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Rob McElhenney, Charlotte Nicdao: Pandemic brought 'Mythic Quest' characters closer

Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao, left) and Ian (Rob McElhenney) are getting along at the beginning of Mythic Quest Season 2. Photo courtesy of Apple
Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao, left) and Ian (Rob McElhenney) are getting along at the beginning of "Mythic Quest" Season 2. Photo courtesy of Apple

LOS ANGELES, May 7 (UPI) -- Mythic Quest star and co-creator Rob McElhenney said the COVID-19 pandemic made him rethink the relationship between two of the show's characters -- Ian (McElhenney) and Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao). The two became closer in the special "Quarantine" episode, after constantly butting heads in Season 1, and will continue to do so in Season 2.

"If we were always just constantly at odds with one another, then I don't understand why these two people would ever work together, let alone be as close as they are," McElhenney said in a recent Television Critics Association Zoom panel. "At the end of the day, no matter what, they're going to be there for each other."

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The Apple TV+ original is a workplace comedy in the office of a video game, Mythic Quest. The show produced the "Quarantine" episode remotely after its first season aired.

At the end of "Quarantine," Ian visited a lonely Poppy at home. Nicdao said Season 2 will show how their relationship fares once they're back in the office.

"Who knows if they'll be able to continue to be nice to each other after the fact?" Nicdao said.

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Ian and Poppy's relationship will remain platonic, co-creator Megan Ganz said. Ganz said the love Poppy and Ian share is for the game.

"All of their love is put toward the thing that they do," Ganz said. "It's not going to blossom into anything other than, hopefully, a really committed relationship to make this game as good as it can be."

Mythic Quest Season 2 went back into production in 2020 under COVID-19 safety protocols. The pandemic still works its way into subplots -- including actor F. Murray Abraham's. Abraham plays C.W. Longbottom, the author on whose work the game is based. C.W. continues to work from home at the beginning of Season 2, creating comedic mishaps when his remote communications don't work as intended.

McEhenney said Abraham wanted to appear on set with the other actors. However, McElhenney decided the 81-year-old Oscar-winner was too high-risk to bring to the set, even under safety protocols.

"I said, 'Respectfully, I do not want to be known as the person that got F. Murray Abraham very, very ill,'" McElhenney said.

McElhenney said he allowed Abraham to film scenes for the season's seventh episode in person, with a reduced crew. Abraham said he appreciated his character's Season 2 story lines, trying to figure out Zoom.

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"It gave them an opportunity to laugh at my incompetence with computers," Abraham said.

When Abraham filmed C.W.'s remote working scenes, he was in a hotel. Abraham said he still felt well cared-for by the COVID-19 protocols.

"When I was in the hotel waiting for my turn, every day I was tested, even though I was in the hotel," Abraham said. "It was very reassuring."

While Hollywood productions adapted to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Mythic Quest creators paid attention to how the video game industry adapted. Ganz said Ubisoft, which produces the show, advised them how their gaming division was working through the pandemic.

Ganz said that when Ubisoft switched to remote working, they witnessed a familiar learning curve. Ganz said Zoom snafus, like muting and unmuting, were common no matter what industry one worked in.

The pandemic compromised one Mythic Quest Season 2 episode, co-creator David Hornsby said. The producers were planning an episode around the annual E3 convention for video games. The actual 2020 E3 was canceled.

"We then had to scrap that, because as Ubisoft was saying, no one's doing E3 anymore," Hornsby said.

Mythic Quest Season 2 premieres Friday on Apple TV+. A standalone bonus episode, titled "Everlight," is also available to stream.



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