In the new volume of Rooster Teeth’s action fantasy anime RWBY, premiering October 27 on FIRST, the gang finally reunites as Team RWBY after spending a long time apart. But in a series of interviews with Inverse, the cast and crew of the hit franchise tease that the reformation of Team RWBY doesn’t mean a return to the old times.

Kerry Shawcross, showrunner and director of RWBY Vol. 6, explains that Ruby Rose (Lindsay Jones), Weiss Schnee (Kara Eberle), Blake Belladonna (Arryn Zech), and Yang Xiao Long (Barbara Dunkelman) reassemble as Team RWBY and embark on a quest to transport the Relic of Knowledge to the kingdom of Atlas.

“There’s a lot of ‘The gang’s all back together’ vibes,” Shawcross says, describing it as “a continuous thing throughout the season.”

But with all that went down in RWBY Volume 5, including the fall of Adam and the White Fang, the characters have had to grow up a little too fast, with a lot of growth happening away from each other. Dunkelman, who reprises her role as the blonde pugilist Yang, says it’s almost like real life, where “a lot of stuff happens to the point it can never truly be like it was.”

RWBY Volume 6
A still from 'RWBY' Vol. 6, featuring the reunion of Team RWBY.

“Not only because they’ve grown themselves apart, but because their world is so different now,” Dunkelman says. “They’re not at school They’re not students. They’re not young anymore. They had to grow up really fast. That changes their relationship to an extent, and the dynamic of it.”

It’s not all bad news, however. Because in Vol. 6, Team RWBY will have a lot of time to work out their kinks and get back in sync as they work to bring the Relic of Knowledge — one of four ancient gifts bestowed to humanity by the Deity Brothers — to the kingdom of Atlas.

Writer Miles Luna, who also voices “Jaune,” tells Inverse they imagine Atlas as “a very technology forward kingdom” that resembles “a military future America.”

“It’s a definite culture shock the first time people see Atlas,” he teases.

In many ways, Rooster Teeth is approaching Vol. 6 with recent criticisms of the series in mind. Mainly, that the characters in Vol. 5 hardly moved around.

“One of the big criticisms we got was that a portion of our cast was in the same house for so long in Vol. 5,” Luna admits. “We really wanted to feel like we were always going to new places and seeing new things.”

It’s on this journey of discovery that Team RWBY will truly begin to smooth out their frayed edges. Arryn Zech, who voices Blake, explains that Blake enters Vol. 6 having “sorted out everything she needed to” from her past life, especially now that the White Fang have lost its central leader (though the Belladonna family might think otherwise). “She’s gonna be practicing maintaining relationships,” Zech tells Inverse.

Kara Eberle, who plays Dust heiress Weiss Schnee, says Weiss is expanding her horizons beyond her influential family’s perspective.

“She’s learning to look at the world through her own eyes now, and not what she’s learned from her past,” Eberle says. “You’ll see her ability to have a relationship with her friends and her team.” After five seasons, Eberle jokes that Weiss is finally “starting to like these girls.”

“Everyone grows around that age,” adds Eberle. “She realizes, ‘This is what I haven’t learned, now I need to think for myself.’”

Dunkelman, the voice of Yang, says Yang will “be practicing her forgiveness skills” throughout the new volume and “just realizing what’s important: She’s with her friends and they’re back together.”

RWBY Volume 6
Promotional art for 'RWBY' Vol. 6.

In Volume 4, Yang was severely injured and lost her right arm. Dunkelman says the trauma will resurface once or twice in upcoming episodes. “That’s always gonna live with her in some way shape or form,” she explains. “It might creep up here and there. I’m sure anyone who experiences PTSD [knows] that there are certain things that trigger it. It’s always gonna be a problem for her. Being around her friends, or for lack of a better term, family, kind of helps.”

Finally, there’s Ruby, the heart and soul of the team. Lindsay Jones, who plays Ruby, says Ruby is also going through some changes as a team leader. “I don’t think she’s handling her problems very well emotionally,” Jones says. “I think she’s continuing to be positive and push through, but she’s disassociated from some of it. I know trust issues are a big thing for her.”

But while Team RWBY will struggle to get back in the groove, it won’t be long until fans see the band on a strong comeback tour. At Comic Con, Rooster Teeth screened a lengthy preview that involved an epic fight sequence on a moving train. Comparisons to Captain America: The First Avenger and Solo: A Star Wars Story are apt, even though Shawcross and Luna admit to not having seen Solo.

On the purpose of the train sequence, the creators wanted to give fans a first impression of the new volume a sense of nostalgia and rebirth.

“We made a list of things that people really wanted from RWBY. We went back to what we loved about the show when we got started,” says Luna, explaining that getting caught up in the trees can make one miss the forrest. “We had this moment of like, ‘Why do we like doing this? What made us love this?’”

The answer: “Watching kids fight monsters in crazy situations and having fun,” Luna explains. “So we make that the first thing the audience sees.”

RWBY Vol. 6 will premiere on October 27 on FIRST.

Photos via Rooster Teeth