“Rocko’s Modern Life” is about to take a fresh look at modern life, and the animated wallaby — who hasn’t been seen since 1996 — isn’t exactly a huge fan of what he sees.
The opposite could be said of his fans, who gave a rapturous ovation to the first footage screened publicly of the new movie, “Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling.” The revival special doesn’t debut until 2018, but Comic-Con attendees got to see Rocko, Heffer, and Filburt return to earth — after being stuck in space for the last 20 years — and witness how they experience a modernized O-Town for the first time.
“The last time we saw our heroes, they were in outer space. This picks up exactly where we left off,” director Cosmo Segurson said during the hour-long panel discussion. “They’re reacting to now. The characters have not changed — decidedly so.”
That means each character reacts a bit differently to what they discover. At first, Rocko is overwhelmed by all the changes. He believes nostalgia can save him from the tortures of what his hometown, O-Town, has become. So he looks for respite via the same thing many of us use to escape reality: a TV show.
“He comes back and his favorite show, ‘The Fatheads,’ is off the air. So all he wants to do is see a special of it,” Murray said. “So… it wasn’t hard to write that plot.”
“Rocko’s trying to hold on to the last shred of polite human discourse,” Tom Kenny, who voices Rocko’s best friend Heffer, said.
But the voice of Rocko, Carlos Alazraqui, said his character gets used to things soon enough.
“He’s not necessarily loving it, but he’s accepting of it,” Alazraqui said. “He adapts pretty quickly. He’s such an eye of the hurricane, calm person.”
Heffer, meanwhile, is all about the modern day.
“Heffer’s just up for a good time,” Kenny said. “Heffer’s just delighted by everything, which makes him a great juxtaposition against the other characters.”
And the final member of the trio — Filburt, the constantly anxious and sporadically nauseous turtle — is in for a treat: Social media, the ultimate buffer between rewarding communication and physical contact, does right by Fil.
“He goes viral,” Murray said.
“Filburt is one of the sheep. He jumps right on and embraces it harder than any others,” voice actor Mr. Anderson said.
During the fan question-and-answer portion of the panel, Murray & Co. were asked if they would ever come back for a full season of “Rocko’s Modern Life,” after the 44-minute special airs in 2018. (They’re “going through retakes and doing post-production” on the movie, Murray said.)
The creator stood up, encouraging the crowd to applaud and earned a rapturous response, before thanking the fans for getting them this far. He then said, “We haven’t talked about it. We’ll see what happens.”
Watch the first-look clip below. “Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling” is scheduled to be released in 2018 on Nickelodeon.