The Cuphead Show! was developed by Dave Wasson, director on the Mickey Mouse shorts and creator of Cartoon Network’s Time Squad, who is also an executive producer. Cosmo Segurson, director of Rocko’s Modern Life: Static Cling and Pig Goat Banana Cricket, serves as co-executive producer.
Netflix Animation is producing. Cuphead creators Chad and Jared Moldenhauer are executive-producing for Studio MDHR (which produced the game). C.J. Kettler is executive-producing for King Features, which represents Cuphead for licensing.
Adam Paloian (supervising director, Spongebob Squarepants) and Clay Morrow (director, Mickey Mouse shorts) are directing, while Andrea Fernandez (art director, Unikitty!) is the art director.
The series was presented as a work in progress at Annecy in 2020. In the presentation, the team cited their main influences for the vintage rubber-hose aesthetic: Disney’s 1935 Silly Symphonies short Music Land, as well as plenty of Fleischer Studios, including Popeye, Betty Boop, and Superman shorts.
Fernandez explained their approach: “Everything — not just the paintings, but the color palette, the effects, the way we handle props, the linework, everything — is looked at from a lens of, could they have done this in the 1930s? Could they have pulled this off? If it feels like it’s too modern or not possible for them to have done, then we kind of pull back and reassess.”