Man of Action may not be a household name for all but the cartoon enthusiasts and diehards, but Ben 10 certainly should be. The animated series centering on 10-year-old Ben Tennyson, who discovers an alien watch that grants him amazing powers, has gone on to become a multi-billion dollar franchise since its debut in 2005. Sequels to the original series saw Ben aging along with his viewing audience while taking on more mature storytelling aspects and character relationships. Now, a new rebooted series makes Ben ten again, giving Man of Action somewhat of a blank slate to tell the 10-year-old’s stories and a chance to discover a whole new generation of fans.
Man of Action, comprised of Duncan Rouleau, Joe Kelly and Steven T. Seagle (along with Joe Casey who unfortunately wasn’t available for this interview) took time out of their insane schedules to chat with us about all things Ben 10. The conversation also veered into comic book territory and that of Man of Action’s other TV and movie projects, but we’ll bring that to you in an upcoming article. Today, Ben 10 fans new and old will definitely want to read on to see what Man of Action had to say about the show’s past, present, and future.
Before we get to our chat with Man of Action, here’s an exclusive clip from tomorrow’s upcoming episode that acts as a solid introduction for new viewers and a fun moment for longtime fans:
To start things off, I wanted to know just when the Man of Action team knew Ben 10 had become a bonafide hit:
Steven T. Seagle: The show had premiered in the US and it was doing well, pretty well, but it wasn’t a runaway monster hit, and I went on a trip with my wife to Scandinavia, and I remember this moment very clearly. We were on an overnight ferry between countries and I went to the duty free shop and they had toys in the duty free shop on a boat between Finland and Estonia. And I was like, “This is weird. It must be bigger than I think.”
Joe Kelly: Mine is so much less exotic than that. I was in the supermarket and saw that a Chef Boyardee can of SpaghettiOs. And I was like, “Wow, we must be a hit.” Not at all as cool as Steve, but, you know.
Duncan Rouleau: That’s when you know you have gone deep, when you start showing up on pasta.
Steven T. Seagle: I’ll close off the licensing phenomenon for Ben 10 by saying we got the report that there was a Ben 10 roller coaster in the UK and that was pretty awesome.
Duncan Rouleau: Or the Monster Truck rally.
How did the decision come about to reboot the character and the series rather than continuing with where you had left off in Ben 10: Omniverse?
Steven T. Seagle: The show has always rebooted. It’s funny that people, some of the older fans are up in arms that it’s rebooting. But it’s rebooted almost every two or three years for its entire life. It’s just that this time we decided we would look back to when he was 10 because we want to find the new generation of fans for the show. I think our fans who were seven, eight, nine years old when it started are 20, 21, 22 years ago now. And they’re moving on, they’re going to college, they’re getting married, all that kind of stuff. And we just needed to find the show that would make the new seven, eight, nine year olds kind of go, “Ben 10! That’s my hero!” That was probably the biggest reason why we started to start back at 10.
Duncan Rouleau: Just to follow up on that, because that’s exactly right. But we also had a lingering feeling that we had moved away from his 10-year-old-ness too soon. There were still a lot of stories to tell during that time period. That was an aspect of the character. And also given his relationship with Gwen and Max, we felt like there were still a lot of stories to be told in that time period. That was another creative impetus as well.