The true star on Future-Worm!, which debuted August 1 on Disney XD, may not be Danny, the science-loving kid, or the title character, an invertebrate with titanium-enforced ab’s that Danny befriends in the future. It may not even be the lunch box that enables Danny to trip through time.
For our money, it’s science guy Neal deGrasse Tyson, who plays what creator Ryan Quincy calls “an amplified version of himself” on the show.
Quincy said he and his writers were hoping to get a name star involved in the animated series, and with Danny’s fondness for science, one of the scribes threw out Tyson’s name. “We thought it would be fun, and would give us a little validation,” says Quincy. “We also thought there was no way he’d do it.”
In fact, Tyson was up for it, seeing the show as a way to provide a bit of science education to children, according to Quincy. Tyson voices a recurring character called “Neil deGrasse Tyson.”
The mustachioed Tyson, director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York is not a stranger to television, having hosted Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey on Fox and Nat Geo in 2014.
Quincy says Tyson was also an “unofficial” science consultant on scripts. If the script described something as being “three million light years away,” Quincy says, Tyson would suggest adding a few zeros to the number.
Smart as he may be, Tyson had some trouble wrapping his head around the show’s name, frequently referring to it as Super-Worm!, though few of the producers had the nerve to correct him.
Each episode features a three-minute, seven-minute and 11-minute story; Quincy likens them to a skit, a sitcom and a feature film, respectively. Andy Milonakis voices Danny. Future-Worm himself is a tough guy that Quincy likened to a mix of Hulk Hogan, Mr. T and Chuck Norris.
Other celeb guests on Future-Worm! include Selma Blair, Jeff Ross and science guy Bill Nye.
Quincy had been a producer on South Park and, as I mentioned in my recent The Watchman column, wanted to work on a show he could watch with his kids. “I tapped my inner 10-year-old on this,” he says. “It’s Doctor Who and time travel and comic books—all that got thrown into the soup.”
As did the world’s best known astrophysicist.