Invincible Season 2 arrives this week! Hard to believe it’s been over two years since we last saw the the adventures of everyone’s favorite teen superhero. But as the say, good things come to those who wait. After the explosive Season One finale, Mark Grayson and the entire world are still reeling after the betrayal regarding his father Omni-Man. But there’s no rest for the wicked, as things will only escalate for Mark that include starting college and even new threats on the horizon.  

The Beat had the chance it take part in a roundtable at New York Comic Con with executive producers Robert Kirkman and Simon Racioppa as well as the red carpet event at the Paley Center to chat with them about Invincible Season 2.

Q: What were some of the challenges going into Invincible Season 2?

Robert Kirkman: I guess maintaining the momentum of what we did with Season 1. Rebuilding the show post-pandemic led to the big delay. Honestly, that was a big hurdle.

Simon Racioppa: The show is enormous. I mean, GINORMOUS. The amount of places we go and number of new characters we meet in Season 2. Everything needs to be thought up and designed and drawn. We have an incredible production team who work their butts off. The scope is still so big that even with the best team it’s tricky.

Kirkman: The goal is that it’s an escalating show. You look back on Season 1 and go, “I can’t believe they started here and expanded to this point.” Things should get a little bit bigger and more intense as each season goes so momentum is a tough balancing act.  

Racioppa: You also want the show to look better every season so there’s also that.

Invincible Season 2Q: Has anything surprised you at this point?

Kirkman: The memes are super cool but also somewhat alien to this aged individual. It’s great. I try not to take anything for granted. I didn’t know how people would respond to this. This is an hour-long animated drama. That’s never really been done before. Some of the violent elements that we incorporate are pretty intense and always there to drive story. We didn’t know how the first season would be received. It’s exceeded all of our expectations. It’s been a pretty crazy process. Moving into Season 2 we couldn’t be more excited to be back and be doing this all over again.

Racioppa: I just assumed this happens when you work with Kirkman on anything!   

Taimur Dar: As you’ve previously explained, the change from Science Dog in the comics to Séance Dog in the show is due to different property rights. As fans who’ve read the original Invincible comics are aware, many of your other creator-owned superhero characters appear throughout the run like Brit, Astounding Wolf-Man, and Tech Jacket. Is it the same situation with those characters and properties or could they potentially appear in the show?

Kirkman: Those are definitely separate properties in the same way that Spider-Man or X-Men were separate properties. You can play fast and loose in comics especially if it’s one entity like me and my partners all owned those characters. It’s very easy to do that stuff. It’s a little bit more difficult when you have a big corporation and a lot of big companies involved. That is something that’s a challenge for the show as we move deeper and deeper into the run because there is a lot of that kind of stuff. That’s something that we’re actively trying to figure out. The only thing I can say is that we’ll just have to see.

Q: What is the major theme of Invincible Season 2?

Racioppa: Season 1 is about Mark wanting to become his father. Season 2 is Mark being terrified that maybe that could happen. That’s a big theme we explore. 

Kirkman: It’s the burden of legacy. He had all of these expectations on him because Omni-Man was the greatest superhero that ever lived, and he was worried he wasn’t going to be able to live up to that in Season 1. Then in Season 2 it’s a completely burden that has emerged and constantly having to prove himself time and time again he isn’t Omni-Man and he doesn’t have that potential in him. We’ll see at times he’s very worried that he may be wrong when he says he doesn’t. 

Q: Can you discuss the villains of Invincible Season 2 like Angstrom Levy and the alternate universes?

Kirkman: As far as the multiverse thing goes because Angstrom Levy is a very multiverse-based villain. We’re doing multiverse stuff extremely differently than what everyone else is doing. A lot of the other multiverse stories are about bringing in sandboxes of days old and having actors coming back to reprise roles that you are dying to see them play again. We aren’t doing any of that. There aren’t previous iterations of Invincible that could come in and show up. Unfortunately, try as I might there’s no Michael Keaton Invincible. We’re doing it more as a character study. We’re having Angstrom Levy be Invincible’s villain at a time when he is worried about who he might be at his core. Angstrom Levy is capable of showing him glimpses of other versions of himself that may reflect the horrors that he is worried that is inside of him. It’s a more character based dramatic way of exploring the multiverse.  

Racioppa: That touches on the themes that we were just talking about. Hopefully it feels very integrated into the show rather than everybody is doing multiverses now.

Q: Do you have a character to write for?

Kirkman: I love Battle Beast.

Racioppa: I really like writing for Machine Head because it’s so over-the-top.

Kirkman: We have fondness for every character. It’s hard to play favorites.  

Q: What did the casting process involve for Invincible Season 2?

Kirkman: We always try to think of the best actor for the role. Not only do we have big movie stars like Seth Rogen but we have great actors like Grey DeLisle. She’s a great voice actor who’s done a ton of different things. It’s great having Kevin Michael Richardson and Sterling K. Brown in scenes together. That’s a lot of fun. Then you’ve got absolutely lunatics like Jason Mantzoukas and Ben Schwartz that will not do our dialogue no matter how hard we try to get them to do our dialogue exactly the way we’ve written it. It’s a great mix and keeps the voice sessions super interesting.  

Racioppa: I think it’s that diversity that brings something unique to the show. Linda Lamontagne is our casting director. She just brings us a great variety of names. We also ask for a wild card name like, “Who’s the craziest person you can think of for this role?” She gives us a couple of names we might not consider. We have a very broad cast who bring something special to the show that you can’t get anywhere else.   

Dar: Meredith Layne has come onboard Invincible Season 2 as voice director. She used to work in Nickelodeon casting and is well regarded for her work in the animation voiceover industry. What does Meredith Layne bring to the table this season and what has been the experience working with her?   

Kirkman: Meredith has been absolutely excellent. There have been times when we’ve been in the recording booth and she’s said, “It says this in the script. Should they be doing it this way?” And we go, “We didn’t think of that. You’re right.” She’s been a tremendous help. But also, the logistics of doing voice recording you often don’t have people in the same room. Someone is doing one side of the acting and then months later someone else will be doing the other side of the acting. She’s not only able to lock in the one person’s performance but she’s the person that they’re playing off of when they’re doing their lines. Jason Mantzoukas and Walton Goggins will be in a scene together but Meredith does the scene with Goggins and then she later does it with Mantzoukas. She’s able to steer them to make those performances mesh. That’s an art in and of itself and something we lean on for her in the show in a tremendous way.     

Q: Are you ever concerned about how things will be received?

Kirkman: I try not to second-guess myself too much. That’s where the comic comes in. The comic operates as a really great test audience so we know how people reacted to the storylines that we’re going to be doing. We know the level of popularity and we also know how different aspects of those stories affected the fanbase. I was very active with the fanbase along the entire run of the comic book series doing letter columns, conventions, and interacting with fans. I know what upset people. It’s good when that was the idea. Some stories are supposed to upset people and push boundaries. I’m more excited about pushing stories further and build to stories in a different way that will make it deeper and more exciting. If anything, the thing that makes me lose sleep is being excited.

Racioppa: I just hope we’re doing it justice. We have these huge emotional scenes and I’m hoping we’ve gone far enough and gotten to the truth of the scene.

Dar: Even with the first season, it’s been interesting to see how you’ve deviated from the source material and in some ways enhance it. Angstrom Levy, for instance, I felt you made him even more compelling than he was in the comics. Could you speak to the adaptation process for Invincible Season 2 whether for Angstrom Levy or anything else?

Racioppa: I think it was all there in the comics. We just found it and amped it up a little bit. The idea is that he’s seen Mark in countless other dimensions turned terrible and evil. We tried to find what’s on the page and if there were places to enhance that and make it a little more resonate for television. On a comic book page, you can choose how fast you read it. On television, it just comes at you. We wanted to make sure we hit all the emotional beats with Angstrom. Also, a lot of our audience may not have read the comics.

Dar: Whether it’s comics or television, there’s always concern about not coming back as strong after any lengthy delay in the schedule. I know the first year of the original Invincible comic had an inconsistent release schedule and it came close to being canceled. But luckily it came back on track when Ryan Ottley took over on art and sales actually increased. Was there any concern about losing the momentum and making sure you came out just as strong if not stronger with Invincible Season 2?

Kirkman: To be honest, we designed the season to not retell anything. The first season is still available. But we did design the season to re-hook the audience. If you watch the first episode of Season 2, it comes back very intense very quickly. That was always designed to reengage an audience that we were worried may have lost a little bit of excitement in the gap. Thankfully that doesn’t seem to have happened. According to Amazon, the engagement in the show on their platform has continued at a pretty high level. Anecdotally, from my social media presence and everything, people have been very rabid for this show consistently over that long gap. All of the efforts that we’ve put into hitting the ground running with this season and reengaging viewers I think is just going to make it that much better of a season. I’m really confident that people who enjoyed Season 1 are really going to love Season 2 that much more.       

Invincible Season 2 premieres this Friday November 3rd on Prime Video.