Top Animation News is a weekly column that rounds up the biggest, best and breaking stories from the animation industry. This edition covers May 10 to 17, 2019.
1. Rick and Morty season four to premiere Fall 2019
This is not a drill or an alternate dimension: Rick and Morty season four will premiere Fall 2019. Created by Justin Roiland and Dan Harmon, the Emmy-winning animated series hasn’t released new material since the third season finale in October 2017 — making this the toon’s longest break. Fortunately for fans, Adult Swim ordered 70 episodes of Rick and Morty last May that will be produced by Bardel Entertainment in Toon Boom Storyboard Pro and Toon Boom Harmony.
2. Genndy Tartakovsky returns with Primal
Dexter’s Laboratory and Samurai Jack creator Genndy Tartakovsky is back with his most brutal, bloody animated series yet: Primal. It follows a caveman in the early days of humanity who forges a bond with one of the few remaining dinosaurs as they both attempt to survive in a violent primitive world. Primal will air on Adult Swim this fall; the network is amping up its animated original content, having also just announced a new Birdgirl series.
Take a blast into the past with the Genndy Tartakovsky Primal details on “CBR”.
3. Streaming is flooding global demand for original animated content
Netflix’s first original animated feature Klaus (created in Toon Boom Harmony by The SPA Studios) is just one part of its ambitious toon slate, which includes films and series as well as its growing in-house studio. Competing streaming platforms like Amazon Prime Video, Hulu and the upcoming Disney+ are also investing heavily in the medium — driving a global boom in cartoon content production, much to the benefit of major and indie studios. “On the creative side, these direct-to-series orders are amazing. That’s a great advantage … because we skip the pilot stage and get shows into production faster,” says Chris Prynoski, founder and owner of Titmouse Animation.
Read the full animation streaming story on “Variety”.
4. Arthur features Mr. Ratburn’s same-sex marriage
Season 22 of PBS children’s cartoon Arthur began with the wedding of the eponymous aardvark’s teacher, Mr. Ratburn. The social media response to the marriage was overwhelmingly positive from fans who grew up with the series, with one tweeting: “for real tho I have loved mr. ratburn basically my whole life, it honestly lifts my heart to see he has a husband now”. This marks a milestone for PBS, which in 2005 chose not to air an episode of the Arthur spin-off, Postcards From Buster, that included a household with two mothers.
Take a walk down the aisle (and memory lane) with the Arthur marriage on “Vox”.
5. Disney to take full control of Hulu
In a predicted move, The Walt Disney Company has struck a deal to purchase Comcast’s one-third stake in Hulu and take full control of it — all for an affordable $5.8 billion, based on the streaming platform’s current valuation of $27.5 billion. The sale will not happen for at least five years though. Disney became Hulu’s majority owner after it completed its acquisition of Fox in March.
Stream all the Disney-Comcast Hulu deal details on “The New York Times”.
6. Disenchantment conjures up a season two premiere date
The Simpsons and Futurama creator Matt Groening’s Netflix animated fantasy series Disenchantment season two will kick-off on September 20, 2019. It was announced on the streaming service’s Twitter account in a post that paid homage to Game of Thrones with the tagline “Her throne is calling.” Disenchantment follows a heavy-drinking princess named Bean and her two best friends, her personal demon and an elf, in a fictional world called Dreamland.
Find out more about the Disenchantment season two premiere date on “The Verge”.
7. David Steward the latest billionaire heir to launch an animation studio
An unusual new trend is billionaire scions launching their own animation studios, with three including Travis Knight’s Laika, David Ellison’s Skydance Animation and, now, David Steward’s Lion Forge. The latter is based in St. Louis, Missouri — making it one of the few production companies creating content for Hollywood stationed in the Midwest. Lion Forge is also distinctive because it could become America’s largest studio with an African-American owner.
Learn more about Lion Forge on “Cartoon Brew”.
Source: Mark Simon
8. Don’t miss Mark Simon’s Storyboard Pro tips
Mark Simon wears many hats: story artists, entrepreneur, author, director and producer. Celebrating 30 years in the animation and entertainment industries this month, he is one of the most prolific and respected storyboarders in the business. We spoke with him about his career, how he’s built up such a huge live-action portfolio (including The Walking Dead) and his tips for using his favourite tool, Storyboard Pro.
Catch the full Mark Simon interview on the Toon Boom blog.
9. Ghost in the Shell director Mamoru Oshii helming new series
Newly minted studio Ichigo Animation has entrusted its untitled debut series to legendary Japanese anime writer, director and producer Mamoru Oshii (Ghost in the Shell, The Sky Crawlers), with a release planned for spring or early summer 2020. He has been developing the show’s concept for a decade and is credited with creating the original story, scripting and chief direction. Launched April 4, Ichigo Animation is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Japanese real estate and clean energy company Ichigo.
Investigate Mamoru Oshii’s new series for Ichigo Animation further on “Animation Magazine”.
10. K-pop band MONSTA X makes a We Bare Bears cameo
The global K-pop phenomena is making its way into animation; South Korean boy band MONSTA X will be dancing onto an upcoming episode of We Bare Bears. The Cartoon Network series will introduce its usual ursine characters to singers Shownu, Wonho, Minhyuk, Kihyun, Hyungwon, Joohoney and I.M. In the episode, Ice Bear and Grizz try to arrange a meeting between Panda and MONSTA X, his favourite band, for his birthday.
Watch the preview for MONSTA X’s We Bare Bear episode above or read more on “E! Online”.
What Top Animation News were you most excited about this week? Was there something we forgot to mention? Let us know in the comments below!
Banner image source: Adult Swim