The Legend of Vox Machina Cast Says Real-Life Bonds are the Secret to the Show’s Success

Jan 27, 2023

Never underestimate the power or allure of Dungeons and Dragons. There must have been more than a hint that greater opportunities lied ahead when Critical Role first livestreamed its tabletop role-playing game campaign. The success of that outing lead to expanding the universe of a fantasy adventure that quickly morphed into an animated sensation. The Legend of Vox Machina was born, and Prime Video became its new home. Season one was a hit and season two, with 12 episodes—three premiering each week—drops January 20.

The popular animated series stars Critical Role founders and cast members Laura Bailey (The Last of Us: Part II), Taliesin Jaffe (Final Fantasy XIV: A Realm Reborn), Ashley Johnson (The Last of Us), Liam O’Brien (Star Wars: The Bad Batch), Matthew Mercer (Overwatch), Marisha Ray (Final Fantasy XV: Comrades), Sam Riegel (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles), and Travis Willingham (Marvel’s Avengers).
What’s exceptional about the endeavor, overall, is that the Critical Role cast also serves as executive producers, alongside Brandon Auman (Star Wars: Resistance), Chris Prynoski (Metalocalypse), Shannon Prynoski (Fairfax), and Ben Kalina (Big Mouth).

So, what’s at stake in season two? Expect adventure and a swirl of surprises. After saving the realm from evil and destruction at the hands of the most terrifying power couple in Exandria, Vox Machina is yet again faced with saving the world—this time, from a sinister group of dragons known as the Chroma Conclave. Vox Machina castmembers share more with MovieWeb about their creative journey and why they think the show found a loyal audience.

The Series Mirrors Real-life Bonds

Nothing like a band of eight unlikely heroes who find themselves on the ultimate quest to save the realm of Exandria from dark magical forces to add some creative nuance to your viewing queue. Toss in a gnome, a half-elf, a gunslinger, a grizzly bear companion, a half-elf druid, and a gaggle of other fascinating characters, and you’ve just skimmed the surface of the Vox Machina gang. Curiously, there are some similarities between art and real life here. The show features a group of characters banding together. In the real world, the series took flight, thanks to the real-life connection the cast have to one another.

Ashley Johnson, who voices the character of Pike Trickfoot, a gnome cleric, in The Legend of Vox Machina, says the show’s popularity and unprecedented success had “so much” to do with, “our connection to each other and how we deeply, deeply we care for each other, and the story, and the stories that we’ve built together.”

Related: Exclusive: Tommy Chong Says He Loves the Mindset of His Character in That ’90s Show

Johnson also noted that the series completely changed the trajectory of her life. “I don’t know what we would all be doing without this,” she said. “I mean, I think it would have changed my life, even if we hadn’t streamed or been made this into an animated series, Meeting this group of people, making that connection, and having that closeness is something that you search for your whole life—to sort of have that love and care for a group of people and to be with your friends where you can laugh and make them laugh. The fact that we’re still able to tell the story together and grow as storytellers and expand our story—within comic books or as an animated series—it’s been wonderful, and it changed my life in the best way possible.”

Johnson shares more about why she believes audiences tuned into the show in this exclusive MovieWeb clip.

Drawing Upon Past Influences
Travis Willingham plays Grog in The Legend of Vox Machina. A goliath barbarian/fighter, his character certainly stands out. When asked what helped fuel this iteration of the worlds he and his friends created, Willingham was candid.

“We grew up massive fans of ’70s, ’80s, and ’90s animation—Thundercats, Voltron—those were the things that set our imaginations on fire,” he admitted. “We were laying on our bedroom floor playing with action figures. We just never lost that love of fantasy and storytelling. That was the impetus for this animated series.”

Matthew Mercer plays Sylas Briarwood, once a vampire co-ruler of several lands. Like Willingham, he believes it’s rare that a creative team creates something they wholly developed together, and, “have media partners that help them make it better, as opposed to just trying to take and change that to what they think would be successful.”

Prime Video

“So much of the industry is built on the idea that good IP, good stories, good characters, have to run the gauntlet of alterations by committee on a creative level,” he added. “Often the final product doesn’t come out with the same heart quality that it started with from the passionate people who created it. We’re in a very rare circumstance where we still own this. We created the story together, we found a community and people who support us. It’s a perfect alchemy that we could never have hoped of acquiring. And in doing so, we now get to set it out in the world and see people enjoy it.”

Taliesin Jaffe plays Percy in the series. The character once received warlock abilities because of his pact with Orthax. Jaffe noted that his friends/creative team were inspired by many “incredible” stories prior to bringing The Legend of Vox Machina to life.

“We see these pictures in our mind when we were playing [the game] and we’ve watched incredible stories be told from shows like The Legend of Korra and Avatar. That animation style paired with adult content is so engaging to us; to everyone,” he explained. “The animation style is there, the action is there, but you’re also going to get blaring sexuality and adult themes. We’re not holding anything back. For a lot of people who grew up loving what we love, this show is a callback to those things. That’s the stuff I grew up loving. And that’s what we wanted to set out to make with The Legend of Vox Machina.”

Dive into The Legend of Vox Machina on Prime Video on January 20.

Disclaimer: This story is auto-aggregated by a computer program and has not been created or edited by filmibee.
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