nimona_patrickosborne nimona_patrickosborne
Feature Film

Patrick Osborne’s Feature Directorial Debut ‘Nimona’ Gets 2020 Release Date

Fox Animation has announced a release date — February 14, 2020 — for Nimona, the feature directorial debut of Oscar-winning director Patrick Osborne (Disney’s Feast, Google’s Pearl).

The genre-bending Nimona follows a shapeshifting teen girl who becomes a sidekick to a supervillain. The project started its life as a webcomic created by Noelle Stevenson, while she was a 20-year-old student in art school. HarperCollins published the comic as a graphic novel in 2015, the same year that Fox acquired the animation rights.

The cg-animated Nimona will be produced at Greenwich, Connecticut-based Blue Sky Studios, best known for its Ice Age and Rio franchises. Their latest film, Ferdinand, opens in December. It’s an unconventional — and intriguing — project for the insular Fox-owned studio, which up until now had developed its ideas in-house and relied on a small group of in-house directors to helm its features.

Screenwriter Marc Haimes (Kubo and the Two Strings) is adapting Nimona for animation.

Osborne, speaking to Variety in February, offered some insights into how the idea was being developed for the screen. “It’s kid-friendly, for sure,” he said. “The comic book is kind of violent so we have to tone it down, but it’s very smart and we’re sticking to the self-aware tone of the comic. What Noelle did with the writing, we definitely want to preserve; it’s so good.”

Nimona comic page Nimona comic page
  • LeSean Thomas

    Awesome. Looking forward to this.^^

  • elliot Lobell

    It’ll be really interesting to see how they adapt the style. They did a great job with Peanuts and itd be awesome if they didn’t just go the traditional shiny CGI route.

  • ea

    “”It’s kid-friendly, for sure,” he said. “The comic book is kind of violent so we have to tone it down””

    Well of course, animation is a kiddy medium in the US. If this was live-action you bet they wouldn’t shy away from family-unfriendly material. No wonder so many are opting for anime instead.

  • Andres Molina

    Oh boy, I have a lot to say, so hang in there. First of all, I love Nimona. Noelle Stevenson’s hit comic was truly a blast, with a superb story and compelling characters. The book has all the makings to be a masterpiece. Now that being said, I’m both thrilled and very weary with how the film could turn out.

    First of all, I’m very happy to see it be written by the writer of Kubo and the director behind Feast to direct the film, yet at the same I’m questioning the decision to make it tone down and make it kid-friendly. I mean yeah, Nimona has a lot of strong, if stylized violence and a terrifyingly dark third act, but one of the things I loved about the comic was the fact that it didn’t stear away from the dark undertones and dangers, in fact, it makes the stakes higher and makes the story all the more compelling. I was hoping the film would take the Rango approach, with characters that are both stylized and gritty, with an overall darker tone than most animated films, and I was hoping they would adapt Nimona so they could produce a film that was darker than most animated films coming out today, so the idea of toning it down and making it something children can see can be a little but disappointing, but at same time, the filmmakers can take the comic to a new direction, and create an innovative and incredible film that audience of all ages can cherish. Besides, both the director and writer of the film are extremely talented people, and hopefully, if the film does end up taking a more light-hearted approach, we still can end up with something that’s both exciting and inventive.

    Now what makes me the most weary is how the film will end up as. At first, I assumed it would be developed by 20th Fox Animation, while being outsourced to another VFX company like ILM or Sony ImageWorks, but considering what happened to Blue Sky’s last film, it left me a bit nervous about how the final film would turn out. Not that I mind Blue Sky or hold any grudge against him, but part of me tells me that the film could turn out to be a disaster, or even be cancelled. Here are a few reasons why. First, with the film supposedly taking a kid-friendly approach, I’m actually wondering whether the decision to tone down the story is because the director and writer want to, or because the execs and heads at Fox wanted to make it accessible to small children to make it “more profitable”, so that being said, if that is the case, there is a possibility that the film can suffer from executive meddling, and as a result, worse case scenario, the film could end up being a painfully generic kids flick, with “trendy” humor, typical kid film cliches, and could even shoehorn in pop songs, like what happened with the recent Ice Age sequels.

    Another reason I’m weary is what the outcome could actually be. For example, one of Blue Sky’s initial upcoming releases was Anubis, which originally was slated for March 2018, or practically next Spring, which meant that the film might as well been deep into production and could already have scenes that are completed, yet as of last month, it was announced that the film was removed from schedule, which means that, A, the film was experiencing trouble and is put back into development to fix it, B, the film is currently being retooled due to executive meddling, or C, either because of executives or production issues, the film has been abruptly cancelled or canned. Now I get the film is being toned down, but still, the premise and characters are very strange and bizarre in my opinion, so that being said, just the source material alone could result into some production troubles or the executives will come and make changes, but at the same time, maybe the executives can actually help the film, but that’s very unlikely. Now another thing I fear is that the film would abruptly be pulled off schedule, and either be delayed and enter development hell, or even cancelled. In fact, if the worst does happen, the film could end up being canceled due to executive meddling in favor of doing Ice Age 6, as Blue Sky is actually considering it as a potential possibility, which could anger many animation fans, and fans of the comic. Another possibility could be the replacement of the filmmakers if the project doesn’t turn out well during production, which could either help/save the project or doom it. Now that being said, the film could turn out to be a massive success, and could turn out to be great. I mean Blue Sky is still very capable if producing a great film if they try, its just their abundance of Ice Age sequels that make me a bit worried. But at the same time, Blue Sky made Peanuts, a great film that truly does justice to the source material, and truly shoes that they do care about Peanuts franchise, so yeah, the film could turn out to be great. However, another possibility is that the film could experience trouble and end up being moved to a different company. One of Blue Sky’s recent film, Epic, had the director Chris Wedge, being given permission to move the film to a different studio (who know’s why), and Wedge at one point went to Pixar in hopes they would make the film instead before ultimately deciding to keep the film at Blue Sky. So anyway, here are some of the scenarios listed:
    A) The film will go into production smoothly, and could turn out to be a great film(likely and hopefully).
    B) The film will experience a production overall, and either delayed the film or extend the film to late date, and end up being a completely different film (and a different direction) then what the filmmakers currently have planned(and either turn out great or bad).
    C) The film will suffer from executive meddling, and could end as being a disaster or an underwhelming feature.
    D) The film will experience production troubles and will be delayed or be extend to a later date to fix it, and still turn out being a great film.
    E) The film will experience production troubles and enter development hell.
    F) The film will experience production troubles and/or executive meddling and the film will be cancelled.
    G) The film will experience production troubles and/or executive meddling and the director and/or writer/s will be replaced (which could result to either a great or a bad film, results may vary)
    H) The film will be moved to a different studio, like Pixar. (Extremely unlikely)
    I) The film will be abruptly cancelled for unknown reasons, and be replaced by different film.

    and the worst scenario possible:
    J) The film, will be abruptly cancelled for unknown reasons, and be replaced by an Ice Age Sequel.

    Anyway, in terms of the animation direction, the animation style can go many ways. One scenario, could be the Peanuts approach, meaning the film takes influence and carefully mimics the art style of the Noelle Stevenson’s comic. Or another scenario, the film ends up taking a grittier, Rango-styled art style (assuming if the film ends up being darker than initially planned. Or scenario 3, the film will carry the same in-house style Blue Sky’s previous films like Ice Age and Rio. Either way, if we’re lucky, we’ll have the incredible Peter de Sève to design the characters for the film.

    Now, either way, the mere decision that Nimona will be animated is, if you think about it, something to celebrate, as most comics or graphics novel go straight to live action, even cartoon-to-film adaptations that should’ve been drawn or fully-rendered in the first place. And speaking of Noelle Stevenson, another one of her co-created, acclaimed comic series, Lumberjanes, is also going to be adapted into a film, although in the wrong medium, as the film, at least based on info from May 2015, is going to be live-action, unfortunately. While I was thrilled to see another comic I love be turned into a film, I was very let-down and disappointed that Lumberjanes is being made into live-action. The comic’s elastic premise with endless possibilities, zany humor, and vibrant, colorful characters look like it was made for animation, I mean the art styles look more like a cartoon than a grounded live action series. Now this film was announced all the way back in 2015, and with director announcement an entire year ago, and assuming the film comes out around the same time as Nimona, there’s still a possibility that the film might changed and even make the decision to convert the film into a fully-animated film. So, yeah, I hope Fox, assuming they actually go forward with Lumberjanes, will change their minds and turn the film into an animated flick.

    I’m probably talking too much, but either way, I really hope things go well with Nimona, and I hope the film turns out to be wonderful, regardless of what decision they decide on.

  • Too Many Cooks

    I’m disappointed Noelle isn’t writing the movie herself. She wrote some great episodes of Wander Over Yonder, so she has some experience with writing for animation.

  • Patrick Moore

    I got the book, and I do like Lumberjanes. It’s about time we get a villain side of animated film world, similar to Megamind and Despicable Me.

    • Andres Molina

      As much as I like Despicable Me and Megamind, I’m hoping Nimona would follow a different direction. Despicable Me and Megamind are comedies, where Nimona is at its core, a dark and most especially eerie story. Now, assuming if Blue Sky does tone down the film, here’s hoping they still stay true to the core of Noelle Stevenson’s brilliant comic, and craft a film that stands mighty on its own, and I’m hoping they don’t pull a Lorax, where they remove all dark and eerie undertones, and replace it with childish fart-humor, trendy pop music, and a sugary happy ending that completely butchers the story as a whole. Anyway, High hopes for Nimona.