Who’s ready to chat about LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures? Read on! #LEGOFreemakerEvent
LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures is a show that my family is going to love to sit down and watch. As a Star Wars and game-loving family, we’re all about having fun and supporting The Force. Bill Motz and Bob Roth have created this small part of the Star Wars Universe and it promises to deliver! With interesting and unique characters, a family dynamic, and the Star Wars story arc it will keep us captivated.
LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures premieres on Disney XD on June 20, 2016 at 10AM.
Set between the events of The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi, the action comedy series follows the Freemakers, a family of sibling scavengers who operate a salvage and repair shop in space, and features Star Wars heroes and villains from across the saga.
While in L.A. we sat down with creators Bill and Bob, who have been working together on various projects for over 20 years! It felt like we were talking with old friends, rather than having a formal interview. For me, those are my favorite discussions.
It was so awesome to hear them talk about this project. Their passion for it clearly showed. They are just so invested and at one point, Bill commented that he couldn’t sleep the night before because he was just so nervous to talk to us. 😉
Did you know that they couldn’t talk about this project for over a YEAR! Bob was telling us that “this has been our baby for a while” and Bill said that “we had this time where we weren’t aloud to talk about it.” I can’t imagine keeping this under wraps for a year. I’ve seen the first episode, and I have to say that it is a great addition to the STAR WARS.
How did you come up with this story?
They said they were at Comic Con and someone mentioned that they should explore this idea of a new LEGO Star Wars show, with some humor. While they were waiting for dinner at a restaurant down the street, and Bob and says to Bill, “I know what the show is.” They talked about it and Bill says about LEGOs, “I loved the kits, but I loved the bucket.”
You know what I mean? Pouring out the blocks and creating your own thing and, no offense to people who glue their bricks but that to me is that’s not the point. For me it was like playing with my family, right? It was something that my mom and dad did with me. Building these bricks is something I had done with my kids. So for me it was we invented this out of that play together. -Bob
There’s so much busted junk, right? -Bill
It fits. -Bob
I mean it fits so the idea that you’re going to take like this you know piece here and slap it together and make a new thing. -Bill
And it’s something we see in our own home. My sons, I see them play with the tie fighter and eventually you know the tie fighter gets smashed. I’m sitting there and thank God my sons are creative enough to go, you know, I’m going to have to piece it back together with the instructions kit. I lost that booklet ages ago. But the beauty of LEGO is that’s not a ruined toy at that point it’s just the beginning now.
He takes those tie fighter wings and slaps it on [something else] and he’s got a brand-new toy. And he’s thrilled and I’m thrilled. And you know that’s the beauty of LEGO and it seems to fit perfectly with Star Wars for that inspiration. -Bob
Creating the LEGO sets and what it was like seeing the sets?
That is a crazy moment. Walking into a store and going, there’s the Starship we created. Two of those, thanks. -Bob
It was amazing. It’s been over a year that we went to build in Denmark, which is where Lego headquarters is, to talk with the designers about the ships. So it’s a surreal moment where 15 minutes of here’s our first pass. We were holding it going, oh my gosh this is so weird. -Bill
All I was thinking was, don’t drop it. Don’t drop it. They call these sketch models. And they’re very much like, you need these guys. They work with LEGO bricks the way an artist works with a pencil and paper. Like they just go, oh yeah, I see now kind of what they want to do. -Bob
That’s a whole other level, it’s amazing. It was really fun. We got to talk about story function, like the things that we wanted to have happen. Because in our minds for example the star scavenger, it’s a truck. -Bill
You know I see some people online say, it’s an ugly ship. Yeah, that’s the point.-Bob
Very few people go, wow that 18 wheeler, that’s a piece of machinery right there. But it’s very functional and we loved the dispute that it could just fly through space or it would just drift. -Bill
What is it like have a story part of the Star Wars story? Something that you created is now a part of Star Wars?
I still wake up every morning and go, wow, we’re doing this!
I remember when I was seven years old, in 1977, when my brother came home and said we’re going to the movies tonight. I’m playing outside and didn’t want to go to a movie. No, no, we’ve got to go. There’s a movie, it’s better than Star Trek. Which I was like, nothing’s better than Star Trek.
He said no, no, trust me. We’re going to go. And then the TV happened to be on and I remembered seeing the ad. Okay, this actually, maybe is better than Star Trek. We went and it was a magical memory. I walked in there, seven years old not knowing what I wanted to do with my life. What seven-year-old does, right? That’s not a problem but I walked out of there going, oh I totally know what I want to do with my life. I want to give other kids the viewing I had right now.
It’s just huge joy bursting out of me. And I did. I had my brother to thank for that. And you know the beauty of it is that my brother is not with us anymore. And I always will have the memory of that night. He gave me Star Wars.
Like in the movies, you think it’s a story about this kid who has a connection with the force and has an amazing adventure. But, by the end of the second film, in the Empire Strikes Back you realize oh no, this is a story about a father and a son. And then, by the end of the third movie you realize oh no, it’s a father, son and a daughter. It’s about a whole family. And then we go back in time when we see oh no, this is where the father met the mother and how they all became a family. So Star Wars is very much about family and so is LEGO.
I remember the basement in our home growing up I had all my Star Wars put up on the shelves on one wall. And then on the other wall I had in the corner I had LEGO. And I would build LEGO bases. But they didn’t make Star Wars LEGO toys. So I could build little bases from my can of Star Wars figures just to bring it all together into one universe. So what’s it like? This is what I’ve been doing since I was seven. I’m not just doing it in my head anymore. -Bob
It’s surreal. We work out of Bob’s guest house […] and it’s filled with all of Bob’s memorabilia of Star Wars stuff from when you were a kid. And then all of your collections growing up. It’s been that way for years. I mean when we worked on other projects – well, there’s Darth Vader’s helmet and there’s these tie fighters. And here’s all this sort of stuff. So when we finally get to do this show it seemed amazing.
He has an art print that’s sort of framed behind the TV where we screen our episodes all the time – it’s a picture of a young Luke Skywalker playing with a toy X-wing and it’s says destiny on it. That’s us. We’ve had to pinch ourselves. We had to pitch the idea and we had to convince them that we were the right people to do this show. -Bill
What has been the biggest challenge creating this show aside from keeping the secret for a year?
I’ll tell you what the initial biggest thing was, fear.
We were actually on another show, on staff and we had to make a choice about if we were going to leave that job to jump into this. And to be honest with you it was intimidating because this is a partnership between Lucas film and LEGO and the Disney Corporation. We were just like that is overwhelming you know.
We thought what if we screw it up? What if we make this thing that’s not good? And look, I hope we entertain families and fans but I don’t want to let us down. And so we honestly, it was just really a moment where we were like, do we want it? I mean we actually ended that morning when we had to make the decision we’re going to not do the show. And some friends of ours thank goodness –-. -Bill
It’s like what are you thinking? -Bob
It was like, you know what? Don’t be operating from this place of fear like because you will always regret it. And now I mean it’s just like then I think about it and I’m like I do want to try to just kick ourselves in the butt for even thinking about it. It’s that thing of – you would have missed out on the best experience you can have professionally in your lives and even beyond that, the relationships we’ve built across the company. Everybody we’ve worked with is just fantastic. -Bill
He’s absolutely right. We’re really going to do this? Are we up to doing this? Do we believe in ourselves? -Bob
How did you overcome that fear?
Well, once you say you’re going to do it then it’s like being shot out of a cannon. -Bill
We take a very nuts and bolts approach to our work. We’re writers. It’s our job to sit down and write. If we don’t know what to do and we can’t we’re bound to think about what the other partner because there’s always somebody there who when you’re stuck that can say yeah, I’m stuck too let’s talk it through. -Bob
Always critics you know. I wrote the best scene ever and Bob’s like, really because this one isn’t it. But, the story team has been phenomenal.
I think there are also people that are just so expert in storytelling that just sharpen us and make us better and better. So I feel like our writing – it’s just, the bar has gone up. -Bill
How far have you gone into the story? There’s this whole universe created and this whole story.
We will stay here as long as they let us. -Bob
And I think these characters are growing. They won’t stay static, things will change in their world and their universe. They will change and I think that’s exciting.
We’re a little daring to be honest. Sometimes maybe not entirely comfortable and I feel like it’s something that this was just made for.
There’s a lot of uncertainty and anxiety in the world and life doesn’t always turn out the way you hope it’s going to. We’ve worked on plenty of shows where it’s all fun and games and everything resets back to normal, it’s fine and there’s a place for that, that’s totally true. But, one of the things that we wanted to say was you know what? Circumstance can change, things can happen.
One of the things we want to say is you know what, kids? You can face things that you think are overwhelming, things about yourself, about your circumstance and you can get through it. You can be a hero even to yourself and you can just get through it.
So we feel like we want to just sort of empower kids and families to say you know life is hard but you can face it and get through it. That’s the philosophy. -Bill
You are both dads. Have your kids had any input or have you been sharing it with them at all?
Bob has two kids, ages 12 and 14. Bill has three kids, ages 18, 21, and 24.
Even last night as I’m sitting there and I just want to relax because you people make me nervous. I was nervous about this so I was like, I just want to relax. And you know what? I do like to build LEGO toys so I broke out my Star Scavenger kit and I started building it. And my son is 24, sat down at the table with me and broke out his millennium falcon. And we sat down building our LEGOS together and listening to the Star Wars soundtrack. -Bill
Not entirely, certainly loosely. Rowan is my younger son and Zander is my older son, very much so. Rowan and my 12-year-old share the super enthusiasm for life and the inability to just sit still for a damn moment.
You know the touching things we shouldn’t touch, the lack of focus. Also, just good heart – Rowan has a really good heart.
My older son is very much a Zander, also a good heart. He is a gear head, he is obsessed with fast cars. He can hear a Ferrari eight blocks away going around the corner. He cannot only tell you it’s a Ferrari but he can tell you oh, that’s a Ferrari, F-type 21 with a twin cam engine with blah, blah, blah, blah.
It sounds red. So Zander is very much that. Zander is very much this guy who can see a Starship launch into hyperspace just out of the corner of his eye. He can tell you – oh, I can hear that’s exactly a Core 08, sonar systems, etc. -Bob
Bob’s son struggles with ADHD, and when you watch the first episode, you realize Rowan has that character trait, too. It’s nice to see a character that is unique and isn’t perfect, one who has struggles and deals with them.
Then deciding that we wanted to have Rowan have that character trait. You know academically it’s a struggle. A kid like that is always going to be faced with why aren’t you focusing on school? Why aren’t you doing these things? It’s just hard and it’s hard as a parent too to have a kid who is struggling.
I love the fact that you made your son who struggles with that the hero of our show. -Bill
I want to make him the hero because they get a lot of why aren’t you sitting still? Why aren’t you focusing? By the way, you’ll start to see it in the next episode. Part of the humor comes from me just trying to get him to do his homework, right? To master the force you’ve got to focus.
Yeah, they had a really strong influence on our show. -Bob
I love that we get to go through the story with a new Padawan. In the past story lines you’ve had Padawan who discovered family. Was there a reason why you gave him an instant family this time?
Because this was different. We’ve seen a lot of Padawan ways seems to be following that same pattern. Ezra again following his own thing. Anakin who had a mom but quickly lost her. We wanted to start going back to the thing that Star Wars and LEGO both mean family to me. It just felt like this has to be a show about family.
And we didn’t want to take time to find a family we wanted to start because it’s different. We wanted to start with the family right there. -Bill
And seeing the family at home. You’ve seen it for years. I’ve seen it for years. There’s actual comedy built in to it and you know this is Star Wars but it’s also […] things with brothers. Things that brothers do that they do with each other that you just wouldn’t do in a different kind of family situation. You’ll see them wrestling around on the ground and that’s kind of the things that brothers do. -Bob
Bill and Bob were wanting us to know that LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures is fun. Bob said, “We struggle all the time with a lot of serious, heavy things. Even our dark episodes are fun. They’re fun and funny and there’s joy in all of them.” Bill mentioned that when asked about their target audience, “my answer is families. I really, really want this to be something that families watch together. I do feel like there’s comedy we try because we have kids.”
While we were talking with Bill and Bob, the actor who voices Rowan came in to chat. Nicholas Cantu is 12, but he is so poised and well-spoken that you would think that he was older. Both Bill and Bob had nothing but high praise for Nicholas and his dedication to this project.
Star wars? It’s a dream come true. LEGO? That’s like every kids’ dream ever. Being lucky enough to have this opportunity is really amazing. You know? It’s the whole package though, a Disney show, LEGO, Star Wars.
Having a toy of me? I might as well just retire. -Nicholas
Let’s talk about the audition process.
I see the enthusiasm. You just, it bubbles out of you [talking to Nicholas]. We auditioned a lot of kids. Some would come in and say hello. And some would come in and stare at the floor and just shuffle their way into the booth. This kid came in and he was so natural with everybody. He just owned the room.
I also have to say Nicholas is an incredibly talented and intuitive actor. […] our sense of comedy is really great. Your sense of drama is really strong. And you’re just you’re sense OF character as a person by the way. And how you interact with us and with everyone else is really encouraging on a very professional level -Bill
What do you think kids are going to really like about this show? If you were talking to other kids about it what would you tell them?
I’d tell them that if they watched any other LEGO stuff, the comedy is very strong. I love all the LEGO jokes in there. They’re all very funny. And you’re also going to get that classic Star Wars storytelling that you’ve come to know and love, the battle between good and evil. They’re just going to love having very serious moments and awesome.. […] So I think they’re going to enjoy kind of the mix – it’s got adventure, it’s got action and comedy.
So I think that’s what they’re going to enjoy. And also the content and you know the characters too. They’re all wacky and wonderful. So I think that’s what they’re going to like the most. -Nicholas
I really enjoyed talking to Bill, Bob and Nicolas. They were so awesome! I’m really looking forward to watching this with the family. Tune in! LEGO Star Wars: The Freemaker Adventures premieres on Disney XD on June 20, 2016 at 10AM.