This week’s episode of Disney XD’s deeply brilliant Gravity Falls is out of control. We mean it: utter madness has overtaken the town, with waves of weirdness washing over everything and monsters (led by the infamous Bill Cipher) making life very, very difficult for Dipper, Wendy, and the rest of the gang. Obviously, with an episode as apocalyptic as this (you can read our in-depth recap here), we had to get some answers.
So we reached out to Alex Hirsch, creator of Gravity Falls (and co-writer of this episode) to try and answer some of these mysteries. Here we talk about the alternate credit sequence, Alex’s favorite monster, and how Louis C.K. got involved in the episode.
Everything has changed in Gravity Falls, even the opening credits. Can you talk about creating this nightmare version?
We figured that if Bill ever had total control of reality, he’d destroy everything he could—even the fourth wall. In order to show just how insane things had gotten, we asked ourselves, what would the theme song look like if Bill directed it? The result is something totally horrifying, just in time for Halloween. The actual art direction was done as always by our Emmy Award-winning art director Ian Worrel, who may act calm on the outside but definitely has a little Bill on the inside.
Bill’s gang is totally nuts. How fun was it to design those creatures and do you have a favorite?
I have to credit the design of Bill’s henchmen to our excellent character designers, especially our in-house monster expert Robertryan Cory. I told him that Bill has spent eons amassing criminals and lunatics from different dimensions and to go nuts. Cory has one of the strangest and most powerful imaginations I’ve ever met—these creatures are a glimpse at what it’s like inside his brain. My favorite might be Hectorgon, the red Hexagon with the bowler hat (whose fearful grunts are voiced by Over The Garden Wall creator Pat McHale).
Can you talk about Louis C.K.’s cameo as a giant head with an arm coming out of the top? How did that come about? Is he a big fan of the show?
When I found out Louis was a fan of the show, I had to reach out to him. I’m a lifelong fan. I sent him an email titled “Want to voice a disembodied head for Gravity Falls?” and to my total surprise he wrote back and said sure. Such a surreal day. He improvised a lot of the end credits tag, especially “I’ve gotta call my mother.” We have nearly 30 minutes of just him improvising different ways a monster could beg someone to get into his mouth.
During the amazing chase that ends the episode, we actually get to see Jason Ritter and Linda Cardellini! How did this idea come about and how thrilled were you to show fans the actors in live action?
This is a huge climactic episode and we wanted to really pull out all the stops. Jason and Linda are such good sports and it was ridiculously fun having them finally dress up as these characters. The weirdest thing was seeing the final product, because Linda looks like a very convincing Wendy, but Jason looks like Dipper on steroids. Everyone in the office cracked up when we saw the final footage.