Sitting at a table in front of the packed hall at this weekend’s New York Comic-Con event, the cast and crew of ‘Archer’ were in terrific spirits as they answered questions for the show’s upcoming season. One question that loomed over the panel however was whether the show would continue to use the name ISIS, after a terrorist group in the Middle East picked up the moniker.
In the end, the series had no choice but to make some changes, despite having a small fortune in merchandise that the networked planned to sell that would now be useless and would have to be destroyed. It was Archer creator Adam Reed and executive producer Matt Thompson who explained to fans that they made the tough decision to remove ISIS from the show.
In seasons one through five, ISIS (International Secret Intelligence Service) was home to the characters on Archer, now the leader of the organization (Malory Archer played by Jessica Walter) will have to rebrand the spy service. The show will not give the terrorist group the satisfaction of having them change their name by including them in the show’s universe however, instead the creators kept the change as simple as possible.
Reed explained the change to the Daily Beast stating, “We were waiting for it to go away—at least I was. Back in Season 5, FX said, ‘This might be a thing,’ and I thought, ‘Maybe it won’t be? Maybe it’ll be the mole that I’m gonna ignore and nothing will happen.’ We got sort of lucky and could organically make a merger with the CIA, so we went back and retroactively painted out the ISIS logos in parts of the show, and we just don’t talk about it in dialogue.”
The season premiere got a makeover, with a new scene that includes Malory telling Archer that the CIA is taking over their organization. Because of this, you see movers take away the trademark ISIS logo from their headquarters. “We won’t say ISIS anymore, and the only visual representation of it will be that sign rolling off the show,” said exec producer Thompson. “It’s just the most awful thing, and we didn’t want to have anything to do with it. There were people online saying that we should address it and say, ‘Oh, I can’t believe these guys have co-opted our name.’ That’s the way South Park would do it, coming after them and saying, ‘These assholes stole our name,’ but that’s not the way the Archer universe works, where it’s all our own creations. In our universe, they don’t exist.”
Walter joked, “I’m one of the few people that has the white ISIS cup and it’s mixed in with all my other cups.” He continued, “The other day, I was looking at it and thought, ‘Should I throw it out? But it reminds me of Archer.'”
“I gave my Dad one of the ISIS hats and he said, ‘You know son, I’m not going to be able to wear the hat anymore,'” said Reed is his genial southern accent. “I’m gettin’ looks at the hardware store.'”
There were no concrete plans it seemed as to what will happen to all of the ISIS merchandise that remains, but our guess is that it is heading to the Danger Zone of waste management.