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Seth MacFarlane Reveals Why We're Getting a Ted Prequel Series Instead of Ted 3

Picking up where the movies left off would've posed a challenge for one specific reason, according to Seth MacFarlane.

By Stephanie Gomulka
Ted: TV’s New Favorite Teddy Bear

Mark Wahlberg may not appear in the new Peacock show Ted, but creator Seth MacFarlane shares how the movie star influenced the decision to pursue the prequel series. 

Taking an earlier look into the story “turned out to be something that injected ... some fresh life into the franchise,” MacFarlane told NBC Insider. 

The show is set in 1993, well before the events of Ted and Ted 2. We find the bear growing up with 16-year-old John (now played by Max Burkholder) and cousin Blaire (Giorgia Whigham) in suburban Massachusetts.

“I think after doing two movies, this is something that kinda shakes it up a little bit and I think, you know, after all these years, coming back with something other than just another sequel is…a more interesting way to go,” MacFarlane said.

Seth MacFarlane on Why the Ted Series Went Back to the '90s with a Young John 

MacFarlane is no stranger to developing longstanding and iconic television. He created the animated series Family GuyAmerican Dad!, and The Cleveland Show.

When he was approached with the idea of doing a Ted Series for Peacock, MacFarlane says he anticipated picking up where the first two films left off would be tough. 

“I assumed from the get-go that it was gonna be something that would be a challenge to do with Wahlberg’s schedule,” McFarlane said. “Sure enough…it was.”

Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) and John (Max Burkholder) appear in Season 1 Episode 7 of Ted

Wahlberg has a lot going on with films and a television series is a big time commitment, MacFarlane explained.

“It’s a tough sell,” MacFarlane noted. “With that reality in place, it became pretty obvious that a prequel was the logical place to go.”

Did Seth McFarlane Ever Consider Playing John in Ted?

Ted wouldn’t be the same without John, the boy who wished the teddy bear to life as a child. The movie follows their antics as two best friends bonded by their zest for fun and love for Flash Gordon. 

In addition to his numerous voice over roles and singing for a classic holiday album with Liz Gillies (Dynasty, Victorious), MacFarlane starred in live-action shows such as The Orville and films like A Million Ways to Die in the West. Still, taking on the role of both voicing Ted and playing John was “never” an idea that MacFarlane considered when creating the movies.

Part of the magic of making the relationship between the thunder buddies is the artistry of the animators, MacFarlane said commending the work of the creative studio Framestore. Another key aspect to making Ted work is the dynamic and repartee between Ted and John.

John (Max Burkholder) and Ted (voiced by Seth MacFarlane) appear in Season 1 Episode 6 of Ted

“The interplay between the actors,” MacFarlane said, describing the chemistry he wanted for the characters further. "It has to feel real and it has to feel organic and…it has to feel like it’s just two people. You almost have to forget that this is a talking teddy bear, or a CGI character of any kind."

You need two actors playing the duo to accomplish that, according to MacFarlane.

“Would you rather look at me or Mark Wahlberg? I’d rather look at Wahlberg,” MacFarlane added, chuckling.

Ted premieres with all seven episodes on Peacock on Thursday, January 11th. 

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