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SYFY WIRE Solar Opposites

'Solar Opposites' co-creator says aliens 'don't give a f***' about Hell in Halloween special

Solar Opposites' co-creator Mike McMahan and producers Danielle Uhalrik and Josh Bycel tell us about the spooky Halloween special. 

By Vanessa Armstrong
Solar Opposites Halloween Special

Season 3 of Solar Opposites wrapped up recently, but there’s good news for fans of the animated aliens who aren’t afraid for things to get “f***ing insane” as they live their lives on good ol’ planet Earth. 

We’re talking about the show’s Halloween episode, the deftly titled "A Sinister Halloween Scary Opposites Solar Special," that scared its way onto Hulu on Monday, Oct. 3. 

SYFY WIRE had the chance to talk to series co-creator Mike McMahan, as well as producers Danielle Uhalrik and Josh Bycel, about how the spooky special came to be, as well as what’s in store for Solar Opposites in the future beyond the already-greenlit fourth season. 

Read on for that discussion, and be warned: While we don’t get into the nitty-gritty, there are references to things we see in the special that also happen to be in the trailer, which you can view below. 

One thing I loved about the special was the premise that the show is generally sci-fi and here they’re butting up against horror and not loving it. How did that idea to have it be sci-fi versus fantasy/horror come about?

Mike McMahan: When you're seeing a horror movie with one of your pals and they're like, “No, no, I don't want to see a horror movie.” And then when you watch the thing, you wonder is it horror or is it sci-fi? I liked that argument of somebody being like, “Yeah, I love sci-fi, but I'll never watch Event Horizon — that's too scary, that's too spooky."

Getting that on screen from an alien was very funny to me, and the original premise of this was Corvo is the kind of friend who literally can't see a movie with even a single scary scene in it. So he's afraid of everything about Halloween — he's afraid of candy corn; he's afraid of fun-sized Snickers; he's afraid of cotton cobwebbing. And then pairing him up with John Kassir, the Cryptkeeper, just felt like a really funny premise for a special.

Josh Bycel: Yeah, and also we love a character basically saying like, “I'm from f***ing space. You think this is gonna f***ing scare me?"

McMahan: Yeah, “You think I'm scared of an upside-down cross? I've almost been pulled into a black hole — there's no day in space.”

Solar Opposites Halloween Special

Speaking of upside-down crosses, one of the things I enjoyed about the special was the different demons in Hell. How did you decide what Satan would look like and all his minions?

Danielle Uhalrik: There was a group of books that Mike really loved when he was a kid called Scary Stories to Tell in the Dark. And the aesthetic is very much black-and-white with just this pop of red. So for Hell, we brought in that aesthetic of things that scared us when we were kids, and also the feeling that Hell is bulls***.  

McMahan: Sci-fi is so cool too because it gives you this strength over the unknown. So when you send Yumyulack to a place that's supposed to scare you as a kid and he's like, “F*** you!”  That feels very strong and funny and like Solar Opposites. It was fun to get those goat-hoofed shrieking demon characters and that Satan with the upsidedown-cross underpants because we wanted it to feel big and scary to anybody else, but Yumyulack is like “No, I've lived on a spaceship — I don't give a f***.”

Bycel: But we also liked that the demons are second guessing themselves — they've never had to second guess themselves before, and all of a sudden these demons are like, “Maybe what we're doing is wrong.”

Solar Opposites Halloween Special

And obviously, getting John Kassir back as the Cryptkeeper was amazing. How did you get him involved? 

McMahan: We wanted him to really sound like John Kassir’s original character because in our drawing style, it's never going to be as scary as that puppet was, because that puppet used to scare the bejesus out of me. He’s just so iconic, and somebody doing their version of him was never going to sound quite exactly like the way he does it. We had to have him speed up his cadence a little bit to fit into the format of the show, but we just reached out to him, and John is really cool and really fun to work with. It was just a blast.

Did you have him deliver any lines that didn't make the episode that you just loved?

McMahan: Josh, we wrote a million little ditties for him, right?

Bycel: Yes, we made him do them all, and they all were great. We finally just had to cut to our favorites.

Any particular favorites you remember that didn't make it?

McMahan: We made him do a ton of lyrics. I mean, if you tell a comedy room to come up with a bunch of pun horror … they were very happy they were well fed that day.

And with this Halloween special done, are there more specials in the pipeline? 

Uhalrik: Earlier on in the writing of Solar Opposites we got done early with our episodes, and Mike and Josh went to the network and asked if we could get an extra episode. And they were like, “Yeah, we all love TV so much, and in TV shows, there's always those holiday episodes where everyone has the holiday spirit.” So we're like, “Let's do that for every holiday.” We started with the Christmas one and we had so much fun with it. And then the Halloween one was amazing, and we’re producing the one for the fourth season too, so this is a tradition that we're going to keep.

Awesome! I was going to ask if you had any other holidays in mind.

McMahan: We’re going to do all of them!

Bycel: We have the next one already written and we're animating it right now. 

McMahan: Yeah, we have a third one coming. But Halloween and Christmas were the two big ones — those are the ones you got to get under your belt to earn the weirder holidays.

This interview has been condensed and lightly edited for clarity.

A Sinister Halloween Scary Opposites Solar Special premieres on Hulu Monday, Oct. 3.

Looking for something spooky to watch? Check out SYFY's Chucky on Peacock.