H. Jon Benjamin On Taking Archer To Space, And Catching Hell For Picking Roast Beef Over Burgers


With Archer: 1999, an homage to Alien and other 1970s space adventures, series creator Adam Reed may have found the perfect playground for Sterling Archer and company in the post-Archer coma years. But despite the fun, and as with the other one-off adventures, it’s hard to totally block out back of the mind thoughts about how the events this season will reach back to that hospital bed and the Archer: Prime story that has been sitting without resolution for years. Or if they simply won’t.

Recently, Uproxx spoke with Archer star H. Jon Benjamin about those questions, and while he couldn’t give any set in stone answers, he did offer valuable insight about the direction of the show before also discussing his Arby’s doppelgänger and the dearly departed Jon Benjamin Has A Van.

How are you doing?

I’m good. A little winded.

Are you running? Are you fleeing?

I always do interviews while jogging. So I’m on the treadmill.

I’ve experienced a few things close to that. People getting food delivered, moving their car from place to place, cleaning.

I just carried a steel beam up to my apartment. An iron beam. I’m having a Game of Thrones chair built.

Ah, so you’re too big to build it yourself? I’m sure there are YouTube tutorials.

I have other people do my iron work for me.

Smart man. So, how do they go about telling you guys that Archer’s setting is changing again?

They used to skywrite. That was the only way to get messages from Atlanta. Now they use a telephone.

Gotcha, so no letters?

No, no paper trail. Although now, with the NSA involved in every phone call, it’s problematic… But no, in the past, especially for big changes… Well, I wouldn’t say big changes, but stuff that sort-of requires some of the cast members to be slightly prepared, I think the production call. The first major call in that regard was for the Bob’s Burgers crossover which was the first episode of, I think, season four. That was just to prepare and I think it was also, like, “can you call [Bob’s Burgers showrunner Loren Bouchard] to see if it’s cool.” In that case, I was more of a middle man. But on the whole, sometimes depending on the nature of the season, I think they give everybody a call.

Is it a take your temperature kind of thing, or is it more just “here’s the plan?”

I think it’s more here’s the plan, I imagine, because Adam [Reed] writes the whole series, basically, and sort of planned out each season already. So a pushback would be futile.

How do you feel about this season?

It’s good. This is great. Every new sort of reboot now, it’s always fun to see what Adam has in mind. I think when the first reboot started, a lot of fans were…some were not so thrilled about the changes and nature of the show, but I always enjoyed it. And for me, the dynamic and the tone of the show never really changes, so as far as my role, it’s just always fun to see what genre he’s exploring.

Are you a sci-fi fan?

I’m not like a completist fan, but I dabble. Like, I told [producers] Matt [Thompson] and Casey [Willis], I was never a big Star Wars fan, and I think they’re pulling a lot from Star Wars this season. You know, considering that’s the biggest sci-fi franchise… I guess, this with Star Trek peppered in. I watch it sometimes. Occasionally
I’ll read a sci-fi novel.

Why do you feel this season specifically works for the Archer character?

It’s complicated. I think like, the arc of the entire sort of Archer coma sort of coming to a conclusion… I think based on what Adam had really wanted for the show, I think this is sort of a culmination of the final chapter in this fever dream where he’s kind of exploring the characters in his life and different dream settings that he’s having. So I think that space was the final frontier. So I think like, that was probably a plan, maybe early on, I’m not sure about that. Adam can speak on that… or Matt. But I feel like this is the last place to go, right?