The Red vs. Blue episodic web show originally premiered on 2003, featuring graphics used from the game Halo combined with a irreverent sense of humor. Created by Rooster Teeth, the series quickly skyrocketed in popularity, leading to 13 seasons and five mini-series spin-offs, making it the longest running web series of all time.
With the recent release of Halo 5: Guardians, Red vs. Blue is as popular as ever, and the El Rey Network (founded by filmmaker Robert Rodriguez) has announced that all thirteen seasons will be turned into 95 half-hour television episodes. The Red vs. Blue TV show premiers on El Rey starting December 5th, with new episodes airing every weekend.
[a]listdaily talks to Rooster Teeth Founder and CEO Matt Hullum to discuss how Red vs. Blue got turned into an animated TV show and what the future might hold for the series.
What led up to this deal to broadcast Red vs. Blue on the El Rey Network
We’ve been friendly with Robert and Toublemaker Studios for quite a long time. In fact, some of the offices that are in our building in Stage 5 were actually old sets were actually old From Dusk Till Dawn TV show sets. So, we’re neighbors that occasionally help each other out, and we’ve been talking about the things we’ve been wanting to do for a while. In one of these conversations, we found out that Robert was a big fan of Red vs. Blue.
We’d always wanted to do something with Red vs. Blue and TV, and we’ve been brainstorming ways to use our episodes for TV viewing – a way that would make sense and everyone would really like. The series fits well with Robert and El Rey’s sense of humor, and the action fits well with the network.
Red vs. Blue is best known as a series of digital shorts. How do they translate into half hour shows
We talked about how we would bring Red vs. Blue to TV. The episodes were originally web episodes with lengths that are all over the map. But we wanted to do it, so we collaborated on a fun way to put the story together in a way that makes sense for a TV presentation. The small length episodes were together to form a full half-hour show. We’re really happy with how it turned out, and it gives you a new perspective on the show.
There were some places where things ended a little short, and we didn’t want to extend it in an awkward way, so we added additional material to flesh things out. So, fans will get a little extra along with a new presentation that feels more than just stitching stuff together.
How do you think the television show will help grow the Red vs. Blue audience
It’s interesting because we’ve been on the web for so long – this is our 13th year – and we’ve never really done much with traditional media. Now, doing several traditional media projects in a row. We have a Red vs. Blue book (Red vs. Blue: The Ultimate Fan Guide), published by Harper Collins. The TV show premieres on El Rey in December. Then in January, we have our movie, Lazer Team, coming out in theaters.
We’ve never really taken the time to present ourselves to audiences that are focused on traditional media, and have always lived in this internet space. So, I think we’ll find a lot of new audience, and we’re happy if they watch us on El Rey, in theaters, or through books, but we’d love it if they’d visit us on roosterteeth.com too, or download the app.
How have fans reacted to having the web series turned into a TV show
Really excited. There was a lot of, “Yes! About time!” I think that was the biggest takeaway I saw from the comments. I think that even fans who have seen the episodes a hundred times will enjoy watching them in this new format and get something slightly different out of it.
We’ve tried to make Red vs. Blue and some of our other shows available in a lot of different ways, with different viewing experiences. I think you get something a little different with each way it’s presented. I’m really hopeful that our fans will watch the show and feel something different about the characters or stories.
If the broadcast conversion is popular, will there be plans to create a dedicated longer form show
We would definitely be open to that. Right now, our focus is on our platforms and digital delivery, such as our new app, which came out earlier this year. It has a ton of great features, including exclusive content for paid subscribers. We do about 40 hours of content a week.
So, as long as it doesn’t take us away from doing what we know and love in the online space, then we would love to do more with El Rey or other traditional media channels. I guess we’ll see how these three months go. If they all do great, then we’ll start making sequels to all of them.
What would you say has been the key to Red vs. Blue‘s success
Red vs. Blue has gone through a ton of changes in terms of style and presentation. We’ve used in-game content, done a lot of original animation, and a lot of different characters over the years. But I think the one thing that’s remained consistent is how we’ve focused on top quality writing. We wanted each episode feel really fresh, with really strong dialogue, and fun characters.
I hope that’s what people take away from the show. That’s the kind of thing that not only stands the test of time, but also withstands changes in format and platforms. Good writing is good whether you’re watching on your smartphone, big screen TV, or movie theater.