Skip To Content

    14 Facts About "Archer" That'll Make You Say "Holy Shitsnacks"

    The design team actually made that Björk space-dress IRL.

    Ever wanted to see what it's like creating the world's most dysfunctional spy agency? Archer art director Neal Holman's new book, The Art of Archer, gave us all kinds of fun facts about the FX show.


    1. The original title for the show was Duchess.

    Neal Holman / FX

    According to the new book The Art of Archer, art director Neal Holman had even created the opening sequence with "Duchess" as the title. The name wasn't changed to Archer until the show was picked up to series.

    2. The show's creator, Adam Reed, got the idea for Archer while hiking in Spain.

    Brianna Laugher

    Reed decided to take a break from television in 2008 and walk the Via de la Plata in Spain. On a stop in Salamanca, he witnessed a "fashionable Spanish man" approach a table of five beautiful women and start chatting with them. That man was his inspiration for Sterling Archer.

    "Somewhere in Salamanca is an impossibly handsome, impeccably dressed man who should probably be getting Archer royalties," Reed joked.

    3. Cheryl/Carol wasn't supposed to make it past the pilot episode.


    Reed told A.V. Club that Cheryl was initially just going to be part of a running gag in the pilot where Archer impregnates all of Malory's secretaries, then wipes their memories and leaves them at Bellevue hospital. But when Judy Greer was cast, Cheryl became a series regular.

    4. An episode takes about nine weeks to animate, which is actually pretty fast for prime time animation.


    Reed said in a Reddit AMA that an episode takes about nine weeks "from script to finished episode," on average. However, the team is often working on more than one episode at a time.

    5. Adam Reed was the original voice of Sterling Archer.

    Frazer Harrison / Getty Images

    In The Art of Archer, EP Matt Thompson reveals that Reed was originally the voice of Sterling Archer, as he (along with other crew members) voiced characters in previous projects like Frisky Dingo. But the episode felt "flat," so they decided to bring H. Jon Benjamin on board.

    Reed claims he wanted to avoid doing a voice in Archer at all after that, but they "needed a new character" and Reed wouldn't need to be paid, so he ended up voicing Ray Gillette.

    6. The first person cast on the show was Jessica Walter, because Malory was described as "like Jessica Walter from Arrested Development."

    According to Thompson, the team sent out a casting notice that described Malory as being just like Jessica Walter. "Jessica's agent called us and asked if we would like the actual Jessica Walter, and we instantly jumped at the chance to work with her," Thompson says in The Art of Archer.

    Thompson credits Walter for the rest of the show's cast, as he claims it was "so much easier" to get other actors on board when they could say that Walter was attached.

    7. Ron and Mallory are actually married IRL.

    Dimitrios Kambouris / Getty Images

    Ron Cadillac was introduced as Malory's new husband in Season 4. Ron's voice actor, Ron Leibman, has been married to Jessica Walter since 1983!

    8. Adam Reed personally approves every car used in the show.


    "More often than not, he has a specific make/model suggested in the script," Holman says in The Art of Archer. Reed likes American muscle cars, so that's what Archer drives. Cyril, meanwhile, gets a "dinky" and "mundane" car every time.

    9. The artists use actual photos as guides.


    Models were used for the original references when creating the characters, but for various actions, costumes, and poses, members of the illustration/animation team will pose for photos and act out character motions for reference.

    10. Art Director Neal Holman's favorite episode is the Sealab-inspired Season 4 finale.


    "Not only did we get to include all sorts of subtle — and not so subtle — nods to our previous series Sealab 2021, but in true Sealab fashion, we destroyed the base by the episode's end," Holman says in The Art of Archer.

    "The backgrounds in this episode just sing, and together with the compositing team, they set the stage perfectly. Archer's 'death' has all the impact we were hoping for and more."

    11. The design team actually built Cheryl/Carol's space dress IRL.


    In addition to using models for reference, the team will actually make, buy, and build costumes and props to help the design process.

    12. That San Francisco chase scene with Lana's dad was a reference to Bullitt.

    Warner Bros.

    The team modeled the backgrounds after 1960s San Francisco instead of modern-day, and according to 3D director Robert Paraguassu, even some of the cars in the background match up to the movie exactly.

    13. Pam was originally going to get a tape worm to become "Skinny Pam," until the cocaine came into play.


    "It was pretty fun, just to see what she looked like," Nash says in The Art of Archer. "I loved that her boobs stayed the same size. But in the end, I'm glad she went back to the good ol' Pammy we love, she's sexier with some meat on her."

    14. In the script, Archer's various non-verbal noises are often referred to as Beaker-like.


    His excited noise at Lana's compliment of his driving abilities is written as "teeny tiny Beaker-noises," while his shock at meeting Abbiejean is written as "low Beaker-meeping." These are, of course, references to Beaker the Muppet.

    So there you go. Don't say Archer never taught you anything.