If you’re a real movie nerd, chances are you get as excited when you see a supporting character with a familiar face as you do when one of your faves is the star. Let’s celebrate these heroes!…
Back in the early World Wide Web days, defunct site Fametracker had an awesome column called “Hey, It’s That Guy!”, celebrating character actors and actresses from all your favorite things. So we’re showing our love for that idea every so often in our Friday Five by doing the same, and this week we’re on a voyage to the Land of Ooo! Over the course of eight seasons, which are coming to a conclusion soon (sob!), Adventure Time has featured a cornucopia of amazing guest voices alongside its regular cast. Some have been pretty frequent visitors (hey, George Takei!) or even launched some of the most memorable characters in the canon. (We see you, Fionna’s two dreamy love interests.)
For our HITP in this Friday Five, we’re looking at some our favorite guest stars in roles both large and small, brief and prolific – usually because you’d be surprised it’s that person at all, but also in cases where man, they just make us laugh so much…
Maria Bamford (Wildberry Princess)
The Land of Ooo is a place with a cornucopia of princesses. A wealth of princesses. Which is a blessing because, who doesn’t need more princesses? – all of them unique and wonderful. Truth be told, this goes beyond a mere drive-by voice appearance; stand-up legend and Lady Dynamite star Maria Bamford actually voices quite a few minor characters in the Adventure Time realm, including Slime Princess, Dr. Ice Cream, Clown Nurse, Huntress Wizard… the list goes on. I’m singling this one out however for a few reasons: One, I’m a huge fan of Bamford’s. Two, it was the first character I realized she voiced on the show. And three… WILDBERRY PRINCESS IS THE CUTEST YO, ALL CAPS LOVE. The way Bamford channels her extreme talent for oddball voices into that breathy little pipsqueak is priceless. All hail the teeniest crown.
Henry Rollins (Bob Rainicorn)
While Finn maneuvers his way through a magical type of adolescence, with more than one possible first love, there’s been no doubt that since day one Jake and Lady Rainicorn were soulmates. One of the most heartwarming subplots of Adventure Time has always been these two falling in love and raising a family together – their kids are pretty rad, too. (Especially T.V., voiced by Dan “Tina Belcher” Mintz!) One of the greatest all-time guest voices, however has to be soon-to-be rainicorn grandpa and punk legend Henry Rollins, who turns up to meet his future son-in-law (along with wife Ethel, voiced by Laura Silverman) with a different kinda gentle dad-vibe in that often gravelly voice. (Rollins himself also wears dad-glasses in real life now, so there’s a bit of a resemblance here too. Heh.)
Ming Na-Wen (Farmworld Minerva)
Boy, the timelines in Adventure Time are mad difficult to keep up with sometimes. Take, for example, the saga of Finn’s mother: As of the eighth season episode “Hide and Seek”, it was established that Finn’s biological mother, Minerva is alive in the Multiverse (i.e. the main universe of the show), and she’s a kind soul just like her kiddo (voiced by Irish actress Sharon Horgan). We’ve previously seen Finn’s mom in a very different light though, back when he was thrown into an alternate timeline called Farmworld after attempting to wish The Lich out of existence. Through her periodic appearances, you might not immediately recognize Minerva’s voice here… well unless you’re a big Mulan fan, and then it’s probably pretty obvious that it’s Ming Na-Wen behind that magenta dress. SURPRISE!Melinda May!
Kumail Nanjiani (Prismo)
You saw a bit of him in that last clip, but allow yourselves now to bask in the immensely powerful and yet still so chill it’s ridic glow of Prismo! The two-dimensional being who lives in the Time Room in the middle of the Multiverse is so omnipotent he can grant wishes in addition to doling out sincere advice (he and Jake have had a lot of meaningful heart-to-hearts), but he’s always going to make sure you know the consequences of what you’re wishing for. To say that without the brilliant, laidback tone that Kumail Nanjiani brings to Primso he’d be a very different character is an understatement; the writer/comedian’s deadpan delivery and ability to channel calm – even when things get super weird – is a sheer delight.
Mark Hamill (Fear Feaster)
There have definitely been some pretty big names who have cruised through the guest booth of the Adventure Time recording studio over the years, so it’s probably no surprise that Star Wars legend and incredibly prolific voice actor Mark Hamill would find himself in that seat eventually. What makes his arrival notable is how they found possibly the perfect role for Hamill’s vocal talents – that of Fear Feaster, the physical manifestation of Finn’s fears who emerges from the boy’s guts to torment him when things go real, real sour. In his role as the animated incarnation of The Joker, Hamill is arguably the favorite of many fans to portray Batman’s nemesis in any medium; it’s precisely that gift for transforming his natural tones into a gnarled, sinister sneer that makes his take on Fear Feaster so memorable.