Thelma the Unicorn Thelma the Unicorn

Netflix debuted the trailer this morning for Thelma the Unicorn, a new musical comedy from the unlikely duo of Napoleon Dynamite director Jared Hess and Unikitty showrunner Lynn Wang. The film debuts on May 17.

The streamer has scored some of its biggest animation hits with colorful and lightly humorous cg animal pics geared towards the younger set (think Leo and Back to the Outback), and Thelma contains many of the same elements that made those earlier films successful. The film is based on the children’s book of the same name from Australian author Aaron Blabey, who also created The Bad Guys book series, which has recently been adapted to animation by Dreamworks.

Thelma the Unicorn follows a pony whose dreams of becoming a music star are given an unexpected boost when she is transformed into a unicorn. According to Hess, who wrote the script with his wife and frequent collaborator Jerusha Hess, the film is about learning to live life as your authentic self:

Thelma feels like an outcast, she doesn’t feel comfortable in her own skin. She’s got big dreams, but she doesn’t think that the world will let her achieve those dreams based on the way that she looks. I think that everybody can relate to that level of insecurity and feeling like they’re not good enough. The way we approach that theme in this film is very unique and weird, but it packs a lot of heart. We try to stay true to the themes of Aaron Blabey’s book, which is all about how you don’t have to pretend to be something you’re not in order to be loved and achieve your dreams.

Mikros Animation produced the animation, with its Montreal studio as the lead shop. Some key creative credits on the film: Michael Lester (head of story), Trevor Dalmer (production designer), Paul J. Sullivan (art director), Denis Couchon (head of character animation), Guillaume Arantes (co-head of character animation), John Powell (music), and Edie Ichioka (editor).

Thelma is produced by Pam Coats (Mulan, Scoob!), with Blabey and Patrick Hughes serving as executive producers.

The voice cast, led by Brittany Howard as Thelma, includes Will Forte, Jemaine Clement, Edi Patterson, Maliaka Mitchell, Ally Dixon, Fred Armisen, Zach Galifianakis, and Jon Heder.