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Get ready for Lord Dominator, "Wander Over Yonder" 's new extreme bad guy who happens to be a gal

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Get ready for Lord Dominator, "Wander Over Yonder" 's new extreme bad guy who happens to be a gal

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It was Rudyard Kipling who said it best (in rhyming couplets, no less): "The female of the species is more deadly than the male."

And if you want animated proof of this proposition, then I suggest that you tune in to "Wander Over Yonder" tonight. Which is when Lord Dominator -- a brand-new female fiend -- makes her debut on Disney XD at 9 p.m. ET / PT as this Annie Award-winning series kicks off its second season.

"And why is 'Wander' adding a new villain to its canvas?," you ask. According to series creator / executive producer Craig McCracken, it was basically because Lord Hater (i.e., "Wander Over Yonder" 's original antagonist) wasn't seen as a real threat.

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"As Season 1 unfolded and Hater revealed himself to be more of a misdirected, lovable goof and not really a REAL bad guy, we knew that we had to introduce a serious and legit villain to shake things up and throw our whole goofy show back on its heels," McCracken explained during a recent interview. "After a whole season of having Wander handily defeat / befriend Lord Hater at every turn, it became hard to take him seriously as a credible threat."

"So we made that literal: After wasting an entire year of his life chasing Wander around, the entire galaxy would now think that Lord Hater was a joke. Especially if a bigger, badder bad guy suddenly swooped in and was, you know, actually a bad guy," Craig continued.  "Introducing this element is Season Two would also help reinforce one of the main threads of our show: Wander proving that Lord Hater actually has some good in him.  And one of the clearest ways of doing that is by putting him next to a more evil, nastier threat."

Mind you, in this case, the badder bad guy -- when all of their armor gets stripped away -- is revealed to be a bad gal. So was this done because McCracken -- like Kipling -- was looking to make a comment about " ... the female of the species" ? Craig says no. That this new character was added to "Wander Over Yonder" 's cast strictly for story-driven reasons.

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"Part of the appeal of making Dominator a --  let's say 'enthusiastic' female character -- was the chance to create a real, unapologetically wicked villainess while still having this character be lively, vital, energetic, and fun," McCracken enthused. "Lord Dominator's gender is not what defines her. If male characters can be all things then it follows that female characters can be all things as well."

"Lord Dominator's not the wicked stepmother or the old crone. She's not the secondary villain or the 'girl villain' or the main villian's girlfriend.  She's THE BAD GUY," Craig continued. "And if you know anything about Lord Hater, you know that -- deep down -- all of his posturing and bluster comes from Lord Hater's desperate desire for people to like him.  And he's such a narrow-minded lunkhead that we knew introducing a better villain who happened to be a girl would really throw Lord Hater for a loop on a couple of levels."

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And given that -- according to McCracken -- Lord Dominator had to be " ... tougher than Sylvia, more cunning than Commander Peepers, more evil than Lord Hater, and is as excited about doing evil as Wander is about doing good" ... Well, not just any voice actor could bring this new "Wander Over Yonder" character to life. Craig knew that he needed someone who was actually up to this voice-acting challenge. Which is why he reached out to "Saturday Night Live" vet Noel Wells. Who signed on as soon as she read the teleplay for "The Greater Hater" (i.e., the episode of "Wander Over Yonder" that actually introduces the Lord Dominator character).

"Basically, 'Wander Over Yonder' is one of the best written shows on television. Just my audition sides alone were better than 99 percent of the on-camera auditions I go on. The scripts are fantastic, and Lord Dominator is a fully developed, 3-dimensional female character, which are like Yetis in movies in television. Everyone WANTS to see them but no one ever does," Wells stated. "So I feel super honored that I got to do it. Plus, this is my first recurring animated character on television, and who doesn't want to do that?!"

Just to be clear here: When it comes to voicing Lord Dominator, Noel actually shares this role with Fred Tatasciore. Whenever "Wander" 's new villainess is locked away inside of her armor, it's Fred who'll be reading Lord's lines. But as soon as Dominator unmasks, it's Wells who then does all the talking.

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"The way we handle Lord Dominator's voice is that we'll have Noel come in first and get the performance that we want," Craig explained. "Then Fred will come in and dub over her lines to match the nuances of her reads."

"Noel's delivery really is key to this character. The director and I wanted to match her cadence as much as possible; especially when Lord Dominator is monologuing to herself," Fred said. "Lord Dominator turns into something else when she 'suits up.'  Her imperious speech patterns come out more aggressively as she addresses the world, playing the part of a cruel overlord. That's when -- as I'm voicing this character -- I'll change the cadence. But it always goes back to Noel. It's really fun matching her word for word when I'm doing Lord Dominator's voice."

You wanna get a sense of how Wells & Tatasciore combine to create the voice of what McCracken calls " ... MOST EXTREME version of a villain we could think of" ? Check out this "Wander Over Yonder" Season 2 sizzle reel. Which Disney Television Animation screened for Comic-Con attendees last month in San Diego.

And just so you know: "The Greater Hater" -- which debuts tonight on Disney XD at 9 p.m. ET / PT -- is the first installment of a four-part story arc, which includes a musical "Wander Over Yonder" episode written by composer Andy Bean.

So if you want to see how Wander (i.e., the biggest optimist in the universe) and Lord Hater (i.e., a dork who's pretending to be way cooler than he actually is) deal with a more evil, nastier bad guy who just happens to be a gal, be sure and catch the premiere of Season 2 of this acclaimed animated series.

This article was originally posted on the Huffington Post's Entertainment page on Monday, August 3, 2015

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  • Naturally, Disney chooses to make the baddest of all bad guys a female... why can't they choose to make more of their animated heros female? I understand Jim's reasons and explanations but this news still ticks me off.

    Apart from Star vs. the Forces of Evil, are there any animated shows in development that contains strong female GOOD characters?

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