Having crested the final $8.8 million stretch goal, Critical Role on Friday said it will now make 10 22-minute episodes of “The Legend of Vox Machina,” with the series covering the group’s first D&D campaign that ran from 2015-17.
Critical Role’s Kickstarter campaign for “The Legend of Vox Machina” broke the crowdfunding platform’s record, topping $5.79 million four days after it launched March 4, for the most-funded TV or film project ever. As of Friday afternoon, it had raised $8.96 million from 65,939 fans.
There are still 14 days left in the Kickstarter campaign. “At the moment, we’re not planning on adding additional stretch goals — every dollar that we raise after this point will be allocated directly into making an even more kick-ass animation,” the CR team said Friday in an update on its Kickstarter page. “This means more animators, more music, and more awesomeness. Of course, if that changes, we’ll be sure to let everyone know as soon as possible.”
The first two episodes of “Vox Machina” will be an all-new story about the adventurers at D&D Level 7 on their first “grown-up” mission, set prior to the events of Critical Role’s first streamed show in 2015. The next eight episodes will be an adaptation of the Briarwoods storyline, in which the Vox Machina crew avenge the murders of the rulers of the town of Whitestone at the hands of the evil Lord Sylas and Lady Delilah Briarwood.
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In addition to the full 10 episodes, Critical Role will produce a “one-shot” RPG by cast member Ashley Johnson (NBC’s “Blindspot”), who plays gnome cleric Pike Trickfoot in “Vox Machina.”
Also, Critical Role is promising to present a “special battle royale” with some of their favorite guests from the Vox Machina campaign, including Felicia Day, Will Friedle, Mary Elizabeth McGlynn, Wil Wheaton, Noelle Stevenson and Patrick Rothfuss (schedules permitting).
Critical Role began working on the “Vox Machina” animation project in the spring of 2018. Initially, the team pitched the idea to major streaming platforms and TV networks — but were rebuffed. So the crew turned to Kickstarter in the hopes of getting funding, with an initial goal of raising $750,000. (It topped that in less than an hour.)
After Critical Role broke the Kickstarter record last month, Sam Riegel, cast member and executive producer on the series, told Variety, “We’re going to make this the best goddamn cartoon anyone has ever seen.”
Fans who pledge Critical Role’s “Vox Machina” campaign are promised a range of rewards depending on funding level, including downloads of the “Your Turn to Roll” theme song, production art prints, a dice set, playing cards, stickers, character pins, and a plushy of Trinket the bear.
The full Critical Role cast will voice their “Vox Machina” characters in the series: Willingham (Grog), Sam Riegel (Scanlan), Marisha Ray (Keyleth), Taliesin Jaffe (Percy), Ashley Johnson (Pike), Liam O’Brien (Vax) and Laura Bailey (Vex). Matthew Mercer, who is CR’s Dungeon Master, will voice ancillary characters.
CR tapped Animation house Titmouse, whose credits include Netflix’s “Big Mouth,” Adult Swim’s “Venture Bros.,” and Disney’s “Star Wars: Galaxy of Adventures,” to produce the series. Critical Role is aiming to release the series in the fall of 2020, initially to Kickstarter backers with distribution plans beyond that still TBD.
For its regular D&D RPG show — which will continue alongside the production of “The Legend of Vox Machina” — Critical Role is in its second campaign with a different set of characters. The shows are live-streamed on Twitch (Thursdays at 7 p.m. PT) with episodes uploaded to YouTube the following Monday.
Critical Role originally launched their D&D role-playing broadcasts in partnership with Legendary Digital Networks’ Geek & Sundry but parted ways with Legendary earlier this year to form an independent company, Critical Role Productions LLC.
Pictured above (l. to r.): Critical Role members Sam Riegel, Liam O’Brien, Marisha Ray, Laura Bailey, Matthew Mercer, Taliesin Jaffe, Ashley Johnson, Travis Willingham