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DreamWorks has lined up a new series, Kipo & the Age of Wonderbeasts, for Netflix, the company announced at the Annecy International Animated Film Festival in Annecy, France. The postapocalyptic tale is created and executive produced by How to Train Your Dragon 2′s Radford Sechrist and executive produced by Once Upon a Time writer Bill Wolkoff.
Sechrist said that he was inspired by shows including The Walking Dead and Game of Thrones and wanted to do a gritty, dark drama in the same vein but kept coming up with more comedic concepts and found himself sketching animals. “So I decided to lean into it, and my pitch was, it’s like The Walking Dead but instead of zombies, everything trying to kill you is adorable,” he said.
She-Ra and the Princess of Power star Karen Fukuhara will voice Kipo, a young girl who has grown up underground and now faces life in a transformed Earth. The planet is now a vibrant — but dangerous — wonderland. It resembles an anime style world where nature has taken over urban environments and the young Kipo spends her time playing guitar before overgrown animals jar her from her world.
Sechrist said Kipo is like “Dorothy from Wizard of Oz, but instead of ruby slippers she has converse on.”
It takes place in a futuristic city inspired by Los Angeles, filled with animal glam rockers, hipsters and Crossfit addicts.
The studio also debuted a teaser for the new Fast & Furious: Spy Racers series, which will debut on Netflix. The story focuses on Tony Toretto, the cousin of Vin Diesel’s iconic Dom Toretto in the live-action version, as a teen. Toretto is recruited as a secret agent to infiltrate the racing league that is later depicted in the films.
Producer Tim Hedrick said taking the global franchise to the small screen, and making it animated without losing much of what made the franchise beloved, was a challenge. The team decided to appeal to a younger audience through the Toretto character. It combines elements from all of the existing eight films, from the gritty street racing of the first installment to the espionage plots in latter films.
Hedrick also told THR that he hired automotive design engineers to create the cars, which are unique to the series. “So instead of designing cup holders somewhere, these guys are creating the ultimate version of any car, which are more detailed and become almost like art pieces,” he said. Taking on a huge franchise was a “privilege” he said, but also with such a beloved franchise he knew they “had to get it right.”
“It’s the biggest show we’ve ever done at DreamWorks Animation,” he said. Voltron Legendary Defender‘s Tim Hedrick and All Hail King Julien‘s Bret Haaland are showrunners, with Diesel serving as producer for the animated series. Casting will be announced later this summer.
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