Defy Media partners The Warp Zone are already established as a preeminent source of musical goofery in all things pop culture, so it was no surprise that they tackled a project involving Game of Thrones and Guardians of the Galaxy. What was surprising — and perhaps brilliant — is that it involved two of the most vocally minimalist characters ever created in a rap battle of, um, epic proportions. Yup, Hodor vs. Groot is now a thing — and it’s awesome. With one only able to say “Hodor” and the other limited to “I am Groot,” they manage to bring the lyrical inflection and mastery that ultimately results in a winner … I think.
Of course, since these two were engaged in lyrical combat, we decided to seek out the puppetmasters pulling the strings on the whole affair. The Warp Zone’s Michael Schroeder who directed the video and also played Hodor(!) was good enough to answer some burning questions we had. And be sure to read to the end (no, don’t just skip ahead!) to find out what might be a very cool hint to a very cool Easter Egg.
How the hell did you come up with that awesome Groot cosplay?
Michael: Our Groot suit actually came from a tutorial we found online showing how to make a Groot costume for a hundred dollars worth of materials. That gave us a pretty good start, but then our costume designer Akiko Thomas made adjustments and modded the design to give Groot a moving mouth, which is a pretty important thing to be able to do in the world of Rap Battling. The costume definitely wouldn’t have turned out as awesome as it did without her.
How did the idea for the vid itself come up?
The video originally started as a Hodor solo rap to coincide with the new season of Game of Thrones which would have featured Hodor spouting the filthiest lyrics we could come up with but getting away with it, because all we would hear was Hodor. But then we thought about what other characters with a limited vocabulary could make a guest appearance and Groot made it to the top of our list, edging out Chewbacca. The rap then evolved from being the Hodor Rap featuring Groot to a full on Hodor vs Groot rap battle.
Do you feel like people unfairly think Epic Rap Battles “owns” this sort of thing? Should we be denied excellent rap battles just because ERB didn’t think of them?
ERB rightfully deserves all of its success. Having worked on the production of season one, I remember spending nights shooting with a crew of three people on a green screen we threw up after our office closed, and semi-figuring out the costumes on the day. And I was always impressed at the hard work that Pete and Lloyd put into those raps and am incredibly proud of how far that concept has blown up. They own this sort of thing because they work incredibly hard to perfect it. I don’t think we are denied excellent rap battles just because ERB didn’t think of them. It might be intimidating for people to enter the rap battle space with the bar set so high, but if you have a good idea that you’re passionate about, then you should go for it.
Who do you think wins this battle?
That’s sort of up to the viewer. Both rappers definitely brought their A game, so it’s pretty much a toss up. Part of the fun of having two characters who can only say their names rap is that the viewer gets to fill in the blanks with his or her own mind blowing lyrics. Though if people want to know what we think they’re saying, there may be a translation available for keen observers…