New York Comic-Con: Gravity Falls creator Alex Hirsch talks about his show's devoted fanbase
“Everything has changed for kid’s shows very recently thanks to the Internet and social media. I am blown away by the response my show gets!”
This is how Alex Hirsch began his panel to a room full of fans sporting baseball hats with blue pine trees on them and canes with Magic 8 Balls glued on the top. His show, Gravity Falls, is a testament to how in-depth fans can delve into an animated series targeted towards children. The show, currently in its second sason on Disney XD, follows the adventures of twins Dipper and Mabel as they uncover the mysteries in the magical town of Gravity Falls, Oregon. Sure, the show is colorful, silly, and many episodes end on a moral or life lesson, but it’s also an enticing mystery with incredibly inventive characters and situations that invite viewers to theorize what’s really going on. It’s this commitment to mysterious plot twists and even demonic danger that aren’t often found in children’s cartoons that have incubated an online fan community to posit, guess, and argue over even seemingly minute details in the show.
Hirsch knew that he had a lot to cover and fans had questions at the ready, so he turned the panel over to the Q&A portion immediately and let it take up the entire allotted time for his panel. Here are the main takeaways that every Gravity Falls fan needs to know about from the Comic-Con panel:
Monday’s new episode will be “game-changing”
The show has taken viewers on so many twists and turn in less than 2 seasons, so you know when the creator says that an episode is going to be game-changing, that he means it. Hirsch played a clip of the upcoming episode “Dipper and Mabel vs. the Future,” in which the twins have their 13th birthday.
“It’s going to be an intense, game-changing episode,” Hirsch teased. “Dipper has always wanted to be a grown-up and taken seriously, so this is a big deal.”
The new episode will air Monday at 8:00 p.m. ET.
The truth about Bill Cipher
The demonic, floating triangle Bill Cipher, voiced by Hirsch himself, has become one of the show’s fan-favorite characters, as well as the most mysterious. Fans were more curious about Bill than about anything else, and while Hirsch remained mostly tight-lipped, he did tease one tidbit about the character.
“If you think Stan’s relationship with his family is bad, Bill’s is worse,” Hirsch said, adding, “I’ll just say this: Bill has friends.”
Hirsch also talked about the thought process behind creating Bill. Basically, he just wanted to annoy Illuminati theorists by turning the pyramid from the dollar bill (now you’re getting where the name comes from) into an actual demon.
Dipper’s Journal will be released in 2016, and will reveal all
Throughout the series, Dipper references his journals to understand the mystical world around him. Die-hard fans have used screencaps of the open pages to look for hints and bolster theories about what could be going on in this mysterious town, but most of the pages are illegible on the show. Now, Hirsch will be releasing the journals in their entirety to the public. The 288-page volume will delve into the entire history of the author and how he came to Gravity Falls, as well as unlock some of the mysteries that shroud Bill Cipher.
How he trolled the Internet
Keeping a mystery a mystery in the age of the Internet is not easy, as Hirsch learned in season 1. He and his team knew from the start that the mysterious author of Dipper’s informatic journals would be Grunkle Stan’s long-lost brother, and hid a few little clues throughout the season to point to this. However, Hirsch never thought anyone would actually be able to figure the whole thing out from his very tiny hints.
When the Internet fandom had correctly predicted that the author was Stan’s brother well before the big reveal, Hirsch decided to throw some people off the track by anonymously posting a fake spoiler screencap on 4chan. The fake image revealed Old Man McGucket to be the author, and then Hirsch helped promote this by tweeting “Fuming right now!!” and then deleting it 10 seconds later.
The trick worked on some, but the reveal of Stan’s brother as the author wasn’t as shocking as the writers had hoped. Still, Hirsch did get to finally come clean about his prank after the reveal.
You can ship or draw whatever you want; Hirsch won’t care
When asked about his least favorite pairing that he had heard about in the Gravity Falls fandom, Hirsch just flat-out said “I don’t care.”
“People can do whatever they want with these characters,” said Hirsch. “It’s not like I get upset about it! I’m just amused; I don’t care. Keep being weird — be weirder!”
We almost got a show about time-travelling dolphins
When asked about other ideas Hirsch had when creating his own show, he revealed that he had pitched three ideas to Disney: one about ole-timey gentelmen in the 1800s, one was Gravity Falls, and the other was about time-travelling dolphins.
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