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Critical Role's Travis Willingham, Sam Riegel answer fan questions about their Kickstarter cartoon [Ep. #78]

By Jordan Zakarin
Critical Role 2019

When the cast of the podcast and web show Critical Role launched their first Kickstarter campaign, they were looking for $750,000 to fund two episodes of an animated show based on their game of Dungeons & Dragons. They started the fundraiser with modest ambitions, uncertain how much their fans would be willing to shell out.

It took just 40 minutes to reach their initial goal, and three weeks later, they've raised nearly $8 million, blowing past nearly every one of the added stretch goals. As of Monday, they had 25 more days left to accumulate more contributions and unlock the cash to produce further episodes of what has already become a larger project than they could have ever imagined... even if the cast — all voice actors with many other cartoon credits — had been dreaming of a Critical Role animated series for the past few years.

Running a Kickstarter campaign is a time-consuming venture, almost a full-time job of its own. But for the Critical Role crew, raising the money might just turn out to be the easiest part of this expansion in their growing empire. Now, there are about 60,000 fans (and counting) directly invested in the new animated series, and as expected from a famously devoted fandom, they're already craving specifics. Last week, two members of Critical Role's cast, Travis Willingham and Sam Riegel, joined The Fandom Files to answer some of those burning questions — as well as some very silly other lines of inquiry sent in by fans.

One of the most frequently asked questions concerned the side banter that supplements the long in-world gameplay in each podcast. Given the brevity of animated episodes, fans wanted to know if that spontaneous color commentary would remain, and if so, how would it be explained.

"We're adapting something that is several episodes long and probably covers around 25 hours worth of content, so there is more than enough material that we'll be able to strip away and strip down and just get down to the story elements and sort of carve away at some of that crosstalk," Willingham explained during the interview. "There's a lot of charm that exists there, but I think what we really want to do is just stick to the main story and really hit the beats that mattered to our fans. But since we are all voice actors and are planning to record the episodes together as a group, that's going to allow for a little bit of improvisation."

Listen to the rest of the interview below:

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