Created by actor Will Forte and filmmakers Phil Lord and Chris Miller, The Last Man on Earth has proven to be a delightfully original and unpredictable comedy that chronicles the life and adventures of an average guy, who discovers what life is like when no one is telling you what you can and can’t do because a deadly virus has swept the planet. While at WonderCon to screen an episode and chat with fans, the three crazy masterminds discussed what they set out to do with Season 1, and the possibilities of Season 2.
During roundtable interviews before their panel, Will Forte, Phil Lord and Chris Miller talked to a small handful of press about how much they thought things out ahead of time, figuring out just how much you can do in a half-hour comedy series, whether viewers might ever get any more information about what really happened to the world’s population, what they’ve been surprised about getting away with, that there’s a bunch of stuff left over for Season 2, and that they would like this show to be “the Fast & Furious franchise of post-apocalyptic comedic narratives.” From those interviews, we’ve compiled a list of 16 things you should know about The Last Man on Earth.
In regard to how much they thought things out, going in, Will Forte said, “Originally, we had a rough arc for the first season, but there were a ton of ideas that we had. I’ve never run a show before, so getting in and figuring out just how much you can do in a 21-minute, 30-second episode was eye-opening. So, there’s so much stuff that we didn’t get a chance to cover, that we would hopefully cover if we did get a second season.” And if they get a second season, Forte has a plan that would require the beard again.
- Chris Miller always imagined the plague as a flesh and bone eating virus that turned everyone to dust. They talked about giving a little bit more information about what happened to everyone, at some point, but the show is about the start over of a new society, and what rules you keep and what rules you don’t, so they’re not focusing on that. Phil Lord thinks there should be a Talking Dead-like companion series, called Explaining Man, with one guy explaining things.
- Will Forte was surprised they got away with such little dialogue for the pilot episode. Chris Miller was surprised they got away with a guy almost committing suicide for fun and an attempted murder for comedy. Phil Lord was surprised that they got away with threatening animal murder, and turning the hero of the show into the villain, for a time.
They want to show every side of Phil Miller without being afraid to go to the darker side. Most people have many different sides to them, and who knows what would happen in a heightened situation. He had to go crazy and have a dark period because he needed to learn a lot of things.
- A big theme of this season is that, if you take away all of the societal pressure, how will people behave? Is this person going to be redeemable? Can he find that moral center?
- In the early going, they had a lot of discussions about how long to wait before introducing other characters. Forte wanted more time with fewer people, but there was some nervousness about it and the hope that more characters would come in earlier. He said, “I’m really proud of the show, in general, but those first couple of episodes, there’s something really special about them. If there’s one thing I could change, it would be spending a little more time in that world of just Phil alone, and then more time with just Phil and Carol, and a little more time with just the three. Once you get these people, there’s no going back, unless you kill somebody off.”
Forte said that they talked about, if they ever got 7 or 8 seasons, the last episode should jump forward 1,000 years, so you could see what happens, even though there wouldn’t be too many people. He’d be the great great great great great grandson Phil Miller, who looks a lot like his great great great great great grandfather.
- As far as they knew, before the cow, there were no major animals alive, of any kind.
- Phil and Carol are the original Adam and Eve of the show, and the real beating heart. Their dynamic is the soul of the show, and will continue to be, as it goes on.
- When it comes to the sex scenes in the show, they can’t have any movement.
- Will Forte prides himself on never breaking during scenes. He never broke at SNL or The Groundlings. But, the sex scene with Kristen Schaal caused him to break a number of times. Forte said, “It made me realize what [Kristen] Wiig must have been going through in the MacGruber sex scene, with some dude sweating on top of her and yelling in her face. I feel I owe a special apology to Kristen Wiig.”
Now that Phil and Carol have moved in together, you’ll see that they’re not the most compatible roommates.
- In regard to how far ahead they’ve thought about the show, Forte said, “Definitely not any further out than some stuff for Season 2. There were a bunch of things that we couldn’t fit, so some stuff is banked for the future. There are a couple fun ideas that we would do, if we got a Season 2.” Chris Miller said that they’ve been thinking of the broader aspects for after the way things are left at the end of the first season.
- They see this show as going for as many seasons as possible because there are so many possibilities for where it can go and what it can do. The limits are only what the writing staff can think of. They would like this show to be the Fast & Furious franchise of post-apocalyptic comedic narratives.
- Miller and Lord hope to direct the show again, in the future, but did not direct any further episodes this season.
- When it comes to another Jump Street movie, Miller and Lord said that a draft is currently being written. They love writing endings that need to be overcome somehow, like 22 Jump Street and The Lego Movie.
The Last Man on Earth airs on Sunday nights on Fox.
To catch up on all of our WonderCon 2015 coverage thus far, click here.