By Marty Mulrooney
Following the recent conclusion of The Walking Dead: The Final Season – which Alternative Magazine Online’s review described as “a fitting end to a series created by a studio that is no longer with us” – AMO is proud to present an exclusive online interview with Nicki Rapp, the voice of fierce survivor Lilly, where we discuss the closure of Telltale Games, working with Skybound Games and Psychonauts 2!
Hi Nicki, thank you for your time and welcome back to Alternative Magazine Online!
You’re very welcome. Thank you for having me back!
I can’t believe our last interview was in 2012! What have you been up to since we last spoke?
Wow, 2012 feels like a lifetime ago – so much has happened. My journey began with Lilly and The Walking Dead; I got to voice an incredible character and travel to so many beautiful places. I’m grateful for the people who stuck by me and believed in me; that stuff keeps me going! I had my debut on Cartoon Network in a miniseries called Long Live The Royals, and the most incredible news was the announcement of Psychonauts 2… that was a very tough secret to keep!!
You recently returned to the role of Lilly in The Walking Dead: The Final Season. How did you find out your character was set to return?
Oh my goodness… wow. What a shock that was!! I had hoped for a few years after Season 1 that Lilly would return, but then I gave up. I really thought it was done.
So one unforgettable day last May, I was at work and had just clocked out. I looked at the emails on my phone and thought I read that Telltale… wanted to bring me back for Lilly…?
Wait. Did I really just read that?!?
Read it again.
Yes. That’s what it says!
So needless to say, I was super happy and in disbelief. I was so excited to see what she’d be about, all these years later.
I think you did an excellent job reprising the role, as I’m sure you could tell from my recent reviews! In The Final Season, how much has Lilly changed since players last saw her?
First of all, thank you for your kind words – I always look forward to your enthusiastic, insightful reviews. I enjoyed every moment of it because it was something I thought was gone forever!
As for Lilly… I was a bit shocked when I was recording my dialogue… I had no idea how she was going to be and I learned pretty quick that she was no good at all. So angry and conflicted but inside she still wants to protect and do what is “best for the group.” I would love to know more – what happened to her during all those years she was apart from Clementine?
Your scenes with Melissa Hutchison were a highlight of The Final Season for me; what was it like performing opposite her?
Recording the final season and hearing Melissa’s dialogue in my ear was incredible. I wish we would have recorded together, but sadly, that’s a rarity. I love that I got to be a part of it with her and Skybound as well.
How would you describe the relationship between Lilly and Clementine?
Oh it is complicated to say the least! Lilly truly and unfortunately cannot be trusted. Clementine was so young, but she remembered things – and she wasn’t naive or innocent anymore… but now she can see that Lilly has become truly sinister and whatever happened to her out there has darkened her soul. You could see Lilly was conflicted – but she’s so angry. They had both been through so much by the time they reunited – times were dark and survival at any cost was all that mattered. Complicated!
I was completely shocked when Telltale closed its doors last year. Were you given any advance warning before the news broke?
I had no idea. At first I thought they were at least going to finish everything in progress… nope. I was completely shocked and so terribly sad for everyone involved.
You’d previously worked with Telltale on Tales of Monkey Island and Sam & Max; the studio’s closure must have been devastating news to receive?
It was absolutely devastating. I’m so grateful for the history I’ve had with Telltale – I got to voice some incredible characters. Morgan LeFlay was just such a treat in my life! Then, to get Lilly back finally – only to have her taken away… I was a tragic sad girl and just felt heartbroken.
At the time, did you think The Final Season would remain unfinished?
I did start to accept that it would be left undone. Such a tragedy… those were some dark days with so many people sad and scared for their futures. This wasn’t just about games – this was about people’s livelihoods.
Thankfully, Skybound Games stepped in to complete the final two episodes; what was it like working with them?
Skybound=my heroes!! I loved working with them and was so happy that many people from Telltale were able to continue. They turned a sorrowful situation into something hopeful. To hear the news of the rescue mission was something I will never forget and will always be grateful for.
In my playthrough of The Final Season, Lilly lived to fight another day. What do you think makes her a good survivor?
Aw! Thank you so much for not killing her! Lilly is a good survivor because she absolutely will not take any shit – and always has a plan running around in her head. Her emotions and vulnerability are something she uses to manipulate now… despicable – but it got her where she wanted to be: the leader.
You recently attended Walker Stalker; what’s this convention all about and what was it like interacting with the fans?
Walker Stalker was an interesting time in my life. It is a convention centred on The Walking Dead TV show, but many fans of the game would attend as well. I attended many in the US, I’ve been to London three times and went to Berlin this year too. Meeting the fans has been insightful and truly wonderful; that’s the reason it was a good experience. I won’t be attending any more, but I’m very happy I was able to connect with so many wonderful people, many who I’ve kept up with.
After Season 1, people really hated Lilly – and were not shy about telling me how much… ouch. I definitely learned to start taking it as a compliment, happy that my performance made them feel something. Now that The Final Season is out in the world, I have been getting nothing but love for Lilly! It’s so interesting because I was very anxious it would be more hate… but it was the opposite. In some ways, it’s good to be the villain! The true fans were sincerely grateful that the game was finished, and understood what a really tough time it was for all involved.
You’re also set to return as Lili in Psychonauts 2; have you stepped into the recording studio for this project yet?
Psychonauts 2 is pretty much the best thing that could ever happen!! I am so excited for the world to play this game!! I’ve had most of my recording sessions and after what I saw at E3 this year, I think people are literally going to lose their minds over the creativity and imagination of this game. The excellent and crazy brains at Double Fine are a treasure!!
What’s next for you Nicki?
I’m always auditioning and excited for whatever comes next. Some stuff cannot be discussed but there will be stuff to come! For right now, I’m truly enjoying the comeback of Psychonauts and being grateful for that coming back into my life.
Thank you for your time. As you know, I’ve been a fan of your voice acting for a number of years now and I can’t wait to see what you do next!
Thank you again, Martin! I’m always grateful for your support. Looking forward to the next interview already. 😉
Also, I wanted to mention: I’ll be attending the London Film and Comic Con from the 26th to the 29th of July 2019. I’d love to meet everyone over in the UK!
Enjoyed this interview? Don’t forget to follow Nicki Rapp on social media!