Title card from a January 2018 teaser video
|Created by||Gray Haddock|
|Written by||Gray Haddock|
|Directed by||Gray Haddock|
|Opening theme||"Belgrade" performed by Battle Tapes|
|No. of seasons||1|
|No. of episodes||5 (list of episodes)|
|Original network||Rooster Teeth|
|Original release||January 26, 2019 –|
Gen:Lock (stylized as gen:LOCK) is an animated web series created by Gray Haddock and produced by Rooster Teeth. It is set in a dystopian future Earth where an international coalition known as The Polity fights a hostile, autocratic invading force known as The Union. The show follows the gen:LOCK program and its members, who participate in the development and testing of an experimental technology which allows for individuals with unique mental make ups to have their minds uploaded to giant suits of mecha armor.
The concept for Gen:Lock originated in 2016 as a cautionary tale about cultural warfare. It was announced with a brief teaser at RTX Austin 2017. A trailer was shown at New York ComicCon 2017, where it was described as, "grounded science-fiction" in the tradition of mecha anime such as Gundam and Tom Clancy novels but with a look and feel reminiscent of RWBY.
In May 2018, it was announced that Michael B. Jordan would voice lead character Julian Chase, the news of which accelerated the signings of other voice talents. Gen:Lock is RoosterTeeth Animation's first series that allowed members that are part of the Screen Actors Guild‐American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA) like Jordan, Dakota Fanning, and David Tennant joining in. Jordan's production company, Outlier Society Productions, will co-produce the show. In July 2018, Austin-based writer Evan Narcisse joined the writing staff of Gen:Lock.
For the first four months, the team animated the show without the actors’ voices recorded. Haddock performed every voice for the first few episodes himself, hoping his direction would match later.
Gen:Lock premiered on January 26, 2019.
Cast and characters
The lead cast comes from intentionally inclusive backgrounds, the goal being to normalize diversity.
- Michael B. Jordan as Julian Chase, a Vanguard pilot and "All-American guy" from Brooklyn who helps form the show's team
- Dakota Fanning as Miranda Worth, a mecha pilot and a love interest for Chase
- Maisie Williams as Cameron 'Cammie' MacCloud, a Scottish hacker and the youngest recruit of the Gen:Lock program at the age of 17 years old
- Kōichi Yamadera as Kazu Iida, a transfer from the Japanese military, where he was demoted from the rank of Sergeant to kitchen duty on grounds of insubordination
- Golshifteh Farahani as Yasamin Madrani, a former Iranian fighter pilot acquitted from the Mesa Detention Center to join the Gen:Lock program
- Asia Kate Dillon as Val/entina Romanyszyn (roh-mah-nee-shin), a former Ukrainian covert agent. Val/entina is genderfluid, going by the name "Val" when male-presenting and "Valentina" when female-presenting.
- David Tennant as Dr. Rufus Weller
- Monica Rial as Col. Raquel Marin
- Blaine Gibson as Robert Sinclair, a Vanguard Specialist
- Gray Haddock as Unit Leader Leon August
- Miles Luna as Miguel 'Migas' Garza, a mecha mechanic
- Chad James as Jodie Brennan, a mecha pilot
- Lindsay Jones as Razzle, a fighter pilot and Julian's former squadmate in the 'Silver Falcons' unit.
- Shari Belafonte as Roberta Chase, Julian's mother
- G.K. Bowes as Driana Chase, Julian's sister and aspiring pop idol
- Lara Toner Haddock as Patricia Bartlet-Young, President of the Polity
- Lawrence Sonntag as ABLE, the Anvil's AI unit and Colonel Raquel Marin's assistant.
- SungWon Cho as Heng Li "Henry" Wu, a scientist who is kidnapped by the Union and then rescued by the gen:LOCK team.
Initially advertised for release in 2018, the show's final release date of January 26, 2019 was announced at New York Comic-Con. Following a mysterious tweet from Rooster Teeth's Twitter account on December 21, the first episode of the series was broadcast in a surprise screening on the company's live streaming service the next day. On January 9, it was revealed that the first two episodes would premiere on the 26th, and that only the first episode would be available for free and all subsequent episodes would be exclusive to Rooster Teeth FIRST members. The remaining six episodes will be released on a weekly basis.
Prior to release, Rooster Teeth released four "Character Reveal Teasers." These teasers were framed from the perspective of Dr. Rufus Weller (David Tennant) and his continued phone conversations with Colonel Raquel Marin (Monica Rial), discussing the new recruits for the gen:LOCK program.
|No.||Title||Length||Original air date|
|P1||"Character Reveal Teaser 1"||1:40||January 20, 2018(final version reuploaded November 23, 2018)|
Dr. Weller runs an experimental field trial operation using test subject Julian Chase. Colonel Marin expresses her concerns about the project, and is discouraged to learn that Dr. Weller only found six matches. Dr. Weller reassures her that they are just getting started.|
Note: This teaser was originally released after the credits of the Volume 5 finale of RWBY, prior to the casting of David Tennant as Dr. Weller: hence Gray Haddock's scratch-track voice for the character is used. It was later re-released in November with Tennant dubbing Dr. Weller's lines
|P2||"Character Reveal Teaser 2"||1:55||August 9, 2018|
|While observing another field test, Dr. Weller receives another call from Colonel Marin demanding to know why she has a transfer request from the Mesa Detainment Center. She reports that the Vanguard is strictly running defense against the Union and that they are only slowing them down. Dr. Weller announces he's found another pilot for the program: Yasamin Madrani, an incarcerated Iranian combat pilot with significant military training. Dr. Weller requests that she be released into his custody from the Mesa, prompting Marin to hang up on him.|
|P3||"Character Reveal Teaser 3"||2:02||September 15, 2018|
|Colonel Marin admits she is impressed by Yasamin's work with Chase. Dr. Weller expresses misgivings about the new armor sets for the program, but is ignored. He then reveals the next two recruits: Cammie McCloud, a talented Scottish hacker, and Kazu Iida, a former tank driver who was demoted to cook for insubordination. Colonel Marin angrily refuses to approve Dr. Weller's transfer requests, despite his protests that they are "one in a million." Marin reminds him that they would not have to rely on such subpar candidates if they could improve "gen:LOCK compatibility" and orders Dr. Weller to keep looking.|
|P4||"Character Reveal Teaser 4"||2:36||November 26, 2018|
|Colonel Marin contacts Dr. Weller to report that the Union is trying to bring down the whole comms network to find him, and that they need to evacuate him and his work to a safe location. Instead, Dr. Weller reports two more candidates: Ukrainian special ops soldier Valentina Romanyszyn and Vanguard ranger Robert Sinclair. Despite the fact that the integrity of the network is close to being compromised, Dr. Weller refuses to evacuate until Colonel Marin approves the rest of the recruits for transfer. Marin reluctantly complies and orders him to meet her at the Anvil, along with the new recruits. Just as she hangs up, Weller receives a notification that the call was intercepted.|
|Title||Written by||Length||Original air date|
|1||1||"The Pilot"||Gray G. Haddock||32:07||January 26, 2019(premiered December 22, 2018)|
|In 2068, Vanguard pilot Julian Chase holographically visits his family in New York to introduce them to his girlfriend and fellow soldier Miranda Worth. Shortly afterwards the Union begins its attack on New York, and Chase and Miranda are dispatched from the Anvil with the rest of the Vanguard forces. Despite their efforts New York is lost to the Union, and Chase is seemingly killed in a crash after defeating the Union's nanotech swarm in an attempt to buy the evacuees more time. Four years later, a battle-hardened and still grieving Miranda is ordered by Colonel Raquel Marin to meet Dr. Rufus Weller and Yasamin Madrani from the Polity's Experimental Science Unit, who are moving their headquarters into the Anvil. Miranda, along with Chase's former squadmates Unit Leader Leon August and tank pilot Jodie Brennan, are dispatched to pick up some people on the underground railroad but face a Union ambush. Just when Miranda is about to give up hope, she hears Chase's voice over the radio and witnesses two humanoid mechs enter the battle and single-handedly drive back the Union forces. At the debriefing session the suspicious pilots demand to know who the mechs were. Marin explains the ambush muddled their plans on how to reveal the truth of the Experimental Science Unit, and an apparently still-alive Chase proceeds to materialize in front of the crowd.|
|2||2||"There's Always Tomorrow"||Gray G. Haddock||26:16||January 26, 2019|
|Chase, Dr. Weller and Colonel Marin explain the situation to the shocked soldiers: at the ESU Dr. Weller was in charge of an R&D program developing new mech technology called "Holons," controlled by a human mind digitized into a computer interface. The system requires very specific candidates in order to achieve what is referred to as "gen:LOCK," and Chase was the first of those candidates identified for the Phase 1 stage, with Madrani being the second. Chase was recovered alive by the ESU and can control his mechs remotely as though they are his own body, and can interact with others via a hologram he can materialize anywhere nearby. Miguel 'Migas' Garza, one of Chase's friends, visits him in his Holon tank, learning the full extent of Chase's injuries: he lost all of his limbs save for his left arm, and has to be constantly connected to a life support system. He cannot have his limbs regenerated due to the Union's nano technology that attacked him, which ironically also kept him alive: until they can develop the technology to remove them, he has to stay confined to the tank. The next day, the other four gen:LOCK candidates arrive: Cammie McCloud, Kazu Iida, Valentina Romanyszyn, and Robert Sinclair. Chase attempts to talk to Miranda, who angrily rebuffs him for keeping her in the dark for the past four years. Before the recruits can use the holons, Sinclair is revealed to be a Union imposter who replaced the real Sinclair. He kills the guards sent to contain him and takes Dr. Weller hostage. He demands that Weller upload him into one of the mechs or he will release the nano-tech on the base. Dr. Weller complies, but because the imposter Sinclair is not gen:LOCK compatible he is immediately killed while trying to use the Holon unit.|
|3||3||"Second Birthday"||Gray G. Haddock||25:05||February 2, 2019|
|The recruits are reluctant to continue participating in the gen:LOCK program after witnessing what happened to the imposter Sinclair, further insisting that they were misled as to what the program was for: Valentina in particular had retired from active combat and was told the program was a science experiment. Dr. Weller meets with Colonel Marin, who is less than pleased that a Union spy was able to sneak into the base and warns that based on current estimates the Union will reach the West Coast in 6 months. Dr. Weller asks the recruits to start over, requesting that they at least try the Holon units once. With some difficulty, the recruits are uploaded into their Holon units for the first time and sent to a training ground where the tank pilots - Leon, Jodie and Miranda - will serve as their instructors. Chase witnesses Miranda and Jodie discussing an apparent relationship and whether or not they should tell Chase, but he does not say anything about it. The tank pilots challenge the recruits to a game of capture-the-flag, where they have to grab a flag without being shot by the line of tanks. None of the recruits fare very well, but Chase shows off the full capabilities of the Holon units by winning easily. A fleet of carrier vehicles carrying injured refugees from the front lines arrives right by where the recruits are training, much to their horror. Dr. Weller explains that he created gen:LOCK as a potential solution to the culture war, hopefully bridging divisions between sides and helping them come to an understanding, but the military weaponized it. He tells the recruits that even so, perhaps the six of them can usher in a new way of fighting the war if they all work together to support the military's efforts, be it in battle or through rescue missions. The recruits all agree to continue with the program.|
|4||4||"Training Daze"||Gray G. Haddock & Kerry Shawcross||24:19||February 9, 2019|
|Training for the gen:LOCK program continues, and though the recruits show progress, they have a difficult time forming a bond as a team. Julian talks to Miranda again, who warns that the group could have trouble on the field if they do not improve their communication. Julian apologizes for not reaching out to her, explaining he knew with his situation that there was a chance he would die on her again before they could be reunited, and understands that she moved on through her relationship with Jodie. Miranda hesitantly raises the possibility of them starting over. Migas lets Cammie know she can overhaul the endoskeleton of the Holon units for a better center of gravity, and hints that he's working on some other design modifications. Exhausted from training, the group takes a break in the Ether, a virtual reality hub for recreation. Before they can do anything, however, the Ether starts to glitch. Unbeknownst to Chase, his sister Driana (who he assumed was lost in New York) is also in the Ether, and she spots him just before it shuts down. The Holons are dispatched to Dallas's Data Center for the Ether, which the Union are trying to take down. They manage to defeat several of the Union's tanks, and the grunts are able to secure the data center, but the group is confronted by a giant Union mech that ambushes Cammie and severely damages her Holon, leaving her unable to fight but still alive. The rest of the gen:LOCK team manage to force the mech to retreat and Yaz helps Cammie by mind-sharing with her Holon unit. The Vanguard are left bewildered at what the Union mech was.|
|5||5||"The Best Defense"||Gray G. Haddock||23:54||February 16, 2019|
|The team continues training, despite Cammie's trauma from the attack in Dallas and Julian's concerns about her and the fact that they do not know what the Union mech was. Cammie's frustration with her lack of improvement leads her to alter her own confidence and aggression settings during a training session, leading her to have a psychotic episode during a sparring match with Kazu. The team tries to cheer her up, revealing that they all have a shared nightmare of themselves in place of their Holon units in battle, and assuring Cammie that they will support her in their next fight. Colonel Marin briefs the gen:LOCK team and the Vanguard pilots about a mission to a Union manufacturing base in Atlanta, their first offensive attack in some time, despite Dr. Weller's concerns about dispatching them so quickly. Julian and Miranda discuss him returning to the Vanguard, which he shows reluctance to doing. The team is given additional upgrades by Dr. Weller (a sword for Kazu, a new rifle for Valentina, wrist-mounted lasers for Yasamin, and targeting drones for Cammie), while Migas reveals to Julian he upgraded his Holon to include wings for aerial combat, to Julian's delight. The mission is briefly complicated by the arrival of some Polity scientists taken hostage by the Union. The gen:LOCK team successfully rescues the scientists and destroys the base, but their exit is blocked by the return of the Union mech, which strangely recognizes Miranda and speaks in Julian's voice before targeting him specifically. After a vicious fight, the mech escapes, leaving Julian confused.|
|6||6||TBA||TBA||TBD||February 23, 2019|
|7||7||TBA||TBA||TBD||March 2, 2019|
|8||8||TBA||TBA||TBD||March 9, 2019|
Reviews for Gen:LOCK were largely positive. Critics praised the series as a clear step forward for the company behind Red vs. Blue and RWBY, highlighting the animation quality and the performances of the lead cast, as well as sharp dialogue by writers Gray Haddock and Evan Narcisse. The series' use of action and spectacle, while praised for its quality, was criticized as taking precedence over storytelling, with Comic Book Resources' Reuben Baron noting it made the series feel unfocused. Writing for Inverse, Eric Francisco observed that at least for the first five episodes the series lacks a clear antagonist which makes the stakes of the story difficult to perceive, but overall praised the series as a much more mature outing for Rooster Teeth than RWBY. Austen Goslin from Polygon observed that the series was at its strongest when the characters were the focus and that the fight sequences, though well-choreographed, took time away from those interactions. However, Goslin conceded that the series was a strong addition to the mecha genre.
- Martinez, Phillip (October 7, 2018). "ROOSTER TEETH REVEALS 'GEN: LOCK' DETAILS AND FOOTAGE AT NEW YORK COMIC CON". Newsweek. Retrieved October 8, 2018.
- "Gen:LOCK Episode 1: The Pilot". Rooster Teeth. Retrieved February 2, 2019.
- Peters, Megan. "Rooster Teeth's Gray Haddock Gets Real About 'gen:LOCK'". ComicBook. Retrieved July 28, 2018.
- Whittaker, Richard. "RTX: Austin Animation Update". Austin Chronicle. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
- Francisco, Eric. "Rooster Teeth's 'RWBY' Made It More Than Just a Dude Network". Inverse. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
- Trumbore, Dave (January 22, 2018). "Exclusive: First Trailer for 'gen:LOCK' Reveals Rooster Teeth's Biggest Series Since 'RWBY'". Collider. Retrieved July 7, 2018.
- Spangler, Todd (May 21, 2018). "'Black Panther' Star Michael B. Jordan to Lend Voice to Rooster Teeth's 'gen:Lock' Anime-Style Series". Variety. Retrieved May 26, 2018.
- Francisco, Eric. "How Casting Michael B. Jordan in 'gen:LOCK' Helped Rooster Teeth "Grow Up"". Inverse. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
- Gross, Joe. "Austin writer Evan Narcisse joins Rooster Teeth animated show". Austin 360. Retrieved July 25, 2018.
- Rooster Teeth [@RoosterTeeth] (December 21, 2018). "Caliban activate gen:LOCK, candidate Rose. 10 15 27.pic.twitter.com/JISX2IPwP8" (Tweet). Retrieved December 23, 2018 – via Twitter.
- Rooster Teeth [@RoosterTeeth] (December 22, 2018). "gen:LOCK initiated" (Tweet). Retrieved December 23, 2018 – via Twitter.
- Luna, Miles [@TheMilesLuna] (December 22, 2018). "I've seen the #genLOCK pilot several times now, and I'm still so floored by what our team has been able to accomplish. Absolute professionals. Every one of them. Hope you guys enjoyed that surprise screening! Let's keep watching cartoons!" (Tweet). Retrieved December 23, 2018 – via Twitter.
- Haddock, Gray (January 9, 2019). "Gen:LOCK - It's ALMOST HERE!". Rooster Teeth. Retrieved January 11, 2019.
- Trumbore, Dave (January 26, 2019). "'gen:LOCK' Review: A Quantum Leap Forward for Rooster Teeth's Animation Team". Collider. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
- Egan, Touissant (January 26, 2019). "Dakota Fanning and Michael B. Jordan are lovers separated by war and 40-foot mechs in gen:LOCK". The A.V. Club. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
- Baron, Reuben (January 26, 2019). "REVIEW: gen:LOCK Is Action-Packed, But Underdeveloped". CBR. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
- Francisco, Eric (January 26, 2019). "'gen:LOCK' Review: One Giant Leap for Mecha Kind". Inverse. Retrieved January 26, 2019.
- Goslin, Austen (January 27, 2019). "Gen:Lock is great when its characters are actually the focus". Polygon. Retrieved January 27, 2019.
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