The fun never ends with Adventure Time, thanks to the new series of HBO Max animated specials focusing on several beloved characters of the Cartoon Network series. It’s a welcome return to the Land of Oo, with creator Pendleton Ward and executive producer Adam Muto behind the Adventure Time: Distant Lands specials, which will center around the characters of BMO, Marceline and Princess Bubblegum, Peppermint Butler, and of course, Finn and Jake.
To give us a sneak peek of the four Adventure Time: Distant Lands special — the first of which, BMO, hits HBO Max this weekend — are Muto and cast members Glory Curda (Y5), Olivia Olson (Marceline), and Niki Yang (BMO) speaking in a Comic-Con at Home panel, teasing details and giving us a snippet of Marceline’s newest heartbreaking song.
It seemed like Adventure Time was barely off the air before HBO Max announced that it was reviving the acclaimed Cartoon Network show for a series of animated specials. But Adventure Time: Distant Lands was conceived way before HBO Max was a twinkle in anyone’s eye, Muto said in the Adventure Time: Distant Lands Comic-Con 2020 panel.
“Towards the end of the show we had our last season order and we had some success with doing miniseries with the characters, so we pitched a few miniseries ideas to fill out the back half of the season. One was of BMO and one was Marceline,” Muto said. “So it kind of grew naturally out of the show. We wanted to get the jump on the inevitable reboot that would come.”
Fans of Adventure Time wouldn’t have to worry about a reboot losing the magic of the series. Distant Lands is as weird, trippy, and surreal as the Cartoon Network show ever was, with the first “BMO” special already receiving raves for its zany continuation of the adventures of BMO, as well as a “mind-blowing” twist that even shocked Yang, the voice of the sentient game console.
But just as much as Adventure Time has been known to wow us with its weirdness, it is also known to move us to tears with its unusually deep storylines, usually centering around Marceline and her sad, sad songs. And good news: the second Bubblegum and Marceline episode, “Obsidian,” will have that in spades — and a new original song titled “Monster” that Marceline voice actress Olivia Olson sang at the end of the virtual panel (at the 35:13 mark).
“A big arc for [Marceline] in Obsidian is getting over some of the barriers she’s put in place for herself,” Olson teased of the special. “If you look at Marceline as a character, her storyline started way before Finn and Jake timeline of things. So she’s gone through lifetimes of ups and downs with different people and seeing them come and go. So I think it’s put her walls up really high. Ultimately she can’t move forward with Bubblegum until she tackles her own issues.”
Some of the songs will take place in different parts of Marceline’s life, which teases that “Obsidian” will be an ambitious generations-spanning episode, perhaps even giving us a glimpse at the events of the Mushroom War. And yes, you can count on some tears from the new songs sung by Marceline, of which there are several, according to Olson. “It’s tough to be vulnerable in a recording studio. But that day we did record…everyone was crying. So I hope we get a similar reaction and I hope it hits as hard as it did for everyone who was in the room when we recorded,” Olson said.
Muto also unveiled a new character in “Obsidian” who will be voiced by none other than moderator of the panel and Steven Universe star Michaela Dietz, who was excited to join the Adventure Time world. The new character, named Glass Boy, will have elements of Finn “but amped up,” Muto described, and is the “pushy instigator” to Bubblegum and Marceline as they try to explore their relationship beyond the canon-confirming series finale kiss.
There is no air date yet for “Obsidian,” but “BMO” premieres on HBO Max on June 25, 2020.
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