Unicorn: Warriors Eternal, the new sci-fi fantasy adventure series from Samurai Jack creator Genndy Tartakovsky, is packed with an eccentric cast of memorable characters. But none of them leaves quite as strong an impression as Copernicus, the top hat-touting steampunk robot responsible for reawakening the Unicorn Warriors throughout time to fight evil. While Copernicus is only capable of speaking in a series of bleeps, bloops, and assorted whistles — much to chagrin of the series’ protagonist Emma — it turns out everything he’s saying makes perfect sense… so long as you listen closely.
“It’s just something that Genndy and I do a lot,” Unicorn: Warriors Eternal head writer Darrick Bachman, who previously collaborated with Tartakovsky on Primal and the final season of Samurai Jack, told Polygon over Zoom. “We like to strip dialogue away from everything, our whole career is just pulling as much dialogue out as possible and doing everything pantomime. It’s just relying on old Buster Keaton and Charlie Chaplin-style physical humor and physicality to convey what you’re trying to say.”
the new genndy tartakovsky cartoon got a guy who is a star wars droid except he’s steampunk so he sound like a damn trainyard pic.twitter.com/0iMwjP2Syk
— D CFUTURE (@topherflorence) May 5, 2023
When asked what it was like writing the “dialogue” for a character who technically doesn’t speak, Bachman offered a fascinating answer: Everything Copernicus is saying can be translated into actual words and sentences. “All the toots and beeps are actual words in the script,” Bachman says. “So I will actually write the words, he could be saying ‘We have to go over here’ but it’s [various bleeps, bloops, and whistles] on-screen. It’s all about writing the dialogue of the other characters in a way that allows the audience to tell what Copernicus is saying.”
Bachman went so far as to compare Copernicus to R2-D2, the famous droid from the Star Wars franchise. From what we’ve seen of him in the series so far, Copernicus is every bit as charming and capable as that iconic droid from a galaxy far, far away. He can transform into a vehicle, stretch his arms to deliver high-powered rubber hose-like punches, fly around with a back-mounted propulsion engine, and crane above the clouds like the marvel of technology he is. He’s one of the coolest new characters to premiere on television this year, and it’s all thanks to Genndy Tartakovsky, Darrick Bachman, and character designer Stephen DeStefano for bringing him to life on screen.
Unicorn: Warriors Eternal airs Thursday nights on Adult Swim and streams on HBO Max.