“Adventure Time,” the beloved and groundbreaking animated series on Cartoon Network, ends its 10-season run Sept. 3 on Cartoon Network. An “Adventure Time” DVD box set will be released on Sept. 4 with Seasons 8 through 10.
That longevity (it debuted in 2010) is a remarkable feat, considering that the series was never meant to appeal to the lowest common denominator with its fantasia of characters, including Jake the Dog, who talks and can morph into almost anything; Marceline the Vampire Queen; Princess Bubblegum; and Lady Rainicorn, a half-rainbow, half-unicorn.
But despite the fantastical elements, the show always delivered genuine emotion.
“Cartoon Network was not afraid to says no,” says series showrunner Adam Muto. “We had to make the case to them. … I remember the early days and how we had to fight.” But Cartoon Network, when they saw the results and resonance of every episode, gave creator Pendleton Ward and his brain trust more freedom. We were able to be more experimental and explore secondary characters.”
Faced with a finale for the entire series, the staff ticked through some elements: What the payoff? What about a song? How to tie up the stories? How to say goodbye to the characters?
“I imagine every show what is idea time to say goodbye to a character,” he says. “A song was important because of the role of songs have played in the show.”
They brought back “Adventure Time” alumna Rebecca Sugar — busy with hit “Steven Universe” — to write an iconic song for the finale.
“A song is more effective than a bunch of people fighting,” says Muto. “And it was important to bring Rebecca back to write the song … because the role of songs have played in the show.”
Fans also note that Finn has grown up and matured through the years. As has Jeremy Shada, who started voicing Finn when he was 12; he’s now 22. The finale makes poignant use of his character’s journey.
So after such an unprecedented run, Muto is now mulling several projects. “I am trying to be thoughtful about it. I got really lucky.” But he notes that he can’t coast on the “Adventure Time” influence.
He’s hoping the fans get something from the finale.
“I do hope they feel something — the most I can hope for is that they feel something. Happiness, joy, sadness. I just hope they feel something. It’s so collaborative — the writers, designers, the crew — it’s too much to pin on one person. I was very fortunate to work with this crew,” he says. “We were very fortunate that people watched and liked it.”