Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. is a lone wolf in the Marvel TV adaptation sphere. It’s the entertainment juggernaut’s first foray into adult animation and it certainly delves into the stranger aspects of the MCU. Not to mention, M.O.D.O.K., the titular lead voiced by Patton Oswalt, isn’t a well-known character to the casual Marvel fan.
Here’s the official synopsis of the show per Hulu:
The megalomaniacal supervillain M.O.D.O.K. (Patton Oswalt) has long pursued his dream of one day conquering the world. But after years of setbacks and failures fighting the Earth’s mightiest heroes, M.O.D.O.K. has run his evil organization A.I.M. into the ground. Ousted as A.I.M.’s leader while also dealing with his crumbling marriage and family life, the Mental Organism Designed Only for Killing is set to confront his greatest challenge yet: a midlife crisis … THAT WILL SHAKE THE MARVEL UNIVERSE TO ITS CORE!
Recently, I had the privilege of chatting with stars Melissa Fumero and Aimee Garcia, who voice Melissa Tarleton and Jodie Tarleton, respectively, about what fans can expect when watching this series. Not to mention, both Fumero and Garcia dive into their roles and how their characters fit into the overall story.
Melody McCune: What drew you to M.O.D.O.K.?
Melissa Fumero: Well, to be honest, it was just another audition that came into my email. I think it said, “Marvel.” It was very secretive when it came. It wasn’t called M.O.D.O.K. — it was called something else. I didn’t get a script, I just got the slides. But when I opened them, I was like, “Oh my God, this is so funny. I don’t know what this is, but this is so funny.” I sent it off, and then I didn’t hear anything.
I was actually visiting family in Florida when I got a call back. “Oh, they want you to rerecord. Here’s a bunch of notes.” Then, I was in a car at my parents’ house in Florida, and I wanted to get it right. I was like, “I think that means they like me. I really want to get this, even though I have no idea what it is.”
I found out it was Marvel, and that it was Patton [Oswalt]. I was even more excited. M.O.D.O.K. was not a villain I knew that well, so it was really fun to do this silly, over-the-top, ridiculous deep dive into M.O.D.O.K.
MM: The show is so funny. It’s like nothing I’ve ever seen. You’re great, by the way! Tell me more about your character and how she fits into the overall narrative.
MF: Well, the other thing that I was really excited about was originating a new Marvel character and one who’s half-Latina. I was super stoked about that. I would say she’s the apple of M.O.D.O.K.’s eye. But also like any typical teenage girl she’s trying to make it through high school, trying to navigate those waters. She really wants to make her parents proud.
However, in this family, that means something quite different than you would say for other families. She aspires to be a supervillain just like her dad, and she’s off to a good start. I think she’s got some of her dad’s talents, for sure.
MM: You sort of touched on this already, but there’s not a lot of comic book material to go off of for this part. Did you find that restrictive or did you find that freeing when you were diving into the character?
MF: Freeing. I didn’t have to worry about anyone else’s interpretation of her. I’d get information from Jordan [Blum] and Patton, because they were writing these new issues for M.O.D.O.K., about who she was. It was really collaborative and it was fun to create this new character.
MM: Without giving too much away, do you have a favorite episode?
MF: There’s an episode where she helps M.O.D.O.K., without giving too much away. She assists him with a situation he finds himself in. I guess you could say she tries to give him a makeover. That episode was really fun to record. It’s so funny. I think that’s her episode where she gets to shine.
MM: Did you have to strictly adhere to the script or was there room for improvisation?
MF: Honestly, the scripts were so funny that I think I mostly stuck to the script. There might’ve been little things here and there, but it’s kind of hard in animation to do improv.
Often you’re by yourself recording your lines. I was because of the way the scheduling came out. I was recording this while I was shooting Brooklyn [Nine-Nine]. So, I didn’t get to record with any of my castmates. I think I ad-libbed a little bit here and there.
MM: It’s Marvel. You got to stick to it.
MF: I didn’t want to upset anybody at Marvel. I super followed the rules on this one.
MM: What can viewers expect to see when M.O.D.O.K. premieres?
MF: I hope that viewers will be surprised and go for a really fun ride with this show. I feel like most people aren’t quite sure what to expect, and I mean that in the best way possible. It doesn’t go where you think it’s going to go. I hope people have a lot of fun watching it.
MM: I absolutely think they will. Is there anyone in the cast that you wanted more scenes with?
MF: I really wanted to be able to record scenes with Ben [Schwartz]. I love him so much. We kept missing each other at the table reads. He was in New York a lot of the time. Then, the table reads he would come to, I would be shooting. We were like ships in the night. I just think he’s so funny. Hopefully, if we get to do more, I would love to be in the booth with Ben.
MM: If you could play another character in the MCU, who would that be and why?
MF: Oh God, that’s such a hard question to answer. Growing up as a kid, my intro to Marvel was definitely X-Men and a video game that my brother had that I was obsessed with. It would probably have to be one of the X-Men ladies, like Jean Grey.
MM: You’d be a good Jean Grey!
MF: Honestly, any of them. I’m of the wrong ethnicity, but I love Storm.
MM: She’s such a badass.
MF: Such a badass. I think all of the ladies in the X-Men world are badass.
MM: Melissa, thank you so much for chatting with me! I really appreciate it.
MF: Of course. Nice to meet you!
Melody McCune: So, let’s start things off! What drew you to M.O.D.O.K.?
Aimee Garcia: Well, I’ve always been a fan of characters that we don’t see a lot of and that break the mold. That’s why I love Spider-Man. He’s not the coolest cat in town. He’s clumsy, he doesn’t know when to stop talking and he’s figuring it out as he goes. So, I’ve always liked characters that are just in a “close, but no cigar” kind of situation. I never would think that a floating supervillain with tiny arms and legs would get their own show.
I’ve never seen a show about a supervillain having to take out the garbage. I just love that he’s got to deal with rats in his apartment and he’s got to deal with his teenage kids and he’s got to deal with his feisty Latina wife. He just wants to destroy the world but his torture chambers have been replaced by yoga studios. What attracted me to M.O.D.O.K. was that I had never seen a show or a character explored like him.
MM: I’ve never watched anything like this show. It’s so funny, but there’s so much heart to it. It’s grounded in reality. As you said, you would never see a supervillain domesticated. Just taking out the trash, having to worry about their kids or doing taxes. I loved it and you’re great! Tell me about Jodie and how she fits into the overall narrative.
AG: Jodie is M.O.D.O.K.’s wife. She’s a housewife, she has two kids and she finds her independence later in life. I think she keeps M.O.D.O.K. grounded. However, what I love about this show that Patton and Jordan created was that she goes from housewife to supervillain. I feel like she has to have morally flexible attributes.
She ends up becoming a monster in my opinion, and a worse supervillain than he is. All of the sudden, she starts dating Wonder Man played by Nathan Fillion, who describes himself as “a hunky Avenger underwear model and lover of M.O.D.O.K.’s wife.” Obviously, this rubs super maniac M.O.D.O.K. the wrong way. She has this unprecedented animated wife character arc that I had never seen before.
She fits into the narrative because she is a woman who’s willing to fight tooth and nail to protect her family. I think that Jodie is his (M.O.D.O.K.) Achilles heel and his great motivator for a lot of his decisions. Even though he wants to destroy Earth, he has a soft spot for this woman that he fell in love with, which of course makes us fall in love with M.O.D.O.K. even more.
MM: Now that I think about it, that’s a great way to put it. She really is his Achilles heel. This almost feels like a Jodie origin story in a way. Her supervillain origins wrapped into M.O.D.O.K.’s story. So, there’s not a lot of comic book source material to go off of for this character. When you were developing her, did you find that restrictive or did you find that freeing?
AG: I actually found it really freeing. I was completely honored to originate a Latina character in the Marvel universe. I didn’t have a lot of Latinas in that world when I was a kid, especially in cinema and on TV. I was just over the moon that I was able to be a small part of a huge universe. I mean, Marvel is global. And I believe in aliens, so I feel it’s intergalactic.
I have a theory that wherever the aliens are, they’re into Marvel too. Why wouldn’t they be? They probably saved some notes, right? They’ll be like, “We love Stanley, but I think our eyes aren’t that big.”
MM: Right! “This didn’t exactly go this way.” “Oh, we actually do this.”
AG: Exactly! “We’re not that green or gray.”
MM: The MCU transcends all universes. I believe that.
AG: It really does. That’s what I love about sci-fi. I find it to be a very diverse space. You have a bionic robot and then you have a mini-bionic robot in Melissa [Fumero], I’m Latina, Ben’s Jewish. It’s not only multicultural, it’s multi-carnal and bionic, which I think is the epitome of diversity, especially in the sci-fi space. I just think it’s so cool to have the opportunity to originate this character. Because she now exists in the universe.
The fact that there’s not that much source material just shows you how they’re developing this fringe character that not a lot of people know about. Only the major, hardcore Iron Man fans and Spider-Man fans obviously know about him [M.O.D.O.K.]. So, to me, this show is an example of that. If M.O.D.O.K. can have his own show, any character can have their own show. There’s nothing like a good anti-hero.
Would you ever think that you’d be rooting for a serial killer? No, but I feel like you’ll find yourself rooting for a supervillain because, as you mentioned, he’s got to pay his bills, he’s got to get rid of the rats, he’s got to take out the garbage, he’s got to deal with family. Somehow you forget that they’re puppets and you see them as your family. You want them to win. That’s what I think Patton and Jordan did so seamlessly. They created this show where the “puppets” go away and you see this family of characters who hopefully become your family.
MM: I had a lot of fun chatting with you, Aimee! Thank you so much!
AG: Thank you!
Marvel’s M.O.D.O.K. will be available to stream on Friday, May 21, only on Hulu. Are you stoked to watch everyone’s favorite mental organism designed only for killing? Sound off in the comments below!