Netflix’s ‘My Dad The Bounty Hunter’ Proves Representation Matters


Flight of the Navigator, Star Wars, E.T. — a few of the finest cinematic moments of my youth, and sure yours should you’re studying this — got here courtesy of epic sci-fi adventures. And we millennials are nothing if not nostalgic. We’re all the time in search of reveals or movies that seize some piece of our previous. The trick? Discovering ones our children will like, too. Nicely, say hiya to Netflix’s new animated sequence My Dad The Bounty Hunter.

The premise: Shut-knit siblings Lisa and Sean stow away on their dad’s newest work journey, hoping to nook him into some overdue high quality time collectively. They get a giant shock, although, once they uncover their dad is the galaxy’s hardest bounty hunter. Household bonding takes an intergalactic flip when the trio should face every little thing from aliens to laser fights collectively.

It’s not misplaced on Laz Alonso, who voices dad Terry, how the sequence channels the area journey vibes from our childhoods — or how significant it’s that he will get to play a job in bringing an epic outer area journey to Netflix that facilities a Black household.

“For me as a baby, I grew up on Star Wars and Star Trek. We needed to think about Black people in outer area. We solely had two again within the day, which was nice as a result of these two actors actually made me consider that we may sooner or later be in that style. However we simply did not see it,” he tells me. “So, it feels nice to be in a time proper now the place illustration is occurring not simply in entrance of the cameras, but additionally behind the cameras, in writers’ rooms, creating the alternatives for folks like Yvonne [Orji] and myself to play within the style.”


Orji agrees, saying, “Illustration is big … Youngsters are so impressionable, and when you expose them to the probabilities, their world finally enlarges. To have the real-life model of Sean trying and seeing this — there’s going to be a little bit boy that’s going to develop as much as be a sci-fi author, or a sci-fi actor, or somebody who creates animation. No matter it’s, we’re giving folks an opportunity to see prospects.”

For co-creators Everett Downing and Patrick Harpin, self-professed “sci-fi heads,” they’re completely happy to assist increase the circle of next-gen sci-fi followers. However apart from the futuristic setting and flashy outer area sequences (to not point out Easter eggs nodding to classics like Aliens and Predator), Downing and Harpin made certain the present was grounded in trendy household dynamics.

Harpin drew on his childhood, when he and his sister tagged together with their dad to work on the times they didn’t have cash for a babysitter. Downing drew from his personal expertise as a guardian.

“I used to be working quite a bit as a result of animation may be very demanding, and if you’re working as a narrative artist, it’s simply very devoted work,” he explains. “I used to be simply lamenting; my daughters have been at this age the place there was a number of improvement, and I wasn’t all the time there for it. I used to be beginning to really feel like I used to be shedding reference to the children. And I simply thought, ‘Oh man, that’s a extremely highly effective standpoint. I actually form of wish to speak about this.’”


Thus, loving however aloof dad Terry got here to be — typically away on lengthy work journeys, centered on doing what it takes to pay the payments, not realizing the factor his youngsters want most is only for him to indicate up for them. It’s a pull many mother and father will relate to, simply as many will certainly see some model of themselves in Tess, the affected person and pragmatic spouse attempting to carry issues collectively whereas Terry spends a lot time working.

The truth that Terry and Tess have not too long ago separated is one other reflection of actual life that Downing and Harpin felt wanted to be seen on display.

“The mother and father, due to their circumstances, have form of gone in separate instructions, however they nonetheless love one another. They nonetheless love the children, they usually need one of the best for the children. We actually needed to indicate that since you don’t see a number of that in animation. And we felt like if we confirmed this, a number of youngsters would really feel see and be capable of relate to the scenario, which is tremendous vital,” says Downing.

After all, as a guardian, you’ll recognize these issues if you’re watching and perceive how impactful they’re. However your youngsters? They’re simply going to like the thought of two youngsters who appear like them or act like them assembly aliens in outer area.


Lisa is “a hustler” and “very sensible, witty, fast on her toes,” says Priah Ferguson (Stranger Things’ Erica), who voices the teenager. As for youthful brother Sean, his offscreen alter ego JeCobi Swain describes him as a “happy-go-lucky child” who’s “everywhere.”

Not surprisingly, when requested in the event that they’d be recreation to carry My Dad The Bounty Hunter to the large display in a live-action adaptation sooner or later, each Ferguson and Swain responded with an enthusiastic sure.

The identical goes for “mother and pa” Orji and Alonso.

“I imply, I’m understanding now simply to attempt to get to Laz’s stage of preventing, so certain,” Orji jokes. Echoes Alonso, “Netflix, let’s make it occur. My Dad The Bounty Hunter, the live-action movie.”

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