I recently got to sit and talk to the creators of X-Ray and Vav! See what Jordan and Lindsay have to say for the response of Rooster Teeth’s newest animated show!
Recently, I got to sit down with Lindsay Jones and Jordan Cwierz, creators of the refreshing X-Ray and Vav. They were fresh off the fantastic episode one, and graciously took some time out of their busy schedules to give us a peek into Rooster Teeth’s newest gem!
For people unfamiliar, how did X-Ray and Vav come about?
Lindsay: Well, it started as short on Rooster Teeth Animated Adventures, where X-Ray and Vav had to save the podcast. We brought that to Matt, and he asks us what if we can extend past the universe we created? What if they had to save the world? So, I collaborated again with Jordan, reworked the scripts, wrote, and recorded what became season one.
Jordan: The entire show concept got overhauled, from Ray and Gavin playing superheroes, to the superheroes themselves. We don’t have the alteregos, just X-ray and Vav. When we recreated it, almost entirely, we came up with the city and the two characters. And then that gives us what we have now.
When I started episode one of X-Ray and Vav, I felt like this was an homage to cartoons of the past. I saw something that looked like the Autobot Matrix inside Monarch Labs, and the robber’s boss looks like a mix of Dr. Claw’s shadow and Dick Dastardly from Wacky Races. Were those inspirations that got you to create X-Ray and Vav? Did you have any other inspirations to draw on when going through the writing of the show?
J: That was Patrick Rodriguez, our art director. He threw in a bunch of references to old cartoons that we all grew up watching. Everything that pretty much inspired the show, art style and content got put in.
L: Yeah, there are definitely some late 80’s references, but the biggest were the early 90’s, like Cartoon Network. Especially in the first episode, you see a hint of the Powerpuff Girls, Johnny Bravo, and especially the art style of Samurai Jack. That is one style he specifically tried to hone in on when creating character concepts for each of the new characters. We kind of already had an X-Ray and Vav t-shirt design, so we tried to focus in on that and use that as an inspiration.
We kind of did the same with the writing. We talked about how we grew up and loved these shows. It’s such a huge nostalgia factor for us when we get to think back to how enjoyable they were. We were like “What if we gave everyone that same opportunity?” Kids who grew up in that world would love it, and remember those experiences. The new audience might go, “You know, I’ve never seen anything like this before. This is great.” Basically, we were just like what did we love as children?
In episode one, we got the origin story for X-Ray and Vav. With how the episode ended, it looks like you’re continuing the narrative style made famous by Rooster Teeth. What can you tell us about the story?
J: Well, there’s a bad guy, two good guys, and allies! A long more will come to light in the coming weeks. There is an evil plan in the works, and X-Ray and Vav are definitely going to end up having to stop that crime. That’s so vague, I’m sorry!
L: There will be crime, and they will end that crime! Well, we got into it in the first episode, but X-Ray and Vav didn’t venture into becoming even more present as superheroes with an intent to stopping this evil plot. They kind of happened upon it. So you can take that into their journey as well.
J: On top of that, as far as superheroes go, they’re both in it for the wrong reasons.Vav kind of has it right. He wants justice. But X-Ray obviously just wants the glory of being the cool guy. I don’t think they ever really thought about actually fighting crime and stopping bad things from happening. They just want to live that life.
L: I think “happen upon it” was a poor choice of words on my behalf. They wanted to fight crime, but they didn’t know how much crime they were going to have to fight.
J: It reminds me of the episode of Spongebob where he becomes a lifeguard. He’s in it for being cool, and then he has to save someone from drowning. He then says, “If I knew that being a lifeguard meant I had to save someone’s life, I wouldn’t have become a lifeguard!”
L: X-Ray even has a line in the beginning of episode 1 when he says “We’re not gonna make headlines saving cats overnight. We need to show the world how badass we are.” I’m sure that, in their minds, that’s like “We fought a robot. that’s so incredible, and it’s so easy! Don’t worry!” But in the real world, you die.
Yeah, just a little. So, X-Ray and Vav started as a duo. What are the chances that the duo expands to include another? Hilda just seems like she’s dying to use her gear and give someone a nice dose of pain.
Jordan: Yeah, she’s got these weapons, and she wants to try them out. But she’s smart enough to not use them. So, she uses X-Ray and Vav.
L: I think she’s too sophisticated also. “Nah, I’m the inventor. I’m not the tester.”
J: I think X-Ray and Vav will always be the main focus, and there will be some main characters that will show up often, and Hilda’s definitely one of them.
L: Yeah, and we already recorded all of season one. We already planted so much already, and we want to incorporate more characters. You know, it could be good guys, bad guys, or people living in the city. We have so many characters planned.
J: Yeah, we want a mix of Rooster Teeth created characters that are already established that would fit in the show, as well as original characters.
L: We’d like to feel that people who obviously aren’t familiar with Rooster Teeth and are content, to feel like they can get the references like the ones you mentioned earlier. We want these viewers to feel so delighted to see that in the content. There’s anyone who’s coming from an outside perspective that can understand the concept of two heroes trying to save the world.
J: We just see that there’s a shadowy guy, and he’s bad. But people who watch Rooster Teeth may recognize him and try to guess who it is.
L: Who do you think it is, audience?
X-Ray and Vav unofficially debuted with the trailer at the end of season 12 of RvB, and again with the comics in RWBY. Is this RT’s way of trying to encompass their shows using all of their other shows?
J: I think that worked out well in our favor. I think the X-Ray and Vav easter egg in RWBY was planned well ahead of the show’s creation. They already wanted to reference it. They were just shout outs to the dumb characters Gavin and Ray were doing in Let’s Plays.
L: I don’t know about you, Cybertron, but Jordan has specifically seen this. We’re on Tumblr. And we see so much X-Ray and Vav cosplay. We have such a devoted following, before we even knew what we wanted to do with X-Ray and Vav.
J: It’s interesting to have a fanbase that’s already so dedicated before the show even started.
L: That made me nervous. We didn’t want to ruin these beloved characters, but it seems that people are so supportive of the show. We have had such a positive response to episode 1! We’re excited to see where it goes from here.
How did X-Ray and Vav actually meet?
Jordan: Oh! That’s a good question.
Lindsay: Yeah, we’ve always had just known that they were together.
J: In the show canon, we haven’t thought of that often. Maybe it’s something we can go explore in the future.
L: We’ve talked about going back and doing an origin story about how they met. But even then, how they decided on their costumes? Because they already have their emblems stapled to their shirts before they meet Hilda.
J: If we were to come up with something it would be when they met really young. But, they clash so much that they wonder why they’re friends.
L: They’re heterosexual life partners!
Finally, we all know how busy Rooster Teeth is year round. Was it difficult to work on the show when you had RVB and RWBY working almost concurrently, as well as the podcast going on?
J: It’s been crazy. The development process started in March of 2013, when Lindsay and myself started writing the first version of the script. And May of this year was the when we got started on episode one of the current show. It was a long road that heated up and cooled back down while going through the different development phase.January of this year was when we changed everything. Then we had a script in March or April of this year. Matt then told us that he wanted episode one to be done by RTX. What else can we say but, “Well, alright!” We had our lead animator, Peter Sorenson, pretty much animate episode one all by himself. He’s a truly hard worker.
L: I agree wholeheartedly. Even in the preproduction phase, there’s always something going on at Rooster Teeth. We’ve been growing this company so much, that we brought on so many more employees, opportunities, sponsorship contacts, and all of these amazing things going on around us. And, in the midst of all of this, we have to create a show. There’s never really a point where we can go “This is a perfect time to create a show! Let’s do it! There’s nothing going on.” We don’t have that luxury. However, we’re lucky to have such a supportive and energetic crew. Just the ability to work on a 90’s style cartoon was enough to transform that excitement into great work.
There you have it! If there is one thing to pull out of this interview, it’s that both not only do Jordan and Lindsay care about their show, but everyone at Rooster Teeth does as well. The attention to detail everyone puts in blows my mind. New episodes air every Thursday on Rooster Teeth‘s web site.