Jackson Publick and Doc Hammer looked stylishly casual in their double-zippered easy-access-bottomed Speed Suits of a very self-assertive cut when I spoke with them at San Diego Comic-Con about their plans for The Venture Brothers Season 4. I asked them to fill the gaping hole in my heart left by Season 3's dramatic finale.
Fear not Venture minions! Number 21 will be avenging 24's death. Maybe...I think...Doc Hammer was a little vague on specifics.
"Everything that happened, I promise you, we're not going to forget," Doc said. "He will go through many steps of the grieving process and one of those may be revenge."
The new season will be broken up into two eight-part segments and won't deal so much with the past, but will delve into the wild Venture future seen through some new-fangled Astrobase Go! technology.
"Yeah we don't do so much in the flashbacks," Jackson Publick explained. "Although, it jumps ahead like nine months."
Doc elaborated, "We tried something with how to represent time on television. It might be a huge failure, but at the time it seemed like a really good idea. If people watching have no fucking clue what's going on..."
"Wait for the next episode," Jackson finished his thought.
After such a dark and violent finale to Season 3 we were wondering how the creators planned to up the evil ante.
"We killed half of a comedy team. Do you want us to get darker than that?" Doc exclaimed.
He went on, "We don't go out of our way to do that. That's actually hard because the lighting changes and what you get is grey, so doing dark is difficult. So we keep it in the sun and terrible things happen."
As for new characters and super villains, we will be seeing more in the way of old favorites than fresh replacements.
"We do more of taking guys that had one line in an episode or never had a line, and we bring them to the front," Doc said. "And we bring some people back who we haven't seen."
Sadly, the evil Mary Poppins, otherwise known as Dr. Henry Killinger, did not make it into the first part of the season. However, serious special-guest voices have been promised including Kevin Conroy, John Hodgman, Patton Oswalt, Seth Green, and Brendan Smalls.
But what about the lovely ladies? The Ventureverse could use some fresh talent, so to speak. Yet that's probably not going to happen either. According to Doc, the woman-less Venture world reflects the social acumen of its creators.
"It's tough to get women on this show. How they exist without women is more interesting to us. That paradigm that exists of a woman-less domicile – we find it fascinating," Doc explained. "When we do have women we treat it honestly, and when we don't have women – the absence of women is treated realistically... Jackson Publick and I are not so good socially and all the characters reflect this."
And their deep-throated nod to Jackie O? How are things going to play out for Dr. Mrs. the Monarch?
"She would be the brains of the operation were she not in love with this egomaniacal super villain," Doc explained. "She's become the Monarch's wife. She lives for this guy even though she's fully capable of doing everything herself. We keep touching on that, and I think you will be depressingly surprised."
But wait! What of love, O Creators of Venture? What of the anemic Dean and his alterna-teen crush Triana?
"Would those two people ever get together in real-life?" said Jackson. "Do not even think for a second those two people are going to get married."
But, Doc Hammer let a huge spoiler out during the Venture panel with just one word: "kiss." Fingers crossed that Dean finally gets a chance to put all his practice kissing the back of his hand to good use.
At the panel I got a chance to see footage from the upcoming season. It's both hilarious and visually stunning. Here are some highlights from the clips:
- Hank has a new haircut (clearly inspired by Dermott) and a jean jacket that resembles something my cousin from New Hampshire wore in the late 80s.
- Dermott tries to burn Hank's fingerprints off "Fight Club" style.
- Dean vehemently defends (Girl?) Hitler.
- Dean rides through rainbows on a magical candy beast/insect.
- Dr. Venture of the future visits Dr. Venture of the present and orders him to build a time machine.
- Old man Dean and old man Dean's naked nether-regions fly through space.
- Billy Quizboy and Pete White shake it.
- 21 gets into the arching business and writes his memoirs.
- Sargent Hatred threatens to go to Thailand to buy a girl-boy to mend his broken heart.
Although we didn't get to see him, Doc and Jackson said that we will also find out what Phantom Limb has been up to. And Brock? The details of his future remain unclear, but the creators openly scoffed at the question of whether or not he'll be back.
Afterwards, the packed panel descended into delightful mayhem as Doc Hammer offered to personally gratify every fan who came to the mic to ask a question and beat James Urbaniak at an arm wrestling contest, and director John Schnepp was ultimately crowned "King of Calves" by the audience.
Oh, and if you happen to google Doc Hammer, make sure you don't get him confused with the metal band of the same name. Apparently they're not very happy about that.
Did I mention the Venture Brothers movie? No? That's because there isn't one.
"Nobody cares," offered Doc in explanation for lack of movement on the film front. "Nobody with money knows who we are."
Fans, it's time we put our pennies together and help make this happen. Or at least threaten to boycott Adult Swim until it does. Go Team Venture!
Photo by Sophia Quach