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ADVENTURE TIME Creator Stepped Down as Showrunner and No One Told Us

When it premiered on Cartoon Network in 2010, nobody could have predicted that the off-the-wall journey of a young, brave boy and his magical talking dog would have made the splash it did, least of all its creator. But, a splashy smash it was and Adventure Time, despite it being aimed at and in the age range of children, has found a home in the hearts of adults everywhere with its messages of friendship and understanding and its incredibly weird, dark, and deep storytelling. Pendleton Ward created the series and has served as its showrunner since the inception, but a new interview with Ward in Rolling Stone reveals that sometime during its fifth season (the fourth season will be released on Blu-ray and DVD this week), the man with the plan stepped down as showrunner without making a fuss.

The passage from the interview of import are as follows:

He says this not with sadness or frustration, but with relief. “For me, having quality of life outweighed the need to control this project and make it great all the time.” So he stepped down from running Adventure Time to become simply one of the show’s writers and storyboard artists.

Asked if he’d ever want to create another TV show, Ward responds with horror: “No, never. That sounds like a nightmare!”

He hasn’t left the show, though; he stayed on (and we can presume he will remain) as a writer and storyboard artist, and also went on to say he wouldn’t be opposed to writing an Adventure Time movie in the future.

HT: The Verge

Ward was also the voice of Lumpy Space Princess and many, many other random weird characters on the show, so we can also assume/hope he’ll be sticking around to do those. It just seems to me he got burnt out on the massive responsibility and stress of running an insanely popular animated series and wants to just be creative without being in charge. Pretty reasonable, I’d say.

What do you think of this news? Do you think the show will change that much? Did you notice a change in Season 5 now knowing that its creator stopped show-running at some point? Let’s talk about it in the comments below, and also enjoy the short pilot episode Ward created for Nickelodeon back in “the day.”

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  1. That’s understandable, wouldn’t hold it out against him…

  2. RRP says:

    Actually, this explains a LOT! Starting with the 5th season episode “Too Old” my daughter started finding the show too dark to watch. The sixth season has continued that trend. It’s become too weird and esoteric to enjoy as a family. Since my wife and I still dig it, this has become a problem…but not a big one, since we just watch it when our daughter isn’t around. It’s just odd to watch a kid’s show without the kid.