By Ruth Johnson

At approximately 5:25 PM in the Hammerstein Ballroom on Thursday afternoon at NYCC, everyone in the venue lost their minds. It was not the first time this had happened at the RWBY panel. The RWBY fandom is a loud and boisterous one, and they were on hand to get quite a few surprises.

The first surprise was hinted at earlier that afternoon at the SYFYWire NYCC live stage, with the RWBY cast and crew (or CRWBY as they’re affectionately known), when a clip from the new trailer was released. Miles Luna, one of the web anime’s showrunners, said “Trailers for trailers are the thing nowadays, right?” The cast and crew were in high spirits for this 30-minute Q & A. Luna (co-showrunner/Jaune Arc), Kerry Shawcross (co-showrunner/Neptune Vasilias), Lindsay Jones (Ruby Rose), Kara Eberle (Weiss Schnee), Arryn Zech (Blake Belladonna), and Barbara Dunkleman (Yang Xiao Long) are the members of CRWBY present for this year’s New York Comic Con.

In the initial Q&A, a few things came out: one, that Shawcross has “a physical timer counting down to the show’s release date,” which drew laughs from both the crowd and his fellow panelists. Luna told everyone to get ready for “thirsty moms” when it comes to his character, Jaune Arc. This launched a long back-and-forth joke about how “Thirsty Moms” was the new RWBY spin-off, followed, Dunkleman joked, by “Hungry Dads.”

At the panel, more jokes were had, but more importantly, more information was doled out. First, Team RWBY will be in the video game Smite starting in November as playable characters. The team will be in their outfits that will debut in volume 7. Secondly, Rooster Teeth, in association with FanForge, will be starting a contest in which fans can submit designs for what will become actual merchandise. Rooster Teeth is known for their merchandise, especially RWBY-related, so this seems like a fantastic opportunity for fans to strut their stuff and possibly get paid commissions!

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RWBY’s series of YA novels will continue with a new sequel Before the Dawn, which will be released July 2020. In addition to fan favorites Team CVFE returning, Sun Wukong and Neptune Vasilias will also be featured in the novel. Other book news: the World of RWBY companion book releases October 8, 2019, but if you happen to be at the con, it is now available for purchase at the Viz Media booth on the show floor. Team JNPR will also receive their own manga anthology soon.

Rooster Teeth and DC’s collaboration continues with the soon-to-be-released RWBY comics. On October 9, fans will get a chance to look at stories beyond the series’s purview. The cover for the first issue is done by Sarah Stone, with a variant by Jim Lee, which CRWBY is over the moon about.

RWBY merchMore Rooster Teeth merchandise was revealed, with the highlights being a bento box and lots of designs with the girls in their new outfits. RWBY’s partnership with video game BlazBlue continues with a 2.0 update including another fan favorite, Neo, in the game! Neo will be “voiced” by Casey Lee Williams, bringing into fruition what fans have headcanoned for a while now.

But all that news was merely gravy compared to what else the team had in store for the panel audience. First, Shawcross informed the audience that for the first time in RWBY’s history, it had been greenlit not just for an 8th volume, but for a 9th volume as well. There was some screaming at that. He was also proud to announce that production on RWBY volume 7 was further ahead than the crew had ever been at this point on any other season. Additionally, in response to a recent crunch time controversy at Rooster Teeth Animation, Shawcross also reassured everyone that the crew were now working normal hours.

The trailer came next. It had lots of action, and some ominous narrating by a returning character, General Ironwood. The last moments featured a horrifying revelation — that the hard-fought for Relic of Knowledge will be stolen by a mystery character at some point in volume 7. The trailer also featured Team RWBY and Team JNR in their volume 7 outfits in full 3D for the first time.

After that, there was a lively Q&A with pre-submitted questions. While it was mostly a time for the famously comedic CRWBY to joke around, there were some serious moments. The cast was asked about RWBY’s impact on their lives. Jones said that because she grew-up a fangirl, being fangirled over is an experience! Eberle noted that the show has taken her all over the country and the world. Zech highlighted the show’s diverse platform and its strong, varied representation of people from all walks of life. Dunkleman brought it back to community, saying that the fans have changed the cast and crew’s lives just as much as the fans feel RWBY and everyone associated with it have changed theirs.

Once the Q&A was over, Shawcross revealed they had one more surprise, one they had to cut the stream for—they were releasing, just for the NYCC audience, a portion of episode one from the new volume. The audience lost it and continued to lose it as a very exciting first-half of an episode ran. It was about 12 minutes long. It had action, suspense and a very touching moment with a Geppetto-like figure. Notably, this character mentions he has a daughter…and almost like a hive mind, everyone in the audience started whispering about the “late” Penny Polendina. Penny was an adorable android-girl who died in season 3.

Seeing as the Geppetto-like man talked about his daughter in the present tense, rumors of Penny’s death seem to have been widely exaggerated.

The portion of the first episode ended with one of the action sequences that RWBY is famous for producing. Every character showed off one of their signature moves. It ended abruptly, however, just as it looked like Blake might be in serious trouble. The audience moaned with disappointment that they were left in such suspense.

However, as CRWBY reminded the fans, volume 7 is less than a month away, releasing on November 2, 2019, which was announced earlier this year at Rooster Teeth’s annual convention, RTX.

RWBY’s first episode will be released on Rooster Teeth’s website for First members. A week later, the episode will be available on Rooster Teeth’s website for all.