If you love, love Beebo like we do, are you in for a treat.
The fuzzy blue God of War introduced in the third season of DC’s Legends of Tomorrow has achieved icon status simply by being the cutest, cuddliest oddity on a show filled with freaky sight gags. Over the years, he has popped up in other episodes and had fans clamoring for their own stuffed versions of the toy originally owned by a young Dr. Martin Stein.
And while there is still no Build-a-Beebo to be had (yet), The CW is delivering us something to hold close to our hearts with Beebo Saves Christmas! (premiering December 1). In this wholly original one-hour, music-filled animated special, we get some more insight into the fluffster’s backstory as he and his pals (voiced by the likes of Yvette Nicole Brown and Kimiko Glenn) race to stop a nasty elf (Chris Kattan) from automating Santa’s operation. With just a touch of O.G. Legends DNA—former Dr. Stein himself, Victor Garber, opens the narration—the special is still a goofy, feel-good time that is just weird enough to entertain the Arrowverse crowd and their kids. Here, co-writer and executive producer Kevin Shinick (Robot Chicken, Star Wars: Detours) explains how Beebo pulled a Frosty and came to life.
I cannot believe you took our beloved Beebo and created an hour-long animated holiday special with full-blown musical numbers, a ton of comedy and a voice cast of like six…and it works!
Kevin Shinick: We totally did. Thank you! And truth be told, when all was said and done, it came in 16 minutes over and I had to cut it. I had to cut it down.
And animated stuff like this needs to start about a year out, right?
That’s the joke we keep telling ourselves. It was this time last year…the first draft of the script was due on Thanksgiving 2020. And we were like, “Wait a minute, it can’t be due on Thanksgiving since we’ll be eating on Thanksgiving.” So we adjusted that and it’s been full steam ahead since October of last year.
So how did this all come about? Because I see the Legends EPs are all attached, but other than Victor Garber doing some of the narration, this very much stands alone from the show.
Totally. I guess it was earlier last year when we started talking about it. I remember I pitched a bunch of ideas, not knowing what would work because Warner Bros. came to me and said, “Look, The CW wants to do a special for Beebo,” and I’d known him from that one episode. Then they sent me the other episodes he was in, so I was able to pitch them like four ideas. They liked them, so then we moved on to the next stage—showrunner Phil Klemmer and EP Matt Maala came in with Marc Guggenheim—and we started honing down and figuring out what we liked. We came up with an original idea different from those three or four I first pitched and then we just started putting one foot in front of the other, you know what I mean? As you said, time is of the essence.
Interestingly, we had no idea this was in the works until The CW announced it. People have always wanted more Beebo content.
Yes, exactly. And it’s funny because all I keep getting now are tweets and texts asking, “Where can I get my stuffed Beebo?”
Since he was first introduced, we’ve all wondered why The CW hasn’t sent out plush Beebos yet.
I know, I know. They should’ve done that for this, you know?
How did you land on this animation style?
To be completely honest, it was the time, budget and schedule. We knew we really wanted this to come to life and create this great world and scheduling does play into that. Stop motion, there is just no way we could have done this under the schedule. We wanted to, but Jojo Ramos Patrick, who’s the director, she led the animation team and they created such a rich, adorable, fun bubblegum world. I wanted this to be for everybody. I have an 11-year-old daughter and there are shows I love watching with her and shows I tolerate watching with her. [Laughs] With everything I do, I’m the audience first and I want to be entertained. So we took it from that angle. We leaned into Beebo in a way that I thought was funny, in the sense that he is the optimist, he is always inspired and that can get a bit much. [Laughs]
And you smartly balance him out with the other Bo characters, like grumpy Fleabo and frazzled mom Turbo. So as sweet as Beebo is, you also have them to help temper some of that.
Yes. Because they tolerate him as well at times. And that’s what I wanted for the show. Matt Maala and I both wrote it and we wanted the other ‘Bos to at least represent a faction of the world that’s not just at a sweet level. They’re not all Smurfs. We’ve got someone who’s grouchy, a mom, we’ve got a YouTuber practically.
Then you land on very emotional spots for all of them. And I really like the idea of Turbo, the shopping mom. My mom, from Thanksgiving day until Christmas Eve, was devoted to giving us the best Christmas. She knew delivery schedules from ToysRUs, she got to know the stock people…her goal was exactly what Turbo’s is. She loved watching us open the gifts.
I know what you mean. Matt and I both grew up just loving Christmas specials and we always wanted to do one. And there’s so much of our lives infused in this. One year, my wife and my mom were wrapping gifts, and my mom’s more like your mom. She’s like, “Done! What’s the next one?” And my wife’s kinda like, “This is not a race. I want to enjoy this.” So that’s in there, too. Where Beebo’s like, “I don’t want it to be quick. I want it to be memorable.”
And that’s why one of my favorite moments of the show, when Santa says that Christmas looks different to everybody—that was the crux of what we were going for. That’s our theme. And living in this world today, where there’s so much conflict and so many people against each other and hating each other, it’s like, you know what: We can all have what we like, right? One way is not the only answer.
So true. I love how this year, there are so many people who put up their decorations early because it makes them happy. Why wait for that?
Absolutely. This has been a rough year, a rough two years, really. I want to get some festive stuff up. It’s fantastic.
And who wrote all this music?
I’m the lyricist. I wrote the lyrics to all the songs and we had a mixture of Daniel Chan, who is a composer for Legends, and a great guy named Jason Webb, who we brought in to have a diverse sound. I wrote all the songs and I wanted them to seem different from one another, lyric-wise. So then you hand them off to these geniuses who make them so catchy and so uplifting and you’re like, “This is awesome!” A huge part of it for me was how enjoyable it was to see these songs come to life. And really, not only come to life with the composers, but then to get the cast to come in and sing them. I’ve known Ben Diskin, who plays the voice of Beebo, [from working on] Spider-Man and what I loved about this was calling him and saying, “Remember that job that you were hired to literally say five syllables for? ‘I love, I love you’? Well, now we’re expecting you to do an entire singing Christmas special!”
And how helpful was it that Yvette Nicole Brown is actually a legitimate singer?
I know! She nails it, too. What’s so funny is you write these songs and you don’t know who you’re going to get to sing them at first. And then sadly, sometimes the people who have the most beautiful voices are the ones you gave the least to sing to.
But even just her speaking voice, there’s something about it. You hear her voice and it makes you smile.
She is so fantastic. You know, my daughter has been watching these versions with me and she’s just a fan. So she was always like my inside person with a take on it all. She loved everybody, but she really loved Turbo so much. And I thought, “That’s great. That’s perfect.”
And now have any of the actual Legends seen it?
I don’t think they have. Marc Guggenheim and Phil Klemmer have, but the actors have not, as far as I know. You know, we started at one point wondering if this should be meta? Like, how much do we connect it to Legends of Tomorrow? We thought this was safer because we didn’t want it to be so insular, that if you don’t know Legends, you’re not going to get the special. So I think we all came up with the idea that this is the TV special that probably aired in the Legends of Tomorrow universe that oddly enough led to there being a toy for a young Dr. Stein to have in the first place. Having Victor Garber on board was our little nod to where Beebo came from.
And so now you’ve basically created the origin story. The fact that he is from this world of almost demented Care Bears crossed with the PowerPuff Girls lets you hit all the sweet spots of weird while also just delivering a great holiday message.
Yes, and that was a challenge because again, like I said, we knew who our Legends audience is, but The CW wants every kid to tune in for Beebo, whether they watch Legends or not. So Matt and I were like, “All right, let’s not overthink this. Let’s just do what we know we would enjoy.” And we have. So hopefully, people like it and we did our job.
Watch an exclusive sneak peek at Beebo Saves Christmas below!
Beebo Saves Christmas, Wednesday, December 1, 8/7c, The CW