Editor’s Note: this recap of the discussion at the Archer NYCC Comic Con panel contains major spoilers about the premise of season 8 of the animated series—don’t say we didn’t warn ya if you read on!
H. Jon Benjamin wouldn’t budge, though:”You don’t want to blow the load right away.” But of course, even a stubborn Benjamin wasn’t impervious to that lead-in:”Phrasing.”
When we pick up with Sterling Archer during the new season of his eponymous’ series, he won’t be the man we left a year back. No longer a modern day secret agent, the Sterling with whom we reunite will in fact be a private detective circa 1947. How? Simply, the rules of reality of flexible when it comes to animation. And why? Well, because it seems like it’ll be funny.
In fact, the minds behind Archer have a lot of new ideas in store for Archer season eight, as we learned at the series’ Thursday night panel at NYCC, which featured stars Benjamin, Aisha Tyler, Jessica Walter, Chris Parnell, Amber Nash, and Lucky Yates.
“Everybody up here is the same character, but different,” said Thompson, who led the panel (as best he could, considering the chaotic nature of the troupe). “Archer is trying to find the person who murdered his partner Woodhouse.” He who, of course, was formerly voiced by George Coe, who himself passed away in 2015.
At the same time, Archer’s former superspy colleagues will survey the underworld of post-World War II America with their own seedy motives and vices. The panel began by focusing on the new iteration of Cyril Figgis. “He’s a bad cop,” said Figgis’ voice actor and Saturday Night Live veteran Parnell. “I do dealings with criminal overlords. [Figgis is] not a great guy… Archer is even more his nemesis in a whole new way. He actually puts Archer in jail, which is nice.”
Parnell added, “He has Poovey as his muscle. She really takes care of business.”
Any seasoned Archer fans who are wondering who Poovey is: Well, it’s Pam. Or at least the new version of Pam, who hasn’t only swapped names, but perhaps genders. “Is Poovey a man or a woman?” Thompson asked his cast. Nobody had an answer better than Parnell’s: “Why do we have to define it?”
The rest of the cast is likewise in store for some bizarre new ventures, Krieger especially. “Krieger is actually a lot more sinister this season,” said voice actor Yates, to the bemusement of the crowd—how this could be at all possible is beyond the imagination of any Archer fan. “It’s fresh after World War II. A lot of German is being spoken by Krieger this season.” You can connect the dots for yourself there.
But wait, there’s more to cringe at. Yates references one upcoming episode: “[Krieger and Ray Gillette have] shot a gorilla at a local zoo,” he says, all but drawing overt attention to the contemporary reference point for this plotline. “And we are paying a horrible price for doing such an awful, awful, awful f**king thing.”
Speaking of Ray, he is now “the trumpet player in Lana’s band and 100% straight,” says Thompson. Oh, right, and Lana’s in a band. Thompson adds, “This season, Aisha is playing a lounge singer.” And of course there was the great Jessica Walters, who said that this season her character “is the role of Mother, Mallory,” before adding, “She’s a crime boss. She doesn’t have to be so underhanded and shy about murdering people, breaking legs to get what she wants.”
As for the non-present Judy Greer, she’ll be taking form as Charlotte Van Der Tunt, the heiress to the vast Van Der Tunt publishing fortune… and no less a maniac than her previous incarnation. Fans will be happy to know that Jeffrey Tambor will return to the series in the whole new role of a mob enforcer, too.
Although much is changing in the world of Archer, the stars’ proclivity toward mockery, and off-color jokes—the cast ruminated on fights from their youth, many the sexual innuendo was tossed out, and Benjamin accused Tyler of inadvertently quoting Mein Kampf—assured us that at its heart, the show would remain the same one we’ve always loved.
Are you looking forward to what may be one of the final seasons of Archer? Talk it down in the comments below!