Interview with Tad Stones

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Interview with Tad Stones

Post by Steel on Mon Aug 15, 2011 1:35 am

IMPORTANT NOTE: First off, I want to be clear that, although I happen to be doing some free lance development for DISNEY JR., I haven't been a Disney employee since 2003 so anything I say about their future plans or motivations is just the opinion of an outsider. So, let's begin.

1. While BLoSC did air on several TV stations around the globe and was recently cut off the air, what are the possibilities of the series receiving a DVD release? Will it have a chance such as Darkwing Duck, or will it be left ambiguous like Hercules and Aladdin?

Even Darkwing doesn't have a complete set of DVDs out. The releases are based on sales and the video release schedule. It's anybody's guess.

2. Strangely, the last episode, dubbed “42”, was viewed as the season finale. Were there more episodes planned, and if so, had a finale been in the works? Are there any details on these potentially illusive what-ifs? Perhaps a comic release or a mysterious third season?

We only planned to do 65, the number needed for syndication. (That number decreased in later years) Darkwing has more because ABC wanted new episodes for SatAM. XR was not considered a season finale although it might have ended up that way on the schedule. Any cliffhanger elements it might have would just be the classic monster movie trope of "It's dead.....or is it?"

3. BLoSC ended on a rather open-ended note. Were there plans, if any, for the characters? Team Lightyear? The Evil Emperor Zurg? Minor characters such as the Evil Buzz Lightyear or Ozma Furbanna?

There were no further plans than what you saw. The direct to DVD movie was actually done AFTER we had finished all the episodes.

4. One of the unique things about BLoSC is that it possesses a plethora of interesting and captivating alien life – as well as beautiful scenery and a vast, semi-explored galaxy. Is there any chance of knowing more about these aliens, customs, and worlds – like the dynamics of Tangean Royals and Tangean Grounders? Was a guide book ever planned? Is this galaxy our very own (one of those BIG questions fans fumble over)?

Any further exploration of Buzz Lightyear would be under PIXAR's purview. I don't think they consider the TV series as something to be expanded.

5. There were subtle hints that the Galactic Alliance is a fledgling government. Could you give us any insights on the Valkyrans or Natron the Terrible? What about how humans came to be?

It's been years since I've dug out my VHS copies to watch the show so I can't help you with details. We viewed the Galactic Alliance as being like Star Trek's Federation.

6. If this can be answered, what was the galaxy like before the Galactic Alliance? During the episode with Natron there was mentioning of the Protector. Who was this Protector and would you have revisited future episodes with the ancient space mummy?

That would be a question for Bob Schooley and Mark McCorkle but they're pretty busy with Penguins of Madagascar. But again, we were not counting on extra episodes.

7. What is your most memorable episode (if you have one) and why? And dare we ask, what was your least favourite episode?

Can't really help you out either way.

8. How was working on BLoSC different from your other works (such as Hercules, Aladdin, and Darkwing Duck), and where did you draw the inspiration from?

I wanted to do a science fiction show ever since Darkwing. I started some development on Buzz that was a little more adventure oriented while Mark and Bob were still working on Hercules. When they came over they had to make it their own and ignored my universe building. Frankly, although I think we did a great job, that's when I realized that I needed to be in charge of story if I was going to be happy. I went on to head TEAM ATLANTIS which was cancelled because of the poor showing of the feature while Mark and Bob created KIM POSSIBLE. As to inspiration, I had more of a science fiction background than they did. I don't know if they drew from any specific source. Motz and Roth, also story editors, were big StarWars and StarTrek fans.

9. In an older interview, you mentioned an original concept you had, “Warp Wild”, which served as the basis for Warp Darkmatter. How much did you take from this concept and inject into BLoSC, and how would you have liked to go about BLoSC in general? A darker and edgier take? Something with more comedy? What was your original vision for the series?

Warp Wilde was an entirely different character and concept. Bob Schooley liked the name, Warp. That's all that was taken from it.

10. Here’s a question a few fans came up with: Would Warp Darkmatter ever return to Star Command, and how does Warp fit in with Buzz Lightyear’s history since the latter has mentioned saving other Rangers like Ty Parsec and Rocket Crockett. Warp was also strangely absent in the episode “Lone Wolf”, where Buzz told a tale twenty years in the past. What’s your thought on this?

That's to be left to the realm of fan fiction. The important backstory was in the movie...which was done after Lone Wolf and all the other episodes.

11.Interestingly enough, we only know Booster’s parents and XR’s–even though Commander Nebula will deny this time and time again. Whatever happened to Buzz Lightyear’s parents, or Mira Nova’s? Was it ever discussed? Even the Evil Emperor Zurg mentioned his Nana! Is this one of those Disney quirks?

It just means that nobody pitched a story that centered on the parents. I thought be did an episode of Mira's parents who were royalty.

12. Perhaps one of those million dollar questions: What is the Evil Emperor Zurg and how did he become an Evil Emperor? Some say a man in a mask, others a cyborg or robot, and a few an alien–with his get-up being his natural appearance. Do you have anything that could put this decade-old question to rest?

Nope. If we didn't cover it it's open and up to PIXAR.

13. And here’s another million dollar question (if you answer both, you’re a very rich man in funny money): Were there any proposed ages for the characters? Perhaps weight or height specifics? If there are none, what would you pinpoint them at? Booster was told to be 500 UMMUs, but what is an UMMU compared to a pound?

Okay, I'm a nerd but not that much of one. Bob and Mark would have to address this but it's not something we ever worked out. I guess we are destined to remain in the animation poorhouse.

14. Okay, some of us have to ask: Is Buzz Lightyear bald, or is he just hair conscious? He never takes off that thermal hood! Even the Evil Lightyear wears it despite sporting blue facial hair!

Can't say. He never took off the hood in my presence.

15. All right, we have to ask this, too: What was up with the Holiday episode? How did Zurg know where Santa Claus was and about the Chrono-Disruptor, and does this mean we need to leave Santa extra cookies from now on since he lives in outer space?

Extra cookies are never a bad idea. We did a generic holiday episode because it seemed like a bit of goofy fun.

16. Okay, brief silliness aside, a few fans were curious as to how the voice actors were chosen. Some even wanted to know why XR had two different voice actors, Larry Miller and Neil Flynn. Any words on the matter?

I loved Larry Miller but his schedule got super busy and Neil had to sub for him. Casting is a matter of auditioning many actors, narrowing down choices, getting input from bosses and getting a sign off from Jeffrey K. but only on the main characters.

17. Some keen eyes pointed out a few things that no one can rightfully answer: A) How come Brain Pods were never shown in official merchandise, and are they really brains, too? It seems doubtful when they have mouths, can eat, and tentacle-like limbs; B) Could no one really pronounce Xrghthung (Zurg-thung?); and C) Are there female Grubs or LGMS, or are the two species asexual to some degree?

Merchandising makes their own decisions about licensing. And seriously, the rest is the kind of world building that wasn't done for the show unless a story line required it. I tend to do more than Mark and Bob but it would never go that deep. Fans always want continuity in their shows but the syndication crowd hates it. Stations want to be able to play episodes in any order.

18. In perhaps one of the more interesting episodes, there was the discovery of an alternate universe. In it there was an Evil Buzz Lightyear, but Buzz seemed to be the only one who had a polar opposite. How come the Evil Emperor Zurg didn’t have a good counterpart and how come the rest of Team Lightyear wasn’t evil? Thoughts? Should the evil-doers always wear goatees?

Yes, evil doers should always wear goatees. The rest would be fun to postulate but I have to put that kind of energy into my new show development.

19. You’ve probably been asked this before, but how did you–and do you–feel about the fabled “banned” episodes? Were the plots something you hoped to achieve for a darker and edgier feel?

I'm unaware of banned episodes. There are always pitched premises that don't get developed but nothing banned. Buzz Lightyear was not a dark and edgy show it was patterned after the Toy Story Buzz.

20. What made you take classical monsters such as Frankenstein’s monster, the Mummy, Nosferatu, and the Werewolf to create the characters XL, NOS-4-A2, Natron and the Wirewolf? A secret homage to the classics, or just something that seemed cool on the storyboard?

I created the concept and design of NOS-4-A2 and even his color scheme. I like classic horror stories and they were fun jumping off points for ideas.

21. A few of us have noticed that the episodes were aired in a funky order, with some episodes airing before their chronological predecessors. Do you know the correct order they are to be viewed in?

No. We only dealt with production order and I don't have that anymore. Remember, stations like to mix things up.

22. Speaking of a viewing order, some episodes seem to have been altered for unknown reasons, perhaps according to location. Would these scenes ever be restored if the series was released on DVD? Do you have any inkling as to why they would be edited in such a sly fashion?

Sometimes it's to allow for another commercial break or material that is to air between shows on a given channel. As to DVD, it would depend on the kind of release. Premium, best possible or whatever's cheapest.

23. What was the procedure for making an episode? Was it taxing on everyone including you, the writers, the animators, and even the composer?

Sorry I don't have time for this sort of description but it was a fun show to work on. Generally we were given the time to do a good job.

24. In a recent interview of yours, producing BLoSC didn’t seem like a very fond memory. Would you be willing to explain why and how you believe the show could have been better, if that is the case?

It's not my favorite show because of what I said before: I always wanted to do an animated SciFi comedy adventure but when I finally got the chance it was based on someone else's character with someone else in charge of story. My career highs were RR, DW, TEAM ATLANTIS and HELLBOY ANIMATED.

25. If we ever sent you something as a token of our gratitude for you answering these questions, would you accept a shirt that read, “Why do we need jeopardy?”

The correct line is "Why do we need antagonists?" xl please.
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Re: Interview with Tad Stones

Post by DarklingDragon on Mon Aug 15, 2011 9:38 pm

Well, I definitely give this interview five stars. He was pretty level headed answering all these questions. I'm actually quite surprised his head didn't explode from the sheer amount of them.

His response on question 13 made me laugh.
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Re: Interview with Tad Stones

Post by Fox Storm on Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:15 pm

(chuckles) Yeah. It seems like he's got a good head on his shoulders, and from these answers, I could be wrong, but it seems like he's also a bit of a soft-spoken kind of guy. What I mean by that is that his answers are very...how do I describe them? Very nonchalant, if you will, like very casual, but in more of a soft way.

Anyway, his answers are good! I like his honesty. Smile

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Re: Interview with Tad Stones

Post by levy120 on Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:24 pm

Probably the answer that clears the most stuff up for me is the fact that TAB was created only AFTER the show was done. That explains SO MUCH XD

Ha, and so he is the genius behind Nos-4-A2's concept; that's nice =)


Are you going to answer him back on at least the "banned episodes" part? There are the ones that are just rarely shown, but from the last I heard "Inside Job" was officially banned for siding with one group of politics (respectively being "anti" to the other) or something? xx"
It's kind of interesting how he doesn't seem to know about it
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Re: Interview with Tad Stones

Post by Fox Storm on Mon Aug 15, 2011 10:33 pm

That's true; he didn't seem to know about those episodes. Maybe he was unaware of the decision the network made to not show these episodes.

I mean, BLOSC reruns came on a few years after it was no longer on the air, and considering what was going on in the world after the show ended (9/11), it would somehow make sense. I don't agree with their decision, but it would make sense.

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Re: Interview with Tad Stones

Post by EEZ on Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:30 am

I'm glad he answered back and honestly, but I don't think I learned much when I finished reading. I could already discern from past interviews with other cartoons as to what could have happened on a few questions, but all-in-all: nothing major was really answered. At least for me. Still, he didn't have to answer these questions and for that I am grateful.

Back to square one, but at least there's a little bit more to think upon.
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Re: Interview with Tad Stones

Post by VTANGArmn22 on Tue Aug 16, 2011 8:52 am

Well, I can't say that I really gleaned any new infromation, other than how much the stations can mix things up. Didn't know about that. And I did find his little career backround answer interesting. *sorry if I'm boring someone, but I don't know everything, despite the rumors*

I still find it really cool that he took the time to answer us. Definitely food for thought.

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Re: Interview with Tad Stones

Post by MC on Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:44 pm

Well I have to say, he was very blunt about what he knew and what he didn't. I wonder if we can get in contact with Mark and Bob and get their opinions on these questions. That was interesting he came up with the design and color scheme for NOS-4A2, it would have been interesting to hear his concept of designing the character.

It was very considerate of him to answer back.
Question #13 hahahaha that was great.
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Re: Interview with Tad Stones

Post by Overcast on Wed Aug 17, 2011 11:11 am

I'm glad he answered back and all... But really he seemed to dodge around some of the questions. And he appeared to outright just ignore parts of various questions. I agree with Eez, nothing was really gained from this. He seemed to have just as much knowledge of the show and it's backgrounds as the rest of us. Kinda sad, really. And honestly, I'm disappointed. I expected more clear answers.
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Re: Interview with Tad Stones

Post by DarklingDragon on Wed Aug 17, 2011 3:22 pm

I think part of the reason why he has trouble answering those questions is because he's been somewhat out of touch with Disney and Pixar. If he was currently active in their animation studios he probably could have been able to get more information.
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Re: Interview with Tad Stones

Post by SteffieMusings on Thu Aug 18, 2011 12:16 pm

It's great that Tad Stones had agreed to the interview and had even answered the questions for us. Although the majority of the questions we had known already. OTOH, it had been quite awhile since he had worked on the series.

I find it interesting that the pilot was actually made after all the other episodes, plus the fact the correction episode order gets mixed up by the broadcast.
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Re: Interview with Tad Stones

Post by Steel on Wed Aug 24, 2011 7:40 am

levy120 wrote:Probably the answer that clears the most stuff up for me is the fact that TAB was created only AFTER the show was done. That explains SO MUCH XD
He also mentioned that in a podcast interview, so it wasn't news to me. It does explain the inconsistences, I suppose.

levy120 wrote:Are you going to answer him back on at least the "banned episodes" part? There are the ones that are just rarely shown, but from the last I heard "Inside Job" was officially banned for siding with one group of politics (respectively being "anti" to the other) or something? xx"
It's kind of interesting how he doesn't seem to know about it
By the time I read this, I'd already replied back to thank him for his time and effort in answering. And as he himself said, not knowing any were banned to even begin with, the show was never meant to be "dark and edgy" enough to even merit such a thing as "banned episodes". At least that's what I understood.

MC wrote:I wonder if we can get in contact with Mark and Bob and get their opinions on these questions.
It might be worth a shot but they're very busy people obviously more interested in what they're involved in now.

Steffie wrote:I find it interesting that the pilot was actually made after all the other episodes, plus the fact the correction episode order gets mixed up by the broadcast.
At this rate, I don't think the writers themselves were that consistent. "NOS-4-A2" was the first episode produced, but apparently Team Lightyear had been on several adventures post the events of "The Adventure Begins" despite that. And the very fact that the pilot was made only after the rest of the series had, and because they "just so happened" to have more time than they'd expected before its release, is indication eough that they never originally planned to have a proper start or a proper end for the show to begin with.

Its production and creation on a whole feels like one of those "let's just get it over and done with as fast as we can and forget about it" kind of things. Bitter observation much? Yes. Suffice to say that the lack of information and any information I do manage to find about its history and production have pretty much lifted the veil from my eyes.
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Re: Interview with Tad Stones

Post by Strictly Sherlock on Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:39 pm

Huh. Disappointing, but interesting... I didn't know that about TAB, so that was a revelation, at least. And getting that scrap of history about Nos was nice, if nothing earth-shattering.

Still, I'm amazed that this interview happened at all. No, he didn't answer much, but it was nice of him.

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Re: Interview with Tad Stones

Post by Pythonmelon on Mon Dec 19, 2011 12:51 pm

It was very nice of him to do the interview, even if very little was actually answered.

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