The Cast and Creators of Disney’s “Hamster & Gretel” Talk About the Family Dynamics of the New Animated Series at Comic-Con

“For me, Dan does feel like family,” Alyson Stoner said of working with Dan Povenmire, co-creator of Phineas and Ferb, on his new series Hamster & Gretel. The actress was in her early teenage years when she originated the role of Isabella on Phineas and Ferb, one she recently reprised in Phineas and Ferb the Movie: Candace Against the Universe. And while her villainous role in Hansel & Gretel is a departure for the actress (she voices Lauren, aka The Destructress), that family feel is still omnipresent in the process. “Out in the real world, I often feel self-conscious to be super expressive and so Dan is such an anchor for me that I know there’s nothing I could possibly express or explore tonally in character that would be too outlandish. That kind of safety and trust allows someone with my personality to feel like I can really go for it.” I got to meet the creative team and cast during San Diego Comic-Con, where they opened up about Disney Channel’s newest animated series.

Facing off against The Destructress and her brother Lyle, aka Fistpuncher, is Gretel and her pet hamster, Hamster. Alyson Stoner got her role on this project while helping Dan Povenmire by providing a temp voice for the Hamster & Gretel pitch reel and the same is also true of the voice of Gretel. “I’ve done temp lines before, I’ve done auditions, but this was the first time where it was just a transition from doing the temp lines to doing the actual voice and it was so exciting,” explained Meli Povenmire, Dan’s daughter, who voices Gretel. Other actresses were auditioned, but nobody else fit the character’s voice quite like Meli. “It didn’t really hit me until a few months into recording, like, oh my gosh, this is happening. I am this voice.”

“You’re going to get a lot of iconic bops in Hamster & Gretel,” Liza Koshy shared, who grew up as a Phineas and Ferb super fan. It was her online video performing the show’s theme song that caught Meli’s attention, who showed it to Dan, which led to her voicing Veronica Hill, a local reporter who specializes in covering superheroes. “It’s a family show, but also has so many funny adult jokes that sneak in that kids will get years from now. It’s just brilliantly written. It’s so funny and witty and strong and just reflects family and friendship.”

Michael Cimino of Hulu’s Love, Victor makes his voice acting debut as Kevin, Gretel’s older brother who, sadly, doesn’t end up getting superpowers. Thankfully, the role did allow Michael to pursue another dream of his. “I’ve always had a passion for music, so it’s cool to combine two things that I really enjoy together because I’ve never had a chance to do that before this job,” he shared. “I told Dan we’ve gotta write a song for the show together.” The two got together for an afternoon and wrote a song called “I Could Be Bad,” which will be on the first soundtrack album from the series, available the day it premieres on August 12th.



Leading the writer’s room is co-producer Joanna Hausmann, who first caught Dan Povenmire’s attention years ago for her comedic YouTube videos about being bicultural. “Dan brought a few writers from Phineas and Ferb, Milo Murphy, and then we really wanted to bring in Latinx voices,” Joanna shared, whose own Venezuelan-American heritage matches that of the Gretel and Kevin’s family. “I was really looking for Latinx voices that were different than my own. I was looking for different parts of the experience, people who were young and hungry. Leading the room is really interesting because half of them are veterans; they know what they’re doing, and then you have half-green writers who are hungry and ready to attack. We also have writers more in tune with action and how to write stuff that makes sense for the storyboard artists to then animate really dramatically. And then we have writers who are more tuned into writing punchlines. We try to have a rule of four jokes per page, so everyone has their own superpower, ironically, in a superhero show. Every writer represents a unique skill that makes it a cohesive unit. I can’t imagine the show without one of them. They’re all an integral part of making this.”

Dan Povenmire’s wife us Venezuelan-American just like Joanna and Gretel and Kevin’s parents are based on them. However, Joanna added her own family into the character of Carolina. “The character is named after Joanna’s sister, but is based on Joanna’s mother,” revealed Caroline Ravassa, who voices Carolina in the series. Caroline is Colombian-American and Joanna tried to find an actress who was Venezuelan-American to fit the character, but nobody did it as well as Caroline. Being a bilingual actress, Caroline as also able to help infuse the series with organic moments of Spanish dialogue. “I grew up speaking sometimes more English with my mom, but then I’d throw in a Spanish word,” she shared.

With a built-in fan base from Phineas and Ferb and Milo Murphy’s Law, there’s already a lot of excitement for Hamster & Gretel, which is set in the same universe. “We don’t have concrete plans other than we drop hints that they’re in the same place periodically,” Dan Povenmire shared when asked about the possibility of a crossover episode. “We don’t have that story figured out because we have a big sweeping story that goes through the second season, knock on wood, but we always sort of have that in the back of our minds. How are we going to put these guys together at some point? Because I think it would be really fun. I always love revisiting those worlds. I’d love to do one where Phineas, Ferb, Milo, and the Hamster and Gretel crew are all together.”

Hamster & Gretel premieres on August 12th on Disney Channel.

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Alex Reif
Alex joined the Laughing Place team in 2014 and has been a lifelong Disney fan. His main beats for LP are Disney-branded movies, TV shows, books, music and toys. He recently became a member of the Television Critics Association (TCA).