Sam Riegel On The Final Battle and Critical Role's Future
Todd Kenreck: I talked to Critical Role's Sam Riegel about the closing of this campaign, his character and how this game has made him closer to his friends. What is the feeling right now?
Sam Riegel: Going into this last fight, what is the feeling?
Todd Kenreck: Yeah. How is everyone else doing? How are you doing?
Sam Riegel: I'm fine, man. We got this. We got this in the bank. This last fight that we're going into is ... It's everything that we've been preparing for. We've got the vestiges. We've got the tools. We've got the magic. We've got the skills. We've got the levels. Matt knows how to balance a fight and it seems unwinnable, but I think we've been training our whole lives for this moment, right? When we started, I didn't know how to play Dungeons and Dragons. Now I'm pretty good at it. I think we've got a shot. I'm optimistic as always.
Todd Kenreck: What's the feeling for everybody now that it's been like four years and it's coming to a head?
Sam Riegel: I think everybody is nervous, but not ... Nervous in a few different ways. We're nervous about what's going to happen. How's the story going to end, of course, because we're invested in the story and the characters, but I think now we're also nervous on a second level because we've built this awesome community and the show, which started off with just us being stupid together and sometimes people would watch, now is a thing that we as performers feel like we have to give something good to the audience. I think me and the rest are nervous because we're not sure what that next story is going to be, what the next campaign is going to be and whether the show that we give to the audience will be as fun. It's just something we've never done before and it's always scary to do something brand new. Tell a different story.
My character, Scanlan Shorthalt, has changed over the course of the thing in a lot of ways. He just started as I think most or many indie characters do as a one-note cartoon character. He was a lecherous, woman-chasing puck. Over the months and years that we've gotten to play and gotten to know each other and gotten to know our characters more, he's developed a bit more backstory and more emotions and more complex internal monologues and stuff. He's gone through ups and downs. It's really made a cartoon character fleshed out and become a real guy. It's been an amazing experience. It's going to be so strange to start again from just the mere cutout of a character and just starting from scratch and finding out, what is it about this person that makes them interesting? Or her or whatever. Developing it all again. It's exciting.
Todd Kenreck: This has to be a very strange experience because you are seeing your friends every single week and hanging out and playing a game for four to five hours for four years. That has to make you guys closer.
Sam Riegel: Oh, yeah. We're super close now. I mean the first time we ever played, I barely knew Taliesin. I didn't know Marisha at all. Yeah, they were like work friends, except for Liam. He was my husband and always will be, but yeah. Over the years, we've bonded in ways that really in real life, if you go through fraternity hell week or boot camp or something, you're going through these intense rites of passage together. Then at the end of it, you come out bonded as brothers and sisters forever. We've done that on this show, too. It's just been imaginary. We've gone through these trials and tribulations and hard fights and bitter losses and stuff. It's not real, but we still have experienced them together. As a result, we've come out on the other side closer friends than ever. These are my best friends and they will be forever.
Todd Kenreck: Tonight there's going to come a point where the battle is over and Matt turns the camera and says, "Goodbye." What is this going to feel like?
Sam Riegel: Well if Matt were really saying "goodbye" tonight, really ending the show, that would be devastating, but I know in my heart of hearts, in the back of my mind that this is the end of a story, but it's not the end of us, of our group, that we have many more adventures ahead of us. They might be different and we might all be different characters and it might feel different. It might not be as fun. I don't know. I know that we will be together and as we began this, we sort of promised each other that no matter what happens when we do this show and broadcast it, we're all going to stay friends. That's going to be the case no matter what happens at the end of it.