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Animation

More Equal Than The Others?

Over the years there have been many adaptations of satirist George Orwell’s famous work Animal Farm, both on stage and on screen. Most often, each of them have deviated in some way from the author’s original story, an allegory for the Russian Revolution and the subsequent rise of centralized power under Joseph Stalin. Now we’ve been informed by Animation World Network that Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Mowgli: Legend of the Jungle) and his company The Imaginarium have joined up with Aniventure (Riverdance) to create a new CGI version of the story that Mr. Serkis will direct. It’s currently in production at Cinesite. No word on a release date — yet!

image c. 2022 The Imaginarium

Friends with Fur

At WonderCon we met Ralph Lee Miranda, one of the minds behind Oh, Bubba — a series of animated shorts. Here’s what the makers say: “Oh, Bubba is an animated series on YouTube. It stars our titular character Bubba Lu [the gorilla], Grumpy, and their hooman friends as they navigate this modern world together, often with hilarious results and commentary…  Think of it as The Muppets meets Friends.” You can also find out more about the series at IMDB.

image c. 2022 Drawn of Time

In His Young And Wild Days

Thanks to Animation World Network we’re learning more about the upcoming Ted TV series: “Peacock has announced the cast of Ted, Seth MacFarlane’s live-action comedy series based on his hit 2012 film of the same name and its 2015 sequel. In addition to serving as director, writer, co-showrunner, and executive producer, MacFarlane will reprise his role as the voice of the titular character — a foul-mouthed teddy bear who was first brought to life by a wish from his owner and best friend, John Bennett. In the films, John is played by Mark Wahlberg. In the new series, which serves as a prequel to the events of the first film, John appears a 16-year-old boy.” Here’s the official synopsis: “It’s 1993 and Ted the bear’s moment of fame has passed, leaving him living with his best friend, 16-year-old John Bennett, who lives in a working-class Boston home with his parents and cousin. Ted may not be the best influence on John, but when it comes right down to it, Ted’s willing to go out on a limb to help his friend and his family.” No word yet on a target release date for the show.

image c. 2022 Universal Pictures

Blazing A New Trail…?

If you’ve been following In-Fur-Nation for a while, you must have heard of Blazing Samurai… We’ve been following the animated film in development for nearly a decade now! At one point production ceased because the animation house that was making it actually went out of business! In fact, the convoluted history of this film’s creation would make for an interesting movie all its own. But now, it seems like things have changed: We have a trailer, we have a release date… and we have a complete change of title. Say hello to Paws of Fury: The Legend of Hank. Still directed by Rob Minkoff (The Lion King), but now being released this July through Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Animation.

image c. 2022 Nickelodeon Animation

Sun and Sand Down Under

Another item we’ve missed, brought to our attention by Animation World Network. Time to catch up! “Cheeky Little Media has announced that ABC Kids has greenlit a second season of the popular Australian 3D animated TV series, Kangaroo Beach. The second season will offer more beach-based fun adventures with the four cadets: Pounce, Frizzy, Neville, and Gemma, and continue to explore new water safety themes for preschoolers and their families… Key partners for the Season 2 include ABC, the Australian Children’s Television Foundation (ACTF), and Surf Life Saving Australia. ACTF will also distribute the series while Cheeky Little Commercial continues as the global brand manager. New consumer products for the franchise include a book series, kids’ swimwear and clothing, bedding, and toys.” As ever, merchandising!

image c. 2022 Cheeky Little Media

Another Web Is Woven

A post on Twitter guided us to this interesting news from Deadline: “Luke Matheny, who writes on, directs, and exec produces Apple TV+’s Ghostwriter, has signed up to serve as head writer and exec producer on HBO Max’s remake of Charlotte’s Web. The animated mini-series, which comes from Sesame Workshop, is set to start production next month and will air on HBO Max and Cartoon Network in 2024.” In case you need a reminder: “Charlotte’s Web tells the story of a livestock pig named Wilbur and his friendship with a barn spider named Charlotte. When Wilbur’s life is in danger, Charlotte weaves messages in her web praising Wilbur in order to drum up public support and persuade the farmer to let him live. The adaptation is the latest remake of E.B. White’s classic; an animated feature was produced by Hanna-Barbera in 1973, and Nickelodeon and Paramount rebooted it again when Dakota Fanning and Julia Roberts teamed up for a 2006 movie.” So is this new version 2D or 3D?

image c. 2022 Sesame Workshop

That Gryphon’s Turning Green!

More interesting new animated series on the horizon, according to Animation World Network: “Nickelodeon has announced the addition of HexVet to their 2023 preschool lineup. The new animated series is based on the eponymous BOOM! Studios graphic novels by Sam Davies. The CG and 2D-hybrid adventure-comedy follows unlikely best friends Nan and Clarion as they navigate life’s weird and wacky challenges, while apprenticing to be magical veterinarians for fantastical creatures… As HexVets in training, Nan and Clarion are ready to tackle medical maladies in beasts magical or mundane, find their familiars, and earn their wands and pointy hats — all while dodging covens of animal smugglers and dragons with heartburn. Under the tutelage of the talented Dr. Talon, these young HexVets in training will learn how to cure any animal, from a pygmy phoenix with bird flu to a unicorn with a broken horn.” Interesting to note: The series was developed by Nicole Dubuc, well-known among fans of My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. Look for HexVet to arrive in 2023.

image c. 2022 Nickelodeon

Do We Finally Get The Bunny?

For a long time, we’ve been talking about an animated TV series based on the award-winning comic series Usagi Yojimbo. For years. Nay, for decades! Well now, according to Netflix, it’s about to become a reality — and soon! “First announced in July 2020, the adaptation of Stan Sakai’s Usagi Yojimbo is coming to Netflix in April 2022 — specifically on April 28th, 2022… Candie Langdale and Doug Langdale are serving as the showrunners for the series. They’re best known for their work on Netflix’s Maya and the Three, [as well as] working on DreamWorks projects Puss in Boots and Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness.” Now as to the plot: “Usagi is a young rabbit who doesn’t want much from life – just to be history’s greatest Samurai. When he comes to the futuristic city of Neo Edo to seek his destiny, he accidentally unleashes dozens of the bizarre, ancient monsters known as Yokai. Now, along with his new friends Chizu, Gen, and Kitsune, he must clean up the mess he’s made.” Stan Sakai himself is proudly involved with every step of the production.

image c. 2022 Gaumont Televison

Seuss Your Old Man

Word came out recently from Animation World Network that even more animation based on the stories of Dr. Seuss are in the works. “Netflix and Dr. Seuss Enterprises are teaming up to bring some of the most iconic and beloved stories and characters of the Dr. Seuss world to life with five new animated preschool series and specials. The projects are inspired by stories like Horton Hears a Who!; The Sneetches; One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish; and Wacky Wednesday; [along with] characters like Thidwick the Big-Hearted Moose. Executive producer Dustin Ferrer (Esme & Roy, Shimmer & Shine, Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood) will serve as showrunner across all five, with additional showrunners revealed in the coming weeks. The announcement expands the partnership between Netflix and Dr. Seuss Enterprises following the launch of the critically acclaimed animated series Green Eggs and Ham in 2019, which will have its anticipated second season premiere April 8, 2022.” The various shows are a mixed bag of 2D and 3D animation. The article has more details!

image c. 2022 Netflix