The first FAQ post from just after the first part of series 1, last update 22nd of June.
THIS POST WILL UPDATE REGULARLY SO WHEN READING, BE SURE TO CHECK THE ORIGINAL POST FOR THE MOST UP-TO-DATE INFO! ALSO DISCLAIMER: I’M IN NO WAY WORKING FOR OR WITH THE PEOPLE BEHIND THUNDERBIRDS ARE GO. I JUST GATHER INFORMATION AND TRY TO OBJECTIVELY LOOK AT THINGS. SOME OF THESE THINGS MIGHT BE REGARDED AS OPINION, BUT I USUALLY STATE WHEN IT IS.
Is the new show a continuation of the old show from 1965? Definitely not. Not only is the new show set in 2060 (while the original was set in 2065, 100 years in the future, though there is debate on this) but there are very definite character and environment changes. Tracy Island is radically different and it’s almost inconceivable to think that it’s the same island (the new island is several times smaller). Apart from that Brains is now Indian and I doubt he’s undergone surgery to change his ethnicity. And don’t forget that the original series character Tin Tin has been replaced with Kayo, who might visually look like her, but it definitely isn’t her. Top it all off with the fact that Jeff Tracy is missing and at the start of this series (which was set 5 years before the original was set) they’ve already started on the rescueing.
When will they show episode 14 to 26? As far as I understand right now, they’re planning to rerun the first 13 episodes from next saturday (27th of june) onwards and then start showing the new episodes as soon as they run out, finishing at around Christmas.
When will they show series 2? The second set of episodes will probably rerun after the second part of series 1 has finished and the first part of the second series will apparently air in 2016 and the second half in 2017.
Why are they showing the episodes so early? What are they thinking?! Whoa, dude, calm down. People get really angry about this one. According to CITV this is the time most kids are up and watching television (the saturday morning cartoon slot). Since kids are, for this incarnation of the show, obviously the main target, this seems to be a logical step. Luckily the show is rerun at least 3 more times over the course of the rest of the week. It is too bad that all of these reruns are not in High Definition, though. Sadly, CITV have chosen that their children demographic is far more important than their adult demographic, so any hope of persuading them to show it at another time will probably be in vain. Of course you can argue and comment on this as much as you want, but they have been doing this broadcast thing for quite some time and I think that they probably know a little more about these things than the average Joe.
Why are the episodes 22 minutes and not 50 like the originals?! Back in the day Lew Grade saw a first cut of the original version (25 minutes long) of what was going to be called “Trapped in the Sky”, but then declared it wasn’t an episode of a series, but a feature film, and then went on and demanded all the episodes to be made 50 minutes long. Honestly, but this is my opinion, I think 40-50 minutes is too long. The old episodes dragged in places and I’m relieved that this new show doesn’t. This might also be what the people behind the show think. However, that conversation is a little irrelevant, because in this day and age it’s really difficult for a kids show to get a 40 minute timeslot. Couple that with the enormous costs of making these episodes and then you will realize that going for 22 minutes was the only option.
What? These shots makes no sense, the scaling is all wrong! What’s going on?! Something that’s remained pretty prevalent in this new show is the tendency to regard things that were taken as fact in the original series to be the same in the new series. Supposedly Thunderbird 3 is 287 feet and Thunderbird 5 400 feet in the original series. However this new series does not adhere to these facts, nor should we expect it to. If you look at how much space the cockpit of the new Thunderbird 2 takes in (using the upper hatch as a reference) and compare it to the original Thunderbird 2 you will notice that the new Thunderbird 2 is quite a bit smaller. The same actually goes for most craft, including Thunderbird 4. All of these craft, and especially Fireflash (which you can see by comparing the windows on the outside and the windows on the inside) are smaller. Even Tracy Island is way smaller. As a matter of fact, because there’s so much CGI involved and all the sets have to made to scale to fit the CGI, I think scale has become a lot more clearer in this production. Therefore I think, and prove me wrong if you can, there has actually not been a single scaling issue all throughout the show. It is so far all correct.
What about Stingray and the WASPs? Gordon was a member of the WASPs, so how can John see a show of Stingray on television? Well, the answer is pretty much the same as the above answer. The original show has had 50 years to build on its own canon, and they did this by adding various bits of data (probably without even asking for permission from the original writers or Gerry and Sylvia Anderson) and just pretty much made stuff up to form a connection between the various Supermarionation series. Remember, none of this was actually stated in the series itself. If Gordon Tracy was an Aquanaut for WASP in the original show, there is nothing saying that he is in this show. The same goes for the Hydrofoil accident he supposedly had. Even down to birthdays that were canon to the original, they might well be different in this incarnation. Right now, Stingray is a show that John Tracy likes to watch, and it’s therefore very probable, or at least it can be assumed at this moment, that WASP is a fictional organization inside the Stingray series in the Thunderbirds Are Go universe.
Why does the hair look plastic? Probably budgetary constraints.
Why do they look like anime characters? Actually, they were going for the original size of the eyes of the original puppets. They’re just big eyes and therefore have a similarity with characters drawn in japanese animation and comics. Nothing more.
Why do they look like One Direction? Get the f$£% out!
Why were the hair colors for some of the boys changed or swapped in comparison to the original show? I
don’t actually really know the answer to this. It’ve might be a mistake
or a conscious decision to make characters stand out a little more from
eachother. Especially since four of the boys are voiced by two voice
actors, it might’ve been to make them look more apart.
What are the ages of the different characters? The straight answer that headwriter Rob Hoegee gives is that they’re not gonna tell. They are as old as you want them to be and they’re trying everything possible not to reveal it. There are, however, Japanese character bios that present the character’s ages as follows: Scott is 23, Virgil is 19, Gordon is 17, John is 16, and Alan is 14. Hoegee has not exactly said publicly that those are wrong, but he does say that he will not divulge the ages.
Why must every rescue involve a grapple? This is kind of the thing what happens when you open yourself to questions from the internet, you get questions like this. I’m going to try my best and answer as intelligently and thoughtful as possible. Looking back at the old show, there are quite a few instances of grapples being used, so it’s not an uncommon practice, however I see how you can think that they have been rather prevalent in the episodes of the new show. I think to put it bluntly, the new show is more for kids than the original was. Therefore the rescues are made just that tiny bit simpler. For example, we probably won’t be seeing a craft send a signal to start the retro’s firing for another craft, because that’s a little too intangible for kids, I think. But using grapples is pretty obvious. A kid can immediately understand what’s going on. I think that’s the best answer I can give you, I hope that’s enough :)
Will Thunderbird 2 ever select a Pod other than Pod 2? Ever since Pod 2 was the least used Pod ever in the original series, it seems that it’s either Pod 2 or 4 in this series, so no, I think we’re stuck with Pod 2… foreverrrrrr!!
How do the Tracys get into that blue suit? We do usually see parts of the uniform being stuck onto them, but we always seem to miss the part where they put on the entire suit. The out-of-universe answer is just that it would be a nightmare to animate, but on the other hand… do you really want to see them undress and put on that blue thing? Or do you want to see a machine take off their clothes and then slide that tight blue leotard over them? If you answered “yes, please”, then down boys and girls, behave :p But either way, it’s not appropriate for a show with a young audience, so at least that is why we don’t see it, but I would guess that with the rest of the answer I gave you can imagine how it might look :)
When Thunderbird 2 has landed, how does Virgil get out? Well that’s easy he- Uhhh. Uhm. Wait. How does he get out? That’s uh. No wait, I know this, I gotta know this! I’ve never even thought about this!! No, but in all seriousness, probably the same way Gordon always does :)
Will there be a soundtrack and when will it be released?! Since Ben Foster already has ties to Silvascreen, which incidentally also released the first two Thunderbirds soundtracks ever… I think it’s likely, and that it will be released after series 1 has ended. However, it also depends on how ITV treats the show. This is a kids show and it’s a little less likely nowadays for a kids show to get a soundtrack release. So, while it’s not as sure as a regular series, I still think we are going to get a soundtrack at one point. And else we look at Fanderson with big puppy eyes.
Will melodies and tunes from the original series be featured in new series? I can’t answer this question without pointing out the times we’ve already had this. Consider the opening and ending theme and the end of the launch theme (though the end of the launch theme seems to also resemble the Stingray theme as well, which I find interesting). Then of course, I can’t forget to mention the music used when Fireflash landed on the Elevator Cars in the new series episode “Fireflash” (I also hope we’ll hear that one again, because it sounded like a really good rendition). Then we have a theme that’s been used a few times that sounds like part of what Silva Screen called “Tracy Island and International Rescue” (I’m referring to the second cue in that track). It played for example in “EOS” just after John was rescued by Alan and he looks outside to Thunderbird 5 realizing Alan must destroy it if worse comes to worse. Right, so those are a thing. But will there be new music based on tunes from Barry Gray’s original soundtrack? That would be really cool, but I think Nick and Ben Foster are trying to do their own thing and paying homage to individual Barry Gray cues is not on their mind. I think this comes down to us fans really wanting this and feeling it’s so so important, when in actual fact it isn’t really all that important at all. It would be nice, though. I think at this point we can only hope!
Why doesn’t Brains stutter? He… does
stutter. Every episode. While it’s definitely not as pronounced as the
original Brains from 50 years ago, he still does stutter. Right now the
run-time of this show is 22 minutes per episode, and I think they’ve
struck the perfect balance of stutter time, not taking up too much
Why is Brains suddenly Asian? Brains
has turned Indian, this is true. This is a difficult subject as the
threat of being called a racist on this is big. Thunderbirds has a
mostly white audience, however there are a lot of other races watching this show as well (for example there’s a huge
audience for it in Japan) so to give those audiences some
representation it’s actually a pretty awesome move for people to put in
main characters that aren’t white in their show. This is why we have Colonel Casey, Kayo and Brains that aren’t white. As
for why Brains? Well if you change one Tracy you probably have to
change all of them so the boys and grandma are out. Then you have Parker
and Penny and those characters are so iconic british that to change them would be blasphemous. Brains however still looks iconic, however his skin is darker. In any case, there are Indian kids out there who can look at Brains and relate to him and their race is represented. That is very
important in an environment where 90% of main characters of children’s
shows and well… pretty much everything in entertainment are white. If
it still annoys you, consider that if you take away his Indian race now
he’s still exactly the same character as the original. I’d even go so far to say that Brains is the closest to the original as any of the characters, including Parker.
If Brains is Indian, why is he called “Hiram K Hackenbacker”? That’s not an Indian name! Well,
before “Heavy Metal” aired I’d have used the excuse that information
from the original doesn’t necessarily transfer to the new show and tell
you that this Brains might not be called Hiram K Hackenbacker at all. However, now that Professor Moffat
has called Brains Hiram, all bets are off. In any case, it is also
probably good to keep in mind that in the original series episode “Alias Mr Hackenbacker”
it is actually Brains’ undercover name and not his real name. Therefor
whether or not it sounds Indian is irrelevant. It’s the same for the
movie Thunderbird 6 where he travels under the name Mr X.
Kayo and Thunderbird S:
Why have we seen so little of Kayo and Thunderbird S so far? This is actually due to the time in which these episodes were written. The writing process was very fast and fragmented which resulted in writers not knowing how to write for Kayo and Thunderbird S, as there was no precedent. This explains why Kayo and Thunderbird S are absent from a lot of the episodes in the first part of series 1.
Will we see more Kayo and Thunderbird S? Yes, we will! According to scriptwriter Peter Briggs there are definitely two episodes coming that will feature Kayo and Thunderbird S, the first of which is “Falling Skies” which is a contender to be the very next new episode. Also guys, with 39 more episodes to go, do you really think they’re just gonna ignore this plot point all the way through the end? ;)
Wait, why is Tin Tin called Kayo? Not long ago Steven Spielberg released a film based on the french Hergé comic character of Tin Tin. Confusion in names and character name rights made it so that Tin Tin’s name had to be replaced. To make it a little easier on viewers, the new character of Kayo is definitely different from the original and more sweeter Tin Tin from 1965. Kayo’s full name is Tanusha “Kayo” Kyrano, making her still the daughter of Kyrano (a character who we haven’t seen in the new show yet) and therefore niece of the Hood, like in the original show. Kayo is a play on K-O (Knocked Out) as she apparently has quite a punch.
Where is Jeff Tracy?! Oh yes, how I wish the show would address this just a little more. Alright. Jeff Tracy is missing in action (maybe together with Kyrano, but we don’t know that yet). The Hood is apparently involved and possibly responsible.
Why is Jeff Tracy gone?! This is a very interesting question and we’ve now had 13 episodes to see why. Headwriter Rob Hoegee decided at an early stage that if you have Jeff Tracy in the picture he is the one doing all the decision making, taking all that away from the Tracy brothers. The focus in the original was too much on Jeff and not on the boys. However he didn’t want to completely write out the character, because he knew fans would take offense to that, so he made him missing-in-action so that Jeff still has a presence in the boys’ heart. In my honest opinion, I totally had my doubts about this, but it really works!
When will Jeff be coming back? He will not be back in episodes 14 through 26 and he will not return in series 2 as a main character. There might be flashbacks or hints, or possibly even short scenes with him, but that is just wild speculation. According to Peter Briggs, the writer of the yet to be released “Heist Society” there will be more mentions of Jeff in the second part of series 1.
Will we see…? There’s actually very little information available on what we’re going to see in the new episodes. If you have completed The Hood Challenge on the official episode, you are rewarded with a clip from “Falling Skies” one of the episodes of the second part of the first series. In that episode something goes wrong with a space hotel that Brains designed with Lady Penelope and Parker on it. This episode is possibly number 14 and the very next new episode we’re going to see. There’s also going to be an episode called “Designated Driver” in which we finally meet Lady Penelope’s aunt Sylvia, played by Sylvia Anderson. We also are going to see an episode called “Heist Society” written by Fanderson and TAG(2015) facebook page regular Peter Briggs, which features an underwater rescue by Gordon, and some classic Lady Penelope and Parker action. This episode is also a sequel of sorts to “Heavy Metal” and will indeed again feature Professor Moffat.
Will we see this and that backstory from the original show in the new show? No, I’m sorry, we probably won’t. As I’ve explained in the Stingray and scaling question above, everything that might be canon to the original show is not necessarily canon to the new show. It might eventually be as soon as they release behind-the-scenes or in-universe information books, but even those can all be rewritten by writers for the actual episodes. So we probably won’t be seeing any of that stuff as I doubt the people writing this show are aware of all this backstory. So as people asked, will we see Gordon’s hydrofoil accident, or hear about it? I’m gonna put my money on “no, we’re not going to see or hear about that”, I’m sorry.
Will Virgil play the piano or paint pictures? Seeing as there is a piano and there is an easel in the Tracy Lounge I think it will probably happen. Rob Hoegee has even, in a twitter conversation, teased that we will indeed see Virgil Tracy “tickling the ivories in some future episodes” hinting that we will at least see him playing piano.
When will we see Lady Penelope’s Mansion? We have actually seen the inside of her Mansion at the end of “Unplugged”. We have already seen a bit of the outside in behind-the-scenes pictures. Seeing as it’s such a big model I doubt we’ll have to wait a lot, and I think we can be sure to say that it will feature in “Designated Driver”.
Will there be more episodes focusing on a single character instead of the entire team? There are 39 more episodes scheduled to come out after the first 13. I’d be devastated if there weren’t any episodes focusing on particular characters :)
Will there be any LGBT characters in series 2? While I certainly hope to see this, for the same reason as I’ve talked about when explaining why Brains is now Indian, this is something that I don’t expect to see and will be highly surprised when they do (in a good way!). Even Brains’ skin color seems to garner a lot of (unjustified) hate, it might put viewers off to see that the characters they loved for 50 years are different to what they thought. However, I think that’s a bit of a small-minded thing to think, remember that there are a lot of older fans who might be too old and stubborn to accept that LGBT people are a real thing and that they must be treated with as much respect as anyone else, this might cause more backlash than do good. In any case, like with Brains, it’s doubtful that they will address this head-on and might only hint at LGBT characteristics, but I do feel like the main characters are all pretty open-minded. I’m unsure whether aromantic or asexual falls under the LGBT group, I’m putting it in here for simplicity’s sake. I do need to comment that I am very doubtful anything regarding sex or sexual behavior will have any place in this show. But in conclusion, I do not feel that Thunderbirds Are Go is obligated to address these issues, but if they do and do it well it would certainly elevate the show to the next level.
Will we see more focus on brotherly relationships and less of the unnecessary/implausible crushes? I’ve
copied this question almost verbatim, because I feel a little…
against this tone of voice? We will probably see a focus on brotherly
relationships in episodes to come (which is something I think we see
every episode anyway, I mean… that’s what the banter is between the
guys, right?). As for “implausible” crushes? Implausible based on what?
The original show? They’re just different universes and I happen to
quite like the Gordon/Penelope relationship. In a situation like
this when doing a reboot, there will always be people that are on both
ends of the spectrum regarding whether or not they like a relationship
that wasn’t in the original. But I’d rather them going and get hooked at
one point than look at Alan who spent most of the original series trying to get it on with Tin Tin and then with no explanation suddenly goes for Lady Penelope in Thunderbirds Are Go! the movie. On
the other hand, expecting there not to be any romantic relationships or
crushes is also a bit weird. We talked about aromantics and asexuals in
the last question, so with that in mind, I get that not every show needs a romance subplot, because it already is in everything, but remember that the vast majority of the viewers are
into romance and probably the vast majority is cis as well. While I
agree that the show would be better if they’d also cater to non-cis
people, Thunderbirds Are Go is no way obligated to do so. As for will we see more Gordon/Penny? I think it’s probable that we will :) Sorry original question asker.
Will we see characters with disabilities? It is possible that we could be seeing people in wheelchairs or blind people. Apparently these are things that are a little more likely to show up in shows like this. The question is, how would this relate to the rescues, or how would it add to the story? If you’re thinking of representation, which I talked about with the Brains questions, then yeah if would be great, but since these are a little less on the controversy side you could actually put it into the story, which might make it a little more likely. However, personally I’m tired of seeing people in fiction with disabilities in which they suffer through life instead of adjusting and living a fulfilling life regardless of their disability, because the latter is a far more realistic version of events. So while they might show people with disabilities, I hope they do them proper justice (like what Avatar: The Last Airbender did with Toph for example). The same goes for autism. While I doubt they will directly come out and say characters are autistic, it could be that they have characters with autistic traits.
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thunderbird two, so the next in line is virge. here’s his 1965 puppet face as compared to his 2015 CGI face.
again, like with scott, his current face is pretty close to his old face. the face shape is pretty much the same, and he still has the same chin dimple and even his nasolabial creases are in the same place! nice. but new virgil’s eyes are a bit bigger and open a bit wider, and his brows are thinner on the outer side. they look very styled! this guy is very meticulous about his appearance. i think the big difference really is the hair because its now black. it’s alright from the front, strangely long at the back which makes it look just that little bit mullet-y from the wrong angle. but the way it’s styled upwards, to a point, that’s the sort of hairstyle that says, yep, this guy spends a lot of time on his look. and now we’ll take a closer look at his look!
oh man. just look at that. now, when we first saw him, pretty sure everyone ever thought ‘lumberjack’. that’s useful, because when we think of lumberjacks, we think of big, strong guys with axes who we’d count on to rescue us from wolves who just ate our grandma and are sizing us up for seconds. lumberjacks are pretty much a symbol of ‘strength and masculinity’, which is certainly how we’re meant to view virgil, at least on the surface. we’ve been assured by rob hoegee, head writer, that his artistic side is supposed to factor into his 2015 incarnation, though we haven’t seen any indication of that yet. his bio states that despite his appearance, he’s probably the sweetest of the tracys. now, the thing that strikes me about virgil’s outfit is: hey, you live on a tropical island, and you look ready for autumnal weather. he’s wearing the flannel shirt, winter boots, got the undershirt as well…that, along with what we’re told about his personality suggests…he’s maybe not as comfortable in his own skin as we think he is. he’s covering up a lot, physically, though i don’t know if that’s supposed to be reflective of his personality or anything. it could be. other notes: his jeans are stuffed into his boots, and i think someone pointed out that his shoelaces aren’t even tied. also, like scott, he has his sleeves rolled up, which tells us he’s another guy who works with his hands, and isn’t afraid to get stuck in and help out.
moving onto his IR uniform. lot of difference here! as with scott, his sash is now a toolbelt, and the colour matches his thunderbird craft. it looks a bit like mountain-climbing gear, and his stuff is: remote control smart watch for TB2, high-power LED spotlight, multi-function utility kit, and a modular strength safety harness. i’ll admit, to me, that all reads as ‘babble babble jargon jargon funny words’. virgil’s outfit is probably the loosest-fitting of the tracy brothers, there’s many reasons why that could be - they made it big in case he beefs up any more, the fabric doesn’t have a lot of stretch, etc. but despite this, we can still see that, yep, he is the buffest of the bros, and that reflects his thunderbird craft, which, in the words of thomas brodie-sangster, is ‘the cool, heavy lifting one’. what i really love about TAG is how they are able to give the characters unique body types, since they all had the same big bobblehead body in the 60s.
and to finish up, here’s his IR badge! a bit weird, cause TB2 doesnt take off vertically, but it looks so rad that i can’t fault it for that. i’ll get to work on alan’s comparison post tomorrow :)