to know about his history and if he has a girlfriend or not.
Thanks for your help.

Greg responds...

My advice is to go to "original" sources such as Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" or Kipling's works.

Or study episodes with Puck and/or Owen.

I'm not revealing more than that now.

Response recorded on April 28, 2004

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jamie dayment writes...

hi plese could you tell me all the characters in scene 1 act 3 in a midsummers nights dream wrote by william shakespeare

Greg responds...

I could. I've got the play over on my bookshelf. But I figure you're better off learning how to look that up for yourself.

Response recorded on April 02, 2004

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Todd Jensen writes...

My thoughts on "Avalon Part One".

First off, a little about the eggs. I honestly hadn't expected to see anything further with the eggs at this point. The reason was that I'd always assumed that the eggs were indeed all gone, as Xanatos had claimed in "Awakening Part Two", even after we found out what he was really like, for this simple reason: the thousand years between the Wyvern Massacre and the Awakening. Since I didn't think it likely that gargoyles live naturally for a thousand years, my assumption always was that the eggs had hatched long ago and that the gargoyles that had hatched from them had grown up, lived out their lives, and died long before as well. I hadn't taken into account the possibility of a place where time moved slower.

(Of course, thinking over it some more, I should have expected the eggs to return, simply because, if they weren't going to, their inclusion to date would have been almost pointless. After all, they'd had no real impact on the storyline in "Awakening" - the mere fact that the video version was able to edit them out is proof enough of that - so that would have to mean that something further with them would have to be done, or else why include them in "Awakening" at all?)

Regarding your multi-parter comments: I also prefer it when the first episode of a multi-parter clearly labels itself as "Part One". That way, I'm already prepared for the "To Be Continued" part. So I'm glad that you always labeled the multi-parters as such.

I was a bit amused to notice the Brigadoon alternative to Avalon, in light of the fact that you did manage to use Brigadoon as the Avalon-substitute in your "Gargoyles meet Captain Atom" story. And, yep, I was definitely looking out for King Arthur to show up at some point in this story, given that the thing that Avalon is most famous for is being his resting-place. (More about that in my ramble on Part Two when it comes).

Needless to say, I enjoyed the flashback. More 10th century Scotland! And more real Scottish history! In some ways, it was even more fun than the Macbeth backstory in "City of Stone"; after all, I already knew about the historical Macbeth before "Gargoyles" ever came out, but I'd never heard of Kenneth II and Constantine III before. After seeing this episode, I eagerly looked up everything on them that I could at the local library (although I wasn't able to find much, thanks to the scanty records for this part of Scottish history).

Constantine definitely struck me as shrewd when he provided a very convincing "innocent reason" for the secret meeting in the drying-house (the argument that it would be better for Kenneth's dignity to have Finella turn down his suit in private, rather than before his entire court). I thought he made a good antagonist here, even if for only one episode.

(I haven't seen the McKellen "Richard III" movie, by the way, but I do have a book that McKellen wrote about the making of it, including the screenplay, which I found fascinating reading.)

I also liked the mention of Michaelmas, which added to the medieval flavor of the story. (It's things like this that make me regret the fact that you never got to make the "Dark Ages" spin-off. Of course, I suppose that an animated series set entirely in 10th century Scotland wouldn't be all that commercially viable, more's the pity.)

I'm looking forward to your rambles on Part Two and Part Three, as well.

Greg responds...

I have that same McKellen book. I've seen the movie of course, but I found the screenplay and his commentary on how and why he made the decisions he made, very informative.

I don't know that Dark Ages wouldn't be commercially viable. I do know it's tough to convince Network Executives that it's commercially viable.

Response recorded on March 12, 2004

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Saboor Ghafoor writes...

in A shakespeare's book;
Who murders a king and marries the widow
What is the alternative title of 'Twelfth Night'?
In which play will you find the stage direction 'Exit pursued by bear'?
Who demands a pound of flesh as a guarantee on a loan?
Which play begins with;
'If music be the food of love,play on?'
'Now fair Hippolyta, our nuptial hour/Draws on apace?'

Who is the 'Serpant of old Nile'?

Who attempts to kill himself after the high Roman fashion?

which play has a female character disguises herself as a boy?

Who dies in a vat of malmsy

If the second line of the sonnet is; Thou art more lovely and more temperate what is the next line

Greg responds...

Now it's getting more annoying and less amusing.

What's the point of this?

Response recorded on March 03, 2004

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Saboor Ghafoor writes...

which play ends with:

a)We that are young/Shall never see son much nor live so long?

b)So thanks to all at once and to each one,/whom we invite to see us crowned at Scone?

c)Give me your hands, if we be friends,/And Robin shall restore amends?

d)But that's all one, our play is done/and we'll strive to please you everyday?

Greg responds...

a. Lear
b. Macbeth
c. Dream
d. 12th Night

I'm not sure why you're quizzing me. It's both annoying and (admittedly) a bit fun. I didn't look any of them up, but I'm extremely confident of a-c and fairly darn confident of d.

Response recorded on March 03, 2004

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jamie writes...

what are the roles of puck and oberon in a midsummers night dream

Greg responds...

In the Shakespeare play, Oberon is King of the Fairies and Puck is his servant.

Response recorded on February 12, 2004

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NEEDS HElP writes...

AHH! I need to know what Shakespear's The Tempest and King Lear were about my monday!!! HURRY!!! plez a breif discription 2 or 3 sentances for each :(

Greg responds...

You wrote this on a Sunday?

Forget that I'm two years behind. How were you EVER going to get this answer in less than 24 hours?

Tempest: Guy and daughter are set adrift. Guy gets magic. Punishes his tormentors. All ends happy.

Lear: Dad has three daughters. Splits his kingdom between the nasty two. All ends sad.

Does that help?

No?

Good.

Response recorded on January 21, 2004

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Alfred Manifesto writes...

Yo
Long time watcher, first time question asker, I happen to be doing a research paper for colege concerning the literary references within Gargoyles (shakespeare and mythology). I was wondering what comments you might have concerning the way which you used these works. For example, your re-telling of McBeth in city of stone parts 1-4 is very different from the play. This makes sense because the play is an altered versain of the actual historical story to make it more entertaining as well as aceptable to the king of england. As i intend on focusing a majority of my paper to Mcbeth I was wondering how you went about combining history, shakespeare, and your own storyline. If you could make any general comments or speak about mythology in any way would be greatly apriciated. I ask not only because it would help my paper, but also it would be a personal thrill to even get a responce. I've known about this site for a while, but this is the first time i've had a decent question. Lastly, I know its quite possible this has been answered before, but i have not yet read all of the entries in the archives, you are creator and producer of one of my favorite cartoons of all time, how does one find themself in that possition of creater and producer? thanx for your time

Greg responds...

Well, unless your paper wasn't due until 2004, I guess I'm too late to help you there.

Macbeth (with an "a" and a lower case "b") the play was indeed a major influence on our version of Macbeth, but we chose to follow the less-told tale that was the true (or truer) history. But we kept the Weird Sisters in it, and even a few lines of Shakespeare where possible. Plus of course we added the gargoyle race, weaving Demona in and out of Macbeth's story. Or rather, we weaved Macbeth's story into the tapestry that is the Gargoyles' Universe.

As to my background, I'd suggest checking the FAQ and coming back here if you have more specific questions that the FAQ didn't answer.

Response recorded on January 21, 2004

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Todd Jensen writes...

This is something of a musing that I've been pondering for some time about your hinted-at plans to bring Prospero (and other characters from "The Tempest") into "Gargoyles" (it's more a ramble than a genuine question, actually). I was not the least bit surprised by your mention, when you first started up "Ask Greg", to include Prospero in "Gargoyles" somewhere; after all, a series that had already made use of "Macbeth" and "A Midsummer Night's Dream" in its framework would obviously have to bring "The Tempest" in somewhere as well. What I do find myself wondering, from time to time, is the role that Prospero (and Ariel and Caliban as well, if they were to show up - and it's obvious that they would also) would have played in the series, in relation to the other characters.

Because I noticed that the other major Shakespearean characters (Macbeth, Puck, the Weird Sisters, Oberon, and Titania) were actually made an important part of the framework of "Gargoyles", linked up strongly to the central and near-central characters. Macbeth and the Weird Sisters were part of Demona's story (explaining, in particular, how she survived from 994 down to the present day). Oberon, Titania, and Puck were part of Xanatos's story (or Titania at least as Fox's mother and Puck as Owen's true identity, not to mention that Oberon and Titania's attempt to kidnap Alex was what led to the end of the feud between Xanatos and the gargoyles). From this, I believe that we can safely presume that, when Prospero, Ariel, and Caliban would have shown up somewhere in the series (if it had only lasted that long), they would have likewise had strong links with the major characters in the series as part of the framework.

I won't ask what those links were, of course (I know that you don't want to reveal that yet, at least, not in this forum), but that's one reason why a part of me still hopes that you can find some way of continuing "Gargoyles" some day; I'd certainly enjoy finding out when/if that happens just where Prospero, Ariel, and Caliban fit into the Gargoyles Universe, and which major figures in the series they are linked to, at least initially (of course, everybody tends to wind up getting linked to everybody else anyway - Puck with Demona in "The Mirror", the Weird Sisters,Oberon and Titania with the Avalon clan, Macbeth with King Arthur, etc.)

Greg responds...

There's truly nothing I'd like to do more, professionally, than to find a true forum (in some medium) for bringing the Gargoyles Tapestry back. I have so many stories still to tell, including those involving Prospero, etc.

And just so you know, so you all know, I'm still working on it. I haven't given up.

Response recorded on September 24, 2003

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angel writes...

hi greg,would you mind tell me what sonnet 116 is all about!

Greg responds...

Yeah.

Response recorded on August 26, 2003

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Todd Jensen writes...

Thanks for your comments on Asimov's "Guide to Shakespeare"; I agree with you that Asimov's analysis of "Hamlet" weakened the play in making Hamlet's actions and thoughts centered almost entirely around "How can I kill Claudius without being disqualified from the succession to the Danish throne?" I certainly feel that other matters seem far more important in Hamlet's thoughts in the play than just becoming king - his troubled feelings over his mother being so quick to forget about the old King and marry Claudius when her first husband has only just been buried, for example.

Incidentally, have you ever read "Hamlet and Revenge"? I can't remember the author, but it's a very interesting analysis of the play focusing on the revenge issue (and, to a certain extent, on the Ghost). The thesis that the author takes is that Hamlet's choice of revenge is wrong - and also focuses on how, in fact, the Ghost, when examined closely, doesn't seem too reassuring (even pointing out that the fact that the Ghost is telling the truth about how Claudius killed him doesn't necessarily mean that it's an "honest ghost"; after all, the Weird Sisters similarly "tell the truth" to Macbeth in his play). It's very good reading.

Greg responds...

It's definitely a good question as to whether or not the Ghost is in fact a ghost at all. The play clearly raises the question as to whether it might not be a demon from hell, sent to cause Hamlet's downfall. The fact that it tells Hamlet a truth, notwithstanding.

The title "Hamlet and Revenge" sounds very familiar, but I've read so much about the play over the last 25 years, that I'd be hard-pressed to tell you whether or not I've read that analysis.

Response recorded on August 22, 2003

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lorena murati writes...

what type of character has titania in midsummer nights dream shakespear

Greg responds...

I'm not sure what you're asking. She was Queen of the Fairies. I'd recommend reading the play or, even better, attending a production.

Response recorded on August 06, 2003

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G2003 Journal (6/30)

MONDAY, JUNE 30, 2003:

Today, in the middle of my two week vacation was a work day -- or at least half of one.

I got up and headed back to Krispy Kreme for more donuts. Then I walked to midtown for my first meeting.

Then I had a meeting at MTV. Just what we call a Meet & Greet. Hi. Nice to meet you. Hope we get to work together some day. It was nice, and they're doing some interesting stuff. So I do hope I get to work with them someday. I talked to her (I'm not giving names on purpose) about the project that Vic and Greg and I have, but I didn't pitch it, as we're waiting to see if Warners wants to sign on and pitch it to MTV with us.

Then I had time to kill. I had passed Midtown Comics on my way to MTV, so I headed back there. I don't frequent comic book stores, much these days. Wound up quitting that world more or less cold turkey in 1996. But the commercials for "The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" movie had intrigued me. When the "FROM HELL" movie came out, I didn't go see it, but I went into a bookstore and bought Alan Moore's graphic novel, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I had been haunting bookstores for League, thinking that the movie would bring the GN into similar wide release. Hadn't been able to find it, so I finally broke down and entered a comic book store. Midtown Comics is a great looking store. I found LXG immediately, and then looked around. It's the same old thing for me. I'm out of the world and too far behind. If I started buying anything (on impulse that is) I'd have to buy EVERYTHING. So I stuck to my original purchase.

Then it was up to William Morris for my meeting with DAG Entertainment. Me and the DAG guys really hit it off. We spent a good chunk of time talking about Buffy the Vampire Slayer, how much we liked the series and how disappointed we were in the final episode. (My main gripe: too much to fit into one hour; it should have been a two-parter.) They talked about a project they had that they were interested in me working on. It sounded cool, and now that I'm back (two weeks later) it looks like I actually got a job thanks to the Gathering.

We talked so long, I realized I was going to be late for my next meeting. I called ahead and then took off rather abruptly.

Soon enough I arrived at Noodlesoup Productions to meet with the guys there. It was another really fun Meet & Greet. I hope to do some work someday with these guys too.

After that it was back to the hotel. I was supposed to meet up with my old friend Bruce Cranston, a former Disney boss of mine who now lives on the East. But his daughter was sick, so he had to cancel.

I decided to head for McDonalds. I ran into Mandi in the lobby, and she kept me company at McD's. It didn't seem to air-conditioned, so we took the food back to my room. I ate and then felt VERY sleepy. I didn't want to find myself sleeping through the play that night, so I kicked Mandi out to take a nap.

Only, I didn't fall asleep. Oh, well.

We now segue right into dinner. Dreamie, Carol, Patrick, Karlyle, Liz, Kelly and Montreal Rob all headed to P.J.Clark's, which was one of my haunts back when I lived in NYC. It was a place I always went to with my dad for burgers, whenever he came to town. And the last time I was there was probably in 1996, when I dragged Keith David and a few other folks there after a Gargoyles event (sort of a pre-Gathering) at a Gallery in Queens. Had a great burger.

But then Carol and Patrick and I had to hustle to attend Shakespeare in the Park. We raced uptown via subway, and then took a cab across the Park. We got out and ran to the Delacourt Theater. Fortunately, Carol had already picked up our tickets (a gift from Keith David and his manager Josh Silver).

The show was really terrific. Liev Shrieber was great as a conflicted Henry V. The rest of the cast, especially the Chorus, was also great. And I loved the production -- with the small exception of a gratuitous direct reference to Bush & Hussein. It was so unnecessary.

After the show, the three of us hung out. We walked around, past another one of my old apartment buildings, this one on Amsterdam near 76th. The neighborhood has changed so dramatically since I lived there my first summer in New York. Then I realized that it has been TWENTY YEARS, so I suppose it's entitled to change in that much time. But suddenly I felt old.

Back at the hotel, the three of us watched, uh, THE BLUES BROTHERS Movie or something on tv, while we killed off the last of the bottled water Carol had given me on Thursday and the last of the Peanut M&Ms that Kathy had given my on Sunday.

Then I kicked 'em out. I read some of LXG. Again it fit the theme of the rest of my reading this week. Mixing new fiction with old fiction, legends and history. Alan Moore, a writer I've long admired, seems interested in the same sorts of things I am. ALL THINGS ARE TRUE. Creating a grand tapestry of characters that can interact. But I was stunned at the breadth of his knowledge. For example, I was surprised to see that he had portrayed Captain Nemo as an Indian. I had read 20K Leagues and had not gotten that impression. Turns out, that in Mysterious Island, Verne establishes Nemo's ethnicity. And that's just the most obvious example. The research represented in this work is nothing short of MASSIVE. All I can say is... thank god I've got Kathy Pogge to do my research for me. I'm way too slow a reader to cover that much ground.

Anyway, I quite enjoyed the book. I haven't seen the movie yet, and some of the changes seem needless and less-than-helpful. Still, you can't ask for better Quatermain casting then Connery, so I'll keep an open mind.

TUNE IN TOMORROW FOR GREG & GREG'S HARROWING "ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK..."

It's the entry Bishansky's been dreading for the last two weeks...


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Treena writes...

I have seen on some sites Coldstones girlfriend being refered to as Desdemona just wondering if that is offically what she is called or just a name someone tagged her with and if it is offical what is the thought behinded is it in reference to Orthelo??

Greg responds...

The Desdemona and Iago names were used in our scripts to identify the characters before they got their Coldfire and Coldsteel names in "Possession". The name Othello was also used in the script to refer to Coldsteel in flashback scenes, before he became a cyborg.

None of these names were ever used in dialogue on the series. But both Desdemona and Iago were used in the credits to identify the actors (C.C.H. Pounder and Xander Berkeley) who voiced the two characters. (Othello was never used, because we simply listed Michael Dorn as Coldstone.)

So obviously, yes, we saw the relationship between the three characters as being very "OTHELLO". Particularly in their first appearance, "Legion". With Goliath in the Michael Cassio role.

Response recorded on June 03, 2003

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HANNA BERHANU writes...

Macbeth:
what is king Duncan's reaction to the news that cawdor is a traitor ?what will happen to his title'
2-do Macbeth and Banquo have the same reaction to ROSS'NEWS?
3-WHAT ANNOUNCEMENT IS MADE ABOUT MALCOLM? WHAT IS MACBETH'S REACTION?
4-HOW DID LADY MACBETH FIND OUT ABOUT THE WITCHES' PROPHECIES?
5-HOW WILLING IS MACBETH TO GO ALONG WITH LADY MACBETH'S PLANS FOR HIM TO ATTAIN THE THRONE?

Greg responds...

Are you writing a term paper, Hanna?

Or are you just quizzing me on my Reading Comprehension of the play?

This seems rather pointless.

Response recorded on May 28, 2003

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Aaron writes...

Enquiring minds want to know, Greg: When you were in college, did you ever wall yourself into your dorm room and spend two days writing fan fic about an animated show? ;)

Greg responds...

No. I didn't have a t.v. in college -- and thus there's a four year gap in my otherwise copious television knowledge.

Of course, I didn't have a computer until the last semester of my senior year. And I hated typing before computers. I wrote everything long hand and then typed it up only when I was confident that I didn't want to make any changes. So I typed very little. And the internet? Forgeddaboudit. Didn't exist -- at least not to my knowledge.

Also, I was an English Major with an emphasis in Fiction Writing, so I had plenty of writing to do for classes. And starting in my sophomore year, I was already writing professionally for DC Comics. So any non-school writing at that time, tended toward paid work, not fanfic.

Besides, the whole concept of fanfic didn't really exist for me until after the Garg fans told me about it.

I guess I did right a King Lear fanfic once -- as a term paper.

Response recorded on May 09, 2003

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Colleen Thompson writes...

Could you translate Shakespere's sonnet 116?

Greg responds...

Without looking, I'd still hazard a guess that it's in English. So pick the language you want me to translate it to... and pretty much no matter what, I'll tell you that I don't speak that language.

Response recorded on April 02, 2003

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Galvatron writes...

1.Did the Porter from MacBeth the play exist in the gargoyles universe?
2.What about the Lennox from MacBeth the play? Banquo(not the mercenary)? Fleance(not the mercenary)?
3.Did Hecate from MacBeth the play exist in the gargoyles universe?

Greg responds...

1. Probably.
2. Probably in one form or another.
3. In some form.

Response recorded on August 08, 2002

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Chapter XXXVIII: "Heritage"

Time to ramble...

This chapter was written by Adam Gilad. Story Edited by Gary Sperling, and directed by Frank Paur.

FAME

As I watch each episode with my family, I've got my journal open in front of me to take notes for these rambles. During the opening credits, my five-year-old son Benny said: "I like Gargoyles." I was very pleased, of course. Then he said, "Can you write down that?" So I did. And so I have.

SHE'S GOTTA HAVE IT

Back on the skiff, and Elisa still hasn't QUITE gotten the idea. She still anticipates being back in Manhattan. Like visiting Scotland was an anamoly, but now surely Avalon will send them home. (What did you all think at the time?)

And boy, that girl likes her hot dogs. Make her one with everything, you know?

A.K.A. CECIL

Our Sea Monster attacks. It's a cool design, based on research that we did. (It happens to look a lot like a pre-historic whale I saw last night on a Discovery Channel special: "Walking with Pre-Historic Beasts".)

I wish we could have found a less generic name for the creature than "Sea Monster". Thunderbird is a cool name -- particularly since I have fond memories of the L.A. T-Birds from Roller Derby telecasts of my youth -- but our research never turned up another name for the Sea Monster.

Keep in mind that though we did research, we also had time constraints. We couldn't keep researching a topic indefinitely. Eventually, we'd have to use what we had and run with it in order for the story and script to be delivered on time.

But I know Gary and Adam did quite a bit of backgrounding for this story. The Sea Monster, Thunderbird, Raven and Grandmother all came from Haida stories -- though we conflated quite a bit, I think. We did always try to be as true as possible to the history and legends we were riffing on.

HEY, WEREN'T THERE FOUR OF YOU?

As the battle with the Sea Monster came to a close, my seven-year-old daughter Erin said: "What about Elisa? Where's Elisa?"

Five seconds later, Goliath surfaces and says pretty much the same thing, before fearing her drowned by shouting "ELISAAAAA!!" (Shades of things to come -- in Hunter's Moon III.)

TOTEM POLES

Speaking of research, the origin of the whole episode was the fact that Totem Poles caught my eye as being a particularly gargoylesque deal. Then we did some preliminary research and found that they weren't carved in anything that seemed to resemble a gargoyle tradition. They were 'carved to honor animal ancestors'. So rather than stretch (or abuse) the truth, we decided to let the characters (and audience) be lured off course by the poles, just as we had been.

Fake GARGOYLES, right here in North America.

In many ways, I think it could be argued that what takes place in this episode is handled or covered in other episodes to come. We have another episode with a 'sea monster'... a more famous sea monster in a certain loch... coming up rapidly in "Monsters". Also in that ep, one of our cast is lost and feared drowned after an early attack by that monster. And much of Nick/Natsilane's dilemma is also re-covered with a more-important recurring character (Peter Maza) in our other Native American-themed episode: "Cloud Fathers". We even do more with a volcano in "Ill Met by Moonlight". On some level I suppose I regret the duplication of efforts. I don't think we usually did this sort of thing.

But I don't regret the episode. I had plans for Raven. Plans for Queen Florence Island. Plans for Nick/Natsilane. I still think the ep has some cool stuff in it. And I think we NEEDED to cover Totem Poles. It was a natural.

HAR with a V. VAR with a D.

I went to a high school in North Hollywood, CA named "Harvard High School". Named after the University. (Some people have incorrectly stated I went to Harvard for college. But I went to Stanford for Undergrad and U.S.C. to get my Masters.)

I don't remember who's idea it was to have Nick be a graduate of Harvard. Might have been mine. Harvard of course is useful as a symbol.

I like Nick/Natsilane. He's got some nice attitude here and a nice shift. Maybe not the most impressive of our so-called "International Heroes". But very likable.

I give a lot of credit to the voice actor for bringing him to life. Gregg Rainwater was brought in by our Voice Director Jamie Thomason. Gregg was terrific. We used him again in Cloud Fathers, but I've used him many times since Gargoyles. I've even written parts with Gregg in mind. He was Jake Nez in Max Steel. And I cast him as Jake MacDonald in 3x3 Eyes. He always brings incredible humanity to a part, I think. Heroic, but real.

THAT'S NOT A CROW

It's a raven. Our second Trickster makes his first appearance. Of the four (Puck, Raven, Anansi and Coyote), Raven was the guy we gave the most evil bent to.

I like all the shape-shifting he does. (Though when he flees at the end, I wanted him to flee in his bird form, not his Raven-Goyle form.) I also like how he lies by using pieces of the Truth.

Raven-Goyle: "There is an evil sorceress named Grandmother. She summoned the monster that you fought."

When he said that, did you believe him?

Of course, Grandmother does have magic power and she did, in a way, summon the Sea Monster.

IT COULD BE WORSE. I ONCE LIVED ON 28TH STREET.

While doing our research, we encountered names of Islands off the Canadian coast like Queen Charlotte Island. So I named the fictional island we'd be using "Queen Florence Island."

Growing up in Woodland Hills, California, I lived on Queen Florence Lane, a street off Queen Victoria Road. Victoria and Florence were the daughters of Michael Curtiz, the director of such films as CASABLANCA. Curtiz, at one time, owned all the property in that area, so he named the two streets after his daughters.

OR so I once was told... by a ghost named Humphrey who tried to convince me that he was Humphrey Bogart, though you could tell by looking at him that he wasn't.

WHO EXACTLY IS THE SICK ONE HERE?

Elisa is so strong so much of the time, that it's kinda sexy to see her vulnerable and feverish.

Notice that Grandmother doesn't use Fairy magic to heal Elisa. She uses Haida medicine. Thus the rule of non-interference is bent not broken.

I like when Nick comes back in and the Fever's broken. And he says just don't tell me you cured her with tree bark.

When she says, "...and roots." His expression is priceless.

SEEING RED

I like the lighting in the Volcano scene.

Goliath is so glad to learn that other clans have survived, that he doesn't notice -- in fact defends -- the inconsistencies in Raven's story.

Angela, on the other hand is suspicious. This was done, in part, to further develop her character. She's naive about certain things. Having been raised by humans, she's not inclined to judge them harshly or fear their prejudices. But she's not stupid. Something doesn't smell right and she notices.

For once, Bronx though does not. I chalk this up to the high quantity of magic being tossed around on this dying island. Grandmother is not what she seems. Neither is Raven. Bronx is confused.

Anyway, Goliath speaks to Gargoyles protecting to explain away why "Raven's Clan" can both hate humans and protect them. You get the sense that he understands all too well. Like despite everything, there's a part of him -- a prejudiced part -- that hasn't forgiven the human race for what happened at Wyvern. (Also keep in mind, he was just at Wyvern again, rehashing all those old memories.)

Of course, once Goliath learns that Raven was pulling something, he's furious at the trickster. Playing on his hopes AND his prejudices, Raven has risked G's wrath.

At the end of this scene, the three silent gargs vanish magically.

Erin said: "What happened? What just happened?"
Benny said: "How did they just vanish?"

They know I know the answer. But I resist telling them. It's a touch cruel. What did you guys think?

YOU CAN TAKE THE GIRL OUT OF THE CITY...

Elisa is such a New Yorker. Everything is compared to that. "This sure isn't Central Park."

Anyway, Raven, then a bear, then Bronx and finally Angela and Goliath find Elisa. I love Goliath and Elisa's hug. It's so unselfconscious. They were so worried about each other that they forgot the usual distance that they maintain.

SUSPICIOUS MINDS

So who did you trust? When the gargs disappeared, that had to indicate that something was up with the Raven-goyle.

So when Goliath tells Elisa that Grandmother is a sorceress, particularly given that Grandmother saved Elisa's life, we all tend to think that G's been duped. Then we spot Grandmother turning into Thunderbird. What did you all think then?

Benny noticed "her ears" and suspected her even before she turned into T-Bird.

THAT'S GOTTA HOIT

A cool moment in the battle against T-Bird is when Goliath rakes the creature with his claws.

Then Angela spots the Illusion. And plays it cool with Raven.

I like Goliath's line to Grandmother: "We live. We do not thrive."

Grandmother than establishes that Raven is a Trickster and that they are both "Children of Oberon". Thus we establish that aspect of our series.

She states that they are forbidden from directly interfering in human affairs. Reinforcing what the Weird Sisters said a few episodes before.

Raven joins the party. The jigs up, but he revels in it. He's got a few decent lines too.

I like "It's so messy."

POOR HORATIO, ALWAYS A BRIDESMAID, NEVER A BRIDE

Elisa more-or-less quotes Shakespeare: "There are more things in heaven and earth, Natsilane, than are dreamt of in your philosophy."

I've always loved that line.

Anyway, Goliath and Angela depart to fight Raven. They arrive first, but given the fact that Nick had to...
1. Have a final change of heart.
2. Change clothes.
3. Get up to the volcano without wings.

...He makes good time, don't you think?

Raven brings the totem beasts to life. This was always a bit weird. We introduce illusion gargs based on the totem beasts. But then when we bring the totem pole to actual life (or semblance) we have new designs for the woody creatures.

Does everyone see Goliath play dead for that bear?

Raven has a nice exit line here: "This place no longer amuses me."

Neither does this Ramble.


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Chapter XXXIV: "Avalon, Part One"

There's no memo, outline or script for this one on my computer, so we'll head right into my ramble on...

"AVALON, PART ONE"
DIRECTOR: Dennis Woodyard.
WRITER: Lydia Marano.
STORY EDITOR: Brynne Chandler Reaves.

THE RECAP

...is all over the place. So much was coming together in this three-parter. The Weird Sisters, the eggs, the Archmage, Tom, Princess Katharine, the Magus, Macbeth, Demona. This was our most ambitious story yet. Which given episodes like "The Mirror" or "Vows" and multi-parters like "Awakening" and "City of Stone" was saying something.

Of course "Avalon" was never designed to be the cohesive single story movie that "City of Stone" was. It was designed as a tryptych. Part one would bring our heroes up to date. Part two would bring our villains up to date. Part three would pit them against each other.

"Avalon I" also represented the first episode in our fourth tier. The three-parter was what we called a 'tentpole'. We knew we couldn't air it until all the Tier 3 episodes had aired. And we knew we couldn't air any other Tier 4 episodes until this three-parter had aired. Despite the fact that "The Price" aired out of order, generally our Tentpole/Tier system worked very well. Out of 66 episodes that I worked on only two: "The Price" and "Kingdom" aired out of order, hopefully with minimal damage to the continuity.

THE TITLE

The title was one of mine. But initially I wasn't sure that we were going to call the island Avalon. Now, it's mind-boggling to me, but I actually had my assistant Monique Beatty (who's now a producer in her own right) research Brigadoon to find out if that name was created only for the musical, or if it was something pulled from legends. I was thinking of Avalon, but looking for something from a Scotish tradition as opposed to British. Fortunately, Brigadoon was created for the musical. So we were 'stuck' with Avalon. Which made including King Arthur a natural.

Many series don't reveal that an episode is going to be a multi-parter until you get to the 'To Be Continued' line at the closer. "Avalon, Part One" could have just been titled "Avalon". The conventional wisdom is that people are reluctant to commit the time to a multi-parter in advance. That it is better to hook them on the story before revealing that they HAVE to come back to see the end. I always felt that was cheating. What is your reaction to seeing "Part One" attached to a title?

OPENING

Another cool shot of our gargs waking up. Always nice to reiterate that at the start of our bigger stories.

Bronx gets left behind. Of course, this often happens. It was one of the things that the World Tour would set about correcting in a BIG way. But we made his getting left behind a bit more obvious here. Usually, he just doesn't go. This time they won't take him and he's sad. We were laying pipe.

My 5-year-old son Benny asked where Hudson and the Trio were going. I had to think about it. "On Patrol, I guess."

OLD FRIENDS

Then the GUARDIAN shows up. I love his cool, Goliath-inspired armor. My 7-year-old daughter Erin immediately demanded to know who he was. I wouldn't tell her. (I'm so mean.) Did any of you guess?

Of course he immediately encounters BRENDAN & MARGOT. (What would one of our multi-parters be without him?)

Then comes the three gang-bangers from "AWAKENING, PART THREE". As usual, Keith David does the voice for one of them -- making it distinctive from both Goliath and MORGAN, who's about to come in and speak. The problem is we got a touch confused. In Awakening, Keith voices the bald white guy. Here he does the same voice, but it's assigned to the black guy. Hard to say which is wrong, except by virtue of which came first. It annoys me though.

Morgan's fun in this. I really like him. No one but Simon DelMonte will get this, and I don't know if he even reads these rambles, but Morgan kind of reminds me of Jeff Goslin, a character that Cary Bates and I created in Captain Atom.

Anyway, I like how Morgan talks Guardian down. And I like how the sword is much heavier than he thought it was going to be. His cop buddies tease him, but he maintains his sense of wonder and goodness when talking about the Guardian to Elisa.

That's kind of a cool scene. First off he describes Guardian's armor: "Real armor. King Arthur stuff." Anyone think this was a clue to what was coming in the next episode? Even with the Avalon title? Then he tells her the guy's looking for Gargoyles. Elisa of course discourages her fellow officers from taking Garg reports seriously. Everyone who's seen one must be a nut-case. These guys should form 'a club'. Then she finds out that this Guardian was asking for Goliath by name. BOOM.

BELVEDERE CASTLE

Site of our last encounter with Demona and Macbeth. Another clue.

Once Elisa got a look at the Guardian's armor, she must have thought -- yeah, there's a Goliath connection here all right.

Goliath shows with Bronx, who gets to come along and come along and come along for once. Bronx always seemed underutilized to us. We knew we couldn't bring the whole clan along. (Too many characters and no poignancy.) But Bronx was an easy addition. Of course, Bronx is also useful as a kind of living personality test. If Bronx likes you, it's a damn good sign. Bronx likes Tom. Does he remember him? What scents do you figure the Guardian carried back from Avalon. Anyway, Bronx engenders immediate trust in the Guardian for Goliath.

I love this scene. Guardian gives everyone so little time to catch up. He talks about the Archmage, reveals that he's Tom and talks about 'the eggs' being in danger. *That was a fun idea. Keep you guys thinking in terms of eggs for twenty minutes and reveal that it's just a pet name for the Avalon Clan.*

Benny asked: "What kind of Eggs?"
Erin: "Gargoyle Eggs."
Benny: "I didn't know Gargoyles hatch out of eggs." [Well, keep in mind it's been a year since he saw the first thirty episodes. And he's too young to remember the first time he saw the ones we're watching now.]

Then there's the skiff. Elisa: "Where'd that boat come from? ... To where? The other side of the lake? ... Wait for me!"

This all sounds fishy to her. Nothing makes sense. I wanted to get a clear shot in there of the pond in Central Park so that you could see objectively that it doesn't go anywhere. But I never quite managed that. I wanted you guys to be confused. Or at any rate to have a million questions. But like Elisa, no matter how suspicious, I figured you'd want to go along for the ride.

FLASHBACK

Mary, Katharine, the Magus and young Tom are all reintroduced. It's very clear that the first three have all learned their lesson from Awakening. They've all really become better people. Tom, of course, didn't need to learn that lesson. But he does learn to be a hero. He officially becomes the Guardian. It begins, I believe, as just a nice gesture on the part of the Princess. Later, of course, it'll become the truth. Then there's the long journey. I like the montage there. Hardship. We never had the time to show enough of the hardship of tenth century life.

Our gang heads into Edinburgh. Constantine's followers are all over the place. They all seem to look like Disney storyboard artists for some reason. ;)

VOICES

There's some stellar voice work in this ep. Morgan Shepard as King Kenneth II. Sheena Easton making her Garg Premiere as Finella. Ian Buchanan as Constantine. (I've already mentioned Keith's versatility.)

But as usual, real props must be handed out to Jeff Bennnett and Kath Soucie.

Jeff plays Brooklyn, the Magus and Maol Chalvim. (No Bruno or Owen or Vinnie in this ep, I'm afraid.)

Kath plays Katharine, Mary and all three Weird Sisters.

They're amazing.

SOAP OPERA

Benny saw Finella and said: "That's one of the witches."

A year ago, Tom was his favorite character. Now Tom barely registered. And he really is fascinated with the Weird Sisters. Anyway, I corrected him, but I was glad that they were appearing later.

Ian Buchanan, once of General Hospital, is playing a cad here. We have to very quickly set up a lot of politics, sexual and otherwise. This story was as historical as we could make it based on the available research, the fact that we had to fit in a few fictional characters and eggs, and screen time compression.

Believe it or not, we also had another character originally that we cut early on because it was just getting too damn complicated. Katharine and Maol Chalvim's cousin: the future King Kenneth III. The father of Bodhe. Yep. That Bodhe. The father of Gruoch.

Kenneth III winds up being made High King of Scotland after Constantine is killed. To get a sense of their relationship, at least as I see it, you might want to check out "Once upon a time there were three brothers..."

(Or to give you a hint, ten years after the events depicted here, King Kenneth III would be murdered by Maol Chalvim's operatives during a civil war. Maol Chalvim was also known as Malcolm Forranach, the Destroyer. We used the Maol Chalvim version of his name so as not to confuse him with Katharine's father Prince Malcolm. Just as in City of Stone we emphasized Malcolm Canmore's Canmore name for the same reason.)

Anyway, Maol Chalvim seems intense but right on the money here. He's even kind of heroic when he and the Magus bring Tom back to Katharine's apartment, and he begs Katharine to go. Kind of heroic. He still leaves her. We were trying very hard to balance out his minor role here with his future roll as the grandfather of and major influence on Duncan. (Of course, he's also Macbeth's grandfather, as well.)

After Katharine tells Maol to go, there's a weird cut of him just standing there smiling. We needed some kind of transition before he took off running, and I guess that was the best we could do. But it's still awkward as hell.

THE MURDER

But I'm getting ahead of myself.

We establish early on that Katharine doesn't think much of Constantine. You wouldn't know it from Awakening, but obvioulsy she's learned to be a decent judge of character.

Kenneth isn't quite so sharp. Everyone can see that he's a fool for Finella. And he doesn't recognize Constantine's threat (despite the fact that Constantine's father was a bitter enemy and) despite the fact that his son flat out tells him to beware. My thinking was that the crown had kept bouncing back and forth between different branches of the royal family. Kenneth had hoped that by taking Constantine in, instead of banishing him, he'd be able to be a positive influence on the boy. A nice idea perhaps, but maybe Kenneth was too innattentive to pull it off. And Maol probably was too covetous to really be a brother to young Con.

Anyway, Constantine tricks Finella and kills the king. We hear Finella sobbing, just to prove that she was neither in on it nor that she would approve of it. (Though one wonders what her reaction would have been down the road if Constantine hadn't spurned her in favor of Katharine. Would she have adjusted to the crime? Or did Constantine become an unredeemable villain in her eyes immediately? I hate to say it, but I tend to think it's the former. Actually, I don't hate to say it. She's more interesting to write that way.)

Erin asked: "He killed King Arthur? Why?"

That's a tough question. So first I had to explain that it was King Kenneth, not King Arthur. Then my wife Beth helped out by explaining that Constantine wanted to be king.

We come back from the act and we see that Constantine was ready for the takeover. The Banners are immediately changed in a scene clearly inspired by the Ian McKellan (spelling?) movie version of Shakespeare's Richard III. (A version I heartily recommend, by the way.)

We also continue to set up the Magus' own tragedy. He loves Katharine. Has loved her since before Awakening. That feeling is shown to deepen here when she is once again in danger. And when Constantine tries to coerce her into marrying him. (The astute Mary and Tom have to hold him back.) Here, we sense that maybe Katharine might some day return that love. That's what I wanted you all to think anyway. Did you?

Constantine takes his crown. Originally we wanted to stage this with the Stone of Destiny as we did with Macbeth. But again, I think we just had too many sets.

Michaelmas. I just like that word.

Constantine is fairly astute himself: "You have 36 very good reasons to obey." We kept reiterating the number of eggs for what was coming later.

THE ESCAPE

The Magus disguises broken pots as eggs and vice-versa. But it always seemed to me that the kitchen staff at Edinburgh sure broke a lot of pots. I mean a LOT!

I like the lines: "Taking the wee bairns for a walk?" and "I don't think I like Gargoyle eggs." Very menacing.

Princess K burns her wedding dress. She feels she cannot leave because C will follow her to "the ends of the Earth." So the Magus responds: "Then I will take you beyond them." Again. Very romantic moment between them.

Finella joins the troop. The WOMAN SCORNED. She's really fun now. Dangerous. I always laugh when Constantine drinks the brew and collapses so abruptly.

Erin: "The Weird Sisters". My kids are just fascinated with this trio. I wonder if they still will be by the end of this three-parter or if like many fans, they will be disappointed?

They get turned into owls. But the Magus worries about giving up the source of his power. K doesn't care about that.

And Finella and Mary agree to take the book. I love these two. I think they'd make a totally kick-ass team. I doubt it would be commercial enough, but I'd love to do a spin-off show just with these two women. At any rate, there was the plan to include them as recurring characters in TimeDancer.

Tom has to leave his mother and his childhood behind. Now his role as the Guardian is a way for Katharine to make him accept the loss. It is the start of their relationship, though neither knows it. I watch this now, and I can't help thinking of the Anakin & Padma relationship and where that's destined to go.

AVALON

Back to the present. We see the impressive shores of Avalon. Very cool painting.

Bronx reacts. Guardian: "He's found the eggs..." And the music swells and two gargs and a garg beast appear on the cliff.

Now is that a cliff-hanger or what? What was your reaction?

Erin and Benny wanted "to see ther rest!" I told them they'd have to wait a week and we got a lot of protesting. Just what I was hoping for.

Anyway, that's my ramble. Where's yours?


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Lord Sloth writes...

1) I was reading FAQ and in the timedancer section you talked about an antagonist called Calaban. Who is Calaban?
2) In the FAQ for bad guys, you mentioned an antagonist named Falstaff. Who is he?
3) Thanks a bunch

Greg responds...

For both these guys, I have no intention of revealing my intentions at this time. But if you want a look at the original sources...

Caliban appears in William Shakespeare's THE TEMPEST.

Falstaff is introduced in Shakespeare's HENRY IV, PART ONE. He reappears in HENRY IV, PART TWO and is spun-off in THE MERRY WIVES OF WINDSOR. He dies off-stage in HENRY V.

Response recorded on April 26, 2002

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LSZ writes...

By 2198, how much of New Olympian history is known to human scholars?

Greg responds...

It's been years since I read it...

I think his historical and mythological background work is VERY helpful. I loved it.

But his interpretations of the plays seem very one-dimensional to me. In particular, he regards Hamlet as ambitious. He seems ONLY to regard Hamlet as ambitious and won't acknowledge that one of the most complex characters in Western Culture might have other aspects to his personality.

Mostly, I'd leave these things for individual readers to judge, but Asimov's name carries so much weight, that I felt a caveat was necessary.

Response recorded on January 23, 2002

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Todd Jensen writes...

The posting of the FAQ (thanks, Bishansky and JEB!) and your comments on them (including the "Weird Macbeth" part) prompted a question about this unmade two-parter from me.

We know that you had planned the following casting choices for this episode:

Macbeth as himself (or, more accurately, as his Shakespearean counterpart).
Demona as Lady Macbeth (the role that she was hatched to play :)
Goliath as Macduff
Elisa as Lady Macduff

Do you remember any of the other casting decisions for this story (i.e., who was to play Duncan, Malcolm, Banquo, Fleance, the Porter, etc.)?

Greg responds...

Hudson was Duncan, I believe.

The rest I don't remember off-hand, largely because I don't think I had done much casting. It never got past the premise stage, unfortunately. It was the one story that I wanted to do that upper-management wouldn't approve. Even then, they were willing to approve it for a single episode. But I felt I couldn't do it justice in 22 minutes. So in essence, I'm the one who kiboshed it.

That really says something about the creative freedom we were given on the show. 66 episodes. And only one semi-rejected premise.

Response recorded on January 22, 2002

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Anonymous writes...

Did you plan to introduce any other Shakespeare plays into the Gargoyles Universe besides MacBeth, Ill Met by Moonlight and the Tempest? What did Oberon, Titania and Puck think of Ill Met by Moonlight? What did Prospero think of the Tempest?

Greg responds...

I assume you mean "A Midsummer Night's Dream"...

Anyway, yes.

I like to think that all were happy enough with Shakespeare's work. But except for Macbeth's reaction, I haven't fully worked out the responses in my mind.

Response recorded on October 17, 2001

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Lord Sloth writes...

In the old ask Greg, you told someone to repost a queston (what did Demona think of the play, Macbeth?) latter, after you thought about it. Well, I'm asking now.

Also, you said that Macbeth was highly amused by the play about him. Were you being sarcastic? I'd imagein that he would OUTRAGED at how William treated him, and his wife and made Duncan and Malcolm the mistreated ones. So was that just a smart ass answer on your part?

Greg responds...

No.

Response recorded on August 06, 2001

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Gabriel writes...

Back again,
Do think Goliath likes James Joyce or William Faulkner? Just wanting to know 'cause I am trying out DUBLINERS, and I always have difficulty reading ABSALOM,ABSALOM! and, after three attempts, can never get past the third chapter! ARGH! I had an easier time with SOUND AND THE FURY. OK, thanks.

Greg responds...

Goliath loves Shakespeare and Dostoyevski. I also love Shakespeare, but have trouble with Dostoyevski. I also LOVE Faulkner and have some trouble with Joyce. It suggests that Goliath's tastes are a bit more mature than mine.

Which is a long way of saying, Yes, he likes both.

Response recorded on July 27, 2001

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Gabriel writes...

Hi Greg,
I was going through the old archives and found that you had a hard time reading MERCHANT OF VENICE because of the anti-semitism you find in it. Well, I just thought you might like to check this out: one of my soon-to-be professors wrote a book called SHYLOCK AND THE JEWISH QUESTION, where he argues that MERCHANT... is not, in fact, an anti-semetical work at all. I didn't read that book, but I just thought to shed some new light or somehting like that. Oh, and if you do want to check this book out, the author's name is Martin Yaffe.

Greg responds...

Thanks, I've heard of that book. Haven't gotten around to reading it yet.

In the long run, however, I personally don't think MERCHANT OF VENICE succeeds as an anti-semitic work. In fact, quite the reverse it winds up on the whole playing as, uh, pro-semitic?

But there are clear anti-semitic assumptions built into the work. Built into how Shakespeare was raised. Things that he doesn't know how to escape, may not even want to escape... but largely overcomes -- in spite of his intentions, to my mind. Because his power in drawing characters is so tremendous that he doesn't know how to create the stock Jewish villain without giving that character real life.

Response recorded on July 20, 2001

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Lord Sloth writes...

"I'll meet by moonlight" questions:
1 How does that name apply to the episode?
2 Why did Titanya and Oberon bother to make such a grand entrance? Or was that Avalon welcoming them back?
3 When Goliath, Gabreal and Angie fall into that water being filled filled by very hot lava, should not the water be too hot to swim in?
4 When Oberon made Goliath & his clan immune to his arts, was this some sota spell to make Oberon and his childern's magic not affect him, or was he saying he wouln't use his magic agenst them, or what?
5 By the end of the Gathering, did Oberon renew his promise about Goliath and clan being immune to his arts?

Greg responds...

Not "I'll meet". "Ill Met". Very different.

1. It was an ill meeting under the moon when Oberon meets our gang. It's also a Shakespearean reference from "A Midsummer Night's Dream" the scene where Shakespeare introduces Oberon and Titania.

2. They do everything grand.

3. Stop calling her Angie.

4. Both.

5. He didn't have to. His word is law.

Response recorded on July 11, 2001

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LSZ writes...

Where was the island of the Tempest in the Gargoyle universe? Does it still exist?

Greg responds...

See my previous response.

Response recorded on July 11, 2001

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LSZ writes...

1) In the Gargoyles universe, what happened to Caliban at the end of the Tempest?
2) Chronologically, where are the events of the Tempest placed in the Garg universe?

Greg responds...

1. Not telling how the Tempest will be integrated.
2. See 1.

Response recorded on July 11, 2001

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zakhur writes...

How did you come up the idea for Queen Mab, was it before or after Oberon first appered on the show?

Greg responds...

After. But not long after. Mab's in Shakespeare, sort of. In a speech by Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet. So she was a natural addition to our ensemble.

Response recorded on July 10, 2001

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Anonymous writes...

Greg;

I have seen many episodes of TV shows that use language and action from various literary sources. They use the TV shows characters to act out the literary source (Like Romeo and Juliet with Leo DiCaprio [same words, different setting]).

1) Did you ever want to try this style with Gargoyles using Shakespear or some other author, like Kipling? I mean, not useing your own written dialogue?

2) Would this infringe on copy writes or something, if you wanted to do it?

Greg responds...

1. Yes, I did.

2. Not if it was someone in the public domain like Shakespeare.

Response recorded on July 09, 2001

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Gabe writes...

Hi,
I just wanted to make a comment:
I think it was very creative and cool to make the cold trio's drama be closley paralleled to Shakespear's OTHELLO. Except for the few inconsistantsies (i.e. Othello-Colstone not being a commander like Othello, Goliath taking on Cassio's role, and the absence of a Rodrigo, and the whole bit with Othello's tissue) I thought evrything was played-out well and done correctly; Iago-coldsteele wasn't as "Machiavellian" as was Iago in the play, but he still had that same pure-evil aura, and Desdemona-Coldfire isn't as naive as Desdemona in the play. It would be neat just see the play done by the characters of the show.
Anyways just thought I'd say that since OTHELLO is one of my favorite plays and plot-lines (almost ranked next to HAMLET and MADAEM BOVARY in my book).
Oops, I lied, I do have a quesiton, nothing too difficult, though: What kind of music would you say the Manhatten clan would listen to? That just popped in my head; I don't know why :).

Greg responds...

I don't know. Carl Johnson stuff mostly.

I'd love to use the Gargoyles characters to perform a whole variety of Shakespeare Plays. Othello's obvious. (Can you see Vinnie as Rodrigo?)

Response recorded on July 02, 2001

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Jessica writes...

How would you compare Desdemona's love towards Othello, to shakespear's sonnet # 116, Let Me Not the Marriage of true Minds

Greg responds...

I'm sorry, but I don't have my copy of the sonnets with me -- and I don't have them memorized.

You feel like typing it out?

Response recorded on June 27, 2001

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Erin Peretti writes...

I am absolutely fascinated with your comment that Gargoyle's MacBeth was more historically accurate than Shakespeare's (obviously ommitting Demona and immortality).

What parts were more accurate?

I know this is a pain, but would you happen to know where I could find some historically accurate accounts of Macbeth? His home, his full name, whether Duncan was the perfect king potrayed in the play, etc....

What research materials did you use when writing Mac for Gargoyles?

Is Glamis castle in Scotland really Mac's castle, as I have been told?

Thanks so much!!!

Greg responds...

Most of the research on Macbeth was done by Monique Beatty and Tuppence Macintyre. I did little or none myself. (I didn't have time.) Monique was my assistant (and is now a producer in her own right). Tup is a close friend and a Los Angeles Deputy District Attorney.

I know Holinshed was of some use. But I don't know what other books they used specifically.

Almost everything we did -- minus the gargs and Weird Sisters and the Mask of the Hunter -- was more accurate historically than Shaekespeare. (Not better, just more accurate.) Duncan and his father hired Gillecomgain to assassinate Mac's father. They rewarded him with Mac's title and with Gruouch. Mac eventually killed Gille and married Gruoch, adopting her boy Lulach as his own. There were some rumours that Lulach WAS his child.

Mac killed Duncan in battle, not while Duncan was a guest in his house. Mac ruled wisely for seventeen years and was overthrown by Malcolm Canmore, who was backed by the English. Etc.

I'm not 100% sure about Glamis, but I believe Macbeth's historical home was Castle Moray (also called Murray).

Response recorded on March 13, 2001

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Duncan Devlin writes...

Was the name Demona derived more from it's relationship to the word demon or or from the name Desdemona in Shakespeare's Othello (or was it a mix). Basically, which came first to the idea board. (I think I'm open for a smart-ass response as well as a real one.)

Greg responds...

I don't have a smart ass response to this. Demona came from Demon. Desdemona (and the obvious aural connection to Demona) was a pleasant "surprise" that came later when we were working on Coldstone. Now if you're asking whether or not, somewhere in the back of my head, the Desdemona name was floating around and had an influence... well, I can't be sure.

Response recorded on March 02, 2001

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Oberon writes...

In the Gargoyle Universe are Prospero, Caliban, Ariel, and Miranda still alive? Secorax? Setebose?
What race is Caliban?

Greg responds...

I'm not revealing any of this at this time.

Response recorded on March 01, 2001

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Ray Kremer writes...

All the rambles on City of Stone recently brought back some memories. While that season was airing I was in High school, and the English Class that semester was British Literature. Beowulf, Canterbury Tales, and of course Shakespere. We did the Scottish play not too long after CoS aired and when I was reading the book the voice of John Rhys-Davies always found its way into my head.

The classroom also had a big poster of the complete family tree of the royalty of the British Isles. You can imagine how much fun it was to look back to 11th century Scotland and find the names of Gillecomgain, Gruoch, and Luoch right there with MacBeth, Duncan, and Malcom Cannmore.

Then when we got to Arthurian Legend I asked the teacher what the significance of Avalon was besides being Arthur's final resting place, half expecting to hear it was the traditional home of the fairy kingdom. (Never could be too sure what was real, what you were making up, and what was some of both.)

Greg responds...

It was (in many works) the traditional home of the fairy kingdom. I wasn't making that up.

Response recorded on March 01, 2001

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Bruno writes...

Hi, Greg,

In your "Vows" ramble, you asked from were came "more's the pity".

Well, I was reading Richard III and found it in the scene 1, act 1: Hastings and Gloucester are talkin about Hastings being freed from the tower, and Clarence throwed there:

HASTINGS
MORE PITY that the eagle should be mew'd,
While kites and buzzards prey at liberty.

Greg responds...

Yeah. But is that the original? And how and when did it take the current form?

Response recorded on February 15, 2001

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LSZ writes...

Would Caliban appear in any series besides Timedancer?

Greg responds...

Yes.

Response recorded on January 26, 2001

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Dannielle writes...

what specifically does the word exeunt mean in macbeth?

Greg responds...

It means "exit". But for multiple people.

I exit.
You exit.
He exits.
She exits.
It exits.
We exeunt.
They exeunt.

(Although, the teacher in me wanted to answer: "Hey, Danielle, LOOK IT UP in a dictionary." It's there in Webster's New Collegiate. I just checked. And you would have gotten the answer faster.)

Response recorded on January 17, 2001

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Heather N. Allen writes...

Salutations! (hmm, I ALWAYS think of "Charlotte's Web" whenever I see that...)

Anyway, just wanted to share a little testimony with you and all the kiddies out there about NOT doing your research:

See, I am a major Gargoyles fan (well, that's a given). And right now, in my senior lit class, we are reading Shakespeare's "Macbeth". Well, of course I thought I was going to be all smart and show everyone up with my (so I thought) vast knowledge on everyone's favorite immortal Scotsman. Now mind you, I didn't think the REAL Macbeth was still alive running around chasing after gargoyles and ancient swords (I'm not THAT dense!), but I basically thought he was a not-so-bad guy who was king somewhere in Scotland's history. Needless to say I was shocked to find that the play's Macbeth is (in a way) truly villainous! The play's Lady Macbeth is fiendish, as well! And the play's Duncan is a hapless, good-intentioned king who was unjustly murdered! And to think, if I had raised my hand to explain Macbeth to the class just a few minutes sooner, I'd have been made a fool of in front of my peers! (Well, Greg, at least now I understand better than most what you meant when you said the Gargs Universe Macbeth would be amused by the Shakespearean version of himself...)

The moral of our story--you've got library cards, kids: USE THEM. And if you don't, then at least keep quiet until AFTER the introduction to the story is over when YOUR lit class starts reading Shakespeare.

~H\A~
(who DID finish her abandoned "A Midsummer Night's Dream" due to Gargoyles ;)

Greg responds...

Heather,

Do keep in mind that aside from the gargoyles, immortality and magic, that our Macbeth was in fact more historically accurate than Shakespeare's. (I'm not saying better, by any means, just truer to history as we know it.)

Response recorded on December 21, 2000

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Chapter XXI: "Vows"

Written by Shari Goodhartz
Michael Reaves, Story Editor

Benny: "But Daddy, when it's dark they get alive. But when it's light, the get frozen like a statue."

Last night, the kids, my sister, my wife and I all watched "Vows" together. Time to ramble.

Back to the Golden Cup Bakery Building. As I noted in the previously posted memo about this episode, I wanted a little opening battle, but I didn't want to waste time in a tight, packed script explaining how this came about. It does beg the question though. Assume that X contacted Elisa. She told Goliath. He went ALONE? His friends allowed this? Hmmm.

Xanatos knows from the letter to himself what to do, but I sometimes wonder just how detailed the letter was. I like to think it was fairly sketchy. That exactly HOW Xanatos got Goliath to come was his own machinations. Otherwise, though he takes the credit for the letter, the truth is that the plan itself wasn't his idea. He got the idea from the letter. And he wrote the letter based on what he had done, which he had gotten from the letter. None of this is really his to own, though he does claim ownership. So I like to think that at least some of the details were X's. For example, X knows what G will respond to, i.e. Demona.

Hudson, on hearing about the wedding, suddenly makes the connection to the long ago incident when he met the Goliath from the future. So he's strangely ambivalent. Elisa on the other hand, seems flat out jealous to me. After the events of "The Mirror" and "Eye of the Beholder", she's much more aware and focused on her feelings for Goliath. SHE DOES NOT WANT TO ACT ON THOSE FEELINGS. At this time, she thinks it's impossible. But that doesn't change how she feels. And now, she's jealous. Goliath's feelings for Elisa are just as intense, but so are his feelings for the "Angel" of his youth. He HAS to give it one last chance. (And this will be the last chance. The final nail in the coffin of his and Demona's "marriage".) Brooklyn, meanwhile, is just knee-jerk against anything involving Demona.

PETROS XANATOS is introduced. Again, I wonder why he was invited. Was he also included in the letter? Or did Xanatos invite him to prove something to his father. Is X that needy? Or did X invite him to the wedding, because of course he'd invite his father to his wedding, and his already planned "honeymoon" to 975 shouldn't alter his decorum. Perhaps he's mildly surprised his father winds up coming along? Anyway, Petros was a fun character. A tough hard physical man. With morals. A great contrast to the son. I knew even then that we'd give Petros and David an arc to their relationship, (one that eventually would culminate in Gathering2).

"Oh, reason not the need." A little King Lear is always nice. And I love Petros' attitude on the line, "And the armor?" I mean what would you say to your son if you saw him dressed like that? I'd like to know how many people had sort of forgotten that X was even wearing armor (we're so used to it) until Petros made an issue of it?

I love all the irony in the dialogue between Petros and David. David knows what he's planning. He must be smiling when Petros says "I'd like to get my hands on the man who gave you that coin." And when David says, "Someday, I'll prove to you that I'm a self-made man," he must really be patting himself on the back.

I love the voice work of Keith and Marina when doing their teen-age counterparts. So subtle, yet it's always clear which Goliath and Demona is talking at any given moment.

CONTINUITY:
Gotta love that storage room in the clock tower. The Eye of Odin, the Grimorum, half the Phoenix Gate, and, oh, yes, a comatose Coldstone. By the way, despite what the memo said, I think generally, Goliath carried that Gate in the pouch attached to his belt. Not behind some brick. We hadn't actually come up with that pouch yet, not until the World Tour. But using RetCon, I think that's where he kept it until they moved to the clock tower and Demona tried to kill him, Hudson and Elisa in "Long Way to Morning".

One interesting thing: this is the first episode where we actually CONFIRM that the ILLUMINATI does exist. Matt's mentioned it. Even chased it in SILVER FALCON, but we've never been shown any proof of it's existence until now. Was anyone surprised by that?

Judge Roebling was interesting in theory, though not so much in the episode. I'd like to do more with him some day. I also thought that it was interesting that despite seeing the tape of the Gargoyles in advance. And not reacting outwardly when he saw Goliath, he still gasps when Demona enters. What is it about her? When she entered, Benny turned to me and said: "She's queen of the Gargoyles." Oh. So that's it.

(And everytime Xanatos and Fox are on screen together, Benny likes to point out that he and Erin dressed up as them at the last Gathering. "That's me. That's you, Erin.")

To some extent, X must have filled D in on his plan. I love her "acting" when she enters and gives her bitter "excuse" for being there to Goliath. She's playing hard to get!

I love Petros: "Unnacceptable." He's still trying to teach David the error of his ways.

The Gate itself is very idiosyncratic. It's size, the size of its portal, and the duration the portal stays open seems to vary not just from episode to episode but from scene to scene. Sometimes it annoys me, like when Princess Elena removes the Gate from her sleeve, and suddenly it's bigger than her hand. But now I'm just amused by it. Again, if you think of it as a steam valve for the timestream, it explains a lot.

I love the little sound that Paca put in when the two pieces of the Gate first come together. What a tip-off that was, yet it's subtle. Did anyone think about the significance of the talisman that Demona had shared with Goliath before she started speaking in Latin and flames appeared out of nowhere?

It was hard to make people understand the time loop a bit. But it seemed really hard to make them see why I kept wanting to repeat scenes to show the connective tissue. We had to squeeze in Owen's "Honeymoon" line the second time. No one left space for it.

For the first of many times in the series, someone (X) says the line: "It's not where, it's when". (Erin: "I know when.")

I love X & Fox's relationship. "Having fun." "A marvelous time." Great stuff.

Hudson gets a close look at 1995 Goliath and immediately sees the age and wear and tear on the guy. (I love the shot of Goliath gagging him.) That says a lot for Hudson, because the visual difference between the two Gs was extremely subtle in the animation -- when it existed at all.

Knowing what we had planned (more or less) for Avalon, we were already laying groundwork here for that. Setting up the combined power of the Gate, Grimorum and Eye. Setting up the Archmage's desire for that power. Further demonstrating his enmity for the people he'd wind up using. Of course, making Demona his apprentice was fun. Tells a lot about her own desire for power that even when she was a good girl, she was still willing to work for the Archmage in order to learn his secrets. Willing even to steal for him.

The Norman Ambassador and Prince Malcolm make a BIG deal about how odd the Xanatoses' clothes are. But were they THAT strange? Was Fox's wedding gown that odd? And even if they were strange, did they look as shabby as Prince Malcolm seemed to suggest?

Not every episode gives you a double wedding. Fox and David. Elena and Malcolm. Hey, did anyone notice that we married off our lead villain? That was very daring, and we all but threw it away in Act One. Was anyone expecting Fox and X to really get married? And once they were, did you think you'd see them have a kid by season's end? I think we broke new ground there.

I like the exchange between Goliath and Hudson. Goliath's trying to explain that he's not a creature of sorcery, but a time traveler. H: "And I suppose you came back in time on the wind." O.k., well sorcery was involved if you're gonna get technical. And Goliath has some amusing tense problems while trying to describe what happened in his recent past, Hudson's FAR future. Then Hudson looks him in the eye and decides to trust him on no further evidence. Cool.

I knew a girl named Bryant from Bar Harbor, Maine once. That's where we got X's home town.

Fox is so proud of her man. But I love Petros' "Mr. Big-Shot Time Traveler" line. Or rather I love the way Morgan Shepard read the line.

How hard did Demona try to do things differently from the way she remembered them being done? She knows Goliath is going to fly down to try and join her and her younger self. She tries to leave before he can get there. But the gate stays open long enough for him to go with. Did it ever occur to her to go somewhen else other than 994? I guess part of it could be chalked up to dim memory. It was over a thousand years ago. And Demona lived through that 1000 years. Even for a very significant event in her life, it must still be very hazy.

That exchange between Demona and Demona is a lot of fun. Demona is so brutal to Demona. (And, hey, she spells out the Gate's power to any audience member who hasn't yet caught on.) "Do not share it with-- Do not share it!" I love that line. Also:

"I am what you will become."
"I will never be like you."
"I don't want to hurt you."
"And I don't want to BE you."

pretty cool stuff.

I also like the moment when we have two gates rolling about on the floor and young Demona and older Goliath both bend over to pick them up. At first we had a lot of discussion as to who should pick up which gate. But the discussion became moot, since after the gate pieces were reunited, they almost always seemed like they had never been broken in the first place. Magic.

And the young Demona, older Goliath scene is also gorgeous.

"What am I to do?"
"Nothing."

Love that. Love his whole "Do nothing/attend the petty jealousy" speech. I think it's very pretty. Very sad. At that moment, does Goliath hope he's changing the future? Or is he simply trying to spare this young Angel a couple extra decades of pain?

Showing Demona's natural bents again: Goliath isn't sure if he remembers the incantation, though he's heard it multiple times by this point. Young Demona, having only heard it ONCE, does remember and uses the Gate perfectly.

"Time Travel's funny that way." At least it is in the Gargoyle Universe with the strict, strict rules that I imposed. Of course, I've always thought that those strict rules made the stories more challenging for the writer and, yet, more fun and satisfying for the viewer.

I also really like Petros' "American Penny" speech. For once the "Xanatos Tag" of victory doesn't go to David.

Where did the expression "More's the pity." come from? I've heard it many times. I know what it means, though that's more from sound and context than from the words themselves. What am I quoting when I use it? Does anyone know? (This isn't a contest. I really don't know.)

Finally, my tape has the weird mistake ending that first aired, which shows Demona and Goliath in the clock tower. It's pretty, but it drives me nuts and I think it's really confusing. But I've talked about that many times before, and I'm sick of it, so this time, I'll let it go.

COMMENTS WELCOME!


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Maverick writes...

Greg;
I read you post on 'The Mirror' and you asked if it sent anyone to the library. Well it did. the first time I saw the ep I could not get that title (A Midsummer Night's Dream) out of my head so what did I do? I went and read the whole thing the very next day. (I love the play now.)

Thanks!

Greg responds...

You're welcome. And thank you for proving me right.

Response recorded on November 02, 2000

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Maverick writes...

Greg;
Have you seen the live play 'A Midsummer Night's Dream'?

B) Did you like it?

Greg responds...

Of course. Many, many times.

In general, I LOVE it! Though I've seen some productions I've loved more than others.

Response recorded on November 02, 2000

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Ed writes...

Was Richard III really as bad as Shakespeare made him out to be? And what did happen to those two princes in the tower?

Greg responds...

In what universe are you asking?

Response recorded on October 19, 2000

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Vashkoda writes...

1a) You said that Brooklyn would travel to the "Future Tense/2158/?" era both before and after he met Katana. From the perspective of those living during this future period, did Brooklyn's first visit (when he was alone) happen *after* he had already appeared with his family? b) If so, did the people during that time reveal (perhaps accidentally) to Brooklyn that he was going to have a family?

2) You said that Brooklyn keeps "chasing" after the Gate because he wants to get home. Although I'd understand why this would be important to him when he's alone and memories of home are still fresh on his mind, I would think that after 40 years and having the comfort of his family, getting home wouldn't be as critical to him. Am I wrong, or does Brooklyn find a new reason to be motivated to return home to the present?

Greg responds...

1. I'm not answering that now.

2. Odysseus traveled for twenty years. Brooklyn for 40. (But he was only awake for 20.) Sometimes we reason not the need.

Response recorded on September 25, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

This is a comment inspired by your recent answers to the "Tempest" question. While you never did manage to get "The Tempest" into Gargoyles outright (and I found that a pity, for my own part), I've sometimes thought that Angela does resemble Miranda a little (in the same way that, to me, Thailog resembles Edmund in "King Lear" and Demona Shylock) - there's the same general concept there of a sweet, innocent girl being brought up on a mysterious magical island and filled with wonder at the outside world (Miranda's "brave new world" lines strike me as being just as suitable for Angela as they were for the original speaker). I just thought that you might be interested.

Greg responds...

Yeah. Angela/Miranda. That's there. But I won't pretend I was conscious of it. But like with Thailog/Edmund, the play is such an intrinsic part of my consciousness and education, I'm sure I was influenced by it.

Response recorded on September 05, 2000

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Emmlei writes...

This is in reply to my questions you answered. You wondered if I'd read the intro to 'Ask Greg,' I did, but I'd completely forgotten that part of it :P. I didn't realize it until a couple weeks later. So let me rephrase the 'Tempest' question.
1. Which characters were you going to have introduced into the active part of the series? Which would be relagated to flashbacks?
2. What are your takes on at least Caliban and Ariel?
3. What type of relation to the regular characters would the 'Tempest' characters have? ie, would it be immeadiate allies-type, gradual respect-type (like Macbeth's), or would they be enemies?

Greg responds...

1. Prospero, Caliban, Ariel.
1a. The humans, including Prospero's daughter.
2. That's not a simple question.
3. Not saying now.

Response recorded on August 23, 2000

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Greg "Xanatos" Bishansky writes...

Greg, thanks for the ramble about taking your kids to see "A Midsummer Night's Dream". Nice to see you passing Shakespeare on to the next generation. Though Erin and Ben are not the only ones you're teaching/taught it to.

I have yet to see "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (though I saw the movie) performed, but I saw "Titus" last summer, and as you know "A Winter's Tale" with Keith David recently. I loved both of them and look forward to seeing more. Though originally (before "Gargoyles"), I thought of Shakespeare the way your average teenager thinks of it... as boring old books.

Through "Gargoyles" I learned to love and appreciate the Immortal Bard and his works. I planned to tell you this at the Gathering, but at the last minute I could not make it. I'll see you again next year though.

Not just Shakespeare, you inspired me to pick up a book.

Greg responds...

Thanks. That really makes me happy.

Sorry you missed the Gathering. Bring your brother to the next one.

Response recorded on August 23, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

I read (and very much enjoyed) your ramble about taking your kids to see "A Midsummer Night's Dream". I recall attending a performance of that play some years ago (I believe that it was early 1994), which I very much enjoyed. One particular feature of it (which seems almost like a forerunner of "Gargoyles" - which hadn't yet come out when I saw it) was that Philostrate, Theseus's "Master of Ceremonies", was played by a woman, who did the character with a style best described as a "female Owen" - very capable, efficient, and formal. (Makes one wonder if Vogel was Puck's only inspiration :)

(Another Shakespearean performance that I've seen, done by the same company, was a sort of "double feature" of "Hamlet" and Tom Stoppard's "Rosencrantz and Guildenstern Are Dead", which did the two plays on alternate nights, but with the same cast and even the same stage business for those scenes from "Hamlet" that showed up in the Stoppard play - which made seeing the latter all the more an interesting experience after having seen "Hamlet" only a little earlier).

Greg responds...

Most Philostrate's I've seen have been doubled by the actor playing Puck. Sometimes as the actor simply playing two characters, sometimes clearly as the actor playing Puck who then plays Philostrate.

That probably did help inspire me, deep down. Fed the revelation. Of course, Owen himself was introduced before we even knew Puck was going to be in the series.

I've been dying to see Hamlet and "Rosencrantz..." in rep. You lucky dog.

Response recorded on August 23, 2000

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Ambrosia writes...

*Chuckles*
I just read your account of taking your kids to see A Midsummer Night's Dream. You are such a cool dad.
When you said that before you went, you tried to tell them the plotline of the play so they'd know what to expect, it reminded me of a public speaking class I just took over the summer at my JC. The last and most valuable (point-wise) speech was the "entertaining speech" and I figured that the plot from Midsummer had always entertained me and made me laugh... not to mention it would take about 1-5 minutes to explain in a condensed version.

The result? I lost five points with the explanation "consider your audience."

"My audience" was a roomful of intelleigent, 18-40something college students!!! I don't think any of them followed it. Too many names and too complicated, I was told.
But, enough of my whining. I think it's great that Erin and Benny are starting so early with Shakespeare.

Greg responds...

Me too.

Response recorded on August 23, 2000

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Laura 'ad astra' Ackerman writes...

In answer to a series of question I asked about Oberon and Titania's children (together and otherwise) and the events of Midsummer Night's Dream you mentioned "the pedophile theory" and said, "(platonic or otherwise) [it] still may fit the play best. Haven't worked out whether it applies to the Garg Universe." I must admit to ignorance, what theory?

Strangely enough I never really enjoyed reading Midsummer. Usually I like reading Shakespeare as much as watching, but I just couldn't get into it when last I tried. As a result I can't stand by my inability if seeing anything fitting that description in the play. In seeing the play the boy barely did anything but be handed around and look cute, but performances are already interpretations with choices. Are you saying there is a theory that Oberon wanted the kid for reasons other than being annoyed Titania was ignoring him, or that Titania was interested in the kid in ways other than adopting a dead friend's (or was it worshiper?- I don't remember well enough) child. I don't remember having that sort of theory come up outside of Hamlet. {In Hamlet I can see that there might be elements, but usually find it overplayed. Then again, I am a prude and often wear rose tinted glasses.}

I had also commented on Oberon's amusement at discovering Fox's existence. I would have expected him to be jealous, and wondered if he was exhibiting some maturity in recognition of his own track record. You said that Oberon wouldn't have been jealous because he was divorced from Titania at the time. Since when has Oberon been strictly logical or mature? Until that moment I wouldn't have put it past him to begrudge the fact that the woman he divorced had remarried and had a child with someone else despite any children he had hanging about. When we first meet Oberon, the way he responded to Titania's offer of remarriage seemed to me as if he had been quite anxious for that to happen. It almost seemed to me he had offered before and been turned down. I don't mean that he went begging her, just that he had made gestures of reconciliation and she turned him down in no uncertain terms making clear she was his subject, not love. Mostly it signaled to me that the big blue jerk had some genuine feelings for Titania, and was emotionally invested in her being his wife again. Was my reading completely off? And why was Oberon so amused?

Greg responds...

Pedophilia in Hamlet? Never heard that one. Oedipus complexes I've heard about. Though personally, I think that's rubbish.

The pedophilia thing in Midsummers involves Oberon's potential interest in the changeling. I'm not advocating that theory, though it's easily present should a director chose to play things that way.

Meanwhile, I think Oberon does love Titania. So you weren't off there. But I think he was genuinely amused. I just don't think that Oberon and Titania share the same mores that the rest of us have been socialized with. Besides, I liked shocking you with the unexpected response that still feels right.

Response recorded on August 21, 2000

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Emmlei writes...

I was thinking recently about Demona and the Canmores/Hunters, and it dawned on me that it's a lot like the Montagues and Caputlets of 'Romeo and Juliet'. Both involve two 'families' battling each other over a past greivance, one whose cause unfortunately became lost in the past (for Gargoyles, it's some kid getting slashed in the face, and we never learn the cause in 'R&J'). In both, the drive for revenge becomes the driving force for keeping the feud going. It's kind of tragic that in both stories, something as low as vengence causes so much pain on both sides. So, was that intentional or did I just come across one of those universal themes?

Greg responds...

Largely the universal theme thing. The obvious piece that's missing to make it truly parallel R&J is the young lovers. And I don't think that Jason & Elisa really fill those rolls, wouldn't you agree?

I was going to do a much more dead-on R&J riff in NEW OLYMPIANS with Terry Chung and Sphinx.

Response recorded on August 21, 2000

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Emmlei writes...

Hi, Greg. First off, gotta say how much I love Gargoyles. That done, what enjoy the most about it is how you managed to weave in so much history, myth and Shakespeare into the overall plot. Especially the Shakespeare. (I've kinda picked up the habit of naming the birds of prey at the center from the show :P )
So number 1) Were you planning to do anything with "The Tempest"? It seems like a natural next step, what with Prospero, Caliban, Ariel, the mention of the witch Sycorax, etc.
2) Did you guys do any research on the _real_ Macbeth? I heard somewhere that he might have been real.
3) What about the Changeling from "A Midsummer Night"?
4) And lastly, the bandwagon question: are you ever gonna tell us what Titania said to Fox?

Greg responds...

1. Yes. (Didn't you read the ASK GREG instructions?)

2. A ton. And yes, he was very real. And we tried to keep him as real as possible within the confines of our fantasy.

3. Yeah, I've been thinking about him too. See the archives.

4. Ever is a long time...

Response recorded on August 18, 2000

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My kids had a midsummer night's dream...

Last night there was an outdoor production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. We were told it was a very kid friendly production and it was free, so we figured it wouldn't hurt to take the kids. If they got antsy, we could always leave.

As most of you know, I have two kids: Erin (age 5) and Ben (age 3). I asked them if they wanted to see a show with Puck in it. (The only Puck they know is the one from Gargoyles.) They were very enthusiastic about wanting to go. I tried to tell them the story of the play. But it's fairly complex when compressed, and I wasn't sure if they'd gotten it.

There was supposed to be a pre-show at 6:30pm, so we got there in time for that. But there was no pre-show. Instead the show started at 7pm. Since they had already been sitting for a half hour I was sure the kids wouldn't make it through the whole play.

But, man, they loved it! Erin was riveted throughout. Benny had a couple of moments when he was more interested in the stars that had begun to appear as it got darker. He also started to sing to himself a couple times. But he never fell asleep, never got drowsy. Never ran around. Or got noisy or anything. Both of them sat on the grass and watched the show, laughing and applauding until it was over an hour and forty-five minutes later. (Obviously the play was trimmed a bit, but all the language was Shakespeare.) They loved the costumes, the magic, the comedy. When Titania ran through the audience and approached them, they were both beaming.

After the show, they ran up to introduce themselves to all the actors. They gave BIG hugs to Titania. It was pretty amazing.

And for me it represents the first step in introducing them to Shakespeare. We're not exactly there yet. But I've been missing a lot of Shakespeare Festivals since the kids were born, and soon I'll be able to take them along.


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Todd Jensen writes...

In one of your most recent answers, you discussed briefly a few of the villains whom you'd planned to show in "Timedancer" if you'd made it. One of them was a certain "Calaban". Is this the same (more or less) as Caliban from "The Tempest"?

Greg responds...

kinda-sorta

yeah...

If Percival is Duval... (metaphorically speaking)...

Response recorded on August 02, 2000

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Punchinello writes...

Hello.
I see you are making progress with your backlog of questions. This question is kind of an ammendment to another question of mine.

A couple of months ago I asked if your idea for Owen was influenced by an archetype I referred to as being "a supernatural charachter indentured to a human master." I made reference to djinn being bound within oak or silver. Now, I dont recall if I was thinking this at the time, but...

I had just recently viewed "Prospero's Books" by Peter Greenaway again. There is a rather disturbing scene therin, of Ariel, bound in his "cloven pine." Spitting out splinters of wood and carring on. It's all rather ghastly. I had, in the past, made the observation that Ariel could be an other example of this archetype. I think, however, that I needed the emphasis Greenaway placed on certain elements to make some connections apparent to me. Of some peripheral interest is the fact that ariel is another spirit bound in a tree, but of greater interest is the stress placed on the characters servitude to Prospero. It was not much of a stretch to *read Owen* into the character.

OF GREATER INTEREST was how easy it became to read Xanatos into Prospero. I was struck by several things in this vein. The first being the parallel between the two men's status as "mortal's" who had aquired great power through supernatural means; particularly through the service of a captive spirit. (I realize the term "captive" does not really describe Owen's situation.) Further, Xanatos' collection of supernatural artifacts (The Eye, the Grimorrim, even the Gargoyles) could be a reflection of Prospero's robes and staff. The artifacts which empower him.

I also considered (perhaps on the heels of watching an adaptation that placed such emphasis on Pospero's Books) that the Grimorrim might be a volume Xanatos "valued above his dukedom."

I wonder also if a reading of Xanatos as *the exiled duke* would be too far off. Milan is in rather close proximity to Greece. I believe you placed Petros Xanatos as a native, there. While Xanatos may not have been physically exiled from his place of birth, it could be argued that his distance from his father and their conflicted relationship could be read as a kind of exile.

Now, I realize you have your reasons for not wanting to confirm or deny ideas that you had for the show, but were not able to elaborate on before it's cancellation. I read the anecdote about the guy who thought you had stolen his idea. (Wasn't he asking about the characters from "The Tempest," actually?) At this point, however, I think you have rather concretely established that Shakespeare plays a rather prominent and consistent theme in "Gargoyles." I cant imagine that anyone would not be inclined to believe that you were going for this reading from the beginning.

Maybe I'm completely wrong about all of this, but I'm sure it will elicit some interesting commentary from you.

Greg responds...

To be honest, the Prospero/Xanatos connection never occured to me -- probably because I have specific ideas for Prospero as a separate character, and also because I SO saw Xanatos as a Coyote Trickster type, and I don't see Prospero that way at all.

But you're analysis fascinated me.

Of course, with the exception of "Possession", Xanatos never got any real magical aide from Owen. (That was kind of the point of their bargain.) But still, I like that what we did had some deep archetypal resonance.

Response recorded on August 02, 2000

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Todd Jensen (repost by Aris) writes...

You mentioned in your recent Shakespeare response about having written a play at Oxford focusing on Edmund in "King Lear" that you hope to expand on at some point. Was this the "Edmund fanfic" that you referred to in a past response about him?

Greg responds...

Might have been. Probably.

Response recorded on August 01, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

I've recently read a book on Shakespeare's famous "history play" cycle (the eight history plays from "Richard II" to "Richard III" about the Wars of the Roses) called "Shakespeare's Kings" by John Julius Norwich, which focused on the relations of Shakespeare's cycle to actual English history. And that inspired a fresh question on my part.

In your vision of the Gargoyles Universe, did any of the immortal characters (Demona, Macbeth, Puck, etc.) get involved in any way in this period of English history that Shakespeare was drawing on for his cycle, from Richard II's deposition in 1399 to Richard III's death at Bosworth in 1485? (We know, of course, where Demona was in 1495, ten years after Bosworth, and that it wasn't in England).

Greg responds...

I doubt Demona was around. Maybe in France during the Joan of Arc years. Macbeth might have been around. Or in and out of the country at least.

Puck -- well, I'd have to think about that.

Anyway, as you can see, I haven't really given it any thought.

Is it disappointing when I admit that I don't literally know everything yet?

If so, just imagine that it's a message from the Gargoyle Universe that hasn't come to me (ala Coleridge) in a dream yet.

Response recorded on July 26, 2000

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Chapter XVIII: "The Mirror"

Story Editor: Brynne Chandler Reaves
Writer: Lydia C. Marano

Arguably the best single episode of the series. The animation is fluid, dynamic and very strong. The writing is sharp, even quite funny over and over. And yet, dramatically the story is still potent. It really advances the Goliath & Elisa romance arc. Changes Demona permanently. And introduces Puck -- and by extension, the entire third race: The Children of Oberon. All in a mere 22 minutes.

It's also very gratifying for me. A bit of a vindication. As you may have seen from the memos I wrote to Brynne & Lydia, there was some considerable resistance to the notion that none of the characters would notice their own personal change from one species to another. Most of my collaborators thought the idea was way too complicated to pull off. I argued that it might seem complex, but in fact it would play cleaner on screen -- and funnier and more directly to theme. In my mind, another title for this episode could have been -- had we already not been using it for our Werefox episode -- "Eye of the Beholder", because all the transformed characters really noticed was when someone else was "OTHER". Being a monster or being "normal" was based on their point of view, not any objective look in the mirror. [As it is, the title is the kind I like. Simple, objective and yet metaphoric. At one point, it was titled: "Mirror, Mirror". But we simplified it even more.]

But anyway, when the human Brooklyn, Lex and Broadway are confronted by "Gargoyles", the scene is an intentional mirror of the scene from AWAKENING, PART ONE where Brooklyn says, "If they think we're beasts and monsters..." Again, this is playing with the idea of "beasts and monsters" being merely in the eye of the beholder. The species have reversed, but the situation is exactly the same simply because the Trio remain in the minority. I suppose that's one thing that X-Men's mutants have in common with the Gargs. Both are a metaphor for being part of a minority. Feared almost automatically.

On the other hand, when Elisa is transformed, she believes that Goliath & Co. have been transformed into something like her. I think her immediate reaction is very telling about how she ALREADY felt about Goliath at that point. She's thrilled. She throws her arms about him. Now they're the same species. There's no impediment to their love. What's interesting is that if you stopped and asked Elisa under normal circumstances whether she would wish for Goliath to be transformed into a human, the answer would most certainly be "No." She knows that being a Gargoyle is fundamental to who he is. You can't change that without changing him -- and yet in that instant, in that unguarded moment, her desire to be with him overwhelms that rational knowledge. She's just happy.

At the museum, Elisa looks at herself in the mirror. She then moves, but the reflection holds. That was the idea of one of our board artists. A little clue that the mirror is magic. (It's not an animation error.)

Family Reactions #1

During that museum chase, my wife wanted to know why no alarms were going off. I figure Demona or the thieves just shut them off.

Erin didn't realize that that was Elisa dressed as a security guard at first. We were trying to withhold that information for a bit.

"Titania's Mirror", "The Children of Oberon", "Oberon sent me." We were laying groundwork to expand the entire series' base. But I don't know if back then I knew that much about what if anything I had planned specifically for Titania & Oberon.

Anymore than I knew then what I'd do with the "Dracula's Daughter" reference. But we try not to waste anything.

Coming up with that "Children of Oberon" name was a struggle. And so many people have asked me since whether or not Oberon is literally everyone's father, I almost regret landing on that choice. Our thought process is largely present in the episode when Goliath et al, go through various noms: Fair Folk, Dark Elves, Changelings, Shape-Shifters. Of course, at the time we were misusing the term Changeling. I think that was Odo's influence frankly, but I should have known better. I suggested "The Oberati". But the Reaves didn't care for that. I think they thought it sounded too much like an Italian sports car.

I do love the moment when Brooklyn cites Shakespeare's play as a sort of reference work on the Children. I hope we sent a few people to the library with that line. Did we?

I also love Hudson's line in response to Elisa's question: Are they real?

Hudson: "As real as I am, if the stories be true." It's full of delicious dramatic irony. If you can suspend belief on a bunch of gargoyles, then this shouldn't be a problem for you. I love things that work on multiple levels.

I also love Hudson's "Be careful what you wish for" line.

We were trying to show a bit here how Demona had managed to operate in the modern world up to this point. One of the thieves has clearly worked for Demona before without ever having laid eyes on her. Of course, showing Demona's M.O. here, was like giving it a swan song. Because after this episode, though she clearly doesn't realize it yet, her life is going to get MUCH easier. Being a human during the day is a great boon to all her scheming. I'm very curious about everyone's reaction to that? Shock? Amusement? I also tried to work very hard so that in that last two minutes of epilogue, everyone would get that she only was human during the day. I was very afraid that the audience would think she was permanently transformed into a human. Was anyone confused? Or was anyone surprised that Puck's revenge/gift STUCK? We wouldn't really explore the change until HIGH NOON. Had you forgotten about it by then?

Family Reactions #2
As Demona's casting the spell that will summon Puck. (Which I always thought was very cool, with the feather and all.)
Benny: "That's a magic mirror. Is Demona going in there?"
Erin: "Puck's gonna come out."

As I've mentioned before, during the writing of this story we figured out that Owen was Puck. So to play fair we dropped a hint here. Demona (who knows) says to Puck: "You serve the human. You can serve me." Puck changes the subject, replying "Humans [note the plural] have a sense of humor, you have none." This was done intentionally to distract the audience away from the hint we had just dropped. But obviously, in hindsight, it's a clear reference to Owen serving Xanatos. Anyone get it right off the bat? Anyone even take note of the line the first time? Originally, the line read, "You serve him, now you can serve me." With the "him" referring to Xanatos. But our S&P executive was afraid the "him" could be taken to mean Satan. I know that seems silly now. But keep in mind, we were very paranoid back then about the show being attacked for promoting devil worship. So we made the change.

Sensitive Broadway: "Maybe even love." It's a nice moment. Wistful.

Puck reminds Demona that the mirror isn't "Aladdin's lamp". At the time, the Aladdin series was still in production at Disney. So that's a bit of an in-joke.

And how about that: Demona is still carrying a torch for Goliath. On some level, she wants him more than almost anything. Yet she continually allows her hatred to get in the way. And the irony is, that at this point, pre-Vows it isn't yet too late for them. But her actions further serve to cement the Goliath/Elisa relationship. More now than ever before.

Puck/Brent Spiner is just fantastic. I love that "charming personality" line. And "You don't know what you're asking, believe me." And "I'll do EXACTLY as you asked." And "My mistake." And "A very long nap." He's just so rich.

Plus the boarding and animation on Puck is just great. As is the sound work that accompanies him zipping around.

I always wanted Puck to be the one character who could break the fourth wall and talk directly to the audience. Every time he appeared, we'd put a line or two in the script that was addressed to the audience. And every time, Frank or Dennis Woodyard would cut it out of the board. They didn't like breaking the fourth wall. (A lot of guys don't. I tried to do that with Max on Max Steel, but Richard Raynis and Jeff Kline wouldn't allow that either.) Oh, well....

Puck also establishes that Oberon's Children generally use rhyming spells instead of Latin or Hebrew or whatever. (Thus making life slightly -- but ONLY slightly -- easier on me and the writers.) But Puck isn't too formal: "Human's love a battle hearty, so does Puck, come on, let's Party!" Fun. (And I like Brooklyn's line, "Party's over." too.)

Family Reactions #3
When Elisa's transformed into a gargoyle.

Erin: "She looks cute." [I very much agree. Though I always wonder where her red jacket goes.]

Ben then asked why she was transformed.

Beth explained that Demona didn't want Elisa to be human anymore.

Erin then corrects my wife and explains that Puck is tricking Demona.

KIDS GET IT! Adults need to pay closer attention!

Goliath suddenly has lust in his heart:
G: "I never realized when you were human just how beautiful you were."
E (with a smile): "You mean you thought I was ugly?"
G: "Uh... careful! Updraft!!"
Man, that guy is smooth.

Anyway, that's one of my all-time favorite exchanges. I think it reveals so much. Somewhere underneath, Goliath has been attracted to who Elisa IS deep-down -- at least since AWAKENING, PART THREE. But he never thought of her as a potential love interest. He wasn't brought up liberally enough to think that way. After all, she has no wings, no tail. And those human shaped feet!

But suddenly, she's revealed as a FEMALE. Now, even when she goes back to being human, his perspective is permanently altered. Hers, however, is not. She's already consciously had those thoughts. Consciously rejected them. So at the end of the episode, he wants to discuss these (for him) new feelings -- but she does not. And the sun helps shut him up.
G: "That's not what I meant."
E: "But that's the way it is."
Another of my all-time favorite exchanges. (I'm really partial to things involving the G/E relationship. I know, I know, I'm a romantic sap.]

I also like the ongoing confusion. Elisa: "Everyone in Manhattan has been turned into... HUMANS!" Goliath: "No, no, no, no, no." And when the Gargoyles are changed into humans, Brooklyn is so sure that they've always been humans, it's funny. Like that moment in CITY OF STONE, when he's convinced that the "statue of Elisa" is a bad likeness of her: "They got the nose wrong."

FYI, there was an honest attempt, within the logical parameters of what our gargs looked like, to make their human versions resemble the actors who played them. Thus Goliath has darker skin than the others, because Keith David is African-American. (Though otherwise Goliath really looks like Conan to me.) The bald Lex has brown hair and the bald Broadway has blond like Thom Adcox and Bill Fagerbakke respectively. Brooklyn resembles Jeff Bennett but with Brooklyn's white hair instead of Jeff's blond. And Hudson looks like Ed Asner with a beard. More or less. Thom Adcox is the one who most looked like the human version of his character.

Cool little touches:

Demona nudges an unconscious Puck with her tail.

She continues to call Hudson, "Old Soldier". Her tenth century "name" for him.

Her line about the "gift of being a gargoyle". I love that superior attitude.

Lexington's "Fun, but weird" line.

Hudson wrapping the sheet over the mirror.

Elisa and Demona have a brief "cat-fight" as Gargoyles. Not quite as diverting as the one they'll have as humans in High Noon. But it was nice to put them on equal physical footing for a change. Let them have it out.

Demona mentions that Puck isn't too tired to make himself "invisible to the crowd". This was us trying to plug a hole in our story. We felt it would undercut the mob's reactions to our newly human heroes if they had the same reaction to seeing Puck. And yet Puck clearly looks more human than Gargoyle. More "other". So we slid that line in to avoid the whole problem.

FAMILY REACTION #4

Beth laughed at Hudson's very Scots reading of "No doubt about it." Which is pronounced more like: "No doot aboot it."

More sappy stuff (which I love):

Goliath's line: "I'll always be there to catch you."

Elisa completely forgetting her fear of flying in order to save the MAN she loves.

That brief moment when both Elisa and Goliath are humans at the same time.

Hudson's wistful line about seeing the sun, just once.

Although it had little to do with the metaphor, we couldn't really resist the notion of showing Bronx transformed into a dog. We picked the biggest dog we could think of, a Wolfhound type, though a bulldog might have been more reminiscent.

In the script, Demona smashes the mirror upon seeing her human reflection in the glass. But somehow the scene never got animated. So we added the sound of the mirror being smashed to the exterior shot at the end. This was important in order to give the story full closure. The initial point of the episode was to prevent Demona from getting Titania's Mirror. Structurally, therefore, I couldn't allow her to keep it.

But no fear, later we introduced Oberon's Mirror (clearly part of a matching set) in THE GATHERING, PART ONE.

I wonder what all those Manhattanites thought when suddenly they realized they were all barefoot.


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Another "Mirror" Memo...

Though I think it's one of our most rewarding episodes, it was a tough one to make come together. So after I received the first draft script on "The Mirror", I sent a second memo to Brynne. Here it is, UNEDITED:

WEISMAN 11-13-94

Notes on "The Mirror" Script...

O.k. The problems here seems to be mostly my fault. I haven't been able to make clear to you guys how I want our characters to react when they've been changed. It's been clear in my head. And for me the logic flows backwards from a scene I want to see where an average-human-pedestrian-who-has-been-turned-into-a-gargoyle sees one of our transformed-into-human-heroes and screams: "Look at that monster!! It's like some kind of horrible... HUMAN!!" The key is that the bystander actually uses the word "HUMAN", and that he says it with the same kind of fear and revulsion that we would normally hear (in a more typical episode) being used for the word "GARGOYLE".

In order to get both the revulsion into the word "Human" and a strongly negative reaction to our heroes' new human appearance, the bystander needs to believe that being a gargoyle is the way it's supposed to be. Therefore when the bystander's appearance was changed his mind-set must have been changed as well.

Working backwards from that goal, how would our main characters react to being changed?

THEIR MINDSET WOULD CHANGE SIMULTANEOUSLY WITH THEIR APPEARANCE:
Elisa is the first to be transformed. Thus, ELISA'S REACTION to being changed into A GARGOYLE is the surprising statement:

"Goliath, You've been changed into a gargoyle!"

Reasoning: Goliath &co. were always "the other" to Elisa. But when she was transformed, her mindset changed with her appearance. So she now believes that being a gargoyle is normal. Since, Goliath &co. now look "normal" to her, she figures that they must have been magically changed from being "the other" into being "normal"--i.e. they have been transformed into gargoyles.

[I realize this seems byzantine, but ultimately it'll be the most straightforward reaction on screen, short of having everyone entirely self-aware from the moment they change, (which just isn't as much fun to me). See how it plays out in beat #11. (Also #9, 13, 14 and 21.) If you're still not clear, please don't hesitate to call me.]

TENSION
Despite absurdist moments in this story, we must keep the tension and suspense running high, throughout.
--Don't reveal Elisa's presence at the museum until last possible second. Same with Goliath.
--Don't let Gargoyle's lose track of their objective for more than a line of dialogue here or there.
--Don't let the battle meander from place to place. Keep battle and chase scenes focused and specific.

WHAT THEY'VE BEEN WISHING FOR:
DEMONA'S WISHES
1. Get rid of humans, particularly Elisa.
2. Get rid of Goliath and Co.
3. Stop turning to stone during the day.

GOLIATH & ELISA'S WISH - To be together. (Elisa is slightly more self-aware than Goliath, but neither should specifically wish in dialogue to become the race of the other. It's too on the head.)

TRIO'S WISH - To assimilate.

CLARITY IN SCRIPT
O.K. TO USE: ELISA/GARGOYLE
HUMAN/"GARGOYLES"
GOLIATH/HUMAN
HUDSON/HUMAN
BROOKLYN/HUMAN
BROADWAY/HUMAN
LEXINGTON/HUMAN
OUR HEROES

DON'T USE: HUMAN/GARGOYLES
GARGOYLES/HUMANS
TRIO/HUMANS
Even for me, these were too confusing.

In group scenes, LIST ALL CHARACTERS IF NECESSARY.

BEAT SHEET
ACT ONE
1. Museum.
--Establish two security guards - but don't reveal that one of them is Elisa (or that Goliath is there).
--Demona breaks in and takes out the first guard.
--Second guard turns out to be Elisa, ready and waiting w/Goliath.
--Establish how much Demona hates humans in general, and Elisa specifically.
--Demona never gets as far as laser-grid around mirror.

2. Chase.
--Demona Escapes.
--And while Goliath and Elisa are chasing her...
Maybe inter-cut w/...

3. Museum.
--Thieves get past laser-grid to steal mirror.

4. Ext. Demona's house.
--The two thieves deliver mirror.

5. Int. Demona's house.
--Demona summons Puck.

6. Clock tower.
--Elisa arrives. They were duped. Mirror was stolen.
--Elisa's: So how bad is this? What can D do with that mirror?
--No one knows for sure, but it leads to the discussion of Oberon's Children.
--Refer here to Midsummer Night's Dream.
--Scotsmen called them "Fair Folk".
--Vikings called them "Dark Elves".
--Shape-shifters.
--Trio: Imagine what it would be like to shape-change. Fit in anywhere.
--Hint subtly at Elisa and Goliath's desires.

7. Demona's house.
--Make sure we know Puck's name here.
--Our Demona and Puck wish scene.
--Puck uses a rhyming spell.
--Puck's arms are pinned by chains, so magic energy comes out of his eyes.

8. Clock Tower.
--Elisa: All we can do is wait til Demona makes her move.
--Elisa transforms into a gargoyle.

ACT TWO
9. Clock Tower.
--Everyone including Bronx is pretty stunned by Elisa's change.
--She seems happy though.
-- Elisa: "This is wonderful. Goliath, you've been transformed into a gargoyle!"
--Goliath: "What?!"

10. Demona's House.
--Puck tells her the deed is done.
--Demona wants to escalate. Every human in Manhattan.
--Puck again stresses difficulty of "big wishes".
--Demona yanks chain: "Answer truthfully. Can it be done?"
--Puck: Yes, but not from here.

11. Clock Tower.
--Bronx sniffs at Elisa.
--Goliath: "We've always been gargoyles. You're the one who's been changed."
--Elisa: "I've always been a gargoyle. I think I'd know it if I wasn't."
--Goliath: "How did we first meet?"
--Elisa: "I fell off a skyscraper; you glided down and caught me."
--Goliath: "If you always had wings, why would you need me to catch you."
--Elisa: "I can't glide with these."
--Goliath: "Yes, you can."
--AND OFF THEY GO.
--Hudson and Trio stare at each other for a beat and then follow.
--Bronx is left behind.

12. WORLD TRADE CENTER
--Puck and Demona materialize w/mirror.
--P: This is gonna take a while.
--He begins visually gathering magical energy. Just a little at first.

13. Flight over the city.
--Goliath NEVER LETS GO OF HER HAND, even after it's clear that she's gliding under her own "power", because she's afraid. She doesn't want to lose that contact.
--Goliath can't help staring at her: "I never realized when you were human just how beautiful you are."
--Elisa: "You mean you used to think I was ugly?"
--He doesn't have a good answer to this.
--Fortunately for him, she segues to: "This is so confusing. Have I always been able to glide like this?"
--[She's still hasn't quite grasped the situation.]
--Goliath: "No. No. Try to understand. You've been changed into a gargoyle. Follow me, I'll show you."
--They glides in low over the streets. Elisa sees the humans and freaks!! (Her freaking needs to be ambiguous. Goliath thinks she understands now. She doesn't really.)
--Goliath: "Maybe we should land somewhere and talk."

14. Rooftop.
--Goliath, Elisa, Hudson and Trio come in for a landing.
--(Establish clothes line. Someone has left their laundry, including bedsheets, to dry in the warm night air.)
--Elisa: "Did you see? Everyone in Manhattan's been turned into a HUMAN?!!!"
--G: "...no, no, no..."
--HUDSON: "LOOK!"
--He points at light show that seems to be gathering around one of the towers of the WTC.

15. World Trade Center.
--BIG LIGHT SHOW as Puck glows with magical energy.
--P: "This is really going to wear me out."
--D: "Quit complaining and do it already."
--Puck casts rhyming spell.
--Magical energy shoots from entire body to hit mirror.
--Spell reflects off mirror and hits giant hyperbolic sattelite dish. --Sattelite dish fires magic off across the whole city.
--Puck collapses.

16. Rooftop.
--Goliath & Co. have seen light show from WTC, (but not result).
--Goliath &Co. leave Elisa on the roof and head toward WTC.
--Elisa's not happy about it, but they don't give her a choice.
--And she's still phobic about flying alone, so she can't follow.

17. WTC
--Now that the light show has subsided, Demona wants to see her "empty city", but Puck is out of it.
--Goliath and co. attack. She's forced to flee with Puck, but without mirror.
--(Somewhere in here, Demona has to mention Puck's name.)
--To save herself, she tosses it. Hudson saves it.
--Goliath and Trio pursue Demona.

18. Downtown streets/subway/ whatever
--Even though she's being chased and is hampered by the unconscious Puck, Demona still comes in for a landing to see the results of her wish.
--She's furious as she sees the human/"gargoyles" going about their business.
--Use this chase (and this scene) to reveal the extent and absurdity of the change that hasn't really changed anything but the appearance of the people. Take us down into the subway, maybe.
--Demona ultimately uses the situation to get lost in a crowd.
--For the pursuers, Goliath and trio, it's like finding a needle in a haystack.
--Throughout scene, Trio may get wistful and a little distracted about being able to fit in.
--There are female "Gargoyles" walking by, catching trio's eyes.
--They have to remind themselves that this is wrong. And they're not entirely convinced that it is.
--But other "gargoyles" still shy away from trio because of how they are dressed. (Or how little they are dressed.)
--At any rate, the trio don't totally lose track of their objective: Demona.
--But Demona's gone.
--Goliath: Let's go get Elisa and plan our next move.

19. A deserted alley.
--Demona confronts a very worn-out Puck.
--D: I wanted you to destroy the humans, not give them the gift of being a gargoyle!!
--D: "Change the gargoyles back to humans."
--Puck: "O.K., o.k., give me a chance to catch my breath."
--He leans to look at his reflection in the side-view mirror of a car.
--The image in the mirror wavers.

20. Rooftop.
--Goliath, Hudson, Trio and Elisa confer.
--They have the mirror.
--That was definitely one of Oberon's Children with Demona.
--Demona called him Puck.
--Elisa: In Shakespeare, Puck was a harmless trickster.
--Goliath: What's happened below isn't harmless. Come, we must continue to search for Demona and Puck.
--Elisa: "I'll never get the hang of leaping off rooftops."
--Goliath: "I will always be there to catch you."
--She hesitates. He takes off to set an example.
--A bolt of Magic shoots out of the mirror catching Goliath, Hudson and the trio.
--Goliath changes to human and falls.

ACT THREE
21. Rooftop.
--Elisa dives and catches Goliath. Overcoming her fear without thinking about it.
--Meanwhile, Hudson grabs a sheet off the clothesline and covers the mirror: "Don't want anything else jumping out at us from this thing!"
--Goliath doesn't understand why he fell.
--Suddenly he stares at her: "Elisa...You've changed back to normal!!"
--E: No. I haven't changed. You have. You're a human. You fell because, you don't have wings.
--Brooklyn: "We've always been humans."
--Hudson: "And we've never needed wings to glide before."
--Lex (the engineer of the group): "Wait a minute, we must have used wings. How else could we do it?"
--Goliath, sinking in: "Elisa's right. We're supposed to be gargoyles. And we're not. Everyone else should be human. But thanks to Demona and Puck, they're not."

22. Alley & Street.
--Puck is very weary.
--Demona asks if it's done.
--Puck says yes.
--Demona and Puck cautiously exit alley.
--Obviously, all the humans are still "Gargoyles".
--Demona turns on Puck. I told you to turn the gargoyles to humans.
--Puck: "Oh, you meant these gargoyles! I thought you meant Goliath and the gang. My mistake. Sorry."
--Demona: "You turned Goliath into a human?!!"
--She's ready to murdilate Puck. She pulls the chain tighter, crushing him.
--Puck: "Hey, hey, hey, You're missing the big picture, here. This is your big chance to get rid of Goliath. Now, while he's weak as any human."
--She stops, smiles.
--Dissolve.

23. Rockefeller Center. Some time later.
--Bronx runs into shot. [He has not been transformed yet.]
--A human/ "gargoyle" pedestrian bends over to pet the nice doggie and then runs away screaming when he sees the doggie's masters.
--Our "human" heroes now fully clothed (and looking cool) walk with determination right up to the center of Rockefeller Center. Hudson still has the mirror, covered in the bed sheet.
--(Elisa is not in sight.)
--Everywhere, pedestrian/"gargoyles" run screaming: "Ahhh, humans!! Run!!" "Oh, they're so ugly." "Keep away, you...you monster human, you."
--Hudson to Goliath: Are you sure this is a good idea?
--G: Demona must have done all this for a purpose. What else could it be except to leave us vulnerable to her attack. So we'll let her come to us, but we'll pick the place of battle. Here on the ground and in the open where her wings won't help her much.
--They take their stand. Not all the pedestrians have run. Some stop and stare, but they all keep their distance from these human monsters.
--Goliath instructs Hudson to unwrap the mirror.
--The instant he does, Puck and Demona fly out of it.
--BATTLE ROYALE (Needs real choreography.)
--Demona's armed with her plasma rifle.
--Gargoyle's are armed with medieval weapons.
--Battle is largely land bound.
--Puck's having a good time and helps Demona.
--His stunts can be darkly funny, i.e. they can be absurd, as long as they increase the danger to our heroes.
--Puck turns Bronx into a Russian Wolf-hound, just for fun.
--Some brave bystanders see Demona being attacked by all these monsters and run in to help.
--Trio are forced to battle them.
--These human/ "gargoyles" don't know their own strength, so fighting them isn't easy.
--Obviously at some crucial moment, Elisa (their secret weapon) flies in and takes on D.
--Demona should not instantly recognize Elisa.
--But when Demona does, she goes nuts. Elisa's presence (both the fact that she is alive and a gargoyle) is a double-edged sword. The best (psychological) weapon the good guys have, it throws Demona into a rage, which makes her doubly dangerous, but careless.
--Goliath and Elisa stand together to defeat D.
--Trio take on and scare off the "gargoyle" good samaritans.
--With Bronx's help, Hudson bags Puck with metal-mesh trashcan.

24. WTC
--Goliath promises to free Puck if he changes things back to normal.
--Puck complies. He'll start with the biggest job -- getting all the humans back to normal. (Fortunately, changing something back to its normal state is easier for him than the reverse.)
--Using rhyming spell, mirror and sattelite dish, Puck lets the magic fly.
--Elisa is human again.
--Puck needs a moment to recover.
--Elisa and Goliath have a brief moment.
--Elisa (self-depricating): "Well, I guess I'm back to my old ugly human self."
--G: "Never, to these eyes. But I'm curious. Am I handsome to you like this?"
--E: "You've always been handsome to me."
--PUCK: "Allright, enough of the mushy stuff!"
--He zaps Goliath, Hud, Bronx and Trio back into Gargoyles. (Note: he doesn't need the mirror, since they're all standing right in front of him.)
--Goliath frees Puck.
--Puck takes off with Demona through Mirror, taking mirror with.

25. Demona's house.
--Puck's grateful for a good time, enjoyed by all.
--He'll grant Demona her original wish: She won't turn to stone during the day.
--She's suspicious, for obvious reasons.
--He must SPELL OUT that she will still be her normal GARGOYLE self at night. But during the day, she won't have to sleep as stone.
--One last little rhyme spell.
--And he disappears through mirror.

26. Clock Tower.
--Final scene with Bronx, Hud, Trio, Goliath and Elisa. (This was really nice, as written.)

27. Demona's House.
--The sun is rising.
--We can only see Demona in sillouette.
--Until she turns to look at herself in the mirror.
--Which she smashes.

PAGE NOTES
(The script I received had some odd page numbering. The title page was numbered as page one, some pages were skipped and had no numbers, and the last page was numbered 33. So I just renumbered it from the first page of script on through the last [39]. The following notes therefore refer to my numbers. Call me if you have any questions.)

P.2
If Demona never gets the opportunity to destroy or turn off the laser-grid around the mirror, than we can leave it for the thieves to deal with and ditch all this dialogue and action revolving around alarms. Demona's meant to be a diversion.

Please don't refer to the Security Guard as Sarge or Old Soldier. I know it's just character stuff, but we don't have the space to give it context. It winds up confusing us as to who the guard really is.

Remember: Male gargoyle eyes glow white. Only female gargoyle eyes glow red.

Throughout script we use both "rooklings" and "hatchlings". I prefer "hatchlings". That way audience members who have missed the one or two references to the rookery, will still understand.

P.5
Goliath's getting wounded is problematic. We don't deal with it in the story. It's quickly forgotten. We don't want to play fast and loose with something like that.

P.9
Don't forget to give us some description of Puck. (He definitely should have pointed ears, for example. I added pointed ears to the description of the Weird Sisters in their true form.)

P.10
I don't know that we want to refer to all of Oberon's Children as "real mean". Seems blatantly racist.

When Demona summoned Puck earlier, she did it in Latin. So please make sure we name him here in this scene.

P.12
DEMONA
If you cannot rid me of all humans,
then at least rid me of that human --
Elisa Maza!

We need the double entendre of Demona asking Puck to get rid of that
human-Elisa. ("Oh," Puck weasles to himself, "get rid of the human-Elisa. Make her a gargoyle-Elisa instead.")

P.21
Our Gargoyles shouldn't notice that anything has changed among the pedestrians below, until they get close enough to see. (From a practical standpoint, the idea of each person suddenly taking up more room, might be tough to get across in animation.)

Let's show at least one of the Human/"Gargoyles" looking at his or her reflection (in a store window or something) and preening. Totally unaware of the change.

Goliath says, "What sorcery is this?" twice in the episode. Let's skip both. He said this exact line in "Awakening".

P.23
Keep focus and imperative of THIS story. No one has time to stop for hot dogs or to deal with vandals. (So skip both incidents.)

P.25
Puck doesn't have to pretend that he did "exactly" as Demona commanded. He can have more attitude. "Hey, close enough." or "If you're going to split hairs..."

Again, let's not make Hudson an expert on Puck as an individual. We don't need him to identify Puck from tapestries. (And I doubt if his education has progressed to the point where he's read Shakespeare.) Plus, I'm not sure we have to label Puck as the "worst" of Oberon's children, either.

P.34
Gargoyles including Elisa/gargoyle CANNOT hover.

Also don't forget...
--Cast List.
--Latin version of Demona's spell from Grimorum. (It doesn't have to rhyme.)
--Rhyming spell in English for what Puck does to everyone. (Needs to be vague enough so that Demona isn't immediately tipped off.) Doesn't need to be same spell each time.
--Somewhere in here, we need to justify why none of the human/"gargoyle" crowd reacts to Puck. Do they see him as a gargoyle, ala the Weird Sisters? Or is he invisible to them? Or can we get away with them just walking by and ignoring him?
--Make sure final page count will be within our page range (pp. 35-39) after Denise has conformed it.

THANKS. DON'T HESITATE TO CALL WITH ANY QUESTIONS.


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"THE MIRROR" Outline memo...

Next up for my Ramblings is "The Mirror". What follows is the UNEDITED memo I sent to story editor Brynne Chandler Reaves regarding the first draft outline for that episode.

This is one I had very specific ideas on, so I may have been even tougher than usual. Oh, well...

WEISMAN 10-30-94

Notes on "The Mirror" Outline...
Brynne, I hope you consider this flattering: I'm gonna be very tough on you here, because I think you can handle it. It's not just because of this outline, but because in general, I want you to be handing me cleaner, more finished pieces. Although the story is full of great ideas, there are logical and structural problems here that need fixing. As I've discussed, I want to be less "hands-on" so that the schedule keeps flowing and we all stay sane, but that means I need you to catch much more of this sort of thing before I ever see it.

One particular concern of mine (and not so incidentally of Gary Krisel's) is padded first acts, where nothing of substance happens until the cliffhanger. Each story dictates its own structure, so I don't want to make any hard and fast rules, but this is one thing you should be thinking about on every episode you edit or write. We can have a prologue scene or two. But we don't want to turn the whole first act into a prologue to events that only begin seconds before the commercial break.

Scene One is a nice prologue. So is Two, if it's brief. Three, Four and Five are padding. Six is good prologue, but by this time it feels like padding. Seven is problematic from a character/logic standpoint. Finally, we get going at Eight.

And opening acts aside, we need to beware of scenes that serve no function in the structure of the story. A real good character moment is worth a detour on occasion. But our stories have to be coming out of character anyway, so nine times out of ten, the detour shouldn't be necessary.

Ever since "Reawakening" we've tried to make the Gargoyles much more pro-active. But even by first season "survival-mode" standards they seem downright slow to act here. In scene Three, they suspect magical bad news is on the way. In scene Six, they confirm Demona's involvement. Yet in scene Ten, they go to the play in the park like nothing was wrong. Worse, in scene Sixteen, when the humans are transformed, the younger gargoyles actually think that the transformation is part of the play? They're more sophisticated than that. And instead of reacting like it's a problem, they just want "contact with their kind". I wouldn't mind a wistful line that summoned up their feelings about how this reminds them of their old lives when there were many gargoyles and/or that it's nice to be able to walk out in the open without everyone running away screaming, but they have to realize that this transformation is bad news. Then in scene TWENTY-TWO (that's the beginning of ACT THREE and a full fourteen scenes after Goliath battled Demona in the museum) they "are certain now that Demona is behind this". Who did they think was behind it for the last act and a half? This is a good sign that we're either short on structure, heavy on padding or both.

THEME
We must have a clear theme that involves at least one of the "good" gargoyles in every episode. We shouldn't have to dig deep for it. It's what focuses the events that dictate our structure. Today's theme is "Be careful what you wish for, you just might get it." It applies to Demona, obviously. But it applies to subconscious desires on the part of Goliath. And wistful, but conscious desires on the part of Elisa. And even (to a small extent) the desire of our young trio to assimilate. Emphasize the theme as much as possible.

GARGOYLES AND MAGIC
Please remember that the gargoyles are largely ignorant of the workings of magic. They have an advantage over humans in that they know magic exists. That's about it. Demona and Macbeth have had centuries to study it. Guys like the Magus and the Archmage dedicated their lives to studying it. Brooklyn, on the other hand, is no expert. I doubt he can even read Latin. And the GRIMORUM is not a textbook that would provide easy answers even if he could read it. It is, in essence, a cookbook. If a recipe is torn out, there's no way to infer very much about it from the remaining pages. Remember, the Magus had the sleep spell he used on the gargoyles, and even with that and all his training, he couldn't wake them up without the specific page that held the counterspell. HOW could Brooklyn find a list (scene 5) that matches Demona's list? WHY would the Grimorum list the items for one specific spell twice? HOW could he know the name (Scene Eight) of the entity being summoned?

Could the Grimorum tell them that Puck's spells must be reversed before dawn? Or how Puck frees himself? Unlikely. (Would Julia Child's cookbook feature recipes by the Frugal Gourmet?) But (if we assume Goliath reads Latin, and could make heads or tails of the Grimorum, without having to sit down and spend an entire week reading the thing cover-to-cover to find a helpful passage in a book which, as you noted, has no index) -- it is possible. We always skate by a few things in every script. But the more we have to skate, the thinner the ice in general. Something that normally would fit neatly beneath our audiences suspension of disbelief, becomes one more contrivance in a story that's got a few too many.

DEMONA'S MOTIVATIONS
First off, she's not looking for an equal partner or ally. She's made that clear enough. That's exactly her problem with Xanatos. He always wants to know what's in it for him. He can't be easily controlled. He's fine if they have a mutual interest (resurrecting Goliath or Coldstone), fine if she can con him into helping her (as she does in "City of Stone"), but the latter isn't easy. Otherwise, they can't work together. They're goals are too diverse.

As for Macbeth, don't even bring him up. This story airs before CITY OF STONE. She hasn't seen Macbeth for decades probably. And it's been centuries since they worked together on anything.

None of this changes the story, but it's important to get her mind-set clear. She isn't summoning Puck as an ally. But as a slave.

And what does she want her slave to do? Basically, this episode is going to underline Demona's truly short-term thinking. She knows she wants humanity eradicated. But not what she'd do if she ever accomplished that goal. She's closed her heart to anything that doesn't serve her immediate short-term plans. (She's really, really screwed up.) At one point, Puck should offer her Goliath. He can make Goliath love her again. But she's so distracted by her hatred for Elisa in particular and humans in general, that she can't keep a positive thought in her head. Her monolithic and myopic fanaticism allow Puck to make a primate out of her, literally and figuratively.

PUCK
First big note from Adrienne and ME: we cannot play this character like he's a demon. His summoning in particular came off as very satanic. Let's try to make it more fanciful and magical. One thing that would help avoid this problem, is to be clear about what Puck is. If we aren't clear, people might think demon or devil. If we are clear, they'll believe us. We've got to establish, not only Puck, but his entire magical race. They are the third sentient group that once populated our planet in addition to humans and gargoyles. We need a name for this race that we can be comfortable with. (We can say at some point that the Scots called them the Fair Folk; the Vikings called them Dark Elves. But neither name is great. There must be something that could work for us. "The Oberati" perhaps, after their king?)

Then we need to set some rules and limits. Particularly given what we know about the Weird Sisters (and about Puck's secret identity). Obviously, not all of these rules need to be spelled out in this script. But let's make sure we know them. Let's begin by saying that the Oberati can all shape-shift. But when they morph into a form, they're stuck with that form's limitations. No magic happening if they pose as human.

In their true forms, they have a lot of magic power, but a rule against the direct use of it in the world of man (witness the Weird Sisters more indirect manipulations). Maybe this is a command from Oberon which they are afraid, but not unable, to break.

An obvious exception to the rule occurs when they are enslaved by someone else who commands them to use their magic. They are off the hook responsibility-wise, so they can go to town. Thus, most cultures have wish-granting legends about Leprechauns or Djinn or whatever.

Conveniently, the Oberati are creatures of pure magical energy. When they cast a spell, the spell doesn't have the limitations imposed on the studied magic of human or gargoyle sorcerers. The subjects of their spells don't have to see and hear them to be affected. It's a more fluid, less structured form of magic. Magic to the Archmage is an art, craft or science to master. Magic to Puck is as natural (or super-natural) as breathing.

But even Puck must have his limits. Even magical energy should be finite. We MUST establish this fact, at least. If Demona asks to get rid of all the humans on the planet, Puck will have to admit that it's too much for him. Would she settle for all the humans on the island?

Did the Gargoyles meet or hear of Puck specifically, back in the tenth century? I doubt it. They lived fairly isolated lives out at Wyvern. And Puck didn't get famous until Shakespeare made him famous quite a few centuries later. Maybe they've heard stories about the Fair Folk, but again, let's resist the temptation to make Goliath or Brooklyn or Hudson experts on the subject. They seem pretty perplexed by the Weird Sisters in "City of Stone". That should define their reaction to Puck, whom they're meeting here prior to that story.

Why does Puck help Goliath turn stuff back to normal at the end? Well, for this episode's purposes, it'll probably work that Goliath holds the chain and issues a command. But Demona held the chain, and Puck always found a way to circumvent her commands. So why doesn't he do the same to Goliath? Two reasons, probably. First, it further annoys Demona, who he's peeved at for enslaving him in the first place. Second, once Puck is free, he can return to his secret identity, where he's been having such a good time. He wants things back to normal himself. Still in future appearances, we need to be sure that Puck doesn't turn into a personification of Deus ex machina.

Use it sparingly, but it's o.k. with me if Puck breaks the third wall and addresses the audience on occasion.

Finally, Puck's name. The Disney execs are of two minds on this. Bruce prefers Goodfellow. His main concern is the constant policing we'd have to do to make sure Puck doesn't ever come out Fuck. Ellen feels that Goodfellow has more association with Satan than Puck does and that Puck is safer on that level. I'm really torn. I tend to agree that Puck is a slightly more recognizable Shakespearean reference than Goodfellow, and thus stonger and safer. I also think the name suits the character. On the other hand, I think Goodfellow is an effectively ironic name for a character who is, for all intents and purposes, a villain. Part of me really wants to use both. Could the spell that enslaves Puck to Demona have something to do with her knowing his true name, Robin Goodfellow? Adrienne, I think, is on the fence with me. But I'm not sure. We should probably discuss this one last time before you go to script.

THE MIRROR
Think of the Wicked Queen's Magic Mirror times ten. It is a window, a doorway, a Peeping Tom.

HUMANS AS "GARGOYLES"
As we discussed, I don't think the humans notice they've been transformed. Some of the ridiculous fun of this episode should be to see them, walking around, going about their normal business, briefcases and subway tokens in hand, with no indication that anything is different. If they looked in a mirror, they'd preen as usual. They wouldn't freak out or recognize the change.

Although they have wings, I don't think it occurs to any of them to start gliding around the city. And if they see (the soon-to-be more self-aware) Elisa flying, it would be shocking: "Look, Mommy, that lady is flying!!" It's not that they'd see her suddenly as a gargoyle. (It'd be like seeing Superman. A normal enough looking person. He just happens to be leaping tall buildings with a single bound, which is, of course, unusual enough.)

When Goliath and clan walk among them as gargoyles, I don't think they see them as unusual. For once, looking like a gargoyle is normal. Like Halloween, in "Eye of the Beholder", it's another rare moment for our guys when they can be out in the open. (This may have been what you had in mind in scene 18. I wasn't clear.)

However, when Goliath and company enter their midst as "Humans", it should scare them. Once again, ugliness is in the eye of the beholder, and the "human" Goliath is still the monster. We should not skip this beat (as you planned to in scene 24). We should play it. It can be bitter, poignant and, yes, funny. (Appealing to Puck's dark sense of humor (and mine too, for that matter).)

ELISA AS A "GARGOYLE"
Like the other transformed humans, Elisa doesn't immediately realize she's been transformed. And looking in the mirror won't clue her in either. (And in any case, Elisa isn't the type to faint dead away.) In fact, she might turn to Goliath and suddenly ask, "Could you remind me why you guys are hiding up here in the clock tower?" Suddenly, they don't look so strange to her. Goliath is going to have to sit her down and talk her through the differences between humans and gargoyles. Her realization should play like a fog lifting.

And we probably should play out Goliath and Elisa both as gargoyles for an act. Maybe he teaches her how to fly. Maybe they're just about to get close enough to do the gargoyle equivalent of an embrace, when he's transformed to human. Get it so that we can all almost taste it. Then yank it away. (I know, I'm a cruel bastard.)

I also want to contrast Goliath's reaction to "gargoyle" Elisa with Elisa's reaction to "human" Goliath. He may say, "Elisa, I never realized how beautiful you are," because he always liked her for her inner beauty but, frankly, never found her physically attractive (no wings, no tail--shudder). And he's always made that mental distinction between the surface and what lies beneath.

Elisa never did. She recognized his inner beauty in episode three or four and ALWAYS thought he was handsome. Even before this episode, I think she's thought about the two of them and come to the inescapable conclusion that romance is impractical. Better keep it platonic. I think he's had those feelings, but has never connected to them mentally. (Look, no matter what the species, or how evolved the individual, he's still a guy. And guys are fundamentally stupid about this stuff.) Until this episode, it never crossed his mind that Elisa could replace Demona in his heart. The fact is she already has. But he never thought about it before now.

OUR GARGOYLES AS "HUMANS"
To be consistent, they shouldn't recognize the change until Elisa points it out to them. Maybe they were about to leap from the clock tower, and Elisa has to stop them and say: "Look, guys, you don't have wings anymore!"

But let's keep in mind that these guys are still heroes. NO WAY are they going to agree to step back because a gargoyle Demona is too tough for them now. Did Elisa ever step back when she was human? For that matter, there have been plenty of humans willing to go toe-to-toe with the gargoyles. Certainly Goliath is as brave as Macbeth or Wolf or Commando #3.

Also, I got confused in scene 29. Goliath has been transformed to human. That means human proportions. Sure, he'd be a big guy, but not as big as he was as a gargoyle. I don't know why armor would fit, say Broadway, and not him.

TONE
In contrast to our typical episodes, I think this one can have a more absurdist tone. Puck should both further the tone with his actions and undercut it with wry asides. Plus there'll be romantic stuff, also undercut, this time by Goliath's reaction to Elisa and the genuine frustration that comes from the situation's mutability.

GOLIATH BLAMES XANATOS...
For everything, it seems. In "Lighthouse" and to a lesser extent in "Leader", we've played the beat of Goliath mistakenly going to the castle to confront Xanatos for something that the latter had nothing to do with. I think by now, Goliath has learned his lesson. Particularly since the going's on here smack much more of Demona or Macbeth than Xanatos.

DEMONA'S HOME BASE
Let's get a clear sense of what this place is like. Particularly, how it is distinct from Macbeth's mansion: we've played his place like Wayne Manor. Dracon has the penthouse at the Park Manor Hotel. And Xanatos has this incredibly cool castle-on-a-skyscraper H.Q. Demona's home needs to be different from all of these and special in its own right. Also give us an at least approximate idea of where this thing is located. Gramercy Park, maybe?

SHAKESPEARE IN THE PARK
This was a great way to ground our Puck in Shakespeare, as opposed to Satan. No doubt about it. And no fault of yours, but I want to save this setting for a story that Michael and I have discussed involving Macbeth and an adaptation of Shakespeare's Macbeth. Plus, in this story, I want to play with Manhattan life going on, business as usual, despite the fact that everyone's been turned into a gargoyle. We can't do that if we limit ourselves to the Park and the closed Museum. I want to get this story out in the open. Have the "gargoyle" humans reacting in panic to the "human" Goliath and clan, the way they'd normally react to them as gargoyles. That's an opportunity we won't get in another story. We must take advantage of it. But having taken the story out of the park, we should work other Midsummer references into the script. Name the mirror after Oberon or Titania, perhaps.

BEAT SHEET
ACT ONE
1. A warm Midsummer's Night. Demona arrives at the museum with grand theft in mind. She's come to steal the Mirror of Oberon (or whatever we ultimately call it) which has just arrived from Ireland (or Italy or wherever). The first museum security guard is no problem. But the second security guard turns out to be Elisa -- undercover, prepared and not without back-up, i.e. Goliath. They suspected that the mirror would be a prize too tempting for Demona to resist. Demona seems particularly furious over Goliath's continued "partnership" with Elisa. SHE HATES HUMANS AND SHE REALLY HATES ELISA!! (Demona knows how Goliath feels about Elisa, even if the big lug hasn't admitted it to himself yet.)

2. Anyway, we get a big action sequence in the museum which leads to a chase outside. Demona gets away from them, but without the mirror. And because our heroes are so thoroughly engaged in these activities...

3. ...They are absent when two high-tech but very human cat burglars show up at the museum, seconds later, to crate up and steal the mirror. (The real security guard is still unconscious and thus unable to do anything about them.)

4. The two thieves arrive at Demona's townhouse (or whatever) with the crated mirror. Otherwise, the scene plays pretty much as you had it with the delivery men.

5. Inside her home, Demona wraps thick iron chains across the glass of the stolen Mirror. She summons Puck. He comes flying out through the glass and thus winds up wrapped in the iron chains. He spends almost the entire episode with the chains pinning his arms across his chest.

6. Back at the clock tower, Goliath and Elisa are feeling like grade-A dorks. Elisa's just back from investigating the museum crime scene. It's now clear that Demona's job was to take out security and, if necessary, act as a diversion for the real thieves. Now the big questions are, what can she do with this mirror and how bad is this going to get? Perhaps this is a place to discuss the Oberati. Hudson tells what little he knows about them.

7. Our Demona and Puck scene. If he ever wants his freedom he must serve her. He tries to discourage her: he'd make a lousy servant. She doesn't buy that. Puck works for "him". He can work for her, etc. (That whole exchange.) O.K., okay, what does she want? Freedom from her one great vulnerability -- turning to stone during the day. What good is that, he wonders. You think you're gonna be able to walk down 5th Avenue in broad daylight? I can if you obliterate all humans, everywhere. What am I, the Genie of the lamp? There are limits, kiddo. C'mon, what do you really want? She pauses, and an image appears in the mirror. It is Goliath (in the clock tower, but we're tight on him, so we aren't tipping the location). Puck: "How quaint, after all these centuries, you're still carrying a torch. Well, if that's what you want, I can make him love you again. Although it will be really hard, because you're not exactly Miss Lovable." And then, in the mirror, Elisa steps into the shot, and puts a hand on Goliath's shoulder. Demona goes ballistic. She knows her heart's true desire. Get rid of the human -- Elisa Maza. Puck: "That I can do." He fires a magical bolt into the mirror at the image of Elisa.

8. Back at the tower, Elisa has a hand on Goliath's shoulder, reassuring him that they'll stop Demona's scheme, whatever it is. Suddenly, she is surrounded by a magical energy that rips her away from Goliath. The gargoyles try to help her, but they can't get close. We should think for a moment that this is the end of Rico... uh, Elisa. And then there is a blinding flash of light that whites out the whole screen. Followed by pitch black darkness. Elisa is still there. We see her silhouette as our eyes adjust and the light returns slowly to normal. She says she's o.k. And then she steps into the light. Transformed into a gargoyle version of herself.

END OF ACT ONE

Now I have to apologize. I know I promised you this for Monday. It's two a.m. Sunday and this is as far as I got. There's a reason (an excuse). Monday is Corporate Seminar. And my last act as an executive (before becoming a full-time producer on Tuesday) is to pitch all our new development to Michael Eisner and Rich Frank. This is a twice yearly event that requires a lot of preparation, and I just ran out of time to get these notes done. Normally, I'd pull an all-nighter, but I need some sleep to face these guys tomorrow.

You gotta admit, that was a pretty good excuse.

So I have to leave this to you. You're mission, if you chose to accept it, (AND YOU REALLY HAVE NO CHOICE IF YOU EVER WANT TO GET TO SCRIPT) is to write up a quick beat outline of acts two and three for me based on the sketchy notes below. It doesn't have to be long. Two to four pages is fine. The amount of detail that I gave you for Act One is all I'm looking for.

Act Two should have Goliath filling Elisa in about the change she's undergone. Maybe take her flying. Maybe this is where we get the line about him never realizing how beautiful she was.

Demona should be temporarily fooled into thinking Elisa's dead, and flushed with success, she asks Puck to rid all of Manhattan of its humans. Bing, bang, boom. Everyone's a gargoyle. People on the subway in from Queens, change into gargoyles as soon as the E-train hits the first Manhattan stop. "Gargoyles" on the way home to Jersey change back to human as they cross the bridge in their cars. NO ONE NOTICES AT ALL.

But Demona doesn't know any of this yet. She wants a tour of what she expects to be an empty city. Puck is secretly eager to see his handiwork, so they step into the mirror, which transports them to the heart of the city. Times Square, maybe? 5th Avenue?

Meanwhile, Hudson, Goliath, Elisa and the trio are all hunting for Demona. They quickly notice the change in the populace. (Maybe the shock of this wide-spread change interrupts what might have been the only chance Elisa and Goliath had for a same-species clinch.) They all know it's bad news, but the trio can't help enjoying the ability to walk among gargoyles again. Even if they are gargoyles in business suits: New Yorkers who still won't give them the time of day. Still, would it be so bad if this didn't get fixed? Yeah. Probably.

When Demona figures out she's been duped, she demands that the gargoyles be changed back to humans. Bing Bang Boom. Goliath, Hudson and the Trio are human. (I'm torn about Bronx. I guess the big dog is o.k. It just seems outside the terms of Demona's request, even by Puck's loose standards.)

Was Goliath flying at the time or is this another interrupted clinch between him and Elisa?

Act Three opens with Elisa saving Goliath from plummeting to his death perhaps. Then she has to make him understand that he has been transformed as well.

We wind up with a very public battle featuring Elisa and our Newly Human heroes against Demona and Puck. It's complicated by the fact that the general populace (who are all now Gargoyles) perceive the human Goliath, Hudson and Trio (and Bronx?) as monsters attacking what to them seems to be a very normal-looking Demona.

Still in the end, good triumphs. Puck makes everything right at Goliath's command, (but let's make it clear that at least in part, he's doing this to spite Demona and/or to suit his own agenda). Elisa is changed to human, before Goliath is changed back, and we have another near-clinch, that Puck interrupts with good-humored spite by changing Goliath back into a gargoyle.

Goliath frees Puck and he vanishes with Demona, rescuing her from Goliath.

Turns out Puck had more fun than he thought he would so he feels like he owes Demona a favor. He'll give her her original wish. No turning to stone during the day. (BUT WE NEED TO MAKE IT PAINFULLY CLEAR THAT SHE WILL STILL BE HER NORMAL GARGOYLE SELF AT NIGHT.) He takes his leave via the mirror.

Cut back to Elisa and Goliath for emotional wrap up. Just before the sunrise which, as usual, separates them.

And back to Demona. Silhouetted against the rising sun. It's up, and she's not stone. Puck kept his word, she can't believe it. Then she sees her human self in the mirror, which she smashes, yelling NOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! And fade to black.


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ComicCon & Shakespeare

Looks like I'll be going down to San Diego for the ComicCon. I'll be appearing Sunday Morning the 23rd of July at a Starship Troopers panel, along with a lot of other people who worked on the show, particularly Producer Audu Paden and the voice of Johnny Rico, Rino Romano.

I'm also thinking about attending the performance of HENRY V at San Diego's Old Globe Theatre on Saturday night the 22nd.

If you see me at either event, say hi.


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Chapter XVII: "A Lighthouse in the Sea of Time"

Written by Brynne Chandler Reaves & Lydia C. Marano
Story Edited by Michael Reaves

Well, I watched "Lighthouse" again last night with my family. First thing I noticed was the bad "Previously" recap. This is all my fault. The recap features Macbeth, because I wanted to make sure the audience knew who he was. But that blows out the first act surprise reveal that he's behind it all. Up to that point in the story, you'd be thinking Xanatos. But because of the dopey recap, you know it MUST be Mac. Later in the season, after I got hammered over these recaps by the folks on the Disney Afternoon e-Mailing list, I learned never to put anything into the recap that wasn't revealed in the first five minutes of the show to follow. But here's a perfect example of me screwing up my own mystery.

We introduce archeologists Lydia Duane and Arthur Morwood-Smythe. Dr. Duane was named after writers Lydia Marano and Diane Duane. Professor Morwood-Smythe was named after writers Arthur Byron Cover and Peter Morwood. Arthur is Lydia's husband. Peter is Diane's husband. I don't know anyone named Smythe.

Macbeth episodes, at least up to this point, seem to be cursed with mediocre animation. (Of course, everything's relative. Mediocre on Gargs was still better than most series got. But relative to our expectations, this ep is pretty weak.) I bet Elisa would have really looked cute in that red baseball hat if the animation had been even slightly better.

I don't know how clear it is in the prologue. The idea there, was that the wind was blowing through the lyre. The haunting sound drew the archeologists further into the cave. They read the warning which indicates that the seeker of knowledge has nothing to fear, the destroyer everything. They are supposed to hesitate, look at each other, decide that they are seekers not destroyers and then open the chest. Merlin's clearly put a safety spell of some kind on the chest. An image of the old man appears and basically checks to confirm whether the archeologists are in fact seekers or destroyers. Satisfied, the spell disipates. But you can imagine what would have happened if a Hakon type had stumbled in.

Anyway, it never felt like all that came across. Did it?

Brooklyn (re: Broadway): "Ignorance is bliss." In High School, I had a classmate named Howard Bliss. We had chemistry together with Mr. Miller. Mr. Miller once asked the class a question that we all should have known. No one knew the answer, and our own idiocy generated laughter among Miller's students. He just shook his head and said: "Ignorance is bliss." He forgot that he had a student named Bliss. It generated more laughter. I don't know why I told you that. But it's what I thought about when Brooklyn read that line.

There's a semi-heavy-handed "Read More About It" feel to the clock tower conversation regarding Merlin. Goliath practically quotes those public service announcements, saying there are many books about him in the library. I don't mind. I had wanted to cite a few actual books -- like Mary Stewart's THE CRYSTAL CAVE -- but our legal department wouldn't give us clearance for that. Very short-sighted.

A connection is made between Merlin and the Magus. This was not an accident, as at that time, I had planned to have the Magus journey with Arthur on his Pendragon quests to find Excalibur and Merlin. I later changed my mind. But the Magus does at least play a Merlin-esque roll in the Avalon three parter.

I always wonder who was playing in "Celebrity Hockey" that night.

Macbeth's standard Electro-Magnetic weapon was my idea. I didn't design it exactly, but I did make crude little drawings of something that looked vaguely like a staple gun, with two electrodes that generated the charge. I was always proud of that weapon. It was uniquely Macbeth's (and Banquo and Fleances'). Set him apart from all the concussion, laser and particle beam weapons we used elsewhere. (I did the same kind of thing on the Quarymen's hammers.)

It's fun to listen to B.J. Ward voice both sides of the confrontation between Fleance and Duane.

Banquo's model sheet showed him squinting out of one eye. Some episodes, not so much this one, but some took that to mean he only had one eye. So he walks around looking like Popeye for the entire episode. (His big lantern jaw helps accentuate that.) There are a couple of Popeye moments in this ep. But more in his next appearance I think.

It was my idea to just have Mac's mansion rebuilt without explanation. I don't exactly regret it, but it's kinda cheap. We burned it way down. He has it rebuilt. It makes sense. But we usually dealt with consequences more than that.

When he rebuilds it, he installs those cannons. They were supposed to be giant-sized versions of the hand-held E-M guns. But they don't come off that way. Instead they fire at the gargoyles. And mostly seem to destroy the various turrets of Macbeth's own place. Ugghh.

As in "Leader" we get another scene of Goliath and friends confronting Owen at the castle. Looking for Xanatos, when in fact Xanatos isn't the threat. It made sense in both episodes. And it's always nice to showcase Owen a bit. But after two of those in four episodes, I wasn't gonna do that again. (At least not until KINGDOM.)

I love the "Macbeth Theme" that Carl Johnson created for the villain, which is featured at the end of ACT ONE.

Macbeth opens the "second scroll" and starts to read Merlin's seal. This caused tons of fan confusion, as he read "Sealed by my own [i.e. Merlin's] hand". No one seemed to get that he was reading that. They thought Mac was saying that he [i.e. Macbeth] had sealed the scroll. Of course that notion renders the whole thing confusing as hell. But it never occured to us that anyone would take it that way.

We also introduce Jeffrey Robbins and Gilly in this episode. Gilly is of course short for Gilgamesh, one of the legendary characters that Robbins once wrote about. It's just a bit odd, because Gilly is a female.

Robbins is a very cool character. Wish we had had the opportunity to use him more.

I like how when Robbins and Hudson are introducing themselves, Robbins gives his first and last name. Hudson says, I'm Hudson, "like the river". An echo of how he got the name. And a reminder that names aren't natural to him. Even if they are addictive.

John Rhys-Davies is just fantastic as Macbeth. I love his speech to Broadway. It accomplishes everything we needed it too. That line about the "human heart" by the way is a reference to the Arthur/Lance/Gwen triangle.

I also love his line: "I'm Old, but not THAT Old." This was a little hint to what we'd reveal in CITY OF STONE. Sure Macbeth's from the eleventh century, but not the fifth or sixth. It's like someone saying to someone my age, "So what did you do during World War II?"

Lennox Macduff. That was a cool touch. Also a hint as to how Macbeth feels about Shakespeare.

I like the Phone Book scene too. Hudson says "Hmm. Magic Book." Robbins replies: "Aren't they all." Great stuff.

By the way, as Robbins goes through the phone book, scanning names, he passes "Macduff, Cameron". One of my college roommates was Cameron Douglas, who was really interested in his Scotish heritage. That was a mini-tribute to him.

My daughter Erin reacts to the fact that Macbeth threatens to use Merlin's spells on Broadway. She points out that Macbeth had promised to let Broadway go after he had the scrolls. She's surprised he hasn't kept his word. My wife at that point reminds Erin that Macbeth is the villain. Erin gets that. But you can tell it isn't quite sitting right with her.

Later when Macbeth DOES let everyone go without a struggle, Erin is clearly not sure what to make of him.

And on one level, that's exactly as we wanted it. Macbeth is a troubled guy -- a hero who's devolved into a villain. A suicidal villain on top of that, though we hadn't revealed that yet. But he is a villain. Later, it's debatable, but here he's taken to being an ends-justify-the-means kinda guy. And even his ends are hazy at best.

I love Broadway's "precious magic" speech. It's so wierd hearing poetry from the big galoot. But that's so Broadway. The soul of a poet. Bill Faggerbakke was a huge help.

And I love Robbins "They are lighthouses in the dark sea of time..." speech. I love that it's not exactly the title. Brynne and Lydia did fine work on this one.

I wonder what happened to that lyre?


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"A WINTER'S TALE" this summer...

Keith David, the voice of "Goliath", is currently appearing at the Delacourt Theatre in Manhattan's Central Park (the one right below Belvedere Castle) in William Shakespeare's A WINTER'S TALE. He's playing the lead Male role of LEONTES, the jealous king. It's a great part. A great play. A great theater. And a great actor. Plus it's FREE. I wish I could get to NYC and see it. PLEASE, someone go see the show, and report back how it was. PLEASE. This really is a DON'T MISS Opportunity.


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macbeth_13 writes...

How many charaters came from willam shakspear's plays

Greg responds...

Hundreds.

(Oh, do you mean in Gargoyles?)

Response recorded on July 10, 2000

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Warren writes...

A Midsummer Night's Dream

When I first saw "The Mirror," I thought hey... What a cool Idea. Puck, the whole Shakespear thing. At that point I hadn't seen many ep's with the Shakespear type plot. Let just say it's my favorite Shakespear play... and that ep [The Mirror] just made the play even cooler.

I love the line, something like, "That Writer Shakespear wrote a play about him [Puck]."

I have seen the play, and am going to see it again in a couple weeks.

One Saturday I was watching some Mickey Mouse thing on TV. and they reinacted the play using the main Characters... Mickey, Minnie, Donald, Daisy, Scrooge, and as puck, Goofy. Oberon and Julias Ceaser were there as well. But the thing that got me was what Scrooge said:
"Ah to Lex with yah." (The story was not word for word with the play, but kept most of the dialogue.)
I thought the whole thing was funny.

I wanted to thank you for getting me interested in Shakespear... although indirectly.

Greg responds...

You're welcome. I was actually hoping that all the Shakespeare in GARGOYLES would pique the interest of a few of you. It's great to preach to the converted. But it's also nice to be the guy who did the introducing. (Sorry for the mixed metaphor.)

Response recorded on July 10, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

About what time did Oberon and Titania get married? Was Shakespeare corect about them being a wedded couple during the time of Theseus?

Greg responds...

Ask me again some other time, I'm currently in a re-think on Midsummer. I'm not sure how it's gonna come out.

Response recorded on July 10, 2000

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Chapter XVI: "Legion"

Story Editor: Michael Reaves
Written by Marty Isenberg & Robert N. Skir

I just watched "Legion" again. Time to Ramble.

From the memo I posted earlier this week, you'll see that the never used on screen names of Othello, Desdemona and Iago were my idea. But I've always wondered if that's the case. The outline that Marty and Bob wrote immediately prior to that memo had all the Othello elements very, very present in the story. All they didn't do was NAME the characters. I always wondered whether they and/or Michael had the Othello story specifically in mind, consciously or un-, and I just capitalized on it.

The Goldencup Bakery Building, which semi-secretly houses a defense department hi-tech research and development installation is modeled after the Silver Cup Bakery Building -- which actually exists in Brooklyn (as I recall). That Building was trashed in the original HIGHLANDER movie in the final battle between Connor and the Kragen (who was played by a pretty damned horrific Clancy Brown). Small world.

I was always worried that the whole Othello, Desdemona, Iago, Cassio (whoops, I mean Goliath) backstory was a bit vague in this episode. Did anyone have problems getting it?

I don't think I'd like to be one of those Goldencup Guards. Coldstone punches one of them out. That's gotta hoit. He just seems fairly unstoppable in that Xanatos-program controlled sequence. I like how that plays.

Matt says to Elisa: "You never let me drive." My wife's reaction: "Was that in homage to me?" My wife, you see, almost always drives when we're together. She gets carsick when anyone else drives. And I don't much care.

Speaking of Matt, we've got that line about him spending six months reading RECAP manuals to justify why a normal detective would be in charge of RECAP in the first place. Just trying to avoid either adding a superfluous character and/or making the situation seem artificial.

Another appearance of the Scarab Corp. Logo, even though Scarab is never mentioned by name. Oh, well...

Coldstone flees the Goldencup. Goliath and Lex pursue, and Coldstone attacks them. Then he immediately stops, when he sees it's Goliath. The problem I always had with that scene is that the lighting made it obvious that it was Goliath from moment one. (Not just to us, but to Coldstone.) If Goliath had been in shadows, it would have played better.

Minutes later Lex asks Goliath if it's wise to take Coldstone into their home: "He hasn't always been your friend." This was, theoretically, a reference not simply to the most recent attack, nor even only to the events of "Reawakening", but also a reference to the pre-Massacre backstory of the actually non-existent love triangle (or square or pentagram if you include Demona) that caused Goliath and Othello to fight way back when. Lex remembers those days too. Othello was always a bit of a hot-head.

I love Goliath's response: "Without trust there can be no clan." And I love that this is part of a Lex/Goliath exchange. It fits in perfectly with the message they taught each other in "Thrill of the Hunt". Gotta take some chances on occasion. Or else you'll always be alone. It's an anti-Demona mentality. Or rather a mentality that is strikingly un-Demona-esque.

From the moment Coldstone premiered in "Reawakening" I knew (that if we survived to a second season) we'd discover that he was created from three Gargoyles. Tried to work that conceptually into the design more, but we never quite achieved it. So basically that becomes something that the audience has to take on trust.

Which brings me to the title "Legion". It's a one-word title which usually is a tip-off that it's one of mine. I know it's a biblical reference. Some possessed guy with a demon/devil inside who goes by the name "Legion". But that's not actually where I got it. When I was a kid, I saw this tv movie based on Mary Shelley's FRANKENSTEIN. It starred Michael Sarazan or Chris Sarandon. (I always used to mix those two guys up.) It was trying to present a more realistic believable version of the Frankenstein story. I was pretty young. And I don't remember too much about it. I do remember that I was supposed to be asleep -- past my bedtime in the days before my parents gave up and I began going to bed long after they were asleep. But instead of being asleep, I was watching it, in the dark, with the volume turned as far down as possible, me sitting right by the set, so I could flip it off if I heard my parents' door opening. (This was long before remote controls were common.) Anyway, the one scene that I really remember is a scene where they put the Monster under hypnosis. The voices of all the people who "donated" body parts begin to speak. And one of them quotes the "Legion" thing from the bible. But I didn't know that. That is I didn't know back then that he was quoting anyone or anything. It just seemed like a very powerful, poetic and humanly true statement. So it wasn't until college that I read that passage in the bible and realized where it was from. Can anyone cite the actual quote? I can't remember where exactly it's from, and I don't feel like searching right now.

Anyway, all this is relevant because Coldstone was ALWAYS our Frankenstein character from the "IT'S ALIVE!" moment to the "Legion" stuff here.

Coldstone calls Hudson "Mentor". That's a "name" I've been long considering for Hudson's "designation" in the DARK AGES prequel spin-off.

Coldstone shoots Goliath at point blank range. Goliath gets up unharmed. A far cry from what happened to G in "Long Way to Morning." Now in the outline and script, it says that Coldstone uses his "concussion cannon" as opposed to his laser cannon. But nothing in the as-aired episode makes that distinction. And so it just looks irresponsible to me. Like suddenly we're saying violence has no repercussions. Did that bother anyone else?

I love the dark comedy of Coldstone going bonkers at Ellis Island. Fighting with himself. I think Michael Dorn did a terrific job playing all four aspects of CS's personality. Which of you figured out what when? I'd like to know.

The Trio has the Recap visor. Now all they have to do is find Goliath, Hudson and Coldstone. How will they do that? "Three guesses?" A very elegant way to explain how in a huge city, they're able to locate three gargoyles.

Kenner's Coldstone toy is a lot of fun. With it's window into Coldstone's soul. And the spinner that allows any of the four personas to take over at random.

Xanatos doesn't even appear until the VERY END of Act Two. And it's not even really Xanatos, just a program designed by him. Normally, I'd say that wasn't playing fair. But I feel like his presence was obvious all-along. (And did David personally design that program. Or did he just put his stamp on it, management-style?)

There's a moment when Goliath, thrilled to see his rookery sister again, hugs Desdemona. She is immediately annoyed, because she knows that hug is prone to misinterpretation. It's a nice little touch in the animation.

I always wondered what if anything Demona thought about that ancient conflict way back when. Was Iago playing her as well? Trying to make her jealous of Desdemona? I think maybe he did try. But wouldn't it be cool if she didn't credit it for a second. If she just knew intuitively that Desdemona didn't present any threat at all to her relationship with G? Because, I feel the opposite is true. That Demona knew intuitively that Elisa DID present a threat. Say what you want for Demona, but her subconscious knows her man.

I love that moment where BOTH Iago and Xanatos are whispering in Othello's ears. Poor slob never stood a chance.

We've got a nice little Xanatos tag in this one too. Certainly not a doozy as in "Leader" or "Metamorphosis", but it's got a nice little kick to it, I think. And that's THREE episodes in a row. X had been busy.

And then I love the last beat back at the clock tower. Goliath has confiscated Coldstone's body, to keep it safe and "among friends" should he/she ever wake up again. I wanted to keep it in the corner from that point until "High Noon". Always present and visible. We didn't for two reasons. First, we figured it would be a bit confusing. The Batcave can get away with the giant penny and other souvenirs from Batman's cases, because there ARE multiple souvenirs. But just having one immobile gargoyle in the background, as cool and creepy as that is, would be horribly distracting for any audience member who missed this one particular episode. And second, we had our tier system. What if "Legion" wasn't ready as scheduled. We couldn't have Coldstone sitting around the clock tower in later episodes that we'd be forced to air first. Talk about disconcerting. So we invented a back room. Where Coldstone, the Grimorum, the Gate and eventually the eye could be stored.

Comments welcome, as usual...


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Cassandra writes...

Hi, Greg. Here's my own ramble of things I love about Gargoyles. I found the show my senior year of high school and was hooked. And when Fox moved the second season episodes to 6 a.m., my handy VCR timer was always set. My college roommate soon became a Gargoyles fan too. On to the elements.

The shocks and surprises: I loved the way the smaller story lines worked into the larger ones. I know you're a long ways from talking about "The Gathering" but I'm starting there, sorry. I saw/heard that Kate Mulgrew was doing both Anastasia and Titania's voice without much difference, so I knew they were one in the same. But my congratulating myself on figuring that out stopped and I almost fell out of my chair when Owen was revealed to be Puck. My best friend DID fall out of his chair when I was showing him and his wife the episode. Going back to season one, actual blood was shown when Broadway shot Elisa! In a Disney cartoon! And when I told people about this, they didn't believe me. Derek goes to work for Xanatos and is mutated for ignoring his sister's advice. Fox and Xanatos got married. I caught the "she's totally in love with him" in "Her Brother's Keeper", but I didn't expect them to get married--live together maybe.

Elisa: Thank you for creating such a great female character. Tough, smart, and still a beautiful woman. She could have de-evolved from "Awakenings" into the helpless female that the gargoyles had to rescue every week (and part of me worried that it could happen), but instead she ended up saving them as often as they saved her. And who else would have had the guts to wake King Arthur up? But she isn't a superhero. She has problems dealing with her mother and brother, she gets hurt, and she gets a little obsessive.

Intelligent bad guys: I suppose more accurately stated is bad guys with intelligent motivations. Demona has psychological hang-ups that culminate in her desire to wipe out the human race. Xanatos is just fun. How many series villians never let revenge get in their way? Plus, he had most of the best lines. My favorite: "This is my first stab at cliched villanry. How am I doing?" from "Cloud Fathers". Thailog seems to have this Oedipal need to displace Xanatos in the world.

Characters evolve: No one remained static. Demona's downward spiral was shown, but it has the potential to end by her desire to protect and love Angela. Xanatos and Fox fall in love and have a child, and apparantly learn what it means to have someone manipulate your life, something they're both a little guilty of. Macbeth realize that the gargoyles are as honorable as he is, and finds a new purpose to life. I love his debate with Margot in "The Journey". The Pack gets their upgrade. Cameo characters get stories and prove that the six degrees of seperation works in the gargoyle universe too.

References: Shakespeare's plays; Scottish history; Eygptian, Irish, Norse, Greek, African, Jewish, King Arthur mythologies, pop culture, World War II, Loch Ness, aliens, werewolves, and fae. I was waiting for vampires to show up. Okay, maybe not real vampires, but Servarius could make some. It was great to watch a show that used this stuff inside its own mythos and used it effectively.

That's just a few of the things that I loved about the show. Artwork was excellent and dialogue was wonderfully written and flawlessly performed. Here's my hope, wish, spell, prayer that GARGOYLES comes back to the air with you at the helm. And one quick question before I go find the episode rambles I've missed.

Question: Did you or do you plan on a flashback or a TimeDancer episode in which Will Shakespeare shows up as a character?

Greg responds...

To Will or not to Will, that IS the question.

To be honest, the idea intimidated the hell out of me. I have more than one idea about Will's role in the Garg Universe, specifically with regard to Macbeth and Oberon/Titania/Mab/Puck/etc. But I don't know if I would have done it. Neil Gaiman already did something like that with "Midsummer Night's Dream" in SANDMAN, and if that wasn't intimidating enough, WILL himself looms.

And yet, if you're afraid to do something, that probably means that you should. I loved SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE, and on one level, it should increase the intimidation level. I mean it's Tom Stoppard for God's sake. But it showed me a window into how to interpret Will as a man. So I like to think I would have gone for it.

(And by the way, thanks for your kind words on all the other stuff. It's particularly gratifying because it was our intent. We lucked out all over the place. But the stuff you mentioned was all part of the plan. I'm glad we managed to pull it off, for you at least.)

Response recorded on July 05, 2000

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Gside writes...

Now, my sweet honey lord,

*\ 1HIV I.2.152 (approx)
Insert random first time introduction/semi-hero-worship, and other random first question material \*

Right, now that that is over with, I have a question or three.

1. Just how much does Dingo know? //1HIV 1.2.184 I am asking in the context of the Bill reference, not general knowledge

2. Was he always imitating the sun covered by base clouds, or did he not originally have much beauty to be smothered from the world? //1HIV 1.2.186-8

3. Will he be able to fully pay of the debt he never promised? //1HIV 1.2.198

Greg responds...

'Kay, Gside, I hate to disappoint you, but I don't have the complete works of Shakespeare committed to memory. And I don't have 1 Henry IV here in the office. In fact, sneaky-bastard, it took me a bit just to figure out what you were talking about.

So why don't you repost the question, giving me the actual quotes instead of line numbers. (That's called meeting me and the rest of our ASK GREG readers halfway.)

Response recorded on June 20, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

I thought that I'd submit this as a change-of-pace question.

There's a new fiction book out by John Updike called "Gertrude and Claudius", a prequel to "Hamlet" covering the period from Gertrude's marriage to Hamlet's father all the way up to the start of the play. I've just read it and thought it quite good. I was curious as to whether you'd read it, and if so, what you thought of it.

(To me, one of the most intriguing parts of the book was its progression from the original version of the Hamlet legend in Saxo Grammaticus all the way down to the Shakespeare play - so that the book opens with the characters in a "Viking Age" atmosphere and using the names from Saxo, but then proceeds gradually into an increasingly Renaissance atmosphere, with the names evolving along the way until the familiar Shakespeare ones show up in the last part).

Greg responds...

Sorry, Todd, I've heard of the book, but I haven't purchased or read it yet.

Response recorded on June 17, 2000

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Ambrosia writes...

Hi Greg!! I was just reading your interview with Lexy. You said that you hoped Gargoyles would inspire people to learn more about sujects you touched on... and I realized that it has done exactly that for me. In fact, I don't know if I realized the magnitude of an impact Gargoyles has had in my life until I thought about that...
In The Mirror when the clan is trying to explain to Elisa who Oberon's Children are (I thought everybody knew this??), Brooklyn says, "Yeah, that guy Shakespeare wrote a play about them: A Midsummer Night's Dream." The next day after I saw that episode, I had the play in my possession and began poring over it. This began a love/obsession for Shakespeare- particularly that play.
Also, I read your ramblings about Theseus and decided I needed to learn more about him. Mary Renault's The King Must Die stuck out in my memory one day between classes and I found it in the library. I'll post again when I'm finished with it.
In ancient history 103, I could be tired and completely tune out my professor, but I'd hear the word "Scotland" and snap back awake and pay perfect attention.
I never really thought about these things as they were happening, but looking back I can see that so many things I've learned or done came from gargoyles: I'm teaching myself to draw, I want to visit New York... stuff like that. I wanted to say... thanks!

Greg responds...

And I want to say "YOU ARE VERY, VERY WELCOME!" As a former educator (who's about to start teaching again tomorrow) your message really warmed my heart.

Shakespeare and Renault are two of my favorite authors. It thrills me that I turned you on to them.

But you know what? The show had the same effect on me. I've fallen in love with Scottish History as well. I knew nothing about it before GARGOYLES. Now I'm fairly well-versed and, at the very least, very interested.

HEY! TELL YOUR TEACHER!

Response recorded on April 04, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

Incidentally, you mentioned during your October posts that you weren't too familiar with the original Boudicca, and I thought that I'd fill you in on her a bit.

Boudicca was the Queen of the Iceni (an ancient British tribe in what is now Norfolk) and wife to King Prasutagus in the early days of Roman Britain. When Prasutagus died, he left part of his lands and wealth to Rome, but the Romans greedily decided to help themselves to a lot more than he'd left them. When the widowed Boudicca protested, they flogged her and raped her daughters. In anger, Boudicca sought revenge by rallying the Britons (both the Iceni, and the neighboring tribes) against the Romans, and sacked three cities (London, St. Albans, and Colchester), ruthlessly slaughtering everyone that she could find living in them, in a war of rebellion between A.D. 60 and 61. The Romans finally defeated her army in the end, however, and Boudicca poisoned herself.

(She does remind me a bit of Demona, on the general level, in fact. Certainly the same basic concept was there of furious retaliation upon one's persecutors on a level just as savage as the original wrong itself, if not worse).

Greg responds...

Reminds me of Tamara in TITUS.

I wonder if Katharine, Tom and the Magus were thinking of that story when they named their Boudicca, or if it was just the notion of a female warrior that got them to choose the name?

Response recorded on April 03, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

A Macbeth question that I've been wondering for some time. In the Shakespeare play, he can only be killed by one who is not "of woman born". It occurred to me some time ago that this also holds true for the Gargoyles Macbeth, for the only one who can kill him is Demona, and she was hatched from a gargoyle egg, which counts just as well as a loophole as being from one's "mother's womb untimely ripped". Have you ever noticed this before?

Greg responds...

Yep. We talked about making a point about it in City of Stone, just as we discussed doing a Birnham Wood scene. But unfortunately all that "Shakespeare" stuff got cut for time (before we even went to script).

Response recorded on March 31, 2000

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Pyro X writes...

Hey Greg!

Some Questions About MacBeth:

1) In "A light house in the sea of time," MacBeth says "The Scrolls of Merlin, Seeld by my own hand." Did he mean the He (MacBeth) seeled the scrolls?

2) If that is the case, then did MacBeth know Arthur and
Merlin, or were they before his time? In pendragon, he did seem kinda shocked that that was King Arthur, so it make for a conflict.

the Next two also relate to MacBeth...

3. Did Macbeth Know that a play was being written about him by Shakespear and did he ever "see" the play?

4. Did Demona ever see MacBeth, because she knew it was about Macbeth?

5. Did MacBeth MEET Shakespear?

Thanks man!

Greg responds...

1. No. (Admit it, no one ever reads the archives.) Macbeth was reading that. Meaning, he read that Merlin sealed it with HIS own hand.

2. So, no, they were before his time.

3. Yes. And yes.

4. I'm sure she's seen it.

5. Yes. (Yeah, no one ever reads the archives.)

Response recorded on March 21, 2000

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Derek writes...

A response to your post on shocking moments in Gargoyles-
I was genuinely suprised by all three endings in the Hunter's Moon episodes. I saw PT 2 and figured the episode would be continued right as Robyn had her finger over the button, but then...SHE PRESSED IT!! The missile went off, the colck tower exploded! There was no going around that, they showed the explosion! I was in 8th grade at the time of it's original airing, and I remember sitting in my science class and wondering how they would ever get out of that situation? Where would they live now? With Elisa? I certainly NEVER would have guessed that Xantatos would show up and save them, but, it worked. I loved it. I was at the edge of my seat with my mouth open in awe, I couldn't wait until the GOLIATH CHRONICLES aired in January...
You did a great job, very dramatic story telling that took risks and still made sense. I loved it. Gargoyles is one of the finest television series ever. Because of you and Gargoyles, I have taken an interest in mythology, Shakespeare, Arthurian Legends, Animation. It covers EVERYTHING. I read T.H. Whites "Once and Future King" over the summer (while ASK YOU was down) just because I wanted to know more about these subjects that interested me in the show. I'm a Senior in High School and for my Senior Project, I'm Illustrating in comic book fashion 3 of shakespeare's plays...WHY? Because of Gargoyles. You have opened up so many doors to me, and I thank you.

Greg responds...

Thank you! You just made my night.

If the team and I introduced you to Shakespeare and White, then we really did something worthwhile. By the way, have you read White's "Book of Merlin". It's a wonderful final chapter to "Once and Future King". The scene with the hedgehog always breaks my heart.

Response recorded on March 19, 2000

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Man Mountain writes...

A few days after reading your review of "Titus" I saw Roger Ebert's TV show and had to smile at his review. He hit just about every point you did, including the fine acting of all involved (with special mention of Harry Lennix) and its corralation to "Scream." Maybe he reads ASK GREG... Well, I just thought you would like to know.

Greg responds...

Thanks.

Response recorded on March 17, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

One thing that I'm going to confess here, and it's that I'm still feeling somewhat taken aback at the discovery that the mythological gods in the Gargoyles Universe are subject to Oberon, a "mere" faerie king (though don't tell him that I called him that :) In traditional legend, Oberon wasn't a divinity, so seeing him have authority over gods like Odin feels a little strange to me still. It's like seeing an earl giving orders to a king. I know that in the Gargoyles Universe, Oberon does outrank the gods of mythology and that they were really "just" powerful faerie-folk, but it does feel a little odd to me all the same.

Greg responds...

That is... an absolutely SHOCKING confession.

Or not.

Look, I knew it was going to be controversial (relatively speaking). Frank Paur wasn't particularly comfortable with the idea, but I'm a fast talker.

The main motivation was that I wanted the Garg Universe to have a certain cohesion. I wanted it to be rich and expansive, but not completely arbitrary. So after a bit of tease and mystery, we reveal a feudal system.

And Oberon's lack of shall we say, press, didn't bother me. He was the big man behind the scenes. And although he's not exactly Mr. Maturity, I don't think that bothered him.

And of course, he did have at least one spectacular press agent. Guy named Will.

Response recorded on March 17, 2000

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Ashley E. writes...

Hi Greg My name is Ashley and I am the biggest fan of Gargoyles you will ever see. I cried when I found this page I have seen Gargoyle Series every single time it's been out and I miss you guys soooooo Much. I realy hope with all my heart that you guys bring it back. PLEASE!!!!! I thought that this cartoon was the best one ever made. I really want you guys to go on and on and on... How much would it cost to buy the rights from Walt Disney and start it yourself? Was it your baby from the start or was it there Idea? I read what you said about Titus how would I be able to see it and where can I get it??? Anyways I really miss you guys.. My favorite part was "The Hunter" Part 3 Where Alisa kissed Goliath, that was the best!!! Thank you for hours of absolute pleasure.

Greg responds...

Ashley,

What a wonderful post. Thank you.

Disney would never sell the rights, and if they did, lowly me could never afford to buy them. And no one's sorrier about that than I am.

Gargoyles was definitely my baby. (Still is.) Though many, many people participated in raising it to be the child that you saw on television. The basic ideas were mine, but it was very collaborative, extremely collaborative. And in any case, we were all working for Disney, so they own it, lock stock and gargoyle.

As for Titus, well I saw it in a movie theater. It's rated R (or should be) and I don't know how old you are or where you live, so I don't know if it's in your local theaters or whether you should be allowed in or not.

Eventually, it'll be on home video.

Response recorded on March 11, 2000

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Chapter IX: "Enter Macbeth"

Another episode by episode ramble. Feedback encouraged.

So here's where all that great continuity got us in major trouble.

The episodes were all designed to play in a certain order. But I didn't tell my bosses that in advance. I know it sounds sneaky, but it wasn't really. We wrote the darn things and sent them off in order. It never occured to me they wouldn't be able to come back and air in order. I mean, how could a newer episode get the jump on an older one? How could an older episode not be ready before a newer one? Then the footage came back on "Enter Macbeth".

This was the first episode not animated in Japan. And immediately we knew we were in trouble. I'm not talking about the version you all have seen. The one that aired. I'm talking about stuff you never saw. Much of the original footage we got was unusable. This wasn't about just calling retakes. This wasn't about us bitching how "Thrill" wasn't as well animated as "Awakening". This was a major disaster. So my bosses said: "Air the next one." And I responded, "We can't."

And not just because they were all designed to air in order. It was a horrible coincidence, but this episode, this episode that was unairable, was a tentpole. Yeah, if Thrill or Temptation had been reordered it would have been sad. Same with "The Edge" and "Long Way To Morning". But big deal, right? Better to get a new episode out and not make the audience deal with repeats this early in the season. (Remember, we had aired our first five episodes in one week. This was only week five. In those days, week five was considered way too early in the year for reruns.)

But this was the follow-up to Elisa's injury. It was important to us that we continue our policy of "repercussions". We put her on crutches to show that a gunshot wasn't something that was solved in twenty-two minutes. This was an ongoing recovery. If you pulled the crutches out by airing Edge next, you blew out the sense of repercussions.

But that wasn't the clincher. Of course, the clincher was the Clock Tower. This was the episode where the Gargs were "banished" from the castle and moved to the Clock Tower. That was a major shift. If we cut straight to Edge, the audience would be lost. Fortunately, Gary was convinced. In a way, I was lucky that our first crisis of order came on such a pivotal "tentpole" episode. We couldn't reorder these. So we went with reruns. But it was a lesson learned. And it would effect the way we approached the second season.

But meanwhile, we had the problem at hand. We couldn't reanimate the entire show. So we picked shots to redo judiciously. There are still some awful looking scenes. When Goliath says, "How Dare You?!" to Elisa, he looks like an Animaniacs parody of Goliath. And that sarcophogus/iron maiden thing that Goliath follows Macbeth through looks like a prop out of CHIP N DALE'S RESCUE RANGERS. (Another perfectly good series, but with a slightly different art style, if you know what I mean.) Or how about the GIANT remote that Macbeth pulls from his duster in order to summon his ship? "Enter Macbeth" is still, as aired, the worst looking episode of the first season. And that really killed Frank and I, because we both really loved this story. We were sure that the bad animation would kill any interest in Macbeth. The fact that generally, the character did catch hold of fandom's collective imagination is a true testament to the work of Steve Perry, Michael Reaves, John Rhys-Davies and Jamie Thomason. And, oh, yes... William Shakespeare.

The weak picture forced us to use a lot of little tricks to get a final cut. One thing we did, which I regret, is reuse dialogue. Elisa says "You aren't safe here" like three times. And it isn't three different takes. It's just the exact same take reprinted and reused. Lex & Brooklyn also reuse lines to get Bronx to find Goliath. That sort of thing drives me nuts.

There is one really nice moment in the animation. When Macbeth chooses his sword off the wall, the reflection effect is quite sweet. And I also like the down shot of Bronx running right down the middle of Broadway (the street not the gargoyle). I also love how Goliath makes no attempt to hide. That really spoke to the Gargoyles attitude about living among humans. They wouldn't hold press conferences, but they would not cower.

Anyway, we ran reruns. Awakenings. And obviously all five episodes on five consecutive weeks. That might have been a good thing for people who had heard about the show by word of mouth in week two or later and needed to catch up. But for anyone who had been following the show from its premiere, it was a long time to wait for new episodes. By the time we came back, so much time had passed since "Deadly Force" that we felt the need to put a "Previously on Gargoyles" at the head of the episode. Another trick I cribbed from HILL STREET BLUES. Cartoons rarely did that sort of thing. Sure multi-parters had to. But single episodes... For some reason, it made me feel very grown up. (Which only proves how immature I really am.) The "Previously" also allowed us to cut 30 more seconds of bad looking footage out of the episode. That little bonus was something I'd remember for season two as well.

HOME

As we pushed guns in the previous episode, this one is laced with the imagery and language of home. What is it? What makes it? What price is one willing to pay to keep or secure it? There are four homes depicted. Well, really five. The Gargoyles' castle. Xanatos' prison. Macbeth's mansion. The Clock Tower. And the Castle again, once it is reclaimed by Xanatos and thus becomes a very, very different place.

I tried to make sure, as much as possible, that every episode had that kind of underlying theme. (I recently tried with very limited success to do the same thing in MAX STEEL. Someone asked me once, why the one-word S-Titles for all the Max Steel episodes. They were my attempt to make me and the writers focus on the theme of each story.)

And how do all these homes turn out? Macbeth is so obsessed that he loses his home to a fire. Xanatos finally gets out of prison. (Not on Halloween by the way, or that would make the dates depicted in Double Jeopardy innacurate. Obviously, Halloween was circled on his calendar because the guy just loves Halloween. And after all, Owen specifically says in a LATER scene that Xanatos has one week left before he gets out. The wall calendar had shown only a few days.) The Gargoyles lose the castle, gain the clock tower, but realize that home is literally where the heart is. And Xanatos... well all other concerns of Grimorum and gargoyle of destruction and competition pale next to the simple pleasure of being back home.

And how many of you were suprised that the Gargoyles lost the castle? That was supposed to be another pretty shocking development. I mean, sure, Batman might lose the Batcave for an episode, but for 56 episodes? When Goliath said "We'll be back to claim that which is ours" at the end, did most of you think he'd be back next week? Next month? By the time, the gang finally did return in chapter 65, did anyone still remember Goliath's vow?

MACBETH

I've discussed this before, but Macbeth's origins (at least in terms of our series) were (ironically) an early attempt to play the notion of THE HUNTER. I was looking for someone human who could physically take on the Gargoyles as prey. Someone smart, with an agenda. We actually started with the notion of trying to create our own KRAVEN THE HUNTER type character. But it quickly moved in its own direction. Frankly, away from Kraven and more toward BATMAN. In those days, we were constantly being told that we would be accused of ripping off Batman. So Frank, Michael and I decided to create a villain who, at least in M.O. would be our Batman.

I had a semi-separate idea to add a human to the cast who was from Goliath's time. Thus creating a good thematic nemesis or opposite for him. (The key to creating a good villain, in my opinion.) But this villain would have lived through the centuries. So that he was familiar with the very latest in technology. This dove-tailed with our anti-Batman, and was also exactly how we viewed Demona. So it soon became clear to Michael and I that the two characters must be connected in some way. That suggested that he shouldn't merely be 1000 years old. He should be Scottish as well. All that was left was a name. And given my love of Shakespeare, I'm surprised it took me so long to figure it out. Our nemesis was Macbeth himself. An immortal Scottish King. What Scottish King was more immortal than Macbeth? More mortal too for that matter.

This was the beginning of countless Shakespearian references that I would either slide (or force) into the show, or that the writers would stick in knowing I was a sucker for them. And I love the little exchange between Lex & Brooklyn...

[dialogue approximate]
LEX: "Wasn't "Macbeth" the name of that play by that new writer Shakespeare that Goliath was talking about?"

BROOKLYN: "Have you read it?"

LEX: "No. Have you?"

BROOKLYN: "No. But maybe we should."

This was my little way of trying to encourage our viewers to read or at least learn about the play. If they wanted to know who Macbeth was, it wouldn't hurt to go to the primary source.

And at the time, Shakespeare was my primary source for Macbeth. This was long before Tuppence Macintyre and Monique Beatty did all their research for me for "City of Stone". Back then, the only Macbeth I knew about was Shakespeare's.

We gave him a sense of honor, but a twisted one. And we gave him a very interesting motivation. I didn't yet know the particulars, but this guy was after Demona in a major way. He had stained glass windows in his home depicting the two of them. He was the man who named her. It was all pretty intriguing stuff to me. I love the exchange between him and Goliath. Goliath is a pawn. Mac wants the queen and believes that endangering Goliath is the surest way to ensnare Demona. And how does Goliath respond? By gum, if he doesn't laugh -- MANIACALLY!! And watch how the tables turn. Macbeth is not infallible and suddenly Goliath has him on the defensive. Goliath even uses a MACE!! Great stuff.

Incidentally, we had in the script described Macbeth as wearing a thin layer of exo-armor. And Goliath was supposed to dig his claws into it. Macbeth would escape by detaching from the armor. Instead, the artists did the bit with the duster coat. But I remembered the claws in armor thing and eventually found a place for it... in HUNTER'S MOON, PART THREE.

Finally, watching the episode tonight, my five year old daughter said she spotted the Mona Lisa on Macbeth's wall. I didn't see it. But I believe her. And I wouldn't be at all surprised if that was the original. Too bad about that fire.


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Greg "Xanatos" Bishansky writes...

Thanks for the info on the Titus Andronicus movie. Sounds like it has a good cast. I hope it comes out near me soon. By the time you get this you'll probably have seen it, so what did you think of it?

Greg responds...

I have seen it. By now I'm sure you've read my responses to it. If not, check out the ASK GREG: Shakespeare archive.

Response recorded on March 03, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

You once gave a list here of Shakespeare plays that you especially liked because you had ideas for using them in your stories: Henry IV Part One, King Lear, Romeo and Juliet, Much Ado About Nothing, A Midsummer Night's Dream, Macbeth, The Tempest, Hamlet, and Love's Labor's Lost. Just for the fun of it, I went over that list recently to see how many of these you'd made use of in "Gargoyles", or had indicated making use of in this forum.

HENRY IV PART ONE: You mentioned that Dingo's real name would be Harry Monmouth, an aka of Prince Hal, and I definitely see a parallel between the two.

KING LEAR: Aside from the mention that I once made of the similarities between Edmund and Thailog (which may not count since you indicated in your response that it was subconscious on your part), I noticed that Xanatos quoted this play in "Vows" in his "Reason not the need" line to Petros Xanatos (interesting, since in the play, Lear quoted that line to one of his daughters - either Goneril or Regan; I can't remember which - so that Xanatos had reversed the parent/child roles here).

ROMEO AND JULIET: The quotes in the library scene in "The Journey", Queen Mab, and Terry and Sphinx as a parallel to Shakespeare's star-crossed lovers.

A MIDSUMMER NIGHT'S DREAM: Oberon, Titania, and Puck. (No prizes there).

MACBETH: Macbeth and the Weird Sisters. (Again, no prizes there).

THE TEMPEST: You mentioned having plans to bring Prospero into "Gargoyles" at some point.

HAMLET: Ophelia's name, Elisa doing the "more things in heaven and earth" quote in "Heritage", and Xanatos's "Alas, poor Yorick" parody in "Future Tense".

That leaves just "Much Ado About Nothing" and "Love's Labor's Lost" on the list. Had you ever planned to use anything from those plays in "Gargoyles", similarly?

Greg responds...

As with everything, given enough time and episodes, it would probably be inevitable.

But no, not really. My idea for "Much Ado" is a feature screenplay, which I hope to make myself write someday. My idea for "LLL" is a stageplay, which I also hope to make myself write some day.

And incidentally, my idea for Lear is another stage play, based on a one-act play that I wrote in college (actually when I was living in Oxford). The one-act had three parts for actors: EDMUND, the MEN and the WOMEN. Me, my roommate Cameron Douglas and my then-girlfriend Peggy Gold, performed one reading of the play at Stanford in 1985. I played Edmund. Cameron played the Men. Peggy played the Women. I've always hoped that I could expand this into a full length play. I've had the structure and basic story in my head forever. It's just another one of the long list of projects that I am too enfeebled to pursue.

(I'm much less of a role model than most of you think.)

Response recorded on March 03, 2000

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LSZ writes...

What was Macbeth's exact relationship to Shakespeare?

Greg responds...

They were drinking buddies.

Response recorded on February 20, 2000

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IN SUPPORT OF EDUCATION

I don't normally approve of letting people take "cuts". Or of breaking rules I've set myself, like the one about separate topics requiring separate posts.

But Lexy is writing a paper on GARGOYLES for her HONOR'S ENGLISH CLASS, and she needed some questions answered. I'm a big fan or Honor's English classes, so I couldn't resist. But I figured you all might be interested in the answers as well. So with Lexy's permission, I'm answering them here.

Dear Greg,

Thanks SO much for helping me with my paper. I hope
to do you,and the rest of the fandom,proud:) Here are
some questions I whipped up for an interview. But If
you have anything you think would be helpful to add or
to subtract from them, please feel free to do so.

1) What do you think are some reasons ppl find
mythological creatures, such as gargoyles, intriguing

GREG'S RESPONSE: I think people like to let their imaginations run. And why limit those imaginations to what we know exists. If a concept has its own internal logic, something real in its emotions and relationships for an audience to grab a solid hold too, then there's little limit to how far-fetched the fantasy can get.

2) What started your personal fascination with
Gargoyles?

GREG'S RESPONSE: A high school trip to Europe and hearing the tidbit that Gargoyles were placed on castles and cathedrals to scare away evil spirits. The notion that monsters were used against evil was very intriguing. And this was years before we developed the series.

3) Name some of your favorite books or stories you
enjoyed when growing up.

GREG'S RESPONSE: Wow. Um. How far back to you want to go? GO, DOG, GO was an early favorite. Later, I liked the Hobbit. I liked reading about myths of all kinds. I had the D'Aulaire's GREEK MYTHS and NORSE GODS & GIANTS books and I reread those over and over. I also was always a big fan of detective fiction. I liked Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys. Later, Conan Doyle, some Christie, but my favorites were Hammett, Chandler and ROSS MacDonald. I loved the LEW ARCHER novels. I liked Heinlein in Science Fiction. "Requiem" is a heartbreakingly beautiful little story. I liked Mary Stewart and especially Mary Renault. I read a lot. I liked a lot of diverse stuff. I could go on for hours.

4) Did anything in particular inspire you to create
'Gargoyles'?

GREG'S RESPONSE: I've spoken to this before. Gummi Bears was an inspiration, as was Hill Street Blues (my all-time favorite tv show). My on-going fascination with stone gargoyles. And the pragmatic need to be constantly feeding the Dragon that was the Disney Afternoon.

5) Do you believe that gargoyles and other statuary
such as grotesques are rooted in evil traditions? Or
are they there for the common good through harsh
example? (explain)

GREG'S RESPONSE: Neither. I think they are symbolic (or rather emblematic) of something primitive and primal. They scare away evil. Not all monsters are against us. We need our dreams and nightmares.

6) (circa) When did you start work on the television
show 'Gargoyles'?

GREG'S RESPONSE: 1991.

7) When and why (circa) were you (and others) forced
to cancel 'Gargoyles'?

GREG'S RESPONSE: The question is phrased in such a way that it's difficult to answer directly. We never planned to do more than 65 episodes. That was a standard run for any show. Now in huge success, a show (like DuckTales for example) made additional episodes, and I won't deny I had hopes that we would to. But the answer came back no. Our ratings were strong. But we were a consistent second place to Power Rangers. So we weren't cancelled. But new episodes would not be made. Then ABC and Disney merged, and ABC wanted some Gargoyles. All my bosses at Disney had left and the new management wanted their own people on the show. So they made me an offer to continue that was designed to make me say no. In hindsight, I should have said yes anyway, but that's spilt milk. I left and they made additional episodes for ABC under the Goliath Chronicles banner. The ratings were not good. Neither, in my opinion, were the episodes. So it wasn't renewed.

8) What did the television show 'Gargoyles'mean to you
as it's creator?

GREG'S RESPONSE: It was and continues to be the highlight of my professional career. Nothing I've done, before or since, let me bring my vision so intact to the screen. It was very collaborative, not every idea was mine, but I still feel like that was the one show that achieved what I hoped it would achieved. I'm ridiculously proud of it, beyond all reason, really.

9) What was the central theme or message of the show ?

GREG'S RESPONSE: There wasn't just one. Among the messages was the obvious DON'T JUDGE A BOOK BY ITS COVER moral. Plus plenty about the preciousness of life and hope. Themes of redemption are very important to me. Guilt, fear, love, trust, loyalty. You name it, at some point we through it in. Often episode titles were designed to remind both audience and writer of what the major theme in that story was.

10) How many Gatherings have you attended?

GREG'S RESPONSE: All three. Two in NYC. One in Dallas. And I hope to continue to go as long as you folks want me.

11) What is your opinion of the Gatherings?

GREG'S RESPONSE: It is always one of the true highlights of my year. How could it not be? I'm basically treated like royalty for 72 straight hours. Since that doesn't happen to a guy like me much in real life, it's pretty damn cool.

12) What do you hope ppl who watch 'Gargoyles'will
come away with?

GREG'S RESPONSE: First and foremost, I hope they were entertained. Not a little, but a lot, and on multiple levels. I hope we got the adrenaline going. I hope we touched their hearts. I hope we gave them something to think about. I hope we educated them a bit, or more likely gave them reason to want to be educated about, say SHAKESPEARE or Scottish History or King Arthur or Native American customs or whatever. I'm greedy. I want all of this.

13) What did you like most about the show 'Gargoyles'?

GREG'S RESPONSE: I'm not objective enough to answer this one.

14) What did you like most about working on the show
'Gargoyles'?

GREG'S RESPONSE: Honestly, the autonomy. The freedom. I also had some incredibly talented collaborators and when we were in gear, we really hummed. But for sheer fun, it's hard to beat those voice recording sessions. That was the part of the job that generally was the least like work. It's where all the potentials of the show come to life and few of the problems are revealed. Just fun.

15) Why incorporate so many classic dramas and other
time honored themes within 'Gargoyles'?

GREG'S RESPONSE: Purely for my own amusement. And with the hope that some people will either also be amused or will come to be amused as they discover these things. Plus it made my job easier. The story of Macbeth is so good, that adapting it practically wrote itself.

Thanks so much for all your help:)!

Lexy;)

GREG'S RESPONSE: You are welcome. Let me know if I can be of any more help.


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Leong writes...

Hi Greg, just one question; whatever did Demona think of the play Macbeth?

Greg responds...

Probably that it represented poetic justice.

Response recorded on February 03, 2000

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Todd Jensen writes...

This is another question I've been meaning to ask for some time, but finally got around to. You once mentioned your feelings about "The Merchant of Venice" and Shylock here, and particularly the reasons for your ambivalent response to the play. What Shylock prompts in me, in relation to "Gargoyles", is this question.

Do you think that there is a certain similarity, in the basics, between Demona and Shylock? I see one myself, since both come from oppressed minority groups, and both became sufficiently embittered by the persecution that they and their people underwent to seek revenge. (Of course, Demona's genocide schemes automatically dwarf Shylock's demand for a pound of Antonio's flesh). I'm curious about what your own thoughts are on this.

Greg responds...

It's a great connection. I won't pretend that it was a conscious choice on my part (though wouldn't it have been cool if it was).

But I absolutely agree with your basic analysis. You call me a monster often enough and at some point as Lex put it, you get a desire to "live up to the name".

None of which translates into genocide or pounds of flesh, unless you've got some serious internal problems anyway.

But none of that precludes having some qualities that border on the noble. And I think both Demona and Shylock, for all their faults and flat-out villainy, have noble aspects too.

I think that's what makes them so fascinating.

Suddenly, I'm dying to read Harold Bloom's take on Shylock.

Response recorded on February 03, 2000

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Shakespeare ramblings...

Seeing TITUS and having some professional free time to dedicate to a more long term project finds me re-emersing myself in the Works of Will (WoW). At least, after a fashion.

Since this ramble will knock my comments on TITUS off the "LATEST RESPONSES" page, so may want to check those comments out by visiting the "Shakespeare" section of the ASK GREG archive.

But recently, I've also been reading Harold Bloom's book, "Shakespeare: The Invention of the Human". It's really an amazing work. I've been reading it while viewing various takes on ROMEO AND JULIET and HAMLET. It's really helped me to appreciate HAMLET more. In the past, I've always admired the play, but it never reached me as deeply as LEAR or R&J or MIDSUMMER or MUCH ADO or WINTER'S TALE, etc. I'm gaining a new, deeper understanding and appreciation of HAMLET now. In part from Bloom's book.

And in part, from Kenneth Brannaugh's four hour movie version, which I saw and liked in the movie theater a few years ago. Still, I'm gaining a new appreciation for it on video. So many little things to love. Such a scope. And I think I'm finally "getting" Hamlet himself.

But frankly, one of the big helps has been revisiting a film that Brannaugh directed (but did not star in) just before he took on HAMLET. In America, it's called "A MIDWINTER'S TALE". (Elsewhere, I think it's known as "IN THE BLEAK MIDWINTER".) It's a little black & white film about a company of seven actors (and two support people) who put together a local production of HAMLET in order to raise money to save the church they're performining in. This is another movie I saw and liked in the theater. But seeing it again on video has been wonderful. Ophelia's song of madness has never been more poignant, then in the "rehersal" scene in this film. I can't help feeling, that this little movie was an important act of mental preparation before Brannaugh took on his big HAMLET film. Among other points of interest, the actors who play Hamlet, Claudius and Laertes in A MIDWINTER'S TALE, went on to play Laertes, Polonius and Horatio (respectively) in HAMLET.

I've also been revisiting ROMEO & JULIET. Bloom's book has some really interesting stuff about that play as well. (Though I'm convinced he gets one thing dead wrong. It's trivial, but he takes for granted that Susan is Juliet's late twin sister. His brain must be short-circuiting there. It seems beyond obvious to me that Susan was the Nurse's daughter. Born at the same time as Juliet, an infant who died shortly thereafter, making the Nurse a good candidate to be Juliet's wetnurse -- and surrogate mother.)

I've also watched the video of Baz Luhrman's version of R&J, starring Leonardo & Claire. I like it. This one suffers a bit off the big screen, but it has some great moments.

SPOILER WARNING

Romeo actually getting to see Juliet come back to life just AFTER he's taken the poison for example.

Next up, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE on video and then the ZEFIRELLI R&J. The movie that first opened the door to Shakespeare to me. (I'm still in love with Olivia Hussey.)

BTW, I realize that a lot of Gargoyles fans won't really know what I'm talking about here. ("Who the heck is Susan?") But, you are an exceedingly bright group. Maybe all this cryptic rambling will get you to check all of this stuff out. I recommend it.


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TITUS

I saw TITUS on Saturday with my wife Beth and three people who worked on GARGOYLES.

1. Fred Schaefer, who was a development associate who helped develop the show. (I think it's safe to say that Talon was sort of Fred's idea in a very early pre-Derek form. We called the character Catscan then.) Fred is currently a producer/executive/story editor at Porchlight Entertainment.

2. Monique Beatty was my assistant during the Gargoyles years. She did a lot of research for me. She's now a producer at Kinofilms.

3. Tuppence Macintyre is an old friend of mine. She also did a lot of Scotish research for Gargoyles, just as a personal favor and because it interested her. She's a Deputy District Attorney in Los Angeles.

Anyway, the five of us went to see TITUS in Santa Monica. The film is based on one of Shakespeare's early tragedies, TITUS ANDRONICUS. It was adapted and directed by Julie Taymor, who adapted and directed THE LION KING for the Broadway stage. So it's not surprise that the film is visually stunning. Monique didn't like the anachronistic style of the film (depicting chariots and motorcycles side-by-side for example), but it's not the first time I've seen that kind of interpretation, so it didn't bother me.

And the acting is fantastic. Anthony Hopkins (who I've loved forever -- does anyone remember the movie MAGIC?) plays Titus. He's brilliant. His lament to the stones is heartbreaking. Jessica Lange is good as "Tamara, Queen of the Goths" (now tell me that isn't a Gargoyles' character in the making). And Alan Cumming (who voiced John Castaway in "The Journey") is a nice, twisted villain as Saturninus, the Roman Emperor. But the revelation is Harry Lennix as Aaron the Moor. Amazing.

The story of Titus is not for the squeemish or for children. It's a real pot-boiler. Something just this side of a horror movie with a hard R rating for violence and nudity, though thankfully a minimum of on-screen gore.

The play was a big hit for Shakespeare in his day. But it's been dismissed as a critical flop. And I can see why. I've read it a couple times and thought it awful. Which coming from a bardolitor like myself is pretty harsh. It seemed like none of the characters were sympathetic or interesting.

But I'd never seen it performed, so I was looking forward to the movie. As usual, Shakespeare plays tens times better than he reads. In the movie, I had -- at moments -- plenty of sympathy for nearly all the characters. And the wonderful thing is that my sympathies are constantly shifting. No one is without sin. All share the blame except for Aaron's son. And Aaron himself is amazing.

Although, I can't help agreeing that Shakespeare wrote TITUS at least in part as parody of the tragic genre -- the way SCREAM was designed to be both parody and exemplar of the horror film -- I can also see flashes of KING LEAR, HAMLET and CORIOLANUS in Titus' character.

But Aaron prefigures Othello, Iago, Edmund and Shylock at least. He's a remarkably progressive character for the time. A villain, who is the only character to succeed in preserving a sliver of innocence within the world of the play.

Anyway, I really enjoyed it. And I recommend it to any Gargoyle Fan over the age of 17.


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Airwalker writes...

Would Dingo have any family members who would factor into BAD GUYS somehow?

Greg responds...

Yes. Definitely.

Response recorded on December 30, 1999

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Greg "Xanatos" Bishansky writes...

Hi Greg

The other day I saw Shakespeare's Titus Andronicus. The play was performed outside, overlooking the Hudson river, and the view and the gardens remined me of Avalon. I thought the play was very good. I hear its not performed often and I could see why. The queen of the Goths, Tamora, reminded me so much of Demona while I watched it. She was just as dedicated to getting revenge on Titus Andronicus for the murder of her sons as Demona was on humanity.
Did you ever have Tamora in mind while handling Demona?

Greg responds...

Well, not consciously. I've read Titus, of course. But I've never seen it performed. There's a movie version that just hit one theater in L.A. this week. It stars Anthony Hopkins, Jessica Lange and Alan Cumming (the voice of John Castaway in "The Journey"). I can't wait to see it.

Response recorded on December 30, 1999

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Aris Katsaris writes...

It has been noticed by the residents of the S8 comment room that the gender of Ariel in Shakespeare's 'The Tempest' only appears as 'he' in a stage direction and is not referred at all within the main text itself. When you included Ariel, what would his/her gender be?

For that matter, may we assume that Shakespeare was inaccurate in portraying Prospero as abandoning his magic?

Greg responds...

Ariel's gender... Don't feel like revealing that now. Sorry.

Shakespeare wasn't wrong. But Prospero found reason to start again.

Response recorded on August 23, 1999

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Airwalker writes...

1. What would be Katana and Nashville's reaction to Malibu?
2. Do you have designs in mind for Katana, Nashville, Tachi, Fudog, and Hudson's mate? If so, could you describe them?
3. You said that Brooklyn ended up with Mary and Finella in the 1970's. So doesn't that mean that they would still be alive today?
4. Why did you say that Shakespeare's MACBETH would amuse Macbeth? It portrays Gruoch as a Princess of Darkness. How can he take pleasure in that?
5. In what era did Demona arrive in America (Colonial, Antebellum, Reconstruction, etc)?
6. In what era did Macbeth arrive in America (Colonial, Antebellum, Reconstruction, etc)?
7. Now that Renard knows the truth about Anastasia, has it changed anything for him in terms of his feelings for her?
8. Considering that after all is said and done, Goliath was raised and lived most of his life in the 10th century, what is his stand on capital punishment?
9. What are the feelings of the Trio about the Magus and Katharine, considering that they only knew them before they changed, and have never seen their redemption, only heard of it?
10. What are the Mutates feelings about the Gargoyles now living in the castle?
11. Any news on the movie?
12. If you had done BAD GUYS, would Macbeth and/or Demona have appeared?
13. Why didn't anyone ever figure out that Gilcomgain was the Hunter? He has slash marks on his face that match the one's on the mask.
14. Broadway's blindness in FUTURE TENSE, was it just Puck playing with Goliath's sanity AND a prophecy or was it only just Puck playing with Goliath's mind?
15. If the show ever did come back, would you ever bring up or try to make clearer that the people Demona smashed in CITY OF STONE were truly dead?
16. You said that Demona would find love again. But what about Macbeth? Would he have found love again?
17. How rich would you classify Xanatos, Demona, Macbeth, and Post-RECKONING Thailog (Mildly rich, extremely rich, stinking rich, beyond the reach of ordinary people rich)?
18. What did the Mutates do with Sevarious' potion from THE CAGE?
19. Would you have shown us some of Fang's past and also some of his family if BAD GUYS had been done?
20. Can you give us a clue, where in the world, which hemisphere, which continent, where ever, is Coldstone and Coldfire's new clan going to be?
21. What was the name of Xanatos' mother and when did she die?
22. You said you haven't come up with real names for Jackal and Hyena. But do you have anything in mind?
23. Does Macbeth know about the Illuminati?
24. Does the Illuminati know about Macbeth?
25. Would we have seen some of Lexington's descendants in GARGOYLES 2158?

Greg responds...

1. That would depend on the circumstances of their introduction, don't you think?

2. I've dealt with this recently. I do have a fairly clear idea about Fu Dog. But I'm not going to pin myself down at this point.

3. Doesn't preclude the possibility.

4. It has a lot to do with Mac's relationship to Will.

5. In the immortal words of my Magic Eightball: "Try Again Later".

6. Which time?

7. What exactly does he know?

8. He probably has little trouble with it but feels that in an ideal world (which he knows this is not) it's a less than stellar solution. Of course, that's all very theoretical. In practice, we've seen how he responds.

9. Distanced.

10. The Mutates aren't a monolith.

11. Nothing new, since I last answered.

12. Maybe, eventually, but not in my immediate plans.

13. Dramatic license? Or.... There were a lot of people with similar scars running around Scotland back then. Yeah. That's the ticket.

14. You didn't really think I'd answer that, did you?

15. You mean go out of my way to cover that?

16. Sure. Why not? (I'm such an old softy.)

17. Xanatos is Beyond the Reach rich. Macbeth is just stinking rich. Demona's extremely rich. Thailog's just rich.

18. Maggie saved it.

19. Yes.

20. Huh?

21. Not saying now.

22. Jack and Hanna. (Just kidding.) (Unless, I decide that those names really amuse me.)

23. Not saying.

24. Not saying.

25. Not saying.


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Airwalker writes...

Would we have seen William Shakespeare appear in the series (Not just his plays but himself personally)?

Greg responds...

Eventually, yes. But I would have tackled his inclusion with great trepidation and reluctance. To be honest, he's hard for me to get my head around as a person. Maybe I'm just too big a fanboy.

Actually, SHAKESPEARE IN LOVE might have given me a model that I could have used. Yeah....

<SOUND OF WHEELS TURNING...>