Behold the power of magical friendship: A majestic, brightly hued fleet of ponies — and bronies! — packed into Room 23 for Friday’s Comic-Con panel moderated by Hasbro VP of Development Mike Vogel. The crowd’s enthusiasm for the Hub’s surprise hit My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic visibly overwhelmed the voice actors, who kept interrupting their answers with delighted shout-outs to the audience. “I just can’t believe how beautiful and colorful everyone is!” said Tabitha St. Germain, who voices Rarity and Princess Luna.
The Panel: Writer Megan McCarthy, voice actors Tabitha St. Germain, Andrea Liban (Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy), Tara Strong (Twilight Sparkle), Cathy Weseluck (Spike the Dragon).
Footage shown: Fans engaged heartily in a singalong during a clip show of seasons 1 and 2. Later, Vogel showed “The Failure Song”– the much-anticipated singing debut for Spike the Dragon that will air in season 3. Well, it was actually Twilight Sparkle’s solo — the song’s about overcoming self-doubt and Spike chimes in with supportive lyrics like “She can’t be sure” and “Her heart is pure.” And he dances, too!
The Big Revelations: No plot details on season 3, except that “There is one,” according to Vogel, and it’ll debut sometime this fall. Cathy Weseluck revealed that when she auditioned for the role of Spike, she personally thought he was a little more of a baby and started out with a much higher voice. “Then the director said, ‘Boy him up a bit,’” and that changed everything. “Getting into the physicality of the character helps get you going. Spike’s better with that lower voice.” [continuing in Spike's voice:] “Looking good, everybody. Looking real good.”
Snap Judgment: Any show that can bring together little kids, parents, and a surprising number of teenagers together in the name of having fun and not being afraid of who you are is a win in our book. This reporter can’t wait to check out Megan McCarthy’s favorite episode to write, “Party of One,” which involved Pinky Pie making friends with a bag of flour and mentally unraveling. “I really got to go craaaaaaaazy. I remember reading it and going REALLY???” chimed in Andrea Liban, the voice of Pinky.
Most Incisive Audience Question: Is Stephen Sondheim a Brony? One fan noticed that My Little Pony songs like “The Art of the Dress” and “At the Gala” had a familiar rhythm pattern. McCarthy confirmed that Amy Rogers, who wrote those songs, is a huge Sondheim fan and would actually record her own scratch track on the piano for the songs.
Most Concise Audience Demand: “Two words: Sea ponies.” [CHEERS ERUPT!!!!]
The Winner of the Panel: A tie — Cathy Weseluck gamely delivered a large chunk of her answers in the low, sheepish voice of Spike the Dragon. And an eagle-eyed audience member requested “more backstory” for one of his favorite background ponies — the gray one who wears a pink bowtie and plays the cello. Seriously — what’s his (her?) story?!