‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’ Co-creator Rob McElhenney Explains Why Creating ‘Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet’ Was ‘A Pain in the *ss’

The creators of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia have a new show on Apple TV+. Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet stars Rob McElhenney as Ian Grimm, creator of the video game Mythic Quest. Sunny cohorts Megan Ganz and David Hornsby join McElhenney and Charlie Day co-created the show with him.

It's Always Sunny in Philadephia co- creator Rob McElhenney in Mythic Quest
Rob McElhenney in Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet | Apple TV+

McElhenney spoke with Showbiz Cheat Sheet on Jan. 19 after a Television Critics Association panel for Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet. He expressed some frustrations with the growing pains of a new show but explained how it’s all worked out. New episodes of Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet premiere Fridays on Apple TV+.

‘Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet’ is Rob McElhenney’s first premiere season since ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’

It’s been 14 years since Rob McElhenney developed a new series. A few pilots didn’t move forward. Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet reminded McElhenney what happens when new characters evolve.

Rob Mcelhenney and F. Murray Abraham
Rob McElhenney and F. Murray Abraham | Apple TV+

“It’s tricky because while you’re writing the whole first season, you’re also casting,” McElhenney said. “All of a sudden you’ve written four scripts because you’re trying to bank the scripts to get ready to go into production. And then casting happens and you realize uh oh, we found these incredibly gifted funny people and they don’t quite line up exactly with what we were thinking. So now we have to adjust based on these actors that we brought in, which is something you have to do.”

This made ‘Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet’ a ‘pain in the *ss’

Mythic Quest is a workplace comedy set in the offices of the video game Mythic Quest as Grimm’s team launches a new expansion pack. McElhenney knew he would play Grimm, but casting Charlotte Nicdao, Imani Hakim, Ashly Burch, Danny Pudi and F. Murray Abraham impacted their characters.

“It’s worth it and it’s important to the process and always has been, but it is a pain in the *ss because now you have to go back and rewrite all these scripts that you’ve already written,” McElhenney said. 

It took a whole season for Rob McElhenney to get to know the ‘Mythic Quest’ gang

The Mythic Quest gang eventually became a gang like the gang on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. It took the first season, but good news, Apple TV+ has already renewed Mythic Quest for a second.

“One of the great luxuries of a second season is you see what all of these actors are bringing to their characters, and then you write to that. So in the first year, even though we’re rewriting based on the actors that we brought in, you don’t have a tremendous amount of history with them. So Jessie Ennis or Ashly or Imani, these are people who I’ve never met before, never seen in anything before so we’re still kind of guessing over the next week, two weeks, six weeks in. We’re still kind of figuring out what works with them.” 

Rob McElhenney, interview with Showbiz Cheat Sheet, 1/19/2020

This ‘Mythic Quest’ actor made her character more like ‘It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’

While McElhenney and the writers were learning how to write for their actors, one actor made her own impression. Jessie Ennis plays the newest hire Jo. She went dark, and it worked.

“In real life, Jessie’s not a dark person,” McElhenney said. “In fact, she’s effervescent in many ways, but she plays dark really well. She would come in and do these very dark bits and they were so funny, that’s when we were like well, we should just make her a lunatic.”

Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet
L-R: David Hornsby, Charlotte Nicdao, Jessie Ennis, Rob McElhenney and F. Murray Abraham | Apple TV+

Perhaps Ennis found inspiration in McElhenney’s other show.

“In some ways, she in the first season certainly, is the closest version to Sunny humor than probably any other character which she loved because she likes Sunny and we love because we’ve been doing it for 14 years,” McElhenney said. “Now in Season 2, we want to expand her a little bit and explore why is she like this? Where did she come from? What is her family like? What does she really want?”

Rob McElhenney will expand his own character in Season 2 also

Even though McElhenney cast himself as Grimm, he still learned new things about his own character in the first season of Mythic Quest: Raven’s Banquet.

Mythic Quest: Raven's Banquet cast
L-R: F. Murray Abraham, Danny Pudi, David Hornsby, Rob McElhenney and Charlotte Nicdao

“Yes, we have a pretty good idea of what his childhood was like and what his life was like and what shaped him into the person that he is,” McElhenney said. “We see little bits of that in the first season. We’ll be seeing a lot more of that in the second.”