- Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill! brings a comedic twist to Dungeons & Dragons boss battles, following level one heroes facing dangerous monsters.
- The series surprises with humanity and heart at it’s core, showing the heroes’ bravery and nobility in the face of certain failure.
- The show features a new cast of players and Dungeon Masters in each episode, with a live audience that adds to the energy and fun of the game.
Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill! one of the new original shows launching with the Dungeons & Dragons: Adventures FAST channel, available on Amazon Freevee, and Plex brings a comedic twist to the traditional Dungeons & Dragons battle. The series follows a new group of heroes as they face off against some of the most dangerous monsters in Dungeons & Dragons. The twist is that these heroes are all level one, meaning they are at their weakest and no match for the threats they face.
Although these heroes are doomed, they face their fate with nobility and bravery, along with a hefty dose of comedy. Each episode features not only a new cast of players but also a new Dungeon Master. The players include Aabria Iyengar, Seth Green, Anjali Bhimani, Skeet Ulrich, Sean Gunn, Mica Burton, Patton Oswalt, and series co-creator Matthew Lillard. Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill! was created by the founders of Beadle and Grimm’s, with Lillard, Bill Rehor, Jon Ciccolini, and Charlie Rehor all appearing in the series as well.
Screen Rant exclusively interviewed co-creator Matthew Lillard about Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill! He explains what inspired the series and how the heart that shines through in each episode surprised him. Lillard also discusses the filming process and how it impacted his own character creation process as a player.
Matthew Lillard On Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill!
Screen Rant: Oh my gosh, I love the show, man.
Matthew Lillard: Oh, you do? Oh, that’s good.
I binged all the episodes we got in a day. It’s so much fun.
Matthew Lillard: Oh, that’s good. Thank you so much. We’re very excited. That makes me very happy.
What inspired the initial idea because having level one characters go up against the big boss monsters is hilarious and it’s not something I’ve ever seen before.
Matthew Lillard: Yeah, the reality is that we were trying to figure out a way for Beadle and Grimm’s to expand our brand. We saw, obviously, huge opportunity in streaming. Everyone was doing it, obviously, the success of Critical Tole, the success of Glass Cannon Network. All these different companies are finding their way through and we tried. We tried to do some streaming games. It’s not how we consume Duneongs & Dragons so it didn’t feel authentic to us. And then we started talking about what would we do? How would we want to do it? And this is what we landed on. For us, it’s super funny.
We are all performers, four of the five of us went to acting school together. So the idea of doing it in front of a live audience really seemed to work for us. We liked the fact that it was funny. As we went through production, we found there’s a core of humanity and heart behind it, which we didn’t see coming in. That we found and really embraced towards the end of production. So, yeah, the short answer is we were trying to grow the brand. And the longer answer is that we just sort of fell in love with this thing and started to put it together.
Can you talk to me about the live audience? Because I’ve never seen that before and then the way that they’re actually able to have some effect on the show itself is very, very cool.
Matthew Lillard: Yeah. So, every time you get in front of an audience as an actor you come to life. And what happened is that we wanted to practice the show. We had this idea, we wanted to do it in front of an audience. And so we pitched the show to WotC and eOne. We became partners on it and we were going into pre-production. Going into pre-production, our thought was that we really had to test it. We had to test to see if we were going to bring in 20 different casts, 20 different DMS to do shows, we had to make sure that the actual structure worked.
So we put it in the laboratory and the laboratory we put it in was in front of a live audience. The Guild Hall in Burbank was the birth of sort of our live play. We did an eight-week run or six-week run at Guild Hall. We passed out flyers, and the first night we got there, I think there were eight people there to watch the show. The second week, there were, like, 16 people third week it was, like, 25, and that fourth week we had to move to the back to get more room. And the last week we did, it was standing room only.
Same thing with Scott Passarella. Scott Passarella is that musician that we found through mutual friends in the improv world. Because we love the idea of having somebody that could accompany the live play. And so we brought Scott in, and he was like, Yeah, I’ll show up. I’ll bring my keyboard and I’ll play. The confluence of ideas and opportunity came together in a really profound way and made the show better. And has defined what Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill! is.
I love the music. And then I feel like the casting process had to have been very fun. But also, it feels like you have to have a certain mentality to go into a game knowing you’re not going to win. What was that process like?
Matthew Lillard: Yeah, the great thing is that—that’s not true. Every single one of those characters goes into the game trying to win desperately. It’s not until the end that they find out that they fail. That was our point. Our point is, look, this is what heroes do. They look at the odds, and they become heroes. That’s sort of, when I speak about what we found over the course of plays, we found this real richness of humanity. It is what you do in these moments of tragedy that defines what a hero becomes.
And so, even though the show is funny and hilarious, and every show has a different tone, and it’s a different adventure every time, the one thing that remains true is that, when faced with ultimate demise, what these characters do ends up being deeply emotional. That’s one of the great things about the show, right? In the casting process, we were very specific. We’re like, Hey, pick a character that has a rich background that you can hold on to. They have dreams that you can hold on to. That you will fight for. That you will go into battle for.
The core of every one of our characters has this drive to be a hero that helps propel them forward and propels the story forward. And then play the game seriously. We weren’t interested in a comedy show. We wanted a Dungeons & Dragons show that comedy was born out of these really high stakes. Our cast, every single one of the players we have, from people that have played a million hours to a Skeet Ulrich who has never played in his life. I think that everyone was there with the right spirit and had fun. I think that the fun that people have translates onto the screen in a really great way.
I definitely agree. I was curious about the character creation process because you are a player in some of the games. Is it different for you when you’re creating a character that you’re maybe playing in a longer-term campaign?
Matthew Lillard: Yes. 100%. I think I had to do like eight characters out of 20 episodes and I’m producing the show. And I’m trying to help every show. Even when I’m not working, I’m running on set a bunch of times, and making sure the DM’s ready. We were doing three shows a day for seven days. It was hard. At some point, I was like, Just tell me what voice I should do, and what class we need. And I’ll just do that. But it was fun. It was awesome.
Each one of the shows is different. And so many times, I just sat on stage, let the game happen around me, and figured out how I could best fit into the flow of the game instead of leading the game. And a lot of times, I’ll be what we call the engine. But I got to do everything. I got to be the engine. I got to be sort of somebody that yes ands the party. So it was fun.
Very cool. I was curious about that too. What, for you, was maybe the most challenging or rewarding part of being a producer versus being part of the cast in the episodes?
Matthew Lillard: For me, I think for Beadle and Grimm’s, our company, it’s something that we’re extremely proud of. If you can imagine the idea, the act of quitting day jobs and starting your own company, finding success in that. Having an idea for a TV show, pitching it out, practicing it in a a bar situation where people are having a blast and you’re directly feeling the response of people in that performance, and then completing the production of 20 episodes of television is really something that we take a great amount of pride in.
Because it’s hard to do and it’s not something most D&D companies do. Right? And so that’s one of the things that, as the five of us, as our company continues to progress, I think this is going to be one of the things that we will forever, the rest of our lives will hold special and dear. Because you have a dream, and then you put it into effect. That’s really profound, personally.
Did you have a favorite Monster?
Matthew Lillard: Yeah, it’s a great question. I have… There’s a game that I played with Skeet and we come face-to-face with a Solar. Jerry’s performance in that episode is so incredible that, to me, that was one of the most exciting ones. There’s something that happens in the episode that was like, Oh, no. It was the only time we stopped production and we had to reshoot something because we weren’t sure if it was gonna be PC enough. That’s how sort of crazy it got. So I would say the Solar and I think that’s “Everyone Dies in a Temple.” The names of the show are “Everyone Dies in…” Like “Everyone Dies in the Stise,” “Everyone Dies in Space.” These are all names of the shows, which is very fun.
That’s so great. If there’s a season two, which I really hope there is.
Matthew Lillard: You and I both.
Yeah. Are there any dream cast members you’d like to bring in that weren’t available?
Matthew Lillard: So one of the great things about the show, one of the things we’re excited about, is the diversity of the amount of people we brought in. We really made a considered effort to deliver on diversity to sort of represent the entire tapestry of the TTRPG community. We put a lot of effort into that, and I would like to continue down that road. The idea of doing a show with deaf players, the idea of doing a show with down syndrome kids, the idea of doing a show with 10-year-old kids. For me, it’s not necessarily about the celebrities. That’d be great as well, but it’s more about showing, time and time again, that this game can be played by anyone, and there’s no wrong way to play.
I love that. And then, so you guys shot all this in seven days, which is insane to me, by the way.
Matthew Lillard: Yeah, it’s crazy.
What did you learn throughout the process that kind of by the last day, maybe you felt like you had brought into the show that amped it up from the first episode?
Matthew Lillard: Well, that Red Bull works. That we should be sponsored by Red Bull. No. So two things, I think, one is a little esoteric, but the idea of putting a dream into the world and sort of chasing it is really powerful. Right? This idea of, Could we do a show? And then a year later putting together 20 episodes, that was super powerful. So that’s number one.
And number two, the thing that we discovered throughout the process is that we thought we were making a comedy show and we did. It’s a little like, Whose Line is It Anyways meets Dungeons and Dragons. I don’t know if I said that or not. But I think the thing we were surprised about is the amount of humanity that was discovered through it, right? The show is actually about the heroic things that people do in the face of death. And when you really reach into that, when you’re playing a community game, and you have these moments of brilliant, heroic deeds. And then, at the end of the game, we always have this thing called the epitaph.
And this is one of the great things about Bill Rehor, he’s the host of every game, and he’s fantastic. One of the things he does is he allows for closure on every player. And it’s amazing how many times those moments are filled with authentic, emotional heart, emotional connection to what we just experienced in an hour. So that was the discovery of, Oh, wow, it’s funny and grounded in a way that hopefully touches people, that connects beyond just being a silly hour.
Yeah, I was gonna ask about that ending, because that was one of the things to me that encapsulated the entire tone of the game, because you’d have people that would do something very, very silly, and then you’d have something really heartfelt. One of my favorites was, I think the third person was very heartfelt. And then everyone else went, Can we redo ours?
Matthew Lillard: Yeah, that’s funny.
That’s very fun. And then can you talk to me a little bit about finding that tone because it is such a specific tone. So how do you make sure you hit the tone you want and tell a story in only an hour because most actual play shows are minimum two hours?
Matthew Lillard: Yeah. Well, there’s a lot of editing that goes in, which is great. I will say that our creative team was unparalleled. Producers. Out of ratty, John Platt and Tom Danna, our whole crew is well versed in the world of game play and our editors were amazing. So each episode is 40 minutes plus commercials and we would shoot about an hour, hour 10 minutes. A lot of stuff got cut down. Right?
We would cut little pieces out, and I don’t think there’s a single show having gone through the post-production and watched every episode two, three times. There’s not a single piece of any show that you’re missing. They did a great job of keeping that package really tight and that’s one of the most surprising things technologically that I just didn’t understand, to be honest. I’ve been in this industry for 30 years. I didn’t understand that story could withstand that. The amount of cuts, and then you don’t ever miss it.
Very cool. Well, I’m really excited for more people to see it. I want more episodes.
Matthew Lillard: How many episodes have you watched? You only watched the one right?
Matthew Lillard: Oh, you did? How’d you get five?
Yeah, five screeners.
Matthew Lillard: Oh, wow. I did not. That’s amazing. Really, really give out one. Oh, that’s amazing. It’s fun, right. It’s super fun.
And they’re all so different.
Matthew Lillard: Yeah, one of the things that we love is that every game is different. Every table is different. Every player is different. Every DM is different. And there’s no wrong; it’s a love letter to Dungeons and Dragons. Which is the greatest way to spend a life is around that table. And the love letter is like, Hey, man, there’s no wrong way to do this stuff. I keep trying to drive home on these interviews is that we believe in building content for communities.
And so if our community, the TTRPG community, wants this kind of content, we’ve got to come out and support it. We’ve got to come out and support Heroes’ Feast, obviously Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill!, Encounter Party. All of these shows are being built for mass audience and we need audience to come out or they just won’t do it again. Our hope, our plea is that if this sounds interesting at all, find it, watch a couple episodes, and if you love it, tell someone.
About Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill!
“Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill!” serves up comedic mayhem with tabletop gaming stars and celebrity guest players, including Seth Green, Anjali Bhimani, Skeet Ulrich, Sean Gunn, Mica Burton, Patton Oswalt and series co-creator Matthew Lillard. Perfect for seasoned gamers and newbies alike, every episode features an improvised, stand-alone story along with epic, hilarious character deaths
Check out our other Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill! interview with Bill Rehor, Jon Ciccolini, Charlie Rehor, and Paul Shapiro.
Faster, Purple Worm! Kill! Kill! debuts tonight on the Dungeons & Dragons Adventures channel on Amazon Freevee and Plex 6PM PST and 9PM PST.
Source: Screen Rant Plus