A good chunk of the HBO Max's animation news this week has centered around Cartoon Network and the upcoming Tiny Toons Adventures reboot, Primal creator Genndy Tartakovsky's new series Unicorn: Warriors Eternal, and a deal with popular children's author Mo Willems. A pretty impressive line-up to be sure (and a great way to smooth over the transition of control over HBO Max's kids programming to the Warner Bros. Global Kids, Young Adults and Classics banner), but our favorite part of the news was the new preview image for writer and co-executive producer Tze Chun upcoming animated prequel series Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai.
Thankfully, Chun took to social media to share the concept art- and if that's the concept art then we can only imagine how impressive the finished product will look. Sounds like Chun likes what the team's doing, and is "excited to show you more" of what's to come.
Speaking with Geek Vibes Nation back in July, Chun revealed that viewers will see evil versions of the Mogwai but avoided discussing any other variations. What Chun did discuss was how much the team was looking forward to expanding upon the original franchise's universe: "What we really wanted to do was create more stories set in the Gremlins universe. We also wanted to service the fans. You know the fandom for Gremlins is so strong for movies that have been around for almost 40 years. We definitely have a lot of Easter eggs and Gremlins mythology that hopefully will satisfy long term fans while also bringing in new fans. The idea is that this will be a co-viewing show. Some of the models that we are looking at are Pixar, Studio Ghibli movies, things that adults, kids, and teenagers can all watch together."
As for the look of the series, Chun says that viewers should expect "a 2.5D" experience that leans more towards a cinematic appearance and less towards a more standard CGI look: "We certainly want to move the camera in a cinematic way but we want to try to get the best of both worlds. The show has a lot of heart, so I want to make sure that the acting is really excellent as well. In terms of animation, very early on the supervising producer and I talked a lot about creating a very organic look and making sure that it does not necessarily have that kind of CG look to it, even though there will be portions of it that are in CG. Some other visual references are Spirited Away [along with The Goonies and Indiana Jones].
In the animated television adaptation, we travel back to 1920s Shanghai to reveal the story of how 10-year-old Sam Wing (future shop owner Mr. Wing in the 1984 movie) met the young Mogwai called Gizmo. Along with a teenage street thief named Elle, Sam and Gizmo take a perilous journey through the Chinese countryside, encountering, and sometimes battling, colorful monsters and spirits from Chinese folklore. On their quest to return Gizmo to his family and uncover a legendary treasure, they are pursued by a power-hungry industrialist and his growing army of evil Gremlins.
Gremlins: Secrets of the Mogwai is produced by Amblin Television in association with Warner Bros. Animation. The series is written by Tze Chun and executive produced by Darryl Frank (The Americans, Animaniacs, Amazing Stories!), Justin Falvey (The Americans, Animaniacs, Amazing Stories!), and Sam Register (Teen Titans Go! upcoming Animaniacs) with Chun and Brendan Hay (Dawn of the Croods, Robot Chicken, Harvey Girls Forever) serving as co-executive producer. Dan Krall (Coraline, Scooby-Doo!) will serve as supervising producer.