When 'Boy' meets 'Galaxy': 1990s TV star takes on star role in new Disney XD show

The Fresno Bee

LOS ANGELES To the fans of the 1990s comedy "Boy Meets World," Will Friedle is always going to be loveable Eric Mathews.

In the 15 years since "Boy Meets World" went off the air, Friedle has built another fan base through his voice work. His long list of credits in the animated world includes voices for "Kim Possible," "The Penguins of Madagascar," "Batman: The Brave and Bold," "Thundercats" and "Ultimate Spider-Man."

His latest work is as Star-Lord (also known as Peter Quill) on the new Disney XD animated series "Marvels Guardians of the Galaxy." The new adventures of the misfit band of space heroes begin with a one-hour special Saturday, Sept. 26.

Friedle got the daunting task of voicing a character that has already been made memorable by Chris Pratt in the live-action feature film version.

"I tell people I relied almost entirely on being a younger brother in figuring out how to voice Star-Lord," Friedle says during an interview at the Disney offices. "His attitude seems very little brotherish to me. It is a fine line between being a hero and a snarky, one-liner guy. I play him just like a little brother he tends to have a lot of attitude and uses his snarkiness a lot."

Friedle has been able to relate to Star-Lord because just like the character, when he gets nervous or uncomfortable, his initial reaction is to make a joke. That explains why so many of his acting jobs are comedies.

Just like in the Marvel comic books and the 2014 feature film, Star-Lord is the leader of the group that includes tough fighter Gamora (Vanessa Marshall), man-mountain Drax (David Sobolov), ill-tempered Rocket Raccoon (Trevor Devall) and talking plant Groot (Kevin Michael Richardson).

In the opener, the newly christened Guardians of the Galaxy come into possession of a dangerous artifact that has Thanos' new second in charge, Korath, after them.

Being in a recording studio has become the norm for Friedle, which means he's worked with a lot of different casts. From the first time the "Guardians" group stepped in front of the microphones, their timing was perfect. Part of that is because the cast is made up of veteran voice talents who have worked together before.

Friedle's work as a voice talent started by accident. The Connecticut native had been working in front of the camera when he heard there were auditions for a new animated series called "Batman Beyond" created by Bruce Timm. It just so happened that Timm's wife was a huge "Boy Meets World" fan.

"She told her husband that if (he) needed a voice for a young Batman, he should audition me," Friedle says. "I ended up getting the role."

Frielde had never thought about voice work until he was cast and sat down to do his first recordings. He knew at that moment, it was something he wanted to do the rest of his life. With each passing series, through his work on "Guardians of the Galaxy," Friedle has found voice work an extremely stripped down and pure form of acting.

Friedle did take a break from the animated world to work on "Girl Meets World." He's always going to have a soft spot for any version of "Boy Meets World," particularly because the series continues to resonate so deeply with fans.

"(Series creator) Michael Jacobs is a genius when it comes to not pandering to children," Friedle says. "He never talks down to children but will always talk to them."


9:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26, Disney XD

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