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SDCC: we chat with My Little Pony's Meghan McCarthy and Nicole Dubuc

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Jul 21, 2018, 2:30 PM EDT

At San Diego Comic-Con 2018, the Hasbro booth was full of My Little Pony toys and fans. The animated TV series My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic has hordes of fans, and is coming back with the remaining Season 8 episodes on August 4. We got a chance to chat with showrunner Meghan McCarthy and producer Nicole Dubuc on the floor of the con, about their connection to the series, the characters, the music and what’s coming in Season 8.

What was your earliest connection to the My Little Pony toys? Did you play with them as children?

McCarthy: So I don’t know if I should admit this, but I did not play with My Little Ponies as a kid. I know, it’s a shocker!

You’ve made up for it!

McCarthy: I’ve made up for it! My sister did. She played with them all the time. They’re definitely still in my house. My mom has a couple of them lying around. But I was a Star Wars kid. I played with a lot more action figures, which probably influenced my work a little bit. But now I have a lot! 

Dubuc: I was a G1 Pony fan, and Medley was my favorite. I also had a Sea Pony, and I can’t remember her name, but I always took them when I travelled when I was a little kid. It was really exciting to work on Pony!

Moondancer and Applejack for me! Tell me why you think this show resonates with fans?

McCarthy: I just think that we tell really relatable, human stories. They just happen to happen with ponies instead of people. And I think when the show came out, there wasn’t a lot of more pure, less cynical entertainment out there. And I think people found it and said, oh it just feels good to watch this, and I feel good about myself when I watch it. Other people seem to like it, too. So I think that’s why it has exploded the way it has.Dubuc: Yeah, I just feel like people were ready to hear these stories at this time, you know? It was just kind of picked up in the zeitgeist. It’s kind of like we’re doing modern modern myth-telling. These are archetypal characters. There are parts of them in us. I think that’s why it resonates. 

Can you guys tease a bit about what’s coming when the show returns?

Dubuc: We both love this episode that has Starlight and Trixie paired up, and there’s an amazing song that they sing together.

McCarthy: It kind of pays off stuff that happens in the first half. Stay tuned, because you might not have been sure where we were going, but you’ll get it by the end.

I have to ask about the music. Tell us why that’s such an important part of the show.

McCarthy: It’s really been there since the very beginning. It’s part of the DNA of the show. We’ve had Daniel Ingram on the show since the start. He’s just fantastic. He writes just big, great, fun kinds of musical theatre-style songs. As long as people keep liking them, we’re going to keep putting them in there, for sure.

Dubuc: I love them to, just on a personal level. They’re on my running playlist, a lot of the stuff Daniel writes. It’s so upbeat and engaging, you know? And we have talented singers on the show, too, so that helps. 

The Bronies are some of the loveliest people to interact with online. Can you talk about the community and how important they are to the show?

McCarthy: It really is just a lovely fandom. They have raised so much money for charity, and everyone has been so gracious when we meet people, and kind to each other. It’s just a fantastic fandom.

Dubuc: Yeah, I’ve never met a kinder, more generous group of people. The ones I’ve gotten to hang out with when I’m at a con, they’re just the loveliest people. 

How has your perspective on the property changed since working on the show?

McCarthy: Though I didn’t play with them as a kid, but now I love them very much! [laughs] It’s a pretty big change from my youth. This has been a life-changing experience. There is so much in my life that makes me thankful for My Little Pony.

Dubuc: I guess for the show, for Seasons 1-8, I think that because these are such great characters that Lauren Faust created, they live on. It’s easy to keep telling stories with these characters, and to grow them, because they’re so rich.

And Meghan, what about your perspective doing the show versus the movie?

McCarthy: The movie was big and fun, and opened a lot of doors for us and interesting storylines that we could continue through the series.

We’d love to hear about the scores of pop culture references in the series.

McCarthy: Really, so many of those references are the work of our animators at DHX. Most of them are not scripted. And then we get the episodes, and we’re like, oh, I see what you did there! So there’s been really fun ones. I love The Big Lebowski, so I loved when we did a nod to that. It’s probably one of my favorites.

Dubuc: You always kind of laugh, too, when you get those animatics back and you’re like, wait! What did they just do? [laughs] I’m always amazed when things go through that we wrote. That’s why I wanted to write a Discord episode. I want to play in that world, break that fourth wall. 

Where do you see the show going in the future?

McCarthy: I think we have lots more stories to tell. Stay tuned, because we’re just going to get bigger and better!

Dubuc: We’ll do Pony, as long as we can do Pony!

Finally, any characters you’d like to introduce?

We showed a musical clip. We’re going to go meet the Kiran, which are a type of pony, and we have Rachel Bloom voicing our lead Kiran. Her name is Autumn Blaze!

Are you guys excited about the return of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic? Let us know in the comments.

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