Gushing Over Charlie Morningstar’s Redesign + New Name, & My Feelings About Hazbin Hotel’s Voice Cast
Not too long ago, it was revealed that not all of the Hazbin Hotel cast members featured in its web pilot would return for the A24 TV series. This was quite a bummer, honestly, especially because Michael Kovach, the protagonist’s voice, was not going to reprise Angel Dust.
A lot of people were understandably upset by this revelation as fans. He, as the character, had sung alongside Kelly “Chi-Chi” Boyer as Cherri Bomb the song “Addict” by Silva Hound. This was then given an animated video by the VivziePop team, which gave Angel Dust much-needed contextualisation. After this extravaganza, I saw someone explain that Angel Dust started as Vivienne Medrano’s comfort character but had become so many others’ comfort now.
But what made me specifically and likely many other fans hugely attached to Angel Dust because of Kovach was because of HuniCast. The highlights of this sporadic podcast hosted by one of the HH staff was hearing Edward Bosco (who is returning though his singing voice Gabriel C. Brown is not) as Alastor and Michael Kovach as Angel Dust voice out comedic scenarios and wickedly flirted either with each other or to Ashley Nichols. It was a good time, and I still go back to watch some of the animatics people made of these moments.
It went to show that these guys had chemistry. It was real. If nothing else, it was real. And the audience was primed for that.
I still don’t fully understand why Kovach was let go. I’ve heard one person explain that it could just be as simple as that because the show is being made with A24, there may be certain actors they are simply not allowed to use. It is a complicated business not many people can understand.
But I’ve also heard some say that it was Medrano’s decision too, which to me seems more likely. Though I lack a source for this, I’ve heard that the HH creator always wanted Angel Dust to sound more like Yakko from Animaniacs. This adds more to my confusion, though, as Kovach did sound like Yakko if Yakko was an actual pornstar- what the fuck am I writing?
It’s possible she either wants to find someone who sounds more like this character than what Kovach is capable of doing. Or maybe she has reassessed what is best for the show and wants to take this character in a non-Yakko direction.
From what I have heard, Medrano knows exactly what she wants in detail for her shows, so I have no doubt she has had to make a hard decision regarding Angel Dust, especially considering how special he is to her. HH is only going to get one run across who knows how many seasons, so I empathise entirely with Medrano wanting to get it done right as she will only get one shot to do so for this IP.
Another possibility that I wouldn’t put past Medrano is that she is trying to get a queer actor to play Angel Dust.
This is tough because Kovach is asexual, and I absolutely count that as being queer. But he’s also cis and straight. In contrast, Angel Dust is hypersexual, gay and does not conform to gender normativity. And I think at the end of the day; I would actually prefer someone who is closer to Angel Dust’s identity and experiences to get the opportunity to play that character.
Recently I brought up Jim Parsons and Neil Patrick Harris in praise of them playing straight characters as ridiculously as possible. But now I question that praise. Because Sheldon Cooper, in retrospect, had he been acted by an ace actor, possibly could have influenced the character to go in that direction and had a character arc about finding romance instead. Or alternatively, why couldn’t Sheldon have just been gay? Why did he have to be heteronormative in the end? Likewise, why couldn’t Barney’s constant bedding of women and macho posturing have been revealed to be a front to cover up his own desires to himself? That would have been quite compelling, actually. Whereas his recurring brother got to be gay instead but in a heteronormative way, i.e. got married and had kids like all the other straight losers.
I know Harris and Parsons were never in the closet, but the point I’m trying to make is that a lot of queer actors are put under pressure to minimise that part of themselves to get any role. And as such, we don’t get as many interesting queer roles, at least not until very recently though I think we still have a long way to go. Check out Telos Productions’ Indiegogo campaign, pretty please.
Honestly, I could go on and on about this problem. But part of why I enjoyed, not entirely, but part of why I enjoyed Q-Force so much was because of its queer cast voicing spy versions of themselves. And part of why I love Helluva Boss, in particular Blitz, is because he is voiced by Brandon Rogers, who is openly gay. And so, if Medrano, who has also said she would like to get actual sex workers to be part of the cast at some stage and not work with already well-established voice actors, wants to give another one of her characters the same treatment, so be it.
After all, HB had its own cast changes, too, after its pilot. At first, I found it jarring, but as I have gotten to know these characters, I see why they made the changes they did, especially in the case of Stolas. And because of how well that change has gone, I’m actually pretty damn hopeful about Angel’s new voice. And still keeping my fingers crossed that Cherri Bomb will get an Australian accent.
But at the same time to paraphrase what Silva Hound tweeted, I hope Kovach can be happy knowing he contributed something unique to the legacy of this character while he got to. Millions of viewers will never forget it.
Either way, I trust Medrano as a creative, and so should everyone.
Now it’s time for me to talk about some exciting stuff.
So after weeks of disappointment at the news about HH’s casting, the first cool thing to drop that immediately got me re-excited about HH was Silva Hound’s latest HH character tie-in song. “Royal Flush”, sung by Mick Lauer and Jonathan Young, is about the character Husk, and now I got feels for this alcoholic gambler. Plus, the song is a banger I can’t stop listening to in the car and at home. By the way, Mick Lauer, who voices Husk, is creating his own JoJo’s Bizarre Adventure web series on his channel Ricepirate, which you should check out and support.
And now Hazbin Hotel’s Twitter account has revealed something on the day that I started writing this. A picture of the character Charlie along with her new surname.
Charlie Magne is now Charlie Morningstar, and I am on board with this rebranding. For those who don’t know Charlie’s original name in full was a play on Charlemagne, who was an Emperor of Rome. Her father Lucifer, the king of Hell, literally means morning star. Once again, Medrano and her team are on point with their demonology.
It also just sounds better, in my opinion. I feel like I could have easily not picked up on her last name had they stuck with Magne, but with Morningstar, I think people will remember that easily. It’s just so much more iconic, I think.
As for her redesign, I can see why some may still be attached to the pilot version still. She has always been cute. But honestly, if you can’t see how much cooler she has evolved now, you probably don’t exist.
Charlie Morningstar has gone through several stages of design over Medrano’s conception of her. And now, in what I believe is her final form, at least when the TV show starts, the character is sporting a lot less black, and a lot more red, which I think suits the aesthetic of this show’s version of Hell.
She now has red eyes that make her look more appropriately demonic than ever but still human enough to adore. She’s got a few sharper angles to her outfit that help age her up a bit from the pilot. Her old clothes consisted primarily of red, black and whites, and admittedly she did look a little like a stewardess rather than royalty. The red matching tux makes her look more like a modern-day bisexual demon princess now. She also has a pointed fringe which makes her look a little less innocent than she did in the pilot, which I think she needs considering she had a bit of a “Tom Cruise moment” in the pilot.
I am just absolutely excited for this incredibly uniquely evil and unapologetically queer animated musical series to drop. I don’t know what the details are for its release, but I hope to review this series weekly soon. It will just depend on whether I can get legal access to it as I live in Australia. But one way or another, I’m going to talk about it.