"The Coon" was written and directed by series co-founder Trey Parker. It first aired on March 18, 2009 in the United States on Comedy Central. Like most South Park episodes, "The Coon" was first conceived by Parker and fellow co-founder Matt Stone within a week of the episode's broadcast date. Kenny, Kyle and Stan were originally planned to be made superheroes as well as Cartman, and for the episode to revolve around a group of superheroes in the style of Watchmen, a graphic-novel-based film that had been released earlier that month. They started working on sketches of the other superhero costumes, but Cartman and his alter-ego, the Coon, were finished first. From the start, Parker and Stone wrote Cartman as caring more about his superhero image than fighting crime, but as they worked further on the episode, it began to take up more and more of the story until they decided to make Cartman the only superhero of the four boys.
Parker and Stone long planned to create an episode about the economic recession, and originally planned for Cartman to dress as a superhero named "The Coon" and fight the economy. This is why the opening scene of "The Coon" involves Cartman discussing the poor economic state of the nation and the election of U.S. President Barack Obama. Eventually, Cartman would discover the recession stemmed from the sale of Jimmy Buffett's Margaritaville blenders, and he would have to battle singer Jimmy Buffett and investor Warren Buffett, who would be portrayed as Jimmy's brother. Eventually, the idea was scrapped, and "The Coon" turned into an episode revolving entirely around a comic book film parody. Elements of the economic recession and the Margaritaville blenders were eventually incorporated into future episode "Margaritaville".
Mysterion is just another one of those things, like 'Who is Cartman's dad?' where everybody wants to ask us who is Mysterion. And we don't know.“ ” Trey Parker,
South Park co-creator
The identity of Mysterion is never revealed in "The Coon". After the episode aired, the question "Who is Mysterion?" became a frequently asked question at the FAQ for the official South Park website, South Park Studios. The answer posted at that site was that "there is no answer", and that only Trey Parker and Matt Stone actually know. Parker said it was one of the most common questions he was asked about the show, along with the identity of Cartman's father, which was resolved in the fourteenth season episode "201". Parker and Stone originally said there was no actual answer to Mysterion's identity, as they never chose a specific character to be him. In the original ending of the episode, after Mysterion is arrested, Kyle is shown to be in prison and it is believed he is the superhero. However, the real Mysterion visits him, and Kyle explains he pretended to be Mysterion so the real superhero could remain free and continue fighting crime. As a thank you, Mysterion revealed his identity by showing his face, but like in the actual episode, the viewer cannot determine who he is because all the children look alike without hats. The ending was ultimately cut because Parker and Stone decided it took too much time for a simple throwaway gag and to show that Kyle was not Mysterion. The clip is available as a deleted scene in the thirteenth season DVD and Blu-ray sets. The superhero characters from "The Coon" returned in the fourteenth season episodes "Coon 2: Hindsight", "Mysterion Rises" and "Coon vs. Coon and Friends", in which Mysterion is revealed.
Keo Thongkham and Kevin Dalton, who serve as South Park storyboard artists, drew the detailed image of Mysterion that appeared in a news broadcast within the episode. Within a week of the episode's original broadcast, the online retailer Zazzle and South Park Studios, the official South Park website, released t-shirts and hooded sweatshirts based on the episode, including one with an image of Cartman as the Coon, and one of Mysterion with the words, "Who is Mysterion?"
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