What do you get when you mix Back to the Future with a first-person shooter? In a nutshell: Hulu’s new original, Future Man.
Up until Comic-Con weekend, there weren’t many details floating around regarding the Seth Rogen-directed comedy. What exactly is this show about? How bonkers will things get? Is there room for another time travel series on TV? As you can see, we had many questions. The Future Man team was happy to indulge our curiosity.
During San Diego Comic-Con on Saturday, Rogen and company--actors Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games), Eliza Coupe (Happy Endings, Quantico), Derek Wilson (Preacher) and executive producers Ben Karlin (Modern Family, The Daily Show), Kyle Hunter (This is the End, Sausage Party) and Ariel Shaffir (The Interview, Sausage Party)--checked in with GameSpot to introduce the new Hulu original.
According to the official synopsis, Future Man will “follow Josh Futterman (Josh Hutcherson), a janitor by day/gamer by night who is recruited by mysterious visitors to travel through time in order to prevent the extinction of humanity.”
If that concept sounds familiar, it’s because it is. From the sound of things, Future Man is a love letter to ‘80s sci-fi classics like Back to the Future, Terminator, and The Last Starfighter.
“This show is pretty much custom made for the Comic-Con crowd,” Karlin told GameSpot during a roundtable chat over the weekend. “It references and lives in the world of sci-fi--very happily and wholly--and pulls from these [movies] and TV shows from the last 20 to 25 years. There’s a lot of James Cameron, Robert Zemekis, and Back to the Future. The show has a genuine love for those things while also trying to be a totally original story. So it just feels very much at home in this world.”
Time travel is a very important component for the show, obviously. However, the crew made it clear that, while Future Man will take most of its cues from BTTF, the show is not going to be a parody of the Zemekis movies or genre. “There’s nothing about this that is a spoof,” Karlin explained. “There’s not a single thing that feels like we’re just doing a parody of something. We really wanted it to stand alone as a participant in the genre but more comedic than most of those other films.”
Aside from the heavy time travel element, Future Man will also draw from video games. According to Hutcherson, the series will be rife with video game references, “Josh is a hardcore gamer, and the game world we live within is the game that we created for the show, which is Biotic Wars," he said. "So we kind of live within that world and don’t break out of that too much.”
Further driving the point home, Rogen discussed the characters Eliza Coupe and Derek Miller play--Tiger and Wolf--and their world-saving mission.
“It’s kind of inspired by first person shooters that have very rough, broodish characters that seem like they would be interesting to interact with," Rogen said. "But the joke is when they come to life, they’re horrible. They just want to kill indiscriminately. They have no value for human life and come from a time where everyone is dead anyway. It would be very difficult to navigate working with them. People play these video games and think it would be fun to go into that video game world. But the truth is...if you’re going into a post-apocalyptic world--it’d be a f***ing nightmare!”
Just how bad are Tiger and Wolf, though? According to Eliza Coupe, the soldiers--who are from the year 2162--have been fighting “in constant battles our whole lives.” When your whole life is war, entering the year 2017 where humanity has yet to be lost for good is quite the culture shock.
“We come from a place that’s very violent,” Derek Wilson added. “We live in a sewer. We eat rats and garbage. So we’re coming to save the world, but also we’re being affected by what we see and experience in this time.” If we learned anything from Demolition Man, the sewer dwellers are the ones to worry about most.
So what happens when these future soldier realize they’ve recruited a video game nerd to fight their battles? Hilarious chaos, it seems. “Ultimately this is a story about people from the future who sent back a video game in the hopes of finding a futuristic warrior that could solve their problems,” Karlin explained. “What they realize very quickly is that this gamer doesn’t possess any of the qualities they were expecting.”
All 13 episodes of Future Man Season 1 will begin streaming on Tuesday, Nov. 14, only on Hulu.