Chris Miller and Phil Lord explain why Gandhi isn't part of the revived teen animated series.
Created by Bill Lawrence, Chris Miller and Phil Lord, the show picks up two decades later after Abe (Will Forte), Cleo (Mitra Jouhari taking over for Christa Miller), JFK (Chris Miller) and Joan (Nichole Sullivan), among others, were frozen in the season 1 finale before the show was canceled over controversy related to one of its central characters, a young version of Gandhi (originally voiced by Michael McDonald).
While the series sees the main foursome returning after being thawed out in a very special season 2 premiere, Gandhi is not among them. In fact, the character is no longer part of the series, with Clone High revealing that he is still frozen.
Although he doesn't physically return, there are several nods to the beloved yet controversial sidekick in the first episode. At times, Abe acknowledges Gandhi's absence before slowly moving on to engage with other students, particularly among the slate of new characters, including Harriet (Ayo Edebiri), Frida (Vicci Martinez), Confucius (Kelvin Yu) and Topher Bus (Neil Casey).
When it comes to leaving Gandhi behind, the creators tell ET it is all part of the series' growth and expansion with season 2. "The show does have to evolve and grow from season to season. It's what happens in those teen dramas in the first place," Lord says. "Like Jason Street is a huge part of [Friday Night Lights]. And then suddenly, he's off in college. So, we kind of wanted to treat it like that."
He adds, "It's a way to shake up the character set. You know, Abe needs to find a new friend and we tried to make a virtue of the fact [Gandhi] was gonna remain on ice. And I think it does a great job of creating a problem for Abe to solve."
As a result, "there's a Gandhi-size hole to fill," says Miller, who acknowledges that some of the new clones have similarities to Gandhi and what he was going through in season 1. "Confucius definitely also is a character that has a lot to live up to, like to a very revered clone parent and is maybe trying too hard. Frida also has sort of this cooler, laid-back version of that Gandhi energy."
Miller says that "it was interesting to throw a bunch of new characters into the mix and just see how the dynamics change. It was really fun."
As for Forte, "It was really fun how they handled that," he says.
"That's one of the fun things about this show is just seeing all the stuff thrown at all the characters," Forte continues. "Abe is just like any young kid. And in high school, stuff is flying at you a million miles an hour and you just gotta go with the changes and figure it out on the fly… I love just seeing him continuing to move forward."
As he moves forward, Abe has to navigate relationships with clones, both new and old. "We wanted to bounce Abe around as he tries to find friends," Lord says. "So, it's sorta Confucius, then it's kind of Frida. Then he tries to hang out with JFK and Topher Bus. He's sort of at sea, trying to find out who his tribe is."
Clone High season 2 premiered with two episodes on May 23. Two new episodes will debut each Thursday starting June 1 on Max.
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