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Behind the Hellish Magic: Vivienne Medrano on Creating HAZBIN HOTEL

A cartoon lady is spreading her arms in joy
Image courtesy of Prime Video

In Prime Video's HAZBIN HOTEL, we follow Charlie, the princess of Hell, as she pursues her seemingly impossible goal of rehabilitating demons to peacefully reduce overpopulation in her kingdom. After a yearly extermination imposed by angels, she opens a hotel in the hopes that patrons will be "checking out" into Heaven. While most of Hell mocks her goal, her devoted partner Vaggie, and their first test subject, adult-film star Angel Dust, stick by her side. When a powerful entity known as the "Radio Demon" reaches out to assist Charlie in her endeavors, her crazy dream is given a chance to become a reality.

For the release of Prime Video's HAZBIN HOTEL, Creepy Kingdom's Shannon McGrew spoke with HAZBIN HOTEL's creator, executive producer and director Vivienne Medrano. During the interview, they discussed everything from Hazbin Hotel's journey to creation, the growth of the fandom, Vivienne's favorite character, and more!

Thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me today, Vivienne! HAZBIN HOTEL has gone through quite a journey to get to where it is today. Can you tell us a bit about that process and how it all came together?

Vivienne Medrano: It's been an absolutely enormous journey. I had freshly graduated school and wasn't really sure where my career was going, but I did have an audience online. I had a web-comic and gained some traction with some of the animation I was putting on YouTube for fun that were animations to songs and things like that. I was like, this is going to be my first big thing, and it turned into this two year long process of learning. I was putting all my money into it and it was growing and gaining more and more people as part of it. Ultimately, it ended up being this 30 minute long pilot. I was blown away by the reception of it and it became this huge overnight success. I wasn't sure what its future would be but I knew I wanted to continue it but I didn't know how that would be.

Initially I thought we could go the Kickstarter route and do all these different things but it ended up being A24 who really gravitated towards it. They really wanted it and had a lot of faith in it and then that led to Amazon also having a similar reaction once they'd seen some of the finished episode we'd made. It felt so right that the people behind it were so passionate about it and had so much faith in it.

Lucifer sitting atop his thrown surrounded by fire.
Image courtesy of Prime Video

What was it like creating this hellish atmosphere through the use of animation while also keeping the overall story heartfelt?

Vivienne Medrano: The show is kind of born from the concept of redemption and second chances as well as the gray between these two pillars of black and white, which is good and evil. To me, that's really the message that matters. I thought it was really important for Hell to represent that though there are some genuinely horrible characters, which is part of the fun of having major villains in the show, I wanted to show that it's not exclusive to Hell. Heaven has a lot of flaws and some evil characters there as well and Hell has some really, really heartfelt and well-meaning characters like Charlie. In this lore of the world which we see in the first episode we kind of get the story of how Hell came to be. I wanted it to come from good intentions and there are good figures in this universe that care. That's what's been fun about it for me.

HAZBIN HOTEL has quite a large fandom! What reactions/emotions are you hoping to evoke not only from the fans but also newcomers like myself?

Vivienne Medrano: I'm hoping we live up to the four or five years of hype. That's what I'm hoping for the people who have followed along. I really want them to enjoy it. I want it to be something that at least can satisfy after such a long wait. I personally do feel like it does just being somebody who has also lived with it and also adored what the pilot was able to accomplish. I also want it to be accessible to new people because I want a new audience in there. I'm excited to see some fresh people join and be part of this world and this huge, passionate fandom that already exists.

To wrap things up, do you have a favorite character or is there a character that you see yourself in?

Vivienne Medrano: I feel like a lot of the characters have a piece of me in them. I think the most obvious example is Charlie, just because I feel like we're both very driven, very passionate, and kind of stubborn women in a world that isn't always the nicest or easiest for us. I also feel like there's a lot of adversity that we will face in various degrees, obviously with her it's the entire universe against her. For me it's a little bit different it's more social media but I really think it's something I can relate to and is aspirational. My personal favorite character is Lucifer. I really love him and I think he's really fun. I can't be as open about why I love him as it'll be a spoiler but I'm so excited for everyone to meet him.

The first season of HAZBIN HOTEL consists of eight-episodes with four episodes premiering on Prime Video January 19, 2024 and two episodes rolling out weekly through February 2.


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