it’s cosmic, man

I was very spoiled by Teen Titans. It was a fantastically talented group of actors, writers, and animators, lead by passionate producers and one of the best directors I’ve ever had the pleasure of working with. I was crushed when the show was cancelled not only because it meant I wouldn’t have the job, but because it meant that I wouldn’t get to work with this incredible group of people several times a year any more.

When I found out that I would be working on Legion of Super Heroes, I was excited, but I kept my expectations in check . . . what were the odds of lightning striking twice?

Well, it turns out that those odds were 1:1. I had an absolute blast on Friday. The entire cast accepted me right away, and welcomed me into their show (they’ve been working together for eleven episodes, already) and made me feel like I was part of their team who had been there from the start. The producers, writers, and the director were just hawesome, and I can’t wait to go back and work with them all again this week . . . because I’m a recurring character!

Oh yeah, baby. Recurring character. Sweet.

I know that Warner Brothers is very touchy about revealing too many details before they are announced (Marv Wolfman and I got our wrists slapped when we both mentioned something about Aqualad on our blogs when we worked together on Deep Six) but I got an okay from a highly-placed source to at least reveal that I am playing the part of Cosmic Boy, one of the founders of the Legion.

Finding Cosmic Boy’s voice was fun: my instinct said that I should stand for him (he’s sort of an arms-across-the-chest kind of guy) but with my damn hip hurting, I ended up sitting . . . big mistake. I struggled for the first act, until I could get the engineer to reset my mic so I could stand up. It’s amazing what a huge difference a little thing like sitting vs. standing makes; it’s the difference between playing outfield with or without a glove, or running with shoes that don’t quite fit.

Standing up and settling into him let me bring Cosmic Boy to life, and really find his point of view about himself and his relationship with the other Legionaries. Once I knew who he was, and once he lived in me, I was able to do some really cool stuff. At one point in the last act, I felt so confident that I knew him, I even asked for a second take on a line where I thought I could play a more interesting beat than I did in the first take, which everyone on the other side of the glass was very happy with. I rarely ask for additional takes because if an actor is going to ask for a second pass he’d better have something really great to do, to justify the extra time and expense, and until recently I just haven’t had the level of confidence as a voice actor necessary to pull that off.

I can’t say exactly what dialogue or scene was, but you Meisner actors will probably grok this: there are three beats in the line. The first time I did it, I set him straight, enlightened him, and went one better. As soon as the words were out of my mouth, I realized that enlightening him and going one better were essentially the same beat, so I asked for another take where I set him straight, enlightened him, and shared bad news, which sort of went one better but was more specific and "shaded" differently and was more interesting. I felt an emotional connection to the words and the scene after the second take, and I guess the other actors did, too. One of them said, "Oh, I really liked that," and another said, "Dude, you’re not Cosmic Boy; you’re Actor Boy!" To which I replied (in a Ted Knight voice), "Yes, Actor Boy . . . who, in his disguise as Waiter Boy, keeps the city safe from doooom."  And there was much rejoicing.

I wish I could show or discuss the character models I saw while I was there, but I think that’s a one-way ticket to unemployment . . . but they are really, really cool. I’m back again on Friday, and if Warner Brothers doesn’t give me the cockpunch for what I’ve written here today, maybe I can get some permission to release a few more details. Now, I think I’m going to walk around my house and talk like Ted Knight.

"Meanwhile, in Wil’s office, Ferris and Riley sleep on the floor, unaware that a mysterious stranger lurks just outside the wall. Can Actor Boy arrive in time to save them from doooooom? Only Monroe and Spaulding know for sure!"

25 thoughts on “it’s cosmic, man”

  1. The success stories are even more fun than the, “get your hopes up and wait forever” ones.
    Got get em, Wil! And let us know when it hits the airwaves.

  2. I loved acting in high school. It was awesome to get a character and make her my own. Course, that was high school. Stage is a bit smaller there, but it was still awesome. Best part was, I may have been the poorest kid in school, but I was the best singer and the best actress. I beat out all the popular kids and grabbed the LEAD ROLE in the senior play. Yeah baby!

  3. Pretty damn cool Wil. When I got your audio book I was a bit nervous. Yea, I really liked your writing, but wasn’t sure how I’d feel about your voicing the book. My only experience with your acting was from the TNG days, and sorry to bring up old pains, but the dialogue they gave you just didn’t cut it for me.
    The audio book was incredible though. It was like hearing the stories fresh even though I’d read them before. Your ability to convey emotion through voice is hawesome.

  4. Recurring sweetness!
    Most excellent news.
    Go Wil Go!
    I actually spoted Wil on two channels at the same time within the last couple of weeks. HBO was re-runing a “Life Stories” episode staring our hero Mr. Wheaton while Spike had TNG on with Ensign Crusher flying the Enterprise.

  5. Great “Too Close for Comfort” and “Caddyshack” reference! I look forward to watching “Legion of Super Heroes” with my kids the way I watched “Teen Titans” with them.

  6. (in Ted Knight voice): “For Actor Boy, it all began in a 5,000 watt radio station in Fresno, California.”
    Or maybe it didn’t. But that’s what I hear in my head everytime someone brings up Ted Knight.

  7. Wil Wheaton is Cosmic Boy

    Wil Wheaton has announced that hell be the voice of Cosmic Boy on the new Legion of Super-Heroes cartoon thats coming soon. I enjoyed his work as Aqualad in the Teen Titans cartoon (cancelled way too early, as was Justice League Unlimite…

  8. Ha, my sister and I totally called this! We thought maybe Brainy at first, but then both off us went, “No, Cosmic Boy!” You’ll be perfect for it.

  9. So, Ok, I’ll ask:
    Who in the heck is Ted Knight?
    So that us neophytes know what’s going on, Wil, I encourage you to do a Ted Knight impression on the next episode of RFB.

  10. Wil,
    It is good to see that they are doing Legion Of Super Heroes. I read the orginal ruin of those when I was a kid because I had a friend who was a big DC nut. Me being a Marvel Zombie, my tastes went in another direction, but I always liked The Legion. And you are Cosmic Boy! Great gig man, hope it catches on like wildfire and you do it for years. There are thousands of stories in that particular universe that would translate so well into cartoon form. Oh, and although you might not want to hear it, I have a soft spot for the film The Curse. Great Lovecraft film even though most people didn’t get that out of it. Keep up the good work, my friend.

  11. Most remember Ted Knight as Judge Smails in “Caddyshack” or Ted Baxter from “Mary Tyler Moore”
    I think the real question for this crowd is how many people remember that Ted Knight did all of those Filmation voices (which is what Wil is referring to, particularly the beginning of…Batman and Robin)
    Go find the late 60s Batman and Robin, Superman, Aquaman, Journey to the Center of the Earth, Fantastic Voyage…and of course, the first season of Superfriends
    “In the great hall of the Justice League, there are assembled the world’s four greatest heroes…Created from the cosmic legends of the universe!”

  12. Hmm.. I have to admit I dont read this blog much, I know it is one of the better ones out there, but the headlines I get in my RSS feed page just never seem to spark my interest.. So I have to ask a noob question, who did Wil play on Teen Titans? He mentioned Aqualad, is that it?

  13. Well, since it’s the comment right before mine, I’ll answer. Yes, Wil played Aqualad.
    Now as for “Cosmic Boy” I know nothing about the comic book character but ya gotta love the name! :D

  14. Wil,
    Adults and kids love the super-hero genre. It’s just fun for everyone involved. The fans clap like it is a great play. Keep up the great work. Box office or Tv office, this gig seems to be here to stay.
    FG

  15. Taking a chance, here…I figure, WTF?? I’m a vocalist, have been told I could do voice-over work…how does one get in on that without spending $1500 on a 3-day class in NYC or sessions? Not that I wouldn’t wanna go, just can’t afford to not pay my school loans for a few months..Hope you get this…love the blog….From one geek (music geek, I transcribe Frank Zappa for fun) to another…

  16. Not to nitpick (ok, it is to nitpick), but when you said the odds were 1:1, I thought “aww, he didn’t enjoy working on Legion”. 1:1 means that there’s an equal probability of things not being good as being good, yes? (x:y odds = x/(x+y) probability, so 1:1 = 50% chance).

  17. I’m absolutely loving this news lately, Wil. Again and again you’re reporting successful auditions, new roles, etc. I never really cared before about this side of things. I always figured that as long as you had stuff on the boil (the books, etc) then you were doing okay. I’m not a trekkie or a poker fan, so I basically read the blog because I love your family stories. But lately more and more the geek enthusiasm factor is drawing me in, and the more I come to care about you and your family, the more exciting it is when things go well for you. I love how excited you get about the projects you’re involved in – you totally make me want to watch every cartoon you’re in because I can’t wait to see what you do with these characters. Have a blast with it all, and thanks for sharing it with us!!

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