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Fox’s new series Son of Zorn is lining up top talent ahead for its first season.
The live action/animated hybrid comedy has tapped Keegan-Michael Key and Serial’s Sarah Koenig to lend their voices, it was announced Saturday at San Diego Comic-Con.
From The Last Man on Earth duo Phil Lord and Chris Miller, Son of Zorn centers on an animated warrior named Zorn from the distant mystical land of Zephyria who must reacclimate to the mundane reality of life on Earth after 10 years away.
Jason Sudeikis voices Zorn, while Cheryl Hines and Tim Meadows play his ex-wife, Edie, and her fiancé, respectively. Johnny Pemberton plays Zorn and Edie’s son.
Key will voice one of Zorn’s old warrior buddies, while Koenig will narrate a fictional documentary about Zorn’s home planet of Zephyria. The two join previously announced guests Nick Offerman and Olivia Wilde, the latter who will play Zorn’s ex-girlfriend.
Hines, Meadows and Pemberton joined executive producers Sally McKenna and Eric Appel to preview the new comedy at Comic-Con. While the animation on the official series pilot is still in progress, the team screened the original pilot presentation made last year before the project was officially picked up.
Although they were in London working on the new Star Wars, Lord and Miller filmed a special video intro for the screening. Later in the panel, the team showed a different scene from the official pilot.
Because the show combines animation and live-action, filming has already wrapped on the live-action portions of the first season. However, production on the animated sequences is only up to episode five.
“It was weird. It was really weird. It was hard to imagine what it would look like, but at the same time, it was really very, very funny,” Hines said about her first reaction to the project. “I laughed out loud when I read it.”
Added Pemberton: “I read it and I was, like, ‘This is really cool, so this is not going to get made.'”
Because Zorn is animated and added to the series later, the rest of the cast has had to film opposite a stand-in. “Anything where we’re interacting, it just screws with your head a lot because I just don’t know what I’m doing,” Pemberton said.
Meadows shared that sentiment. “At the end of the day you feel crazy,” siad the Saturday Night Live alum. “We’ll all be insane if the show goes five years.”
(The panel was interrupted partway through by a FaceTime from Zorn apologizing for his absence as well. “Fox wouldn’t pay for my Uber — kind of a dick move,” the character said to laughs from the crowd.)
When it came to crafting the look of Zorn, Appel says the team drew from 1970s and 1980s animated comedies. “We looked at all those old action shows aimed at young boys from that era,” he said, referencing Thundercats and Conan the Barbarian. But in terms of character, “there is no one like Zorn from those old cartoons,” said Appel.
Because of the divide between the animated and live-action portions of the half-hour series, McKenna said it feels split into two separate shows. Late episodes of the show will introduce other animated characters, like Key’s character, and will also include a flashback to the early days of Zorn’s home planet.
“This is really two shows we’re doing,” said McKenna.
But despite the elephant — or should we say cartoon — in the middle of the room, the team emphasized that the series is still relatable because of the issues it deals with. “What’s great about the show is its mirroring family dynamics that most people have. A lot of people have divorced parents, a lot of people have stepparents,” said Hines.
“At its core, Zorn is a fish out of water,” said Appel. “It’s also a show just about divorce and families trying to get along after a divorce and just other slice of life things but seen through the lens of this seven-foot-tall cartoon barbarian.”
Son of Zorn premieres Sunday, Sept. 25, at 8:30 p.m. ET/PT on Fox.
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