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Galavant cast, creators reveal how they scored Mark Hamill for thank you video — exclusive

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It’s not unusual for loyal fans of a show to beg and plead and petition for its return or for a reversal in cancelation, but not as common is for the cast and crew of such a series to produce a video showing appreciation for the effort, especially in the way Galavant recently did. So how did the cast and crew pull off that epic thank you video for #MoreGalavant? 

After fans flooded social media with the hashtag campaign, hoping ABC would reverse its decision to cancel the fantasy-musical, the cast and crew went into overdrive to pick up the momentum and thank viewers for their dedication. In an EW exclusive, series showrunner John Hoberg, series director and executive producer Chris Koch, actors Karen David (Isabella), Timothy Omundson (King Richard), and Genevieve Allenbury (Queen of Valencia) engaged in a roundtable interview to discuss their initial reaction to the #MoreGalavant campaign, how they got Star Wars star and self-professed Galavant fan Mark Hamill involved, and how they saved on production expenses by foregoing a real dragon. Read here to see how the cast and crew feel about the show getting a new home on another network.

ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY: What was your response when you first heard about the #MoreGalavant campaign?

CHRIS KOCH: The first thing I would say is, “be careful what you wish for.” [laughs] It’s an incredibly difficult production. But really, it’s an incredible program. It’s just really nice to see so many people rise up and ask for more. It just makes us feel great.

JOHN HOBERG: Kat [Likkel, EP and writer] and I felt that the Tad Cooper storyline this year was all about believing that you’re good enough and then being confirmed that you’re good enough. The amount of Tad Cooper in all of those signs that people had posted was really touching to us because it’s something that means a lot to all of us on the show.

KOCH: It was also nice that people didn’t mind that we used a lizard from the pet store and not a real dragon. [laughs]

GENEVIEVE ALLENBURY: You’re not supposed to tell them that!

I’ll make sure to keep it under wraps.

KOCH: It saved us so much money.

HOBERG: Yeah, the real dragon wanted to be put up in a hotel, so that wasn’t going to happen.

KAREN DAVID: I have 7,010 pages printed in front of me, and those are only the first 15,000 signatures. We’ve surpassed 16k now. I’m actually going to be dropping this off at Kocher’s place. It’s so wonderful to see. I think the proof’s in the pudding. By the way, we felt so badly about the sheets that we planted several trees. If you pick up any paper you can see that it’s people of all ages, all parts of the world, and their responses are so moving and heartfelt that you can’t not want to jump in and cheer them on because what they’re doing is incredible.

TIMOTHY OMUNDSON: I was boarding a flight and I had 12 hours to sit there and let it sit in that we were canceled. Then when I landed I was hit with this outpouring of support from fans who were just as crushed as I was that the show had ended.

ALLENBURY: From my standpoint, it’s the humbling aspect of recognizing and being allowed as a performer to see what you do this for. It’s for your audience and it always has to be for your audience. Then, you have an audience that you’ve prepared because of the work you’ve contributed to, to actually bare their souls. So many people have bared their souls with how this show has affected them. A father wrote in and said that this is the only show that his 18-year-old son will share a sofa with him to watch so they can have that moment once a week to reconnect and laugh together. A girl in Australia who suffers from bi-polar disorder said that this is the show that raises her up. We’re talking about people being changed on core levels and revealing that. I find that very humbling.

HOBERG: It was interesting, I think Koch you probably feel this too, but as a writer you can forget that this goes out into the world. You sit in this room with the same group of 8 or 9 people, kind of dreaming these things up. You can even go out in a small group and be the part that shoots the show, and you might watch scenes together, but you kind of forget how big or wide these things go. It was shocking just seeing people all the way in Australia just reaching out.

KOCH: It really is incredible because you don’t know how this will affect people. That’s the number one response that I love is that this is a show that the whole family can watch together.

That was the resounding comment from viewers. All shows want to have this effect but not many truly get to see it happen.

ALLENBURY: It’s the emotional universality of it. These are people from all over the world with different cultures and ages. It’s a human reaction, regardless of your religion, background, experiences that seems to draw people into experiences like this. What we’re hearing is that viewers are really responding to our show. Like you said, not a lot of shows get to have that opportunity.

DAVID: When we were doing the video as a thank you to the fans, it kind of felt like a responsibility to capture that comrade vibe and joyful essence that we had going to set to work on the show. It’s so wonderful because the fans said that keeping to the core of the show, our video had surprise little guest stars like we have on the show.

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ALLENBURY: There’s so much reality television out there where so much is revealed. So much that used to be behind the making of a show or even a star is gone because reality television exposes it. The thing here is that our audience might think that the show looks great but aren’t completely sure if our closeness is real. There’s a cynicism that has naturally appeared in most viewers’ minds because the reality behind the scenes has been revealed. It seems that what this video has given back to them is the joy and real closeness of the cast.

The video has so many amazing cameos like Billy Boyd, Mark Hamill, and ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic. How did they get involved?

DAVID: I showed a little leg and tried to bribe them. [laughs] Actually, the campaign took such a huge turn where so many people have met others within the Galavant community and realized how far-reaching the love for the show went. One viewer tweeted Mark Hamill and said, “Have you seen this show called Galavant?” That just started everything because Mark replied back and said, “I absolutely love this show” and added the hashtag, “Why are all my favorite shows being cancelled?” So when that started the whole community of Galavant fans were tweeting all of us asking, “Did you see this?” The next thing I know, he started tweeting us back.

On the other side of the campaign, I was trying to pull together people to do this thank you video and tweeting about the idea and plans. I noticed that Mark was liking them so I thought, “Would it be really crazy if I reached out to him?” I was extremely nervous, I really was, and I told him, “You don’t even have to respond back to me, but thank you so much for being involved, it’s having such an effect on the campaign. If I could be so bold for a second,” and then explained the video plan. He actually responded and said, “Karen, absolutely, anything I can do because this is such great quality television and shows like this should stay on the air and find a home.” He keeps actually sending me little pep talks on Twitter like, “Okay, that was a great video, now go do your thing and tell producers you’re ready for a new home.” Once he was on board it was a lot easier because other people started showing their support as well. Al Yankovic came back right away and sent us something. Billy Boyd, we had the joke from season 2 about eating the hobbits, and I thought it would be really funny to get a hobbit in the video. We managed to get a hold of Billy who ended up being a huge fan.

HOBERG: We tried to get Billy this last season, trying to check his availability and bring him on the show. With the way that scripts were going and his schedule we could just never find the right time to bring him on. We’ve always thought of Billy as part of the world, though. We thought it would be funny to flash to him after more hobbit jokes.

OMUNDSON: Can I just say, the thrill of it to have a 46-year-old man log onto his computer and see that Luke Skywalker himself is a fan and now follows me on Twitter — to see someone who’s had such an impact on me care about the show was overwhelming.

DAVID: Of course, Damien Sandow from the wrestling world, I had no idea was a huge fan as well. We managed to get those in the time frame and we were just so happy to see the fans embrace them in the video.

KOCH: It’s also crazy that so many people are watching it in areas that it wasn’t broadcast. I’m not sure how they’re watching it though.

DAVID: Well there’s this huge fan base that we’re only just finding out about.

OMUNDSON: I was at the Supernatural convention (he played Cain on three episodes of the long-running hit CW series) and 80 percent of the questions I got were about Galavant. This convention is a fan base that is all over Europe and is hardcore for Supernatural, which just blew me away that there was more attention for the work I did with Galavant.

ALLENBURY: I’ve heard from across the pond that so many fans that haven’t had the legal means to see it are furious that the show is already canceled. Everything has been seen over there because it’s on the Internet. There’s a frustration that we’ve been able to capitalize on.