Earlier this week, I had a chance to chat with showrunner Mitch Watson about his time on All Hail King Julien, the award-winning animated series from DreamWorks that’s now enjoying its final season on Netflix. That conversation ranged over a number of things, like how politics and the news cycle influenced the storytelling for the series’ 78 episodes, how compromises in that storytelling eventually made those episodes even stronger, and how surprises during production led to incredibly creative decisions and even the creation of new, fan-favorite characters. It’s a great read if you’re a fan of the show, or even if you haven’t watched it but have a passing curiosity thanks to DreamWorks’ Madagascar movies, which inspired this prequel series.
But if you want a sampling of what you’re in store for with All Hail King Julien, then you might want to check out some of Watson’s favorite moments from the series. He was kind enough to supply us with this Top 10 list, along with some images, clips, and trivia, as a way of reliving the adventures of Julien and his lemur pals. Also, we have an exclusive clip from the current and final season to share with you below; it shows just how much fun it is to incorporate the sillier side of politics into an animated animal series.
Check out the exclusive clip below, followed by Watson’s Top 10:
Below, you can find showrunner Watson’s favorite moments from All Hail King Julien so far. Did any of your favorites make the list?
EP: 308 “FAUXSA UNCHAINED”
We did a scene in this episode where HANS the zombie character comes home to his family who are also zombies – WIFE, SON, DAUGHTER. It was written in such a way that there is no dialogue except for moaning from the zombies for several minutes. We were riffing on the opening from the STAR WARS HOLIDAY SPECIAL where we see Chewbacca’s family and they only speak Wookie for like 15 minutes. It is totally ridiculous and this was our homage.
EP: 119 “THE MAN IN THE IRON BOOTY”
About halfway through the show Julien was supposed to be encased in a pair of IRON JEAN SHORTS. We were told by production we couldn’t do the jean shorts so we subbed in a pair of DIAPERS from a previous episode and made them look like iron. During the meeting where this happened we were pitching ideas for what we would call it and out came IRON BOOTY which we thought was so funny that I ended up writing a song for it right there which we incorporated into a new scene which ultimately was way funnier than our original jean shorts idea.
EP: 214 “WHO ARTED”
We had wanted to do an episode satirizing pretentious art culture, and Elliott Owen – one of our staff writers – came up with a riff on the movie AMADEUS with Julien becoming jealous of Mort’s popularity as a painter. My favorite scene is the opening where Julien howls “I killed Mort’s art” a riff on the opening of the play/movie were Salieri says “I killed Mozart”. Julien is then found covered in pomegranate juice that makes it look like he harmed himself. I think they ultimately made us remove the pomegranate juice, but you get the idea.
EP: 103 “PINEAPPLE OF MY EYE”
This was the first episode where we began exploring Mort having multiple personalities and possible delusions. After getting jealous of Julien befriending a PINEAPPLE as his best friend, Mort steals the pineapple and takes it back to his hut to interrogate the pineapple and find out how it is that the pineapple has seduced Julien into liking him so much. This episode has many of my favorite scenes especially when Julien goes to heaven and actually meets the spirit version of Pineapple who sounds like MORGAN FREEMAN (Pineapple goes on to be Julien’s spiritual advisor throughout the life of the series). My absolute favorite scene, though, is when Mort is confronted by Clover who has found footprints belonging to whoever stole the pineapple. After contemplating “taking Clover out”, Mort decides to hide his own feet by vomiting all over them. It is totally ridiculous but really funny.
EP 122: “MONKEY PLANET”
The scene where Julien and Maurice claim what they think is the MOON as their own by rubbing their butts on cactus all the while howling in pain makes me laugh every time I see it.
EP: 312 “THE DAY AFTER YESTERDAY”
The final battle scene is easily the craziest thing we ever did on the show. Julien and his buddies are cornered by the villain KOTO with no way to escape. We wanted to do something ridiculously epic along the lines of “THE BATTLE OF HELMS DEEP” from THE LORD OF THE RINGS. We had Mort and the Mort army fall through a time portal in the sky. We had Maurice lead an army of BELL PEOPLE from the center of the Earth. We had Clover and Sage combine bodies. But my favorite part is the scene where Karl unleashes his KARL STAR, our riff on the “THE DEATH STAR” from Star Wars. Mike Ryan our story editor came up with the idea for the Karl Star. I thought it was overkill, but agreed to give it a shot, and it has become my favorite over the top moment in the series.
EP: 110 “THE REALLY BIG LIE”
Just because it was so silly, my favorite scene in this episode was where a giant ROBOT GECKO attacks the village because Julien is trying to cover-up the fact that he destroyed a birthday party for Todd because he thought he wasn’t invited. Unfortunately, the robot’s OFF SWITCH is INSIDE the robot which means Julien has to get into the robot to stop it and the only access door is in the robot’s BUTT. As you might guess Julien gets lodged in the butt and only Maurice can get him out. This was one of our more intellectual episodes.
EP: 213 “EYE OF THE CLOVER”
This was the episode where we introduced the running gag of Ted being sent on acting jobs by his agent and continually realizing he’s in the wrong place. In this episode he thinks he is performing at a BAR MITZVAH when in reality he is at a DEATH MATCH. When we were doing it, we wanted to cut away to see Ted’s AGENT and we wanted the agent to be something completely stupid. Somebody in the room suggested that Ted’s agent be a GIANT BANANA. During editing, our editor David Craig added AIR HORN sound effects for when we see Banana and my favorite running gag was born.
EP: 204 “O BROTHER WHERE AREN’T THOU”
A lot of times in episodes we ask the actors to do background WALLA for crowd scenes. KEVIN MICHAEL RICHARDSON who played MAURICE and many other characters on the show kept doing this one voice that was really deep so it stuck out and it made us laugh so much that we decided to create a character around it. That character became BUTTERFISH and we introduced him in this episode during a scene where Julien marries his own brother. He became the boyfriend of Tammy and step-dad to Todd who throughout the series Butterfish believed was actually a little girl. Butterfish ultimately became one of our favorite characters on the show, and I always loved the fact that he was born as a goof during records.
EP: 125 “THE PHANTOM OF CLUB MOIST”
I love the scene were THE PHANTOM is revealed to be Julien ex-best friend ROB whose face is falling off because of bad plastic surgery. Rob travels with a crazed snake doctor named DR. S who is out of his mind but always up for some sort of unnecessary surgery and in this episode they are trying to steal Julien’s mind. When the plot is foiled, we think Rob and Dr. S are going to be put in jail, but instead Julien puts Dr. S in charge of the kingdom’s hospital and makes Rob the hospital’s only nurse. From here on out Rob is only known as NURSE PHANTOM. This episode also has one of my favorite songs when Mort does a song and dance number about his love of Julien’s feet and is promptly made the headlining act of CLUB MOIST. He is renamed PORK, to which Mort exclaims “YAY! I’M AN UN-KOSHER MEAT!”
Be sure to get caught up with every episode of All Hail King Julien on Netflix now!