Aqua Teen Hunger Force ended its run with Adult Swim after eleven seasons (and several title changes) several years ago, but its abrupt end with Adult Swim has left fans wanting more of the show ever since. It’s hard to believe given all the reruns that are now airing, but it’s been quite a while since there’s been any brand new material from the franchise. The long wait is finally over, because Aqua Teen Hunger Force is not only back for a new series of digital shorts, but also plans to return for a new feature later this year!
Aqua Teen Hunger Force is finally back with the debut of Aquadonk Side Pieces, a new digital short series for Adult Swim that will air exclusively on the Adult Swim YouTube channel. From today a new episode of episode 10 Aquadonk side pieces the series will go live daily at 12:00 p.m. ET / 9:00 a.m. ET. To celebrate the debut of this new series, ComicBook.com had the chance to speak with series creators Matt Maiellaro and Dave Willis about their return to the Aqua Teen Hunger Force franchise, what to look for in Aquadonk side piecesand what it was like working on a new series and movie during the pandemic.
You can check out an exclusive clip from a future Aquadonk side pieces episode in the video above, and find our full conversation with the creators (edited for clarity) below!
Come back for more
ComicBook.com: It’s hard to believe, because I see reruns all the time, but it’s been a while since we’ve heard from aquatic teen. So what’s it like to go back to [Aquadonk Side Pieces] and the new movie?
Matt Maiellaro: We felt very excited about it. We were excited to get it started. It was like flipping a switch. We just started making ideas and making them work.
David Willis: Awesome… being away from it for so long I think, it was really nice to come back because it was fresh and fun again. Even though the world was going through a pandemic, we were having a great time.
You both reinvented the series numerous times during its original run, [and] then here we are again with a whole new kind of shooting. So when you come back to reinvent it, what’s the challenge of keeping it fresh and making sure it feels new?
Maiellaro: It’s just our brilliant comic writing.
Willis: It’s nice that you said we reinvented the series because, really, all we did was rename it every year. [Aquadonk’s episodes], they focus on some of our favorite villains over the course of the run, and they’re really short. They are made on the Internet. They’re all under three minutes long and they’re just fun and surprising… They’re kind of a fun way to look at it just from the villain’s perspective.
Working with returning guest stars
Speaking of which, was there a villain in particular that you were particularly eager to bring back and explore in this way?
Willis: Hand Banana actually appears in two of them. One would think that a dog who loves [assault] Carl would only really be good for one episode, but we were able to shoot him two episodes. We see the Frat Aliens all grown up. Happy Time Harry finally finds his place in the world. [Cybernetic Ghost of Christmas Past] takes revenge on his most feared enemy… It really is like bringing back all the old favorites.
[Aqua Teen Hunger Force] has worked with many guest stars over the years. If you ever get the chance to contribute more, is there anyone you’d like to work with again?
Maiellaro: Well, we started working with… It was amazing that it’s been almost 20 years since we did that episode of Happy Time Harry and managed to get David Cross to reprise his role, even though we send him a microphone to record at home with no instructions on how to hook it up. It was a frustrating Zoom call for us, but certainly for him. He held up an Amazon pack and said, “What am I supposed to do with this?” [Patton] Oswalt reprized his role as the Brotherhood’s alien. It was fun.
Putting it all together during the pandemic
In terms of working during the pandemic, speaking of the Zoom issues, how has the process of making the Aquadonk side pieces been during all of this?
Maiellaro: It worked. There were a few issues here and there, technically, like the microphone thing with David Cross and getting used to the Zoom stuff. Dave and I were recording everything from our own homes, building these makeshift studios. But it wasn’t the same as working with an editor and working on it in real time. Much better in person, especially when editing.
Willis: But, having said that, unlike a live shoot, where they sat idle for so long and then they had to hire a medical team and the budgets went up 25%, we were able to slowly, maybe 60% of the efficiency , but we were able to weed them out and create them through Zoom and everyone was able to keep working and keep doing our thing. It was also good because we were, as you may recall, all stuck in our homes with our families. So it was nice to keep doing what you do and more importantly to be able to pay for the toilet paper that wasn’t on the shelves.
One of the things fans noticed with the first music video released during the Adult Swim Festival was Breakie B, the dancing robot. There were a lot of comments that it looked super well animated compared to the rest of the show, so how’s the production on the back now that you’re back? Are there any improvements or changes in this way?
Maiellaro: Well, we have to improve a lot of that animation because the movie was happening at the same time. The film was constructed differently from what we used to do. We were able to integrate them into this system. You just type a script and feed it into the computer and it animates it. It is truly remarkable.
Willis: I think the shorts were a good excuse to re-approach our animation with a more modern look… I think you’ll see when the movie comes out that the series looks different. We haven’t reinvented her look, but she just has a shine. It’s just had a bit of a reboot where it’s upgraded in a way that I think will be mind-blowing for fans, or stuff, when they go, “God, it’s actually kind of animated. ” These characters can actually move something other than their mouths.
Going back for this second film, was there something you both had in mind for what you wanted to do with this second film that you weren’t able to do with the first?
Maiellaro: Tell a story. It’s true.
Willis: The first one was just a hodgepodge of jokes and there was kind of a story to it. But this one actually has a great journey for all the characters…I don’t know about Matt, but I think it’s one of the best things we’ve ever done. I really like this movie. I think it’s really original and there’s a lot of… We’re doing something that I’ve never seen before. I don’t know if we’re allowed to talk about it, but I think it works. We’ll just say it’s interactive. It’s an interactive experience. . . It’s just really funny and really enjoyable and hasn’t overstayed its welcome. It’s just a fun, tight experience, man. I hope many people will check it out.