Mattel has greenlit new episodes and specials for the “Thomas & Friends” television series.
Mattel is exhibiting at Festival of Licensing, the month-long virtual celebration of the global licensing industry, which takes place online Oct. 6-29. It’s free to register and attend via www.festivaloflicensing.com.
The deal will see the series debut 104 11-minute episodes and two new specials throughout two seasons. Mattel has partnered with Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana Studio to co-produce the series, starting with Season 25, which premieres in fall 2021. The episodes and specials will introduce a new creative approach to the show that contemporizes “Thomas & Friends” for today’s families.
“‘Thomas & Friends’ enduring legacy and focus on the importance on friendship continue to resonate with global audiences, and we look forward to unveiling our new content to consumers next year,” said Fred Soulie, senior vice president and general manager, Mattel Television. “Nelvana is the ideal production partner for the series, understanding the importance of staying true to Thomas’ ethos and heritage while bringing the franchise to life creatively in new ways for today’s kids.”
Starting with Season 25, the series will be animated in 2D. Nelvana will help bring Thomas’ new 2D look to life, expanding upon Mattel’s existing relationship with Corus Entertainment, which serves as the company’s Canadian licensing and broadcast partner for “Thomas & Friends.”
“As the exclusive broadcast partner and licensing agent of the treasured Thomas brand in Canada, we are delighted to deepen our relationship with Mattel by becoming their production partner on the re-imagined 2D series, which will introduce Thomas to a new generation of young audiences,” said Pam Westman, president, Nelvana. “With stunning animation and fresh new stories, the 2D series allows us to play up the humor in the show while honoring the legacy of the world’s most-adored blue tank engine.”
Thomas was first created in 1945 by Rev. W. Awdry in stories for his son, Christopher. Thomas’ character stories are currently told through television, toys, books, apps and live events.