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Disney XD's "Future-Worm!" puts a pre-teen twist on time travel

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Disney XD's "Future-Worm!" puts a pre-teen twist on time travel

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Over the nearly 15 years that he'd been working in animation, Ryan Quincy had done a great many things. He's helped create Emmy Award-winning episodes of "South Park." Not to mention "Out There," that acclaimed series for IFC.

"But what I hadn't done was work on anything animated that I could then show my son, who's 11, and my daughter, who's 9," Quincy recalled during a recent phone interview. "And that had genuinely begun to bother me."


"Future-Worm!" creator & executive Ryan Quincy poses with the two central characters
from his new animated series. Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved 

But then Disney Television Animation reached out to Ryan in September of 2013. They were in the market for something that was ... Well, a little weird and rough-around-the-edges for Disney XD.

"Now I have always wanted to do a kid's show. But at the same time, I really like to draw these monstrous-looking characters & things. So how did I bring these two things together? I just tapped into my 12 year-old brain," Quincy continued. "I asked myself - as a kid who watched entirely too much television when I was growing up - what would I like to see in a new animated series? And that's where 'Future-Worm!' came from. It's the show that I would have loved to watch when I was a kid."


Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

And Ryan is right. Only someone who could still channel the way 12 year-old boys actually think could have ever come up with a show like "Future-Worm!" Which details the adventures of Danny, an enterprising pre-teen who has built a time-traveling lunch box.

"Mind you, with 'Future-Worm!,' I wanted to treat time travel in a totally ridiculous fashion. So on this show, our characters won't be answering questions like who knocked the nose off of the Sphinx or be doing things like stopping George Washington from chopping down that cherry tree," Quincy said. "With 'Future-Worm!,' it's all about how a 12 year-old boy would actually use time travel. Like repeatedly trying to prevent himself from slipping food on himself after an embarrassing fall in the school cafeteria."


Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

And the best part of Disney getting fully behind this absurd animated series is that Ryan could then channel the might of the Mouse. So if Quincy wanted "Cosmos" host Neil deGrasse Tyson to come be a recurring character on "Future-Worm!" and regularly offer Danny advice? Done.

"And then - when we were working on the opening title sequence of the show -- I drew a future version of Danny. And that version of this character just happened to look like singer / songwriter Paul Williams," Ryan recounted. "And I said, 'Wouldn't it be cool if Paul Williams could do the voice of this version of that character?' And then someone at Disney said 'Well, why don't we actually ask him?' So they reached out to Paul and he was game. And just like with Neil, Paul's been a lot of fun to deal with. They've both been incredibly awesome."


Neil deGrasse Tyson in the booth recording dialogue for the enhanced version of himself 
that appears on "Future-Worm!" Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved 

So besides celebrity voices and family-friendly silliness, what else should "Future-Worm!" (which - FYI - officially debuts on Disney XD tomorrow, August 1st at 11 a.m. ET / PT) viewers expect? A surprisingly varied format.

"That's another aspect of 'Future-Worm!' that's really been fun. Normal animated TV shows either do a single 22 minute-long episode or two 11 minute-long episodes back-to-back," Quincy explained. "Well, on this Disney XD show, we're actually using 3 different formats: The 3 minute, the 7 minute and the 11 minute-long episode. Which means that we don't have to artificially pad an episode's story out to fit a particular show length. We can keep them as short and as funny as we like."


Copyright Disney Enterprises, Inc. All rights reserved

But you know what Ryan really seemed to like best about working with Disney Television Animation on "Future-Worm!" ? The fact that - given that Mickey is such a master when it comes to marketing & merchandising - there's a distinct possibility that, at some point in the not-so-distant future - Disney XD viewers will actually be able to own their very own "Future-World!" lunch box (time traveling ability not included).

"As much as I love the idea that I'm finally working on a show that I share with my kids - more importantly, that parents can watch with their own children - wouldn't it cool if fans of 'Future-Worm!' could own their very own lunch box? Or - better yet - a Future-Worm plush with the beard, the visor and those abs?," Quincy laughed. "That would be so awesome."

This article was originally published in the Huffington Post on Sunday, July 31, 2016

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