Last Week in Animation: May 15th
By: F. Alexander Bonilla-Chacon
Welcome to Overly Animated’s Last Week in Animation! This is a recurring series where we aggregate the news items most relevant to fans of the shows we cover regularly, as well as interesting tidbits on other animated television and film projects.
Deadpool + Donald Glover + Animation = ?
This week was rather fallow when it came to notable animation news, but the biggest piece of information was dropped on Wednesday, when it was reported that FXX has ordered an animated series about the Marvel superhero Deadpool from rising star Donald Glover. Lots to unpack here.
First of all, we have the involvement of Glover, who first broke out on Community, which was run by current Rick and Morty creator Dan Harmon. Right now, he’s very hot after producing, writing and acting in the FX dark comedy Atlanta, and he’s also working on roles in upcoming blockbusters such as Spider-Man: Homecoming and the Han Solo prequel in the Star Wars Story series. Glover’s experience with animation is limited to providing voice work for bit roles in several shows, including two episodes as Marshall Lee in Adventure Time. He is also providing the voice of Simba for Disney’s upcoming The Lion King remake. That being said, his comedic writing chops are unquestioned right now, and that’s probably what he’ll be providing to this project.
As for the actual content, Deadpool jumped into the mainstream with the unexpected box office success of a 2016 film starring the character, played impeccably by Ryan Reynolds. Deadpool was notable for being the first mainstream superhero movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe era to really aim for raunch and vulgarity, and it paid off. So we should expect this animated version of the morally questionable hero to lean closer to adult animation fare like Archer and Rick and Morty. It’s unclear if Reynolds will return to voice the character in the ten-episode first season, expected to air in 2018. [Entertainment Weekly]
Samurai Jack: Last Chance to Get Back to the Past
Overly Animated has had fun covering this surprise final season of Samurai Jack, ranging from a treatment on the two protagonists’ sexual lives to awesome podcast coverage by Justin Cummings and Michelle Anderer. After Episode C aired Saturday night (listen to the podcast’s reaction here), we now have only the series finale left, getting Jack fans hyped. Very little news about the finale has actually leaked, so it’s anyone’s guess as to where the story is headed aside from a final showdown between Jack and Aku. The promo, embedded above, is also very limited in information about the finale, although I do want to highlight that excellent Toonami animation at the end of the commercial. The final episode will air Saturday, May 20 on Adult Swim at 11 PM ET.
Animation-Live Action Marriages Go Bust
Network television reached its slaughtering period last week, announcing a lot of cancellations, mostly aimed at poorly-rated shows. Two victims were Fox’s Son of Zorn and ABC’s Imaginary Mary, both of which were live action sitcoms that tried to incorporate animated characters into a real-life environment. Now, I can’t think of a time that’s ever worked aside from Who Framed Roger Rabbit and perhaps the Lizzie McGuire TV show, but it’s unfortunate that such experiments didn’t even get past the first season. Imaginary Mary reportedly only used the CGI creature for two minute bursts in its episodes, despite it being advertised heavily as part of the show’s framework. As for Son of Zorn, the animated character was the protagonist of the series, but apparently the show quickly lost its novelty as they stuck the 2D-animated barbarian in your classic office worker scenario. [Variety]
Other News and Notes
- Syfy says that their network will make a concerted effort to return to its science fiction roots for a 25th anniversary rebranding, and in the middle of that news was the announcement that Happy! had been picked up for a first season. Happy! will be the latest attempt at merging animation and live action, as the premise is a drunk hit man being followed around by an imaginary blue winged horse voiced by Bobby Moynihan of Saturday Night Live. My personal take: this sounds awful. [The Verge, Deadline Hollywood]
- Animation Block Party, which dubs itself as the largest animation festival on the East Coast, will celebrate the ten-year anniversary of the 2007 Jerry Seinfeld classic Bee Movie, which reached its peak popularity in the world of memes last year. The festival will take place July 27-30 in Brooklyn. My personal take: this sounds awesome. [Animation World Network]
- And in this edition of Weird Animation of the Week, here’s an Alien: Covenant ad brought to you by Rick and Morty, courtesy of Adult Swim.