Invader Zim was canceled far too soon, but almost a decade after its untimely demise, we're on the cusp of seeing a new adventure on Nickelodeon thanks to its cult status and the success of its comic run on Oni Press.
Nickelodeon announced the return of the show as a TV movie early last year, so with hope in our eyes, Nerdist spoke with creator Jhonen Vasquez, Zim voicer Richard Horvitz, and GIR voicer Rikki Simons at Comic-Con to learn as much as we could about the upcoming Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus! before returning to our home planet.
1) We still don't know when Enter the Florpus! will air
As of now, Invader Zim: Enter the Florpus! does not have a set release date—at least not in this timeline. When I asked Vasquez when we could expect to see the TV movie, Horvitz cut in to tell me it had already premiered.
“Were you out that night?” he asked. Vasquez corroborated his story, informing me it aired not on Nickelodeon but on Country Music Television instead, and Simons told me gravely, “This is the darkest timeline, and you missed it.”
2) ...But we do know that devoted fans of the series and comics will have Easter eggs to look out for
Anyone who's been keeping up with the ongoing series of comics that began in 2015 will be in for a treat with Enter the Florpus!. According to Vasquez, “There’s bits that fans would recognize.” But if you’re worried that the Zim creative team members are now sticklers for continuity (despite the number of times entire planets have been laid to waste in the franchise’s rich history), you have nothing to fear. “I love that there’s people who are like, ‘God, I hope that they use this time to tie up loose ends or to expand on the universe, the lore,' and it’s like, ‘What show are you watching?’” Vasquez said.
3) At least two characters in the Zim universe are agender
When I asked if the boy who recaps comics at the beginning of each issue has a name, Vasquez caught me by surprise with the revelation that Recap Kid (that’s their name) has no assigned gender. “We don’t know if it’s a boy or a girl. It’s just a kid in a hoodie,” he said.
And Recap Kid isn’t alone. “Recap Kid? Don’t know. MiniMoose? Don’t know. It’s just a tiny moose,” Vasquez said. Simons pointed out that GIR could be considered genderless as well, but Vasquez countered that they all referred to GIR with male pronouns.
4) Vasquez, Simons, and Horvitz have a staggeringly strong recall of the series
Horvitz has shown his hand as a series historian in the past, but I was delighted to discover just how far that went. Name an episode, and Horvitz, along with Vasquez and Simons, will identify their favorite lines, the sound effects they find most memorable, and what they’d like to go back and tweak. (Well, that last one is mainly Vasquez, who can nitpick with the best of them.)
Horvitz’s love for episodes like “Walk of Doom” and “Rise of the Zit Boy” stems from their comedic aspects, though he also noted, “I like the episodes where I like me in them.”
Simons is a different story. “I like [‘The Sad, Sad Tale of Chickenfoot’] a lot, even though GIR's not in it.” Vasquez instead gives preference to the more visually dazzling episodes. “Backseat Drivers from Beyond the Stars” is a standout for him.
One of my coolest takeaways from our conversation was learning that the series sought inspiration from classic horror for "Dark Harvest," one of the more memorable episodes that “everyone talks about," according to Vasquez. It follows Zim as he harvests his schoolmates’ organs in order to make himself more human, and Horvitz admitted he finds one particular moment—when Zim is scurrying above the ceiling tiles in the classrooms, seeking out his next victim—genuinely scary.
Vasquez explained, “What we were going for was that scene at the end of John Carpenter’s The Thing [when they’re] pushing through the planks.” (He also made the noise, which I’ ll attempt to transcribe here: chk-chk-tih-tih.)
We’ll keep you posted on more Florpus! news as it comes. For now, let’s all sing The Doom Song to pass the time away.
How many verses of the doom song do you know? (Note: they are infinite.) Let us know in the comments!