Last week we learned the amazing news that Warner Bros. Animation is producing a new animated series based on the 80’s cartoon Thundercats and today we learn from Variety that the same is being done for another 80’s cartoon — Voltron: Defender of the Universe! According to the report, a new animated version of Voltron will air on TV and then a new Mattel toy line will debut in stores and then a big screen film will hit theaters!
The reintroduction of “Voltron: Defender of the Universe” will begin with an animated series on Nicktoons and a new toy line from Mattel rather than leap straight onto the bigscreen. That’s the plan from rights holders World Event Prods and Classic Media, which are attempting to relaunch the massive robot, popular in the 1980s, to a new generation. It’s the latest of several properties to scrap plans for an initial film in favor of relaunching the brand through TV and toys … Starting next year, Nicktoons will air 26 half-hour episodes of “Voltron Force,” about five space explorers who pilot robotic lions that combine to form Voltron, an invincible guardian sworn to defend the Universe. Series will remain faithful to the old show, while introducing new recruits to fight alongside the original characters. New episodes will be timed to the 25th anniverseries. It’s the first “Voltron” TV project in 10 years, although an iPhone game came out in December. WEP and Classic Media (“Casper the Friendly Ghost,” “Where’s Waldo?”) will produce the toon with Kickstart Prods. (“Wolverine and the X-Men”). Classic Media is shepherding international distribution, merchandising and licensing deals. Mattel will tie-in with the anniversary to launch toys based on the classic “Voltron” range, as well as action figures and playsets that revolve around an edgier, modernized robot. There is no date on when the toys will hit shelves. “What’s paramount is getting the toys right,” Ted Koplar, president of St. Louis-based WEP told Daily Variety. “They’re pretty involved toys that have to transform and fit together.” WEP and Classic Media had been developing a live action feature for some time but scribes, including Justin Marks, have yet to lock down the right tone, producers said. Hasbro took the opposite approach with “Transformers” and “G.I. Joe,” relying on the first films in the franchises in 2007 and 2009 to introduce new toys for the lines. The move to TV makes sense: “Transformers,” “He-Man and the Masters of the Universe” and “G.I. Joe” were introduced to kids via shows produced by Hasbro and Mattel to sell toys. “It’s an exciting way to introduce the brand to a generation that isn’t familiar with ‘Voltron,'” Koplar said.
I am seriously dying … this is just … too amazing for words. All of my childhood faves are being reborn for a new generation … this is just the best news ever. I LOVED Voltron as a kid … while I spent most of my allowance money on buying He-Man and Transformers action figures, I made sure to own some Voltron toys, too! The cartoon tho, yeah, that’s what I loved most about the characters. Voltron was my first introduction to Japanese anime-style animation. After the jump, check out the opening sequence from the original Voltron cartoon from the 80’s to be reminded of how epically cool the show was back in the day …
My fear is that major advances in technology these days will keep kids from being as fascinated with Voltron as I was as a kid. Robots that joined together to make a bigger robot was SUCH a compelling plot device. These days, I doubt any kid would be at all impressed. Still, I’m glad to know that a new version of Voltron is on the way … I’ll be watching for sure, will any of you old skool Voltron fans be watching as well?