Red, White, Black and Yellow

RWBY has had a very interesting development history. What started out as a low-budget indie webseries became a professional multimedia franchise.

Monty Oum had the idea for RWBY for several years, but never got around to acting on it due to the amount of his time dedicated to his work on Red vs. Blue. During the production of Season 10 of Red vs. Blue, Monty decided to develop his idea further and present it to Burnie Burns. After describing the premise of the show as well as giving a description of the character that would become Ruby Rose, Monty received approval for the show.

Original Concept

At some point Monty Oum had a dream of four different colored girls and told Kerry about it.[1][2] Sometime later, while Red vs. Blue Season 10 was being made, Monty recruited Miles, and the three of them began talking about RWBY.[3]

Some of the animations and concepts Monty used in the series were in development for more than 10 years. For example, the idea for the shotgun nunchucks used by Sun Wukong can be seen in some of Monty's very early animation work.[4] Certain characters and their fighting style, such as Qrow Branwen, also pre-date the show entirely.

Monty pitched the idea for Ruby's character to Burnie as "a badass Red Riding Hood". Fairy tales, literature, mythology and historical figures would later become a source of inspiration for other characters, who are developed with a certain existing basis in mind. However, Monty was careful to note that they are not adaptations, but rather original characters which allude to other works.[5]

The theme of four colors, Red, White, Black and Yellow, each corresponding to four girls, came to Monty in a dream. This color theming would become a core part of the character development process and a key theme in the series itself.

Many characters were designed by Eileen Chang, who followed rough sketches provided by Monty and further developed them into fully-fleshed out character designs.

Team Expansion

Series writers Monty Oum, Miles Luna and Kerry Shawcross

After receiving approval from Burnie, Monty then enlisted the services of Shane Newville to assist him in animating the show. The show was animated in the software Smith Micro's Poser, which Monty had years of experience and expertise in. The assets were modelled in Autodesk Maya. Motion capture footage was also widely used for animations in the show alongside manual animation.

Kerry Shawcross and Miles Luna were brought on by Monty to be the main writers. Monty assigned the two writers anime homework so that they could have a better idea of what Monty was aiming for.[7] The pair developed characters based on the basic outlines given by Monty. For example, the personalities of Nora Valkyrie and Lie Ren were devised based only on the direction that they were "powerful" and "honorable", respectively. On finding the correct tone and inspiration for the series, Kerry Shawcross cited Grimms' Fairy Tales as well as The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air as influences.[8]

The four team members spent many working and off hours, in and out of the office, developing the show. One of the most frequented locations was the local IHOP, where the map of Remnant, the show's setting, was developed by squirting ketchup on a napkin, with blots forming landmasses, in order to create a truly organic and emergent design. Over many such discussions, the long-term plot, world-building and characters of the series were planned out.

The first released videos for RWBY were the four trailers, which were developed mostly by Monty and Shane alone. A larger team of animators, modellers and other artists later joined the RWBY team for the production of Volume 1.


Lindsay voice acting for Ruby

After some development, Monty decided to begin casting the roles for the leads, with each lead character reflecting certain personality traits of her voice actor:

  • Lindsay Jones was cast as Ruby Rose, with their silliness, but also honesty, being reflected in Ruby.
  • Kara Eberle was chosen to play Weiss Schnee, as both can be nice, but at the same time "bitchy".
  • Arryn Zech plays Blake Belladonna because Monty did not know much about Arryn, he had the impression that she was mysterious, just as Blake is in the series.
  • Barbara Dunkelman voice acts Yang Xiao Long as both do not care what other people think about them.

Many other Rooster Teeth employees landed voice roles in RWBY, with Jack Pattillo cast as Junior Xiong and Michael Jones taking on the role of Sun Wukong. Series creator Monty played Lie Ren until his death after Volume 2 aired, and writer Miles plays Jaune Arc. Other crew working on the show also had a chance to play characters, with Volume 1 Art Director Taylor McNee cast as Penny Polendina and Producer Gray G. Haddock playing Roman Torchwick.

Other actors who have previously worked with Rooster Teeth landed roles, including Shannon McCormick, who had previously voiced Agent Washington in Red vs. Blue, playing Ozpin; and Samantha Ireland, previously the voice of C.T. in Red vs. Blue, being cast as Nora Valkyrie. Kathleen Zuelch, voice of Agent Texas in Red vs. Blue, voices Glynda Goodwitch, and was also a Producer on Volume 1 of RWBY. Voice actress Jen Taylor, the voice of Cortana from Halo, was also contacted for Volume 1 and played Salem, the mysterious narrator. Jessica Nigri, a famous cosplayer, was approached by Monty and cast as Cinder Fall.

Volume 3 marked a point where along with Rooster Teeth staffers and collaborators, the cast also got the addition of well-known anime voice actors, such as Vic Mignogna as Qrow Branwen, Elizabeth Maxwell as Winter Schnee, and Yuri Lowenthal as the new voice of Mercury Black.


Main article: Volume 1

Ruby in "Ruby Rose", the first episode of the series

The first episode of the series premiered live to audiences at RTX 2013, with the online public premiere taking place on July 18th, 2013.[9] All subsequent episodes were released every Thursday at 7pm EST for the general public on the Rooster Teeth website. Rooster Teeth also uploaded each episode to YouTube one week following its premiere. Development on later episodes continued during the show's run, with some episodes completed mere weeks before they were aired.

There are sixteen episodes in Volume 1. However, the episodes vary greatly in length, with episodes 1, 8, 15 and 16 being around eleven minutes long, with all the other episodes running approximately six minutes. Volume 1 ran from July 18th to November 7th, 2013. The DVDs and Blu-rays of the first volume were released on November 12th, 2013.

RWBY Volume 1 received several accolades, including the International Academy of Web Television (IAWTV) 2014 Award for Best Animated Series[10] and the 4th Streamy Awards for Best Animated Series and Best Original Score for Jeff Williams.[11]

Volume 2 Production

Main article: Volume 2

Gray G. Haddock revealed on January 30th, 2014 that production on RWBY Volume 2 was underway and that the first episode would premiere at RTX 2014.

Japanese Release

The Volume 1 Limited Edition theatrical release Japanese DVD/Blu-ray cover. Illustrated by Kuma.

In 2014, it was announced that Warner Bros. Japan had received distribution rights for a Japanese release of RWBY[12][13] – the first time an American-made anime would be marketed and released in Japan, the birthplace of anime.

The Japanese dub, released in 2015 on Blu-Ray and DVD, included several highly notable names in the Japanese anime voice acting scene, such as Saori Hayami, Yū Shimamura and Ami Koshimizu.[14] The Japanese dub of RWBY Volume 1 was also screened in 6 theaters in Japan on November 14th, 2015.[15] The Blu-Ray disc release was ranked #2 in any category in Japan for the week of December 7th-13th.[16] Some of the Japanese merchandise, including the dubbed DVD and Blu-Ray discs and the Japanese soundtrack release, was also made available through the Rooster Teeth store in the United States following the conclusion of Volume 3.[17]

A manga adaptation of RWBY, drawn by Japanese manga artist and writer Shirow Miwa with oversight from Rooster Teeth, was also announced in 2015, with serialization beginning in the Ultra Jump magazine in November 2015. Also released and distributed by Warner Bros. Japan was an official RWBY Fanbook, including art drawn by numerous professional Japanese manga illustrators.[18]

It was announced in July 2016 that Japanese dubs of RWBY Volumes 2 and 3 would be released in 2016. They were also accompanied by theatrical releases in Japan.[19] Volume 2 was released in theaters from October 1st-14th, 2016 and Volume 3 from December 3rd-16th, 2016.[20]

It was announced on June 13th, 2017 on Comic Toranoana's Twitter account, that RWBY Volume 1–3 Blu-ray was set to be released on September 27th, 2017.[21] The RWBY: Best Vocal Album was released on August 30th, 2017 in Japan.[22]

It was announced on July 3rd, 2017 on Warner Bros' YouTube channel that the Japanese dub of RWBY Volume 4 was released on October 7th-20th, 2017.[23]

Volume 3 Production

Main article: Volume 3

On January 22nd, 2015, series creator Monty Oum was hospitalized following a severe allergic reaction during a routine medical procedure, rendering him comatose. Monty was unable to awaken from the coma and passed away on February 1st, 2015, at the age of 33.

While the future of the series was briefly in question, it was announced that RWBY would continue, with Volume 3 of the series premiering in 2015.[citation needed] The first episode premiered on October 24th, 2015.

Volume 4 & RWBY Chibi

Main article: Volume 4
Main article: RWBY Chibi

The RWBY Volume 4 official poster

Volume 4 was announced by Gray G. Haddock on April 1st, 2016, the 13th anniversary of Rooster Teeth's founding. At RTX 2016, the release date was announced as October 22nd, 2016.[24] The shot list and initial storyboarding for the first episode of Volume 4 were underway by May 2016.[25] Voice acting recording sessions for key characters also began by May to June 2016.[26][27][28]

Also announced as part of the 13th anniversary celebrations was a lighthearted spin-off show, RWBY Chibi, which began airing on May 7th, 2016.[29] As part of Rooster Teeth's 2016 "Summer of Animation", RWBY Chibi continued to air weekly on Saturday mornings until the start of Volume 4 in the Fall.[30] Completely different animation teams worked on RWBY Volume 4 and RWBY Chibi.[30][31]

After Volume 3, Rooster Teeth changed animation software from Poser Pro 2013 to Autodesk Maya. With this change, the animation department also made all new models and designs for RWBY.

Volume 4 premiered on October 22nd, 2016.[24]

Volume 5

Main article: Volume 5

The Volume 5 online premiere date, October 14th, 2017 was announced at RTX Austin 2017. In addition, theatrical screenings of the premiere were held through Fathom Events across the United States on October 12th.

After Volume 5 finished airing, some additional scenes were re-animated and added to the Blu-Ray version of Volume 5. The Complete version of Volume 5 also has these additional scenes as well.

Volume 6

Main article: Volume 6

The first concept and writing meetings for Volume 6 began a week after the Volume 5 finale aired.[32] Voice acting recording sessions for key characters began in late May 2018.[33] During development, several people were added or promoted to key positions, including Connor Pickens, who replaced Miles Luna and Gray Haddock as co-director.

The first chapter of Volume 6 premiered in selected theaters on October 25th, 2018 before the official release on October 27th, 2018.[34]

Volume 7

Main article: Volume 7

The development for Volume 7 began shortly before the finale of Volume 6 aired.[35] Eddy Rivas and Kiersi Burkhart were added as co-writers, in addition to Miles and Kerry. A few crew members, such as Dustin Matthews were also added as directors on specific episodes.[36]

The official RWBY Twitter account confirmed that Volume 7 will premiere on November 2nd, 2019 on July 19th, 2019. [37][38]

Volume 8 and 9 announcement

Main article: Volume 8
Main article: Volume 9

On October 3rd, 2019, a month before Volume 7 began airing, the crew announced that writing for Volume 8 had already begun.[39]

On October 3rd, 2019, at the New York Comic Con RWBY Panel, a month before Volume 7 began airing, the crew announced that writing for Volume 8 had already begun and that Volume 9 was green lit for production.[40] They are working on Volumes 8 and 9 closely together and unofficially call them a single Volume due to themes and development.

Rooster Teeth Animation YouTube Channel

In late 2019, Rooster Teeth started moving some of their animations onto their designated Animation YouTube channel, starting with RWBY Volume 1 Complete on Sep 30, 2019. Then they started uploading the Volume Complete versions, Volume 6 and RWBY Rewind. The next were all episodes of RWBY: World of Remnant, but with slightly changed video thumbnails and after that the RWBY Volume Trailers. Currently they are reuploaded RWBY Chibi episodes, but edited together in sets of two.

Grimm Contest

On May 21st, 2020, RoosterTeeth Productions and Full Sail University announced a collaboration for the production of Volume 8. Full Sail University students and graduates are given exclusive opportunities to design a Grimm that will be featured in Volume 8. The RWBY animation team will select the top five submissions for Rooster Teeth fans to vote on, with the contest ending on June 21st, and voting starting on July 7th and ending on July 12th, 2020.[41] On July 13th, a community announcement was made by RoosterTeeth, in which it was felt that the voting and response to contestants online violated the Code of Conduct upheld for the community and staff. For this reason, they closed voting and instead will select a winner via a panel of judges from the show.[42]

On July 18th, it was announced[43] that the Sulfur Fish Grimm design by Landon Ellis was the winner of the contest, with the Grimm appearing in Volume 8.

Removal from YouTube

On October 28th, 2020 RoosterTeeth deleted nearly every RWBY Episode from YouTube, with the exception of Ruby Rose, the first episode of Volume 1, The Trailers and Character Shorts and the Openings. They also started using their website's app.

Volume 8

Main article: Volume 8

On October 3rd, 2019, a month before Volume 7 began airing, the crew announced that writing for Volume 8 had already begun.[39]

Volume 9

Main article: Volume 9

On October 3rd, 2019, at the New York Comic Con RWBY Panel, a month before Volume 7 began airing, the crew announced that Volume 9 was green lit for production.[40]

On August 26th, Joey Clary stated that Volume 9 would begin airing in 2022.

Continuation of the Japanese Release

On June 17th, 2021, Warner Brothers Japan announced that the Japanese release of the series would return with the release of Volumes 5, 6, and 7 on Blu-ray and DVD starting in August 25th, 2021.[44] The release will include the original English language with Japanese subtitles as well as a Japanese dub for each volume.


  • On April 29th, 2012, Monty posted a cryptic RWBY-related tweet - the first time the show was alluded to online.[45]
  • All character and team names, excluding Ozpin, follow Monty's color naming rule. This means that each character's and team's name is either a color; means a color; sounds like a color; or makes people think of a color.[46][47]
  • Promotional material at NYCC 2012 has indicated that Rooster Teeth has been teasing RWBY since October 10th, 2012.[48]
  • On October 10th, 2013 Monty stated on Twitter that "The first RWBY anything to ever go public was handed out exactly one year ago at NYCC".[48] Following this statement, the Rooster Teeth Twitter account posted a short message "RWBY Day".[49] October 10th was thus dubbed "RWBY Day".
  • On December 31, 2019, Crunchyroll's editorial team released an article featuring the most-viewed anime series on the Crunchyroll website during the 2010s decade. RWBY was found to be the most watched series of the decade in Japan, and one of the four most popular animated series of the decade in the entirety of Asia, along with Black Clover, Naruto Shippuden, and Boruto: Naruto Next Generations.