Netflix Animation has come under fire over recent weeks as longtime rumors of project cancellations were confirmed. Today, the streamer released a sizzle reel of upcoming new and returning kids and family animated series which might help ease that burn.
Last week, as Netflix continued to get battered for its poor Q1 earnings report, confirmation came that five animation projects at varying stages of development and production had been dropped by the streamer, and another was being reassigned as a feature. The company also announced that Phil Rynda, director of creative leadership and development for original animation, was let go, along with several of his staff.
Cartoon Brew reached out to Netflix for comment. The company confirmed the status of all six projects, but chose not to go on record at this time.
Below, we look at the five projects which were dropped by Netflix and the one series which will now be produced as a feature. It’s important to note that several of the projects were cut as far back as last year, so it has little to do with the company’s recent subscriber and stock market troubles. It’s also worth pointing out that Netflix is still one of the world’s largest animation commissioners and producers with hundreds of animated films and series in various stages of development and production. Of course, that’s of little consolation to the people who worked hard on some of the projects which had already gone into production.
Originally announced in 2019, Bone was to be an animated series adaptation of Jeff Smith’s incredibly popular comic book series of the same name (1991-2004). The book series won countless awards and was included among Time’s 10 best graphic novels of all time. On April 20, Drew Taylor at The Wrap confirmed rumors that the Netflix adaptation had been dropped.
Boons and Curses
Announced in May of last year, Boons and Curses was a comedy-action series created by Jaydeep Hasrajani and which was promoted by Netflix as part of a slate from Asian-American creators. The 2d series was meant to follow a great warrior from a mythical land. Not ready to go into details just yet, Hasrajani tweeted on April 29:
It’s been a day, folks! I’ll talk about this later and respond to all the love and support I’ve been getting!
Dino Daycare was a 3d-animated preschool series announced in 2020 as part of a slate of projects that Chris Nee (Doc McStuffins, We the People) was set to oversee. It would have been the fifth Nee-Netflix collaboration. Nee tweeted out her disappointment over the weekend:
Hard day for a beautiful show deep into production. So much love to Jeff King and the incredible Dino Daycare crew. I have no doubt it will find a new home. But right now, hard. If you need the best of preschool writers, DM me.
Announced last summer, Pearl was the working title to an animated series created by Meghan Markle through Archewell Productions, the company she and her husband, Henry Charles Albert David, a member of the British royal family, set up at Netflix in fall of 2020. It would have been the first animated series at their company. The series was still in very early development when Netflix decided not to continue production.
Toil & Trouble
Emmy-winner Lauren Faust (My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic), was developing this original series about witches for Netflix, and tweeted her frustrations when news of the show’s un-greenlighting went public.
A few weeks ago, Faust tweeted:
In light of the buzz worthy Netflix Animation article from The Wrap, I’d like to thank all who offered sympathy for my un-greenlit project, Toil and Trouble. If any consolation, I’ve RETAINED THE RIGHTS to all my pre-Netflix T&T material, which were ample, & have hope it can still live another day. And that perhaps we can get the band back together to share our new take on the world of witches and familiars wrapped up in heartfelt, magic, comedy adventure about female friendship. Wish us luck!
Roald Dahl’s The Twits
Not dead yet, this project which was originally developed as an animated series will now be produced as a feature film.
In November 2018, Netflix made a splash when they acquired the rights to adapt several of Dahl’s stories, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG, and The Twits. The company doubled down in September of last year, acquiring the Roald Dahl Story Company, giving the platform access to the entire catalog of stories written by the British novelist. The Twits turns on a vile couple who live in a windowless house made of bricks and who constantly play spiteful pranks on one another.
Other Netflix projects from the Dahl collection include an animated series based on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory helmed by Taika Waititi and Phil Johnston (Ralph Breaks the Internet), another Waititi animated series based entirely on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory’s Oompa-Loompas, and an adaptation of Matilda the Musical with Sony and Working Title.
In spite of, or perhaps because of, the pall cast over Netflix’s animation activities following the confirmation that the above series had been dropped, the company today released a sizzle reel featuring a first look at many of its highest-profile kids and family animated series which will get new episodes in the coming months.
While popular series such as The Cuphead Show, The Dragon Prince, and Pokemon Master Journeys all appear, we were excited to get an early look at Everett Downing and Patrick Harpin’s My Dad the Bounty Hunter, Daisuke “Dice” Tsutsumi’s Oni: Thunder God’s Tale, and Matt Fernandes Daniel Spellbound.
New and returning shows in 2022:
- The Cuphead Show!
- Daniel Spellbound
- Dead End: Paranormal Park
- The Dragon Prince S4
- He-Man and the Masters of the Universe Season 3
- Jurassic World Camp Cretaceous: Hidden Adventure
- Karma’s World Season 3
- Kung Fu Panda: The Dragon Knight
- Oni: Thunder God’s Tale
- Pokémon Master Journeys: The Series: Part 3
- Sharkdog Season 2
- Sonic Prime
- Super Giant Robot Brothers
Series Premiering in 2023:
- My Dad the Bounty Hunter
- We Lost Our Human