Mythic Quest's David Hornsby On Their First Christmas Episode And Acting With Joe Manganiello [Exclusive Interview]

David Brittlesbee (David Hornsby) can never catch a break. The underappreciated executive producer of the game Mythic Quest is played by writer and executive producer David Hornsby, and while Hornsby's series is consistently one of the best Apple TV+ has to offer, Brittlesbee seems trapped in an ever-turning wheel of fortune, with his nemesis, Brad (Danny Pudi), turning the crank.

"Mythic Quest" returns this week with its third season, and it's one that sees a lot of changes coming to MQ headquarters. Former creative head honchos Ian (Rob McElhenney) and Poppy (Charlotte Nicdao) are out, and David's now in charge — although corrupt former head of monetization Brad is back, too, working as a janitor after his stint in prison. Meanwhile, Mythic Quest is moving forward with a movie adaptation starring none other than "Magic Mike" actor Joe Manganiello.

MQ's jump to the big screen is a plot point that echos a cautionary tale viewers saw way back in season 1, but when I spoke with Hornsby via Zoom interview, the writer, EP, and actor assured me that the show's only looking to the future. He also talked about riffing with Manganiello and previewed one of this season's episodes that pulls back the curtain on the gaming industry's busiest day of the year.

'I don't think we're looking to repeat ourselves'

I'm a really huge fan of the season 1 episode, "A Dark Quiet Death," and it's impossible not to think about it a little bit as a cautionary tale as the Mythic Quest movie kicks into gear this season. So I'm curious, how much is that episode referred to in conversations with the writers' room? Is it a narrative touchstone at all?

I mean, that comes up, if only ... once we've done it, we're looking to move on from it and do something different. The only similarity would be that it tackles doing a breakaway episode where we break away from our regular "Mythic Quest" story. But I don't think we're looking to repeat ourselves in any way. So looking to do another breakaway episode, we want to make sure we don't do something like that, which we want to respect for that episode. Is that what you mean?

Yeah! Well, I think also in terms of the duo in that episode, like I said, it's almost a cautionary tale, right? So we're seeing what they did and where they ended up. So now seeing "Mythic Quest" take off in that way, it's hard not to think about, how are Ian and Poppy not going to make those same mistakes?

No, we don't reference that, but I see what you mean. We wouldn't want to just recreate the same story, but we do use them as a cautionary tale, I think at the end of season 1, where he says, "These two people were here before us and they screwed up, and I don't want that to happen to us."

So I think we have kind of referenced it in a way where we would move on from that, because we wouldn't want to put that same story in new form. But certainly, there is a cautionary tale there that they have to heed.

'Joe was very willing to throw in some stuff'

Your scenes with Joe Manganiello this season are really great. I was wondering if there are any jokes or moments with him that didn't end up making it into the season?

Oh, totally. Joe was very willing to throw in some stuff. If you gave him a little, he would be like, "Yeah, yeah, and I just want to do this, so let me just throw this monologue in."

But he and Rob actually, when they met at mo-cap and their two characters met, had, I thought, some really funny exchanges, some bro exchanges feeling each other out that ended up on the cutting room floor because we had to pick one. And so yeah, I think there's some funny stuff there that maybe we can unearth someday.

I love the way that this show tackles fan culture. Is there any aspect of fan or video game culture that you've wanted to explore that hasn't made it into the show yet?

Good question. The Christmas episode was one that we've been wanting to explore for a while, I'll say that much off the top of my head, that we know that Christmas Day is the busiest time of year for video games because that's when everyone's getting the consoles and want to break out their new toys. So we wanted to do an episode that you have to stay overnight on Christmas and you got to cover the globe. So who's going to do that? What employees are going to do that? So that's definitely something that we've been wanting to tackle for a while that we're able to tackle in season 3.

"Mythic Quest" season 3 premieres on November 11, 2022.