• SDCC 2018 My Little Pony Full Panel Transcript

    Hey! This is a neat surprise.

    One of our agents on the floor of SDCC, the ever trustworthy and reliable Gabby Guns (Thanks Gabby!), put together a transcript of the SDCC 2018 My Little Pony Panel!

    This covers everything except for the audience Q&A portion of the panel.

    You can check it out after the break!

    MLP Panel – Room full

    Started with a Season 8 Recap as well as a teaser trailer of what’s to come.

    Eliza Hart moderating

    Meghan McCarthy
    Nicole Dubuc
    Josh Haber
    Cathy Weseluck
    Andrea Libman
    Tara Strong

    EH: What are you looking forward to in season 8/or favething that happened?

    MM: There’s a roadtrip coming up that pairs up a pretty good couple of friends.

    ND: There’s also a song in there that I think you’ll like, as well as chance to get more in-depth with the Young Six in a Hearthswarming episode.

    JH: My favorite moment / thing is the reveal and character of Neighsay and voice actor Maurice LeMarche.  It would be really cool if he came back.

    CW: Spike got wings!

    JH: You’re welcome.

    AL: (as Pinkie): Even though I didn’t like him at first, I think it’s pretty cool that Maud has a boyfriend, sort of.  I guess.  I will accept it.

    TS: Twilight gets into it with Starswirl pretty bad.

    EH: What Cutiemark would you assign your fellow panelists and why?

    AL: Nicole, didn’t you make a spreadsheet?

    ND: Yeah, I DO have some things in common with Twilight…

    CW:  Andrea, I think yours would be a shopping bag or a pair of shoes.

    AL: Yes!

    JH: My cutiemark for Nicole is Hermione Granger’s Time Turner, because she always has so many things going on at once.
    MM: I would give Tara a megaphone because she uses her voice to amplify things that are important to her.

    EH: TS School of Friendship’s plays a big role in this season. Were there any specific goals for the writers and Meghan when they started writing?

    ND: We wanted to build from the movie, opening up the borders of Equestria, meet different creatures, have our ponies interact with them.

    JH: Twi’s thinking, the world is bigger, what’s the most important thing in our world?  Friendship. How do we spread friendship? A school.

    ND: Also a way to grow Twilight – she’s gearing up for this and now can teach friendship on a massive scale.

    JH:  And it’s also like Battlestar Galactica, “that which has happened before and will happen again” with the Mane Six, and here’s this new six, and we already had the Pillars.

    EH: Let’s talk about the Young Six. How’d you pick the specific creatures you chose?

    ND:  That was Josh, me, and Michael Vogel. (Nicole gives shout out to Vogel who is in the audience) 

    JH: We mind-melded and came up with them.

    ND: And it was really fun while we were doing it so we felt like we were on to something, building these characters, and their personalities and how they would work together.

    JH: And they’re already these default personalities because they’re representative of their species.  The grouchy griffons, edgy dragons…

    EH: Anything new in Equestria Girls to look forward to?

    MM: One of the exciting things about EG is we have so many different kinds of content – specials, music videos, shorts, choose your own adventure.  But we have a special coming up that people will probably enjoy b/c it has something that people have probably been asking for and we’re gonna deliver on it.

    EG Clip – portal to Equestria

    MM: Sci Twi heads to Equestria, finally bringing our EG girls to Equestria as we’ve wanted to for awhile.

    EH: How did you decide it was finally time to bring the human girls back into Equestria?

    MM: In Friendship Games we opened up the idea that there’s a crack in these worlds – that magic from Equestriacan seep in.  Made sense to open it up more and have our girls experience all the magic that’s been throwing their world out of whack.

    EH: Is there a difference in the way you approach writing for EG vs. “core” pony?

    MM: Really the characters are the same core characters, though there are some we have that don’t appear in pony. And since they’re in school, we have those stories to tell, and the Equestrian magic coming into their world is another story we can explore that we don’t in MLP.

    EH: For Tara what has been the best part of being part of My Little Pony for all these years?

    TS: The fans. You guys have been amazing.  There’s never been a fandom for a show like this.  Going to cons and seeing how much it means to people.  It’s become this worldwide friendship fandom that is special and unique.  Super-proud to be part of it.

    EH: We know how special our fans are, and we thank you. We put a lot of work into this show and it’s great to get that love back.  Asks Andrea – what’s the most surprising thing your characters have done?

    AL: Surprised when Fluttershy developed different personalities.  Surprising but fun.

    EH: Is there anything in season 8 that’s particularly fun for you, Cathy?

    CL: (as Spike) I got my wings! (then)  Thank you Josh for that awesome episode!

    EH:  Josh, do you want to tell us about where that idea came from?

    JH:  It was absolutely the puberty episode.  Everyone goes through changes, even dragons.  Spike can’t be a baby dragon forever!

    EH:  Did you have any overall goals when you started writing season 8?  Having watched the show, and written it – what did you want to sink your writing claws into?

    ND:  I wanted to bring in a new villain, wanted to write a Discord episode, and we wanted to come up with an epic story arc through the season.  We’ve had a lot of fun laying stuff in – I hope that when you watch it all back again, you’ll see that we’ve been laying pipe for things that will come up a lot later. 

    EH:  For cast – if your character had a deep dark secret, what would it be?  Kid appropriate!

    AL: (as Fluttershy)  “Don’t tell anybody, but, I kinda have a little crush on Discord.”
    (audience cheers)

    CW:  Maybe Spike’s crush ISN’T Rarity at all?
    (audience gasps)
    TS:  Maybe Twilight’s crush is Pinkie Pie?
    (audience laughs)

    EH: Maybe we should move on!  <laugh>  Meghan, how did you decide what elements we wanted to  bring into the show and what we wanted to keep separate?

    MH: World getting bigger could be a catalyst for change in their lives, and that’s what teed up the idea for the school – that all these creatures are now aware of them as well.  Wanted to meet new characters as a result of this, and not just re-meet characters we did in the movie so we could continue to expand the lore.  So we reference the movie but go even further in the series.  And I wanted to go back to Seaquestria because it’s so beautiful.

    EH:  We’ve gotten amazing guest cast and stunt cast throughout the season – you just saw Neighsay, played by Maurice LeMarche, a great addition to the cast.
    (audience applauds)  
    Big announcement for season 8 – we got Rachel Bloom, the star of the huge CW hit “My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend,”  awesome show.  Nicole and Josh wrote a special part for her and Daniel Ingram wrote a special song.  Let’s show a clip?

    Shows the song clip – Rachel Bloom is a Kirin, talking with Applejack.  Sings her backstory.
    (audience applauds)

    EH: Huge honor to have Rachel, hope she liked working with us.  Maybe we can ask her… 

    Surprise guest reveal is Rachel Bloom!  She walks out on stage.

    RB: I do indeed!

    EH:  Last year I left Comic Con early to go record Rachel, and she killed it.  The episode is amazing, I can’t wait for you to see it.   Rachel, I’d like to ask what you thought when you got the song or script for the show, or if you want to talk about the process?

    RB: I love how nuance the message is of that song.  That expressing yourself is messy and sometimes you’re gonnadisagree, and the last lyric of the song, “sometimes you gotta let it rain” is such a great message, and I think it’s such a fantastically written song, it’s so good.  We should credit the songwriter!

    EH: Daniel Ingram and Nicole Dubuc did the lyrics—

    ND: And Jim!

    EH: And Jim Miller who couldn’t be here unfortunately this year.

    JH: We miss him!

    EH:  Yes.  In general on Pony, we work really hard to always have a positive message and that one is a really positive one.  Rachel, another question, what is the best part of playing a pony?

    RB:  Getting to watch that right there with all of you and getting to hear my voice come out of a Kirin’s mouth, that was so, so cool, I feel like I’m seven years old.

    EH:  That’s why we ALL do this.  If you had a cutiemark, what would it be and why?

    RB:  It would probably be…Jazz Hands!
    (Rachel does jazz handsaudience laughs)

    EH:  Rachel’s background is in improv, so we thought it would be fun to do some here.   

    <Eliza asks writers for prompts.  Josh gives CanterlotCastle as a location, Nicole gives a heist as the scenario, and Meghan gives brother-sister rivalry as a conflict.  Because Shining Armor isn’t there, Rachel plays him.  The scene unfolds and is hilarious as Rachel Bloom keeps saying, “I’m a BOY.”)

    EH:  Are any pony writers here today?

    ND:  Yeah!  Brian Hohlfeld, Mike Vogel, and Doc Wyatt!
    <audience applauds>

    EH:  I was just gonna say, I hope someone wrote that improv down, because it sounds like a pretty good idea for an episode.
    <audience laughter>

    EH: If you could vacation anywhere in Equestria, where would it be and why?

    MM:  Las Pegasus, baby.

    CW:  (as Spike)  I don’t think I’d pick a place, but since I got my wings, I thought I’d do a lot of exploring, right? 

    AL: (as Pinkie)  I would go to Yakyakistan…FOREVER!

    TS: I just wanna go where he’s NOT.  (points to “Shining Armor”/Rachel).  

    EH:  What would you like the audience to know about your character that they might not?

    CW: (as Spike) Spike’s a gold medalist synchronized swimmer.

    (audience laughs)

    EH: Rachel, what do you find to be the biggest difference between voice over and on-camera work?

    RB:  Voice over is about one thing – how you sound.  So direction can get very specific. But on camera, it’s the whole package, so you have context.  But it’s only about what’s coming out of your mouth in voice over, so it’s actually harder because it’s way more specific – it’s like a laser.

    TS: It’s about what you can do with your voice, and I’m really blown away every single day, with what my coworkers can do.  You don’t need to wait for hair, makeup and lighting.  Like Rachel said, you have to bring the action with your voice, so I internalize everything – whenever something’s happening, I visualize I’m actually there.  You have to have acting and training and improv and singing to learn what your voice can do, and then you can play in this amazing world.

    RB:  And the other thing I find challenging is when you record your scene, a lot of times the person you record your scene with isn’t there, and they always say that acting is reacting, and you have to be genuine like you’re saying your words for the first time and so you really have to use your imagination a lot more than if you were on a set.

    AL:  You should’ve come to visit because we all do it together!

    RB:  Awww, that sounds so fun!  I was all alone!

    EH:  Question for the writers – do you feel like any of the characters are misunderstood?

    JH:  I wanna say, “aw, you guys, Trixie is so misunderstood, you guys don’t understand.”  But honestly, Trixie is EXACTLY understood.  That’s kinda what I love about her.

    ND:  I think that after having so many seasons of these characters, we all kinda remember the good moments and the happy moments, and we kinda have this highlight reel in our minds, it’s like this “Facebook” version of their lives.  And our characters are still working out some stuff and learning things, so I think that’s when it’s easy for them to be misunderstood – when they have to challenge what they know, and grow.

    TS:  I actually love that the most.  When I think of the moments of our characters, I think of the hard times, and when Twilight actually does something bad, like in the movie, and she’s such a perfectionist, and she has to learn not everything is perfect, perfect is boring, and sometimes I’m gonna make a mistake and learn from it.  I think that’s so important to teach kids.  And I like how our characters are growing this season!

    EH: Is there anything topic-wise that we purposefully avoid when we’re writing the show?

    MM:  Topic-wise we usually avoid anything romantic, though we do some of that.  I don’t think there’s a topic that we’re like, “we can’t ever touch that” – I think it’s more about making sure that when we choose to do something that we’re really thoughtful about it and find the right story – like with Applejack’s parents, how to tell that story about grief.  It was really important to find exactly the right story to tell that, and it took us time to find what would do the most justice to those characters in a meaningful way for the tough subject.  Nothing’s off the table, but we won’t do it just to do it.

    EH:  If you have a favorite villain, and why?

    ND: My favorite villain hasn’t been revealed yet.

    CW: Angel Bunny

    JH:  Cinch from Equestria Games

    MM:  I like Chrysalis, cause I think she has a lot of baggage now, and it’s fun to watch her deal with that.

    TS:  I’ve always loved Discord.

    AL: Starlight Glimmer?  Oh.

    MM:  SOMEONE had to go and reform her.  Typical. 
    (audience laughs)

    EH:  Who is challenging or your favorite character to write for?

    JH:  Twilight is challenging.  She’s the center, the cog, and you feel the weight of it when you write a story about her.  My favorite character to write is Maud.

    ND: I like the CMCs. When Vogel and I wrote the CMC mysteries together, it was great.

    EH: One of the best things about our show is the message of friendship, harmony and inclusion, which isn’t always reflected in the world around us.  What hopes for harmony have you guys taken from this season’s focus on the school of friendship, or our show in general?

    JH:  The next generation will make things better.

    ND: I like the idea that you can reach out to someone who’s pretty different from you, find common ground, and build a friendship on that.

    MM:  I agree with the idea that young people are being more empathetic and knowing that people that aren’t like them aren’t bad, and they’re reaching out.

    TS:  I think it grounds you too, when you get worked up about what’s happening in the real world and what’s happening to you.  And you catch a glimpse of a character and it reminds you what this show is all about – everybody is a different color, everyone has a different origin story, and it doesn’t matter how old you are, it’s so inclusive, and I think it’s a very timely, grounding show.

    CW: And in the end there’s just really one heart.  We’re all the same.

    Q&A Session (didn’t write this part down)

    Then the panel shows a clip from the upcoming holiday special, written by Michael Vogel.  It’s an animatic of the song written by Vogel and Ingram.