Funimation held a special screening for “Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection” in Los Angeles and I had the chance to talk to Johnny Yong Bosch (Lelouch) and Karen Strassman (Kallen) along with producer Kojiro Taniguchi before the big event.

For the voice actors, how do you feel coming back to your roles?

JYB: “I really liked the ending of Season Two so I wasn’t 100% sure of how I felt. But I was definitely excited to hear that there was going to be a return.”

KS: “Actually thrilled. Kallen is one of my favorite characters. She is dear to my heart and I know she is a fan favorite. And you know there were rumors about this project coming out and fans were touching bases with me on social media asking me to see if I would be doing the voice if the project came out to the states. I said ‘I don’t know’ and when I got the call that we were doing the movie here and I was invited to reprise to her voice, I was absolutely thrilled.”

Any inspirations for your performances as your character?

JYB: “I really loved the character. I loved the world. I loved the story. I loved all the characters, really. It’s one of those anime that I’ve worked on that was very special to me. So inspirations is just that, to be able to come back to that character. Although in this one, without spoiling, he (Lelouch) is a bit different.”

KS: “Her (Kallen). She was my source of inspiration.I just open myself up and let her live through me.”

What drew you to your character? Was there something that resonated in you?

JYB: “He (Lelouch) is very complex. I’ve definitely interjected myself as much as I can into the character but I really don’t know if I am anything like the character. As far as the story is concerned, I really how he set himself up as the villain to bring everyone else together.”

KS: “What I love about Kallen is at the beginning of the series, you know, she could be just a girl like anyone. She could be the girl next door. She could be you. she could be me. She could be anyone. She doesn’t appear to have superpowers. She doesn’t appear to be super intelligent and then you see as the series evolves, she has to evolve. There is sort of a naiveness to her at the beginning that is just refreshing and touching. As she get wise to everything that’s going on, she has to make some big girl decisions and step into some pretty big boots. So she really walks the line when she gets to the point, leaning being that average teenager but actually knowing there is so much complexity going on. I have a lot of respect for how she deals with it. Even though she freaks out as anybody would, she just keeps on going forward and keeps taking challenge after challenge after complex challenge. I also love how she stands up to a lot of characters. I love how tough she becomes but she doesn’t become so tough she doesn’t lose her femininity which I think is appealing to everybody. In a way she is a cool teenage role model.”

Stressman continued how she and Kallen share a sense of living a double life, mentioning how Stressman was afraid in high school for not being liked by others due to her interest in spiritual things as an empath. She hid that from her peers, seeing it as not information needed to share to them at that time.

Where there any memorable moments from the series of your characters?

JYB: “There were quite a few moments throughout. His relationship with Nunnally. There’s the scenes with Shirley, Suzaku and Kallen. Season One had a great ending for me and I felt I really enjoyed the ending of Season Two. But there are so many moments throughout that I really enjoyed from the original series. This movie, again without spoiling things, he’s a little different. He kinda has to find himself in a little bit.”

KS: “Well, the interrogation scene. That blew me away. I think myself, I tend not to be an aggressive human being. In the past I tend to back off from the face of authority, and she just knows what’s right. She knows what she believes in and might be scared but does not let it stop her. She is fierce. I think that was a really climatic moment for me.”

For Kojiro Taniguchi, I asked him if he expected the longevity of the series and the fan support it gained looking back the past 13 years since the very first episode.

KT: “I would say it was necessarily predicted or expected but we did create the franchise with that intent.”

After such a powerful ended in Season Two, were there already plans to make this movie?

KT: “At the time we didn’t have the plan for true sequels but we were thinking about expanding the world of ‘Code Geass’ through sub-characters and spin-offs.”

What was it like getting back into production to create this new story?

KT: I know that from ‘Rebellion’ until ‘Re;surrection’, there has been 13 years. But having said that, there was always some ‘Code Geass’ interpreted in a certain way. So of course, the director and as well the writer Okoichi-san and all of the animators were all involved in ‘Code Geass’ in some capacity even during this 13 year span. There really wasn’t that much trouble to gather everyone again to produce ‘Re;surrection’. I think we had the opportunity to really get warmed up to this idea of producing this movie. I don’t know if it was ever officially released in the U.S. but there was a trilogy, a series of three movies where we took bits from the television series and rearranged and edited it to tell the story in a very compact form. It served as a very good practice and foundation coming into this movie.”

You’re here in L.A. for the special screening and then later you’re heading up to Sakura-Con. How do you feel traveling up the west coast to promote this film?

KT: “This of course this is a step for us and I know we’re kinda conquering the west coast, but I also want to expand and share ‘Code Geass’ with people from other areas. Not just North America but around the world. So that’s where I kind of want to be.”

Favorite ‘Code Geass’ characters outside of your own?

JYB: “Lelouch is definitely one of my favorites, for sure. Top five, top three characters that I’ve ever played. That’s why I was kinda excited to see that he is coming back but a little scared with the way things ended. But I felt like they did a good job”

KS: “Well, Lelouch is one of my favorites just because he is so iconic and complex. He has as well so many incredibly difficult decisions to make. I think in many ways Lelouch is alone and that’s really moving how he has to shoulder by himself. I also have an affection for C.C. because she’s awesome.”

KT: “In all of the different media of ‘Code Geass’ that was released, there is ‘Soubou no Oz’ or ‘Oz the Reflection’. It was a manga in Japan and there were these twin characters that appeared. One of the twins will actually appear in the movie as well. But that particular interpretation of ‘Code Geass’ left a very strong impressions with me. And this particular character, of course because I like the character so much, I had asked the director Taniguchi-san to figure out a way to put this character in the movie. But if you limit it to just the anime, I think of course Lelouch has been with the entire team for 13 years now. In Japan we actually celebrate his birthday and have a special event specifically for that. Ironically I think it is a bigger celebration than my own birthday so that is always a big event every year.”

Do you have a message to the fans?

JYB: “I think if they’re fans of the character and were maybe itching to see something else, a little more to Lelouch’s story, then they’re definitely going to get a little more. I definitely want to thank the fans for support over the years especially for this series and the character. It definitely has been an honor and just a privilege to be a part of this series and the legacy of ‘Code Geass’. Fans have been really awesome. I know they are a little torn with coming back. Some people want to see more and some people don’t. I completely understand that as that was where I was, just right down in the middle. Of course I wanted to be more but I really enjoyed how it ended. So I was really curious how things turned out but I think overall fans will enjoy what they’ve done.”

KS: “First of all, I hope that they really enjoy this new iteration of ‘Code Geass’. I hope it meets up their expectations even though it is different from the series. I hope they have a really good ride with it. I hope I’ve done justice to Kallen in their eyes. In a more personal note, I really like to thank the fans for their support which is just really touching for me. I hope I will continue to create characters that bring them joy. And lastly, I’d like to encourage people to really follow their hearts. I think there is a misconception that the mind knows everything and I think the mind is in control a lot and thinks it knows everything. But I think the truth is in our hearts, and in terms of dreams that fans have, things they wish to accomplish, things that they yearn to do in their lives, things they have a passion for it, listen to their hearts and be like Kallen and Lelouch and have the courage to follow their dreams regardless what other says.

KT: “I believe there are a lot of fans out there who probably  weren’t wishing for ‘Re;surrection’ because in ‘R2’, it was such a poetic ending. I think there were fans thinking that ‘Re;surrection’ was unnecessary. But even to those fans, I am confident that if they watch this movie, their stands will flip 180 degrees and they will understand why we brought back Lelouch and be excited for ‘Code Geass again’. I highly encourage everyone to go check it out.”

As mentioned before producer Kojiro Taniguchi will be heading up to Seattle for Sakura-Con this weekend. Bosch will also be at Anime Boston. “Code Geass: Lelouch of the Re;surrection” will have a three-night run with May 5th for the subtitled version and the dubbed on May 7th and 8th. For more information including where to find theaters and tickets, visit Funimation Films’s website.