Kid Cudi Reveals How ‘Entergalactic,’ Planned as Live-Action Series, Became an Animated Special

If Kid Cudi is indeed retiring his rapper persona, as strongly indicated in recent interviews, Monday night might have served as an early farewell party of sorts. 

At a special screening at the Netflix Tudum Theater in Hollywood, the star was all smiles as he answered questions and celebrated the release of “Entergalactic,” the new animated Netflix special that serves as a kind of filmic companion piece to Cudi’s new album of the same name. 

“I’m just overwhelmed, you know?” Cudi, who created, starred in, and executive-produced the project, said immediately after the screening, sitting next to the film’s director, Fletcher Moules. “The past week has been really exciting to see the reviews, see the response. We’ve been working on this thing for three years, man.” 

The film, which boasts an all-star cast including Jessica Williams, Timothée Chalamet, Laura Harrier, Ty Dolla $ign, Vanessa Hudgens, Jaden Smith and Macauley Caulkin, was released on Netflix on September 30 and met with a widely positive critical reception. 

“We were texting this week, and I was like, I never knew that Twitter could be a platform of love,” Moules joked. 

Undergirded by a number of tracks of Cudi’s trademark spacy melodic rap from the accompanying album, Netflix’s “Entergalactic” follows a character voiced by Cudi, Jabari, an artist struggling to navigate the chaos of his love life in New York City. The film, Cudi explained, sprouted out of what was initially an anthology series that would, in its debut season, center around the theme of love and include a standalone animated episode. Cudi began developing the idea with Kenya Barris, who encouraged him instead to change course, eventually leading to “Entergalactic,” which Netflix has billed as a television special. 

Barris “told me this would be ill if we ran it all-animated, because that’s something that Netflix was looking for,” Cudi said. “So I decided to take the one animated episode that I was gonna have in my anthology and kinda just extend the story.” 

“Entergalactic” began first with the music (“Angel,” “Do What I Want” and “Willing to Trust” were the first three tracks that inspired early ideas of the project), but as the project took shape, the writing of both the film and the record informed one another. 

“The album itself came together rather quickly,” Cudi said, “just because in my mind I already knew the beats of what I wanted to cover, just kind of piecing the story in my mind early on.” 

The unique album and film concept, masterminded and headlined by Cudi, was also what helped lure its star-studded cast, from friends like Chalamet and Ty Dolla $ign to fans from afar like Williams and Harrier. “I felt like Tony Stark, kinda like assembling the Avengers,” Cudi said, laughing.

The project might signal a bookend of sorts to the career of Kid Cudi as we’ve known it. While promoting the film and album, Cudi indicated both in a recent interview with Zane Lowe and on his appearance on Hot Ones that he was leaning towards retiring the persona and less interested in making music. 

“The Kid Cudi stuff, I think I want to put it on the back burner and chill out with that,” Cudi told Lowe. “I think I want to be done with it. I think (I’m) closing the chapter on Kid Cudi. The goal for ‘Entergalactic’ — I was bored of making albums… I went into this wanting to do something epic and different.”

While Cudi established his stardom on his influential output as a musician, most notably with his multi-platinum 2009 debut record, “Man on the Moon: The End of the Day,” the 38-year old has worked as a relatively prolific actor for years. He has appeared in blockbusters (“Need for Speed”) and indies (“James White,” “X”) and served a stint as bandleader on the alt-comedy show “Comedy Bang Bang.” 

“Entergalactic” is one of several projects coming out of Mad Solar, the production company that Cudi founded in 2020, pointing perhaps toward a more concerted focus on film and television, both behind and in front of the camera. 

Not everyone in Cudi’s camp is expecting a wholesale turnabout in his career. “Nothing to me has changed in Scott,” said Karina Manashil — his former agent and a close confidant who is now the president of Mad Solar — backstage when asked about Cudi’s recent comments. “Now everything that we’re seeing, it’s not so much a shift. It’s more he now has everything around him that allows him to do all of the things he was always capable of, and he’s in the headspace to experience all of those things.” 

On Monday, Cudi himself refrained from providing any more details on his potential retirement from music or a change in direction. He instead offered a signature moment of personal vulnerability in relating what he hoped fans would take away from the film. 

“I want people to feel hopeful that their person is out there in the world,” Cudi said. “I haven’t been lucky enough to find that person, but I made this to remind myself that ‘Scott, your person could be out there. You could have a magical moment like this with someone.’ So I know there’s a lot of people out there that feel like maybe their person isn’t out there or it’s hard to find a person, but this is supposed to be a reminder that true love does happen.” 

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