‘Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero’: Sean Schemmel, Zach Aguilar, and Jason Marnocha on the ‘Surreal’ Experience of Making the Film
Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is now playing in U.S. theaters, and the anime movie is reuniting viewers with longtime favorites like Goku and Vegeta — as well as introducing newcomers like Dr. Hedo, Magenta, and Carmine. There’s no shortage of characters in the latest addition to the Dragon Ball franchise, and the cast of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero had a blast bringing them to life.
During the press junket for the new Dragon Ball Super movie, Showbiz Cheat Sheet spoke with cast members Zach Aguilar (Dr. Hedo), Jason Marnocha (Carmine), and Sean Schemmel (Goku). The voice actors discussed how “surreal” it felt to make the film, as well as why it will appeal to viewers’ nostalgia.
Zach Aguilar and Jason Marnocha describe the ‘surreal’ experience of joining ‘Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero’
Zach Aguilar and Jason Marnocha were fans of Dragon Ball long before joining the cast of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero. And that history with the anime made their entrance feel somewhat unreal. According to Aguilar, he’s often found himself wondering if all of this is truly all happening:
“It’s been so surreal. Growing up, watching the show… I watched it in middle school. Like every day, I would come home [and watch it]. I watched Dragon Ball Z Kai on Nickelodeon. And yeah, being a part of this is just… it’s been mind-blowing. At every stage of the process, I would say constantly, I’ve had to pinch myself, like, ‘Am I dreaming? Is this actually real? Am I actually a part of Dragon Ball?’”
Aguilar went on to say that he feels “blessed” — not just to join the franchise, but to tackle an antagonistic role like Dr. Hedo.
“I never played a more evil – not necessarily evil from the heart – but villainous-type character, who is a scientist, who changes up his voice,” Aguilar said. “I’ve never done anything like that in my career yet.”
Marnocha has similar feelings about portraying Carmine in Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero. Like Aguilar, he watched the anime when he was a kid — and he got the experience of voicing a different archetype than usual.
“I’m kind of in a similar boat,” Marnocha admitted. “You know, I grew up watching Dragon Ball Z and things like that. So, I had an understanding of this world and the Red Ribbon Army and these characters and things going in, which I don’t usually have for maybe other longer-running shows that I had never looked into.”
He continued, “Usually, I play a lot of big bad guys. And so, getting to play a villain who’s just sort of very serious and pragmatic and well put together and adjusts his spectacles – you know, ‘Yes sir, of course’ – and sounds a little more like my natural voice, is something I don’t get to do very often.”
Sean Schemmel talks playing Goku after all these years
Zach Aguilar and Jason Marnocha may be awestruck at joining the cast of Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, but Goku voice actor Sean Schemmel can hardly remember life before the anime.
“I oftentimes think about [how] Dragon Ball’s had such an effect on my life and who I am and my personality that I actually have to play into my memory — I have to dig into my memory pre-1999 — to remember who I was before,” Schemmel said. “Dragon Ball just has this power. It’s never-ending.”
In fact, Schemmel sometimes gets overwhelmed by how much of a role Dragon Ball plays in his day-to-day life.
“Because even when I’m not working on the show, it’s always in my life,” Schemmel admitted. “If I’m at a con, people are talking about it. My friends are asking me about it. There are times where I’m like, ‘It’s too much. I’ve got to think about other stuff.’”
Of course, Schemmel got to take a step back during Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, letting Gohan and Piccolo steal the spotlight. But despite the “pressure” that comes with voicing Goku, he suspects he’ll be back — and he sounds excited about it:
“It was a nice and refreshing break for me. But I know what’s in store in the rest of the manga a little bit, and I know that they’re setting this up for Goku, Broly, [and] Vegeta sparring in the future — [that] is my guess — so, I don’t think Goku and Vegeta are on the sidelines forever.”
Crafting the voices for Dr. Hedo and Carmine
While Goku has a near-constant presence in Sean Schemmel’s life, cast members Zach Aguilar and Jason Marnocha needed to start from scratch with their Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero characters. That meant coming up with all-new voices.
To create Dr. Hedo’s sound, Aguilar’s goal was to come up with something befitting of Dragon Ball.
“I know about the world of Dragon Ball, of course, being a fan,” he explained. “And I know that there are a lot of very different, distinct, unique character voices in this world. So, I wanted to kind of do something like that for Dr. Hedo.”
According to the actor, Christopher Sabat was a massive help when it came to getting Dr. Hedo’s voice just right:
“I threw out just kind of like a pretty wild audition, I would say. And then, when I got the role, working with Chris Sabat — he’s the one who is just, really, the mastermind behind this entire film with casting and making sure everybody sounds great – he worked with me on the voice. We kind of pulled it back a little bit. He’s like, ‘Make it higher. Make it lower.’ And so, we kind of experimented with it while working on the film.”
While Aguilar’s approach was more over-the-top than usual, Marnocha’s voice for Carmine allowed him to tone things down a bit:
“His voice is very similar to my own, but perhaps a little smoothed out. But yeah, it was interesting getting to play a character like that because usually I’m playing big, scary bad guys and things like that. So, playing a character who’s a little more put together than that… Vocally, we tried to keep him very straightforward and direct and articulate. I based some of that on some of my family members — who are not evil — but they do have very direct ways of speaking. Very clear and right here from the chest.”
Sean Schemmel on Goku’s smaller role in ‘Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero’
Bringing the new characters from Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero to life was just one part of the equation. The movie also tasks itself with fleshing out older Dragon Ball characters — ones who aren’t typically the center of attention. And Schemmel believes that’s a strength of the film, even if it means his character takes a backseat temporarily.
“I think it’s great that Goku’s on the sidelines because you don’t want to saturate your audience with the same characters over and over,” Schemmel explained.
He added that the focus on Dragon Ball‘s supporting cast lends to the world-building, making the whole experience feel much grander:
“And it also allows you to do more world-building by developing the histories and the backgrounds of the other characters, so that when you come back to your main characters or whatever, the whole world has more gravitas. And therefore, the story has more gravitas, and therefore, everything is richer and deeper. So, from a world-building perspective and storytelling perspective, again, Akira Toriyama proves he’s a genius.”
Of course, the world-building is just one of many reasons Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is worth seeing. The cast shared their favorite aspects of the film, highlighting how nostalgic it is.
The cast shares their favorite parts of ‘Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero’
When asked what they’re most excited for fans to see in Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero, the cast hyped up the movie’s nostalgia factor.
Sean Schemmel emphasized that the film’s “got something for everyone.” He noted, “It’s just loaded with nostalgia, Easter Eggs, ‘finally!’ moments, ‘yes’ moments.” And he even pointed to some of his favorite nods to the franchise:
“There are so many moments. There are so many nostalgic ‘yes!’ moments with Gohan and Piccolo. Even with Carmine. There’s some video YouTube footage where you get to see a different angle of a legendary fight that I’m not going to spoil from [Dragon Ball] Z that is a really cool little subtle thing. What Bulma does with her wishes and the Dragon — particularly what the Dragon says — might be my favorite line in the whole film. I think Monica Rial should have T-shirts made that say that line.”
Zach Aguilar agreed with Schemmel, adding, “There are so many fun little Easter Eggs and cameos and things put into it. It blew my mind watching it as a Dragon Ball fan. So, I think people are going to just have to keep a look out for everything throughout the entirety of the film.”
Marnocha appreciates the nostalgia as well, but he cited working closely with Mario voice actor Charles Martinet as a personal highlight. Martinet’s character, Magenta, is Carmine’s boss in the film. And according to Marnocha, that led to some “really fun little conversations.”
“So, it’s really fun to see all that play out,” Marnocha said. “And the dialogue is just so well written, and it leads to some great nonsense.”
Fans will get to see those antics themselves now that the film has arrived.
Dragon Ball Super: Super Hero is now playing in U.S. theaters.
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