Dean DeBlois Dean DeBlois

Dean DeBlois, the much-lauded writer-director of the How to Train Your Dragon trilogy, is moving into live action with the sci-fi flick Micronauts, which he will also write and direct.

Here’s what we know about the project so far.

What is Micronauts about?

Those of a certain age may remember the toy line of the same name, which was popular in the late 1970s. The action figures, which were themselves based on Japanese toys, inspired a Marvel comic that gave them a narrative universe. To summarize: a pint-sized team of Micronauts assembles to defeat the tyrant Baron Karza, who has subjugated the planet Homeworld. The freedom fighters then continue their adventures through the Microverse.

So will the film tell that story?

It’s unclear — all we know is that DeBlois’s take on the Microverse will focus on “intergalactic explorers.” A feature adaptation was first hinted at in 2009, and for years it was being developed at J.J. Abrams’s Bad Robot Productions, with a script by Deadpool writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. The Hollywood Reporter, which revealed DeBlois’s involvement, writes that the film will have a “family-friendly tone” — which suggests a departure from anything in the Deadpool mold.

Who is producing?

Paramount together with Hasbro, which owns the Micronauts brand. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Hasbro’s Brian Goldner, Stephen Davis, and Greg Mooradian are producing via the company’s film division, AllSpark Pictures.

Why is DeBlois moving into hybrid and live-action filmmaking?

You’d have to ask him, but he’s hardly the first Hollywood animation director to make the transition. Others include Pixar luminaries Brad Bird (Mission: Impossible — Ghost Protocol) and Andrew Stanton (John Carter), Blue Sky co-founder Chris Wedge (Monster Trucks), Disney veteran Kevin Lima (102 Dalmatians), and DeBlois’s erstwhile writing and directing partner Chris Sanders (the upcoming Call of the Wild). It’s worth noting that these live-action debuts tend to be hybrid films with plenty of cgi.

When will Micronauts come out?

The release is currently slated for June 4, 2021.

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