#MoreGalavant interview: Show runners thank fans, tease ‘epic’ S3 and discuss Tad Cooper’s future

Kat & John
Fun-fact: Kat & John were told to wear headphones to look “more professional”. (Photo credit: ABC/Disney via Twitter)


As most of you already know, John Hoberg and Kat Likkel make-up the dynamic husband and wife duo who were show runners, executive producers and writers for ‘Galavant‘s’ brilliant second season. They have been so deeply touched by the outpouring of love and support from the fans. Your efforts continue to feed their passion for the show and inspire them to keep fighting for more “Galavant.” During our entertaining conversation, Likkel and Hoberg gush over the fans’ unyielding support and offer insights on the show’s “epic” future, including some imaginative ideas for Tad Cooper’s full-grown form.

First and foremost, Galavanters, Hoberg and Likkel want to be sure that you all feel their love because they are sending those heartfelt warm fuzzies right back at you. Hoberg excitedly shares, “We’re so blown away by the support that we want to reach out and let people know that it means something. It’s actually inspiring us to keep pushing to get the show picked up in some form.”

Meetings and presentations are currently taking place (as Karen David inspiringly reminds us on Twitter and Facebook) and despite the cancellation, ABC remains supportive of the show. Hoberg clarifies, “The truth is, we have so much support from the studio and network. They really love the show. […] We never felt a lack of love from the execs we dealt with and the studio. […] There was always love and respect for the show.”

Likkel elaborates, “They really bent over backwards to make sure that we felt supported and allowed us to pull off some really crazy things, like Morocco. They were excited and behind that. We’ve got so many amazing cheerleaders at ABC. […] People get into the business because they love making special projects. [“Galavant”] is something that they’re all really proud of.”

Sadly, business matters outweighed creativity and ABC had to let the show go. But, ABC’s loss can be another network’s gain. Fans have been targeting Hulu, Netflix and Amazon during the #MoreGalavant campaign. Each one of these networks has their own regulations, which differ from ABC’s censorship. They often air programs featuring more adult content. We’ve grown fond of “Galavant’s” family-friendly format with a safely saucy wink at adult viewers (often expressed through bleeped out curse words and nuanced innuendos that go over the kiddie’s heads). You can’t help but wonder if “Galavant” would take advantage of a new network’s leniency.

If “Galavant” moves to an edgier network, would the show runners make the show a little racier? Would questionable and vetoed musical numbers like “Your Mother is a Whore” become a regular occurrence when it finds a new home? Hoberg and Likkel assure fans that the nature of our beloved show will not change simply because a new network would allow things that ABC did not. Hoberg explains, “We policed ourselves. […] “Your Mother is a Whore” is such a tough call. We run stuff by my sister who has two small kids who are obsessed with the show and we’re kinda like ‘What do you think?’ With that one, she’s like, ‘I would be laughing hysterically, but I would never turn on the show [for the kids] without previewing it first.”

Part of “Galavant’s” allure is that it appeals equally to adults and children alike. It is very difficult to find a show currently airing on TV that the whole family (ranging from grandparents to wee ones) could enjoyably and comfortably watch together. The show runners would never want to disrespect their fans by changing such a key quality of “Galavant”. Hoberg continues, “It’s such a family show. I think we found a great balance of adult jokes that were couched enough that children wouldn’t figure out what that was. I think that no matter where we were it would be a mistake not to respect those fans too because they’re just as important to us as the whole group.”

You’d be surprised how many things they take into consideration while censoring the show. We’ve all grown fond of the hilarious bleep-able moments, such as the Chef’s uncharacteristic outburst at Isabella. On another network, we could hear the explicative. However, that would diminish part of the fun and humor captured in such moments.

As Hoberg says, “I almost like the beep better than a curse word because it could be anything. It really points out that he’s out of character.” Of course, he also doesn’t hesitate to admit that he would often encourage alternative takes in which cast members would be cursing. He laughingly reveals, “We had hours of bleepable takes on jokes all the time.” But language wasn’t their only censorship issue, as it turns out, costume fails present their own challenges.

Likkel giggles as she recalls the time a costumer pulled her aside and said, “We have a codpiece issue.” You can probably imagine what that means and might even be blushing at this point. She describes the hilarious scenario in which this costumer had to drag an actor into the dungeon at Berkeley Castle and sew an appropriate codpiece onto his costume at the last minute. Guess you’ll be taking a closer look at the background players after her story, huh? Costume shenanigans and cursing aside, these show runners have the difficult task of deciding which brilliantly funny scenes must end up on the cutting room floor for the sake of timing. Hoberg uses a deleted scene shown at their SF Sketchfest panel as an example.

In the scene, Chef returns to Isabella’s chambers after getting her room key to help her escape from the castle. Chef enters her cotton candy pink room with a huge key-shaped cake. Isabella frantically claws through the dessert in search of the key. When she doesn’t find it, Chef begrudgingly looks at the princess. He was holding onto the key the whole time and brought the cake to celebrate stealing the key. It’s a hysterical scene, but since it isn’t crucial to the story, it had to be cut out. There are a bunch of similar scenes that we’ve sadly missed out on.

Hoberg reveals, “There’s actually a fair amount of good stuff that we cut that, if we had two more minutes in the show, we’d put into the show.” He adds, “We realize that pacing is more important than that extra joke. There’s a lot of jokes that worked that we ended up cutting. And the intention in writing the scripts is we’d write the script two to three minutes over knowing that we could pick it up later.”

This is exactly why we need “Galavant” DVDs! Imagine all of the extra footage we could see. A proper “Galavant” box set could be loaded with deleted scenes, music videos, episode commentary, bonus musical tracks, and gag reels (including an adult version and a kid-friendly one). It truly is baffling. Why not take advantage of this wonderful opportunity? “Galavant” cast and crew would love to contribute to something so fun and special. The fans would not only love it, but they’d happily give them out as gifts and bring even more new fans to the show. Really, it is a no-brainier. If only the powers-that-be would hear us out and start manufacturing some highly desired “Galavant” merchandise. Especially since we all know “Galavant” has so much more to offer in all shapes and forms!

Hoberg and Likkel did a wonderful job with the Season 2 finale. Fans got the happy endings we hoped for, like Galabella’s wedding, Richerta’s blissful life with Tad Cooper, and seeing the King and Queen of Valencia perched upon their rightful thrones. However, we were also left with an ominous ending as Madalena appealed to the Dark Dark Evil Lord in hopes of learning the dangerous and powerful art of the Dark Dark Evil Way. On the bright side, Gareth and Sid set out on their own adventure as they journey to rescue Madalena from her wicked self. As Team Galavant has been saying all along, there are still many more stories to tell, even if Gary Galavant isn’t a part of them anymore.

Given Galabella’s “Happily Ever After”-style ending, we wondered if the show runners knew about Joshua Sasse’s eventual departure from the show. Did they have any idea that Sasse was going to leave? Did the writers rev Season 2 up to Galabella’s wedding because they knew Gal wasn’t going to be around in the long run? Hoberg and Likkel candidly reply, “Yeah, I think there was a thought that he might not come back.” With the Season 2 finale, their “goal was to give a sense of ‘happily ever after’ [and] ‘a sense of ‘there’s things to do still’.” Hoberg clarifies, “So when [Sasse] approached the show about going to another show…It was a comfortable place for us to be. It was a comfortable place for that storyline to be, but Karen’s [Isabella’s] story doesn’t feel finished to us.”

From the start of “Galavant,” the writers have done a tactful job of using their extremely talented cast and cleverly shifting the focus between these colorful characters’ storylines. We’ve seen Gal’s story come full circle. He was a heroic, self-assured knight who fell from grace when Madalena broke his heart. Season 1 followed Galabella’s love affair and enabled Gal to reclaim his glory by becoming an honorable knight once more. But, we all know Gal could not have done it alone.

Hoberg emphasizes, “Our show has always been an ensemble. It’s cool, this second year Richard was the focus of the big emotional story. […] We already know Vinnie and Sid are going to rescue Madalena from herself. We can’t help but think it would be hilarious that the King and Queen of Valencia would be with them [as a hindrance].” Likkel adds, “We were already talking about shifting the focus of a potential third season. In a fairytale setting, you want to keep it moving in different ways.”

You can get away with so much more in the fairytale world. Anything is possible! And as writers, you never know when and where inspiration may strike. In “Galavant’s” case, Season 3 ideas were brainstormed during a Season 2 viewing party. If you follow the many witty and charming members of Team Galavant on Twitter, then you already know how much fun they have while watching and live tweeting each exciting episode. While we’re tweeting our praises, Hoberg divulges that (since the seasons were so short) “writers would get together” to watch each episode and they even “rented a theater to watch finale as a big group.”

At the viewing party, he was “talking with Rick [Wiener who co-wrote the two-part Season 2 finale] and Kenny [Schwartz, co-executive producer and co-writer for the Season 2 finale ] and thoughts for Season 3 popped up. We know where we could take the show.” In fact, Hoberg and Likkel know exactly how Season 3 begins and tease, “We even know how it ends.” Now, before you get too excited, it must be said that their plans are top secret. King Richard and Gal may be bad at keeping secrets, but the power couple behind “Galavant” are way savvier than that. They did, however, offer a little peek into what the future may hold for our darling musical comedy extravaganza.

Hoberg explains, “In our minds, the end of Season 2 sets the battle lines of Good and Evil very clearly and we’re imaging Season 3 like [“Star Wars”] ‘The Empire Strikes Back.’ The bad guys got their turn a little bit and we think that might be where the world goes.” Which makes sense since the finale left Madalena’s fate hanging in the balance. He elaborates, “For us, the show is about redemption and that everybody is good enough inside.” Therefore, “Madalena would be our redemption story this year.” They optimistically boast, “We want to go epic.”

One thing that could help make Season 3 more epic is using some of the superstar power that has helped conjure loads of support for the #MoreGalavant campaign. If one of the big celebrities backing #MoreGalavant commits to be on the show, could that give more weight to saving “Galavant”? Likkel happily hypothesizes, “If a big name actor called up ABC and said ‘I’d love to be on this show.’ It wouldn’t hurt.” Her husband expands on why big name actors would gravitate towards “Galavant” saying, “Watching actors do things they never get to do […] Like John Stamos [as the goofy and pompous Sir Jean Hamm]. Other actors see that and want to do it.” Seriously, who wouldn’t want to join in on all of that fun?!

As we chat about possible guest stars, we get carried away in some ideal scenarios. Likkel ponders, “Can you imagine getting Mark Hamill?! [Playing the] DDEL! That kind of thing would be fantastic.” Hoberg then muses, “Jackie Chan would be a funny Dark Dark Evil Lord!” They admit, “We reached out to a bunch of people. Some people were already working.” Although, “one person from Monty Python” might be interested in making an appearance. Mums the word on who, but any one of them would be a hoot. They always thought it would be hilarious to have “Sean Bean show up at some point and say, ‘Guys, I’m here to help!’ and be instantly killed.” That would awesome! Maybe Billy Boyd could encourage his “Lord if the Rings” cast mate to make a cameo.

Let’s move on from our wish list of guest stars and turn our attention toward “Galavant’s” newest superstar and official #MoreGalavant mascot, Tad Cooper. King Richard’s dragon pal has become quite the sensation. In the finale, we hear Richard quip about a sheep before heading out and being greeted by a fire-breathing Tad Cooper. We all jump to the the conclusion that the little lizard has grown into a full-blown dragon. So it begs the question: When “Galavant” returns, what kind of Tad Cooper should we expect to see? Will he be fully grown? Will he have a voice?! Hoberg and Likkel are asking themselves the same questions.

They joke that the only relief that comes from “Galavant’s” cancellation is that now they have some extra time to figure out what they’d like to do with Tad Cooper’s onscreen appearance. Likkel insists, “We have to show him somehow. He’s gotta be there. He’s such a big character.” They’ve been tossing around different ideas on how they could do Tad Cooper justice.

None of us want some crappy and mockable CGI dragon when Tad clearly means so much to Galavanters. Hoberg jests, “I know one thing that’s been rejected by Kat. [he laughs] It’s actually a dragon but it looks like a green horse that breathes fire.” We visualize how Likkel’s eyes could role at the ridiculous thought of a horse masquerading as a dragon. Of course, he’s only kidding. They are fully aware of Tad Cooper’s impact and want to get it right.

They might have to get a little creative, but Likkel assures, “He would be there somehow.” Hoberg adds, “He’s really important. He’s Richard’s inner strength. The question is how do you shoot that or what is it. We want to find that special ‘Galavant’ turn on it rather than, it’s just a dragon.” We recall ‘Galavant’s’ final glimpse of Tad Cooper’s fiery breath and discuss how it can be interpreted. Hoberg clarifies, “We’re implying that he’s really big, but he could be small.” He pauses for a second and laughs, “Maybe that’s a sheep he just likes to sit on.”

We start spit-firing goofy ideas and joke about all the ways they can get over the hurdle of affording a proper CGI manifestation of Tad Cooper’s majestic form. If his importance truly rests in what he symbolizes, then does it really matter if we ever see what he looks like? It’s possible to carry on with us simply seeing Richard talking to his buddy off camera and we’ll occasionally see Tad’s fiery reply. Perhaps Richard keeps him as an obedient pet. During this bit of back-and-forth banter, Likkel laughingly shoots back, “Or maybe he gets turned invisible in the first episode.” Then Hoberg quips, “Or you see Richard holding a leash going offscreen.” Like they said, Tad Cooper’s visage is still in the brainstorming process. Although fans have come up with some fantastic renderings. Keep it up, you never know, your work might become the inspiration for Tad Cooper’s future likeness!

As our fun-filled conversation starts winding down, they once again want to express their heartfelt gratitude to the fans. Likkel emphasizes, “How touched and appreciative we are of the fans’ response. It’s such a cliché to say, ‘It’s all about the fans,’ but it really is all about the fans. And that’s why we do this stuff and it’s really special and we appreciate it so much.” Awww!

Hoberg elaborates on that sentiment, “You can forget that when you sit in the writers’ room. You’re trying to make each other laugh, you kind of forget that it’s not a small group. […] Seeing the response is incredible. We’re getting a pile of these papers that Karen’s getting together and we’re going to keep it in our office as a reminder like just read a page whenever we feel like we want to work extra hard to make everything as good as it can be.”

I assure them that the feeling is mutual and add some extra cheesiness. From the very start, the whole Galavant team (producers, cast members, writers, crew, etc.) have been easily accessible online and very gracious with the fans. It feels like “Galavant” has created a kind of family and the #MoreGalavant campaign has turned into a bonafide a love fest. Yeah, I took it there. No shame in being sappy. But fans aren’t the only ones getting mushy over “Galavant”. Likkel reveals, “We all miss seeing each other everyday. We are all still calling each other up and say, ‘Hey, I just got another thought for season 3!'”

Huzzah! This is great news. The brilliant brains behind “Galavant” haven’t given-up and are still working on many more exciting stories to tell. Even though they are working on other projects at the moment (Hoberg and Likkel are currently working on ABC’s mid-season comedy “Downward Dog,” check out the trailer HERE), they all still have “Galavant” on the mind. Hopefully, the #MoreGalavant campaign will work and we’ll be able to see this fabulous fairytale continue to live on in one form or another.

But wait, there’s more! Stay tuned for the second half of my interview Hoberg and Likkel. They give us a bit of backstory on some cheeky gag reel moments, describe how our favorite actors have informed their characters’ storylines, and divulge more exciting behind the scenes shenanigans.

As always, Galavanters, keep up the great work and remember your To D’DEW list:

Check Karen David’s Facebook page for updates (including details on latest online voting polls) HERE.

Find details on the #MoreGalavant campaign (info for Hulu, Netflix, Amazon, etc.) HERE.

Sign and share the petition HERE.

Circulate the cast’s #MoreGalavant video online and get #MoreGalavant trending on Twitter!




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