A key element of HBO Max’s animated offerings is a number of brand new cartoon shows created for the streaming platform. But that’s not to discount the inclusion of a handful of shows like Adventure Time and Summer Camp Island that originated on Cartoon Network. During this year’s San Diego Comic-Con, the creative teams behind some of the shows talked about what to expect in the coming months, and for both Summer Camp Island and Adventure Time fans, the future’s looking bright.
In Obsidian—the second of four Adventure Time: Distant Lands hour-long specials exploring the lives of different characters—Princess Bubblegum and Marceline the Vampire Queen take center stage in a new story set in the distant Glass Kingdom. During the panel, Distant Lands executive producer Adam Muto revealed that in addition to exploring new depths to Bubblegum and her vampire lady friend, Obsidian would also introduce a new character named Glassboy (voiced by Steven Universe’s Michaela Dietz), a Finn-like fanboy of a protagonist who calls upon Marceline for help in a time of need.
Beyond its name offering the subtlest of nods to Steven Universe, Muto explained that Obsidian’s title partially refers to the belief that actual obsidian itself—a naturally occurring volcanic glass—has spiritual healing properties, something that factors into the special’s story. Muta also pointed out that Obsidian will take the time to spotlight Bubblegum and Marceline’s dynamic as it’s evolved over time with a distinct focus on who they are to one another now.
“It just felt like it fit the setting and also the idea of cleansing because that’s also a property of obsidian—it’s supposed to draw out stress and expose things, and that’s what this special’s about, too,” Muto said. “Not necessarily a checklist of every event in the PB/Marceline relationship, but just snapshots, so we’re seeing where some of their older stresses and conflicts have come from.”
From the look of things, Summer Camp Island’s upcoming episodes might not be quite as heavy as Adventure Time’s specials, but that’s not to say that the series isn’t deepening in its own ways. During Summer Camp Island’s panel, series creator Julia Pott described how the show’s new episodes would further delve into Susie the Witch’s past as well as follow along with Hedgehog’s path to becoming a witch in her own right.
“We see new parts of the island that we haven’t seen before; they’re a little bit more magical,” Pott said. “We have this four-part arc coming up that’s sort of about how Susie and Ramona became best friends, how they got to the island, and I’m really excited for you guys to see her developing her relationships with other people and why she is the way she is.”
What’s interesting is that HBO Max is shaping up to be one of the bigger hubs for animated projects in the streaming space, as the service also showed off clips from Myke Chilian’s Tig n’ Seek—a show about a guy who finds things for a living, and his genius cat—and Stephen Neary’s The Fungies, a show about sentient mushroom folk living lives on prehistoric Earth.
Between shows like these, Harley Quinn, and Infinity Train, it isn’t exactly easy to nail down just what sort of animation portfolio HBO Max is building out beyond, well, an expansive one. But in the plague-era streaming wars, that might not be a bad thing.
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