“Just smile and wave, boys. Smile and wave.”
Skipper, Kowalski, Rico and Private; the world’s most renowned spy penguins go undercover once again as they’re making their triumphant return through the spin-off of the “Madagascar” film series, “Penguins of Madagascar“.
From being the supporting characters of “Madagascar” film series to playing lead characters in their own animated TV series and feature film, these scene-stealing penguins from Madagascar are undoubtedly some of the most lovable characters in the animated world. Each of the penguins have distinct and strong personalities, but they’re better as a group, especially under the wing of Skipper the leader.
All thanks to Twentieth Century Fox, the origins of these penguins will finally be unveiled through DreamWorks Animation’s “Penguins of Madagascar“. The film is directed by Eric Darnell and Simon J. Smith with characters creator Tom McGrath returning to voice Skipper. In the spin-off film, the penguins will be joining forces with a chic undercover inter-species spy organisation called The North Wind to defeat the villainous Dr. Octavius Brine and stop him from taking over and destroying the world.
Whether or not you are planning to watch this film, here are some of the things you might want to know from the set of “Penguins of Madagascar”:
1. Benedict Cumberbatch’s first-ever comic-con
Despite his breakthrough role in BBC TV series “Sherlock“, British actor Benedict Cumberbatch had never been to San Diego Comic-Con until he scored his role as Agent Classified in “Penguins of Madagascar”. Needless to say, the Dreamworks panel became one of the most popular panels at the comic-con. The actor also shared the stage with host Craig Ferguson, Penguins directors Simon J. Smith and Eric Darnell, Madagascar co-creator and voice actor Tom McGrath, and Oscar-nominated actor John Malkovich.
2. Penguins almost got cut from the first “Madagascar” film
According to Tom McGrath, the penguins of Madagascar almost got cut from the first “Madagascar” film due to their short-lived appearance in the film. However, their short-lived appearance also helped the producers expand their characters and story through the other 2 “Madagascar” films, 80 episodes of an animated TV series, and 10 video games.
3. “Airplane” star Robert Stack could’ve been the voice of Skipper
Tom McGrath, who is also the creator of the characters originally wanted “Airplane!” actor Robert Stack to voice Skipper. However, the actor passed away before the film production even began. Thus, McGrath took over the voice acting job while directing the “Madagascar” film series.
4. John Malkovich was offered the role 3 ½ years ago
Set to be the main antagonist of the film, Oscar-winning actor John Malkovich who has also attended 2014 San Diego Comic-Con, revealed that he was offered the villainous role 3 ½ years ago. He thought it was a funny idea to have him to voice an octopus but he accepted the role as it will be his first animated role in his entire life.
5. Benedict Cumberbatch’s favourite Agent Classified line
Before the film was releasead, DreamWorks held an online Q & A session “Dashboard Confessions” for fans to connect with Benedict Cumberbatch on Tumblr. When asked about his favourite Agent Classified line, Benedict Cumberbatch answered, “It’s like trying to talk to my parents.” He then jokingly said, “My parents will never forgive me for that.”
6. The Aquarium of the Pacific named a baby penguin after Skipper
Due to Skipper’s popularity, DreamWorks Animation celebrate the debut of “Penguins of Madagascar by naming a baby penguin after Skipper. Skipper the baby penguin can be seen at the Aquarium of the Pacific in the US.
7. 4-issue comic series based on Penguins of Madagascar
The penguins of Madagascar will make their comic book debut soon as Titan Comics is set to launch an all-new Penguins of Madagascar Comic based on DreamWorks Animation’s upcoming film of the same name. Titan’s new 4-issue comic series is written by comedy genius Alex Matthews (Phoenix, Dandy) with eye-popping art from Lucas Fereyra. The first issue is scheduled for release at the end of 2014.
8. Many voices of “Penguins of Madagascar”
Besides providing voices for Kowalski, Miller is best known for directing “Shrek the Third” and “Puss in Boots “. He worked as a story artist for “Shrek” and voiced the Magic Mirror and Geppetto characters for the film. He also provided the voice for the puppet master and the mascot in “Shrek the Third”. Miller is currently set to direct “Puss in Boots 2: Nine Lives & 40 Thieves” and the film will be released on November 2, 2018.
As for Tom McGrath, he worked as a voice actor for DreamWorks animated features like “Flushed Away” in 2006 and “Shrek the Third” in 2007. However, he is best known for his voice as Skipper. Christopher Knights, on the other hand, is the voice of Private. He launched his voice acting career by voicing the Three Blind Mice in the “Shrek” film series. Conrad Vernon is the voice actor for Rico but also signed on as a writer for “Shrek” and was responsible for the voice of Gingerbread Man. He made his directorial debut through “Shrek 2”. He is also the voice of chimpanzee in the “Madagascar” film series,
9. Penguins’ distinct personalities
The best way to identify the penguins are through their personalities and their appearances. Skipper is the team’s fearless leader that demands loyalty from his regimented flock. He has a very fragile ego and has a soft spot for Private. He values order above anything else but cannot take the blame when he’s at fault.
Rico can be recognised through his feathers that resembles a Mohawk on his head. He lives to blow things up and his favourite catchphrase is “KABOOM!”. He could be an effective weapon when he’s kept on a tight leash. Private is the “baby” of the group that speaks with a perfect British accent (but Skipper and the others think that his accent is fake). Despite being the most inexperienced member of the group, he has the biggest heart of them all and turned out to be a very good fighter in the animated TV series.
As for Kowalski, he is the smartest, tallest penguin in the group. He is the Second Commander to Skipper and always forms plan for the group. Although his knowledge is much needed, he also tends to unnecessarily over-analyse simple situations.
10. Penguins of Madagascar: Black & White Christmas Album
Other than the original soundtrack album, Relativity Media Group will feature 5 holiday songs in their upcoming Christmas album, “The Penguins of Madagscar: Black & White Christmas Album”. The film’s original music is composed by Lorne Balfe (Megamind, The Dilemma, The Bible) and the album will be released on November 25, 2014.
Presented in 3D, “Penguins of Madagascar” is slated for release on November 27, 2014. The film also starred Benedict Cumberbach, Ken Jeong, Peter Stormare, Annet Mahendru, and John Malkovic.