John DiMaggio, the voice of Jake the Dog, is in Australia for the new Adventure Time Live tour.
John DiMaggio, the voice of Jake the Dog, is in Australia for the new Adventure Time Live tour. Jennifer Kelley Lublin

Adventure Time cast arrives down under

WHEN he first stepped into the recording studio eight years ago to work on a new show called Adventure Time, John DiMaggio had no idea it would become a global hit.

The animated series quickly became a ratings success for Cartoon Network and has won more than a dozen awards including Primetime Emmys, a Peabody Award and three Annie Awards.

"You never really know when something's going to be a hit," DiMaggio said.

"Once you start to try to play that game it's already over. You just have to play the ball where it lies and see what happens."

Adventure Time follows the adventures of a boy named Finn (voiced by Jeremy Shada) and his best friend and adoptive brother Jake (voiced by DiMaggio), a dog with the magical power to change shape and size at will, who live in the post-apocalyptic Land of Ooo.

A scene from the animated TV series Adventure Time. .
A scene from the animated TV series Adventure Time. . Cartoon Network

Critics hailed its richly populated world and wacky characters as 'pure imagination' and as silly yet sophisticated.

DiMaggio, best known as the voice of surly robot Bender on Futurama, admits he was initially confused by the show's premise.

"I was like 'OK it's a boy and his dog' but then getting past that the Land of Ooo and everything around it was too opened-ended," he said.

"I didn't have a sense of where we were going with the story. It seemed so random to me.

"Tom Kenny (who voices the Ice King) said something to me that really brought it home. He said 'John this show is this generation's Yellow Submarine'. He hit the nail on the head. Now I love the show. I love everything about it, but there was a time I was really in the dark and it made me really unsure."

DiMaggio, Shada and their fellow cast members Olivia Olson (Marceline the Vampire) and Hynden Walch (Princess Bubblegum) are in the country for their first ever Adventure Time Live shows starting in Melbourne tonight.

"We're having a tech rehearsal today... tonight is the first time I'll do the show," DiMaggio said.

"I'm kind of in the dark, but I have a blueprint. We're going to show clips of the show, have audience participation, a Q&A, we'll read some scripts and there are some songs.

"If we were to do something like this in the States, then I'd do that as well."

The tour is a reunion of sorts for the cast, who have finished work on the show. In September Cartoon Network announced Adventure Time's ninth season will be its last.

"The show is technically over because we're not recording anymore, but there are so many more episodes coming out; the final episodes debut sometime in 2018," DiMaggio said.

"But anything can happen with this show. If you send enough angry tweets to Cartoon Network then they might bring the show back. I've had so many projects come back to life. Futurama, for crying out loud, came back to life three times. By the last time it was like zombie Futurama."

The Adventure Time Live tour plays QPAC on Sunday.


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