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Animation

The Dragon Throne?

And more from AWN. (They’ve had lots of good stuff lately!) “Game of Thrones author and producer George R.R. Martin is bringing his fantasy game to animation, with Warner Animation Group set to adapt his 1980 children’s book The Ice Dragon into a feature. Though dealing with dragons, the book and the feature have no connection to either the A Song of Fire and Ice novels or the Game of Thrones TV series. According to Deadline, which reported the news first, the book tells the tale of a young girl who befriends a rare ice dragon, whose help proves decisive when an army of dragons invades her city.” No word yet on who’s directing or when it might be released.

image c. 2018 Tor Books

More Adventures with the Illiop from Rillonia

We’re going to lift this one wholesale from Animation World Network, because it’s cool! “Alchemy II has teamed up with The Jim Henson Company to develop an animated fantasy adventure series for kids ages 3-7 based on the popular Teddy Ruxpin property. The new Teddy Ruxpin series will have an all-star team, including showrunner John Tartaglia (Splash and Bubbles, Johnny and the Sprites); producer Russell Hicks, the original head illustrator for Alchemy II during Teddy Ruxpin’s initial launch; global master toy partner Wicked Cool Toys; and The Jim Henson Company led by executive producers Lisa Henson and Halle Stanford. World-renowned Jim Henson’s Creature Shop will bring the series to life with its Emmy Award-winning Henson Digital Puppetry Studio (Sid the Science Kid, Word Party), which allows performers to puppeteer animated characters in real time allowing for more organic and natural movement. The new series will focus on important themes and skills like fostering self-esteem, empathy, and individuality.” Good stuff all, that.

image c. 2018 Alchemy II

Play Is Serious Business

More illustrated books for young folks, this time from a well-known writer in Hollywood. Toy Academy is a new series from Scholastic Books, written by Brian Lynch and illustrated by Edwardian Taylor. “Welcome to Toy Academy: Where toys learn to play. This is where action figures train to battle, stuffed animals study the art of the hug, and collectibles practice standing very, very still. Though Grumbolt isn’t really any of those things, he’s determined to fit in. But when the Evil Toy Academy threatens to bring down his school, it’s up to Grumbolt to go where no good toy has gone before and prove he’s truly a great toy after all. This laugh-out-loud chapter book by the writer of Minions and a writer of The Secret Life of Pets is a classic in the making.” You heard it here!

image c. 2018 Scholastic Books

Nick & Judy, Back in the Day

Many thanks to our friend KeiFox for pointing this one out to us. Here’s what we learned over at the Hollywood Reporter: “Fans of Disney’s animated 2016 hit Zootopia should prepare for a return to the animal metropolis this summer, with Dark Horse Comics releasing a brand-new graphic novel based on the movie as part of its new deal with Disney. Aimed at younger readers, Disney Zootopia: Friends to the Rescue will feature two stories spotlighting young versions of both Judy Hopps and Nick Wilde and taking place before the events of the movie. Judy has to save the day — and her friend Dinah — at the Bunnyburrow County Fair, while Nick has to put his (questionable) talents to good use to give his friend Hedy the best birthday party imaginable. Both stories are written by Jimmy Gownley, with art by Leandro Ricardo da Silva, colors by Wes Dzioba, and lettering from Chris Dickey. The 48-page title will also feature special features and story-related activities.” Look for it on September 12th.

image c. 2018 Dark Horse Publishing

Wish for a Dragon

We found this article over at Variety: “Production is now under way on Wish Dragon, a major animated feature being made in China for Sony’s Columbia Pictures Film Production. The film is a first feature for Base Animation, the new animation studio that is part of Beijing-based VFX firm BaseFX, and for Chinese super star Jackie Chan. Chan’s Sparkle Roll Media is a producer and co-investor, and Chan will voice characters in both the Chinese- and English-language versions of the finished picture. The family-oriented film is being directed by Chris Appelhans (illustrator on Coraline) from his own original screenplay. The modern-day fairy tale picks up the moral challenges that emerge from the encounter between a boy and a dragon who is able to make wishes come true… The U.S. voice cast includes Fresh off the Boat star Constance Wu, Natasha Liu Bordizzo, Jimmy Wong, and Bobby Lee, alongside Chan.” Base Animation is hoping to have the film ready for release in 2019.

image c. 2018 Base Animation

Paramount Has A New Monster

Over at The Wrap they’re talking about three new animated features that Paramount Pictures have announced for their upcoming film line-up. One in particular should be of note to furry fans — especially since we’ve talked about the source material before. Monster on the Hill is a film adaptation of the graphic novel by Rob Harrell. Paramount’s description goes like this: “In a world where monsters are tame and monster wrestling is a popular sport, teenage Winnie seeks to follow in her father’s footsteps as a manager by turning an inexperienced monster into a contender.” That’s a little bit different than the original storyline, so we’ll see how it goes. This we got from Cartoon Brew: “Monster on the Hill will be helmed by Bradley Raymond, a veteran director of direct-to-video Disney fare (The Hunchback of Notre Dame II, The Lion King 1-1/2, Tinker Bell and the Great Fairy Rescue) from a screenplay by Matt Lieberman (upcoming The Addams Family, Dr. Dolittle: Tail to the Chief) and Etan Cohen (Men in Black 3, Tropic Thunder, Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa). Monster on the Hill will be produced by ReelFX (Free Birds), which first announced it was developing the project back in 2015, and Walden Media.” Look for it in 2020.

image c. 2018 Top Shelf Productions

Stop That Snake

Here’s a new animated feature in the works we found out about through Animation World Network. “Timeless Films will begin selling worldwide rights to Rodrigo Pérez Castro’s upcoming animated feature Koati, created and produced by Anabella Sosa Dovarganes from Upstairs Productions and Los Hijos de Jack Productions, at the upcoming Cannes International Film Festival. Golden Globe and Primetime Emmy award-nominee Sofia Vergara (Modern Family), is attached to star and will executive produce… Koati is an animated comedy film starring three unlikely heroes: A free-spirited coati, a fearless monarch butterfly, and a hyperactive glass frog who embark on a glorious adventure to stop a wicked coral snake (Vergara) from destroying their homeland and friends. ‘Koati is an invitation to celebrate, for the first time in an animated film, the magical realism of the Latin American jungles, of the Amazonian rainforest, and the fun, exotic creatures that call it home,’ says Vergara, whose voice is heard in The Smurfs and Happy Feet 2. ‘It’s a coming-of-age comedy starring a cool and real family of animals the world needs to meet.'” The article tells us to look for it in 2019.

image c. 2018 Timeless Films

New Furry TV from Dreamworks

According to an article at Animation Scoop, we (or at least Amazon Prime Video subscribers) have not one but two new TV series from Dreamworks Animation to look forward to. First off are the brand new 2D adventures of none other than Rocky and Bullwinkle, set to premier this May. “The world-famous talking moose and flying squirrel are back in The Adventures of Rocky and Bullwinkle, a serialized comedy about two goofball best friends who routinely find themselves thrust into harrowing situations but end up saving the day time and again… The series is executive produced by Scott Fellows (The Fairly OddParents, Big Time Rush) and Tiffany Ward, daughter of the original series producer Jay Ward, and features Tara Strong (The Powerpuff Girls, Teen Titans Go!) as the voice of Rocket J. Squirrel, Brad Norman (America’s Most Haunted) as Bullwinkle J. Moose, Ben Diskin (Hey Arnold!) as Boris Badenov, Rachel Butera (Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles) as Natasha Fatale, Piotr Michael (Impress Me, MADtv) as Fearless Leader, and Daran Norris (The Fairly OddParents) as the Narrator.” Then, there’s a brand new TV series based on the Kung Fu Panda movies. “Later in 2018, Prime Video will premiere Kung Fu Panda: The Paws of Destiny, an epic adventure series from Emmy Award-winning executive producers Mitch Watson and Elliott Owen (All Hail King Julien), and Lane Lueras (The Adventures of Puss in Boots). When four panda kids stumble upon a mystical cave beneath Panda Village, accidentally absorbing the chi of ancient and powerful kung fu warriors known as the Four Constellations, they must realize a destiny to save the world from an evil force. Meanwhile, Po finds himself faced with his biggest challenge yet — teaching this ragtag band of kids how to wield their newfound powers.” Much to keep your eyes out for! No previews for Paws of Destiny yet, but the article has a preview video of Rocky and Bullwinkle.

image c. 2018 Dreamworks

Helping The Ones You Don’t Even See

Another cool item we picked up from Animation World Network: “Newbery Honor-winning author Adam Gidwitz and Mixtape Club founders Jesse Casey and Chris Lenox Smith premiered online the animated debut of The Unicorn Rescue Society, whose adventures continue in a series of books for middle-grade readers from Penguin Random House.” The kids of the Unicorn Rescue Society (along with their companion Jersey, a friendly Jersey Devil) help with the needs of mythical creatures that adults don’t even believe in. “The Unicorn Rescue Society is a secret organization. Its mission is to keep the creatures of myth and legend safe. Dragons, Bigfoot, chupacabras — and maybe even unicorns. Every day, the threats to these rare and wonderful animals grow. They are hunted. Their habitats are destroyed. And the Unicorn Rescue Society is their only hope.” Rather than being adaptations of the books themselves, the animated shorts spread the word about the book series and take a behind-the-scenes look. The AWN article has a link to the first cartoon.

image c. 2018 Mixtape Club