Netflix is diving into the proverbial chocolate pool that is Roald Dahl adaptation projects, and ensuing scolding songs of the Oompa Loompas will do little to discourage the streaming giant, which is set to tackle a slate of animated versions of classics like Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and The BFG, brandishing plans of “extending the Roald Dahl universe.”
While adaptations of the fantastical literary works of the legendary British author – who passed away back in 1990 – have never been in short supply in film and television, Netflix’s small screen animated plans are unprecedentedly ambitious, especially when dropping the word “universe.” Indeed, the seemingly Herculean task of tackling the immense array of Dahl’s classic works will take shape within the confines of Netflix’s recently-announced in-house animation studio, set to manifest as part of what’s being called an “animated event series.” Netflix is producing the series in partnership with the Roald Dahl Story Company.
A familiar image in the peeling foil of a Wonka Bar reveals a Netflix golden ticket, serving as the first teaser for the series.
The full slate of Netflix’s Roald Dahl animated event series consists of the following:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG, The Twits, Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator, George’s Marvellous Medicine, Boy – Tales of Childhood, Going Solo, The Enormous Crocodile, The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me, Henry Sugar, Billy and the Minpins, The Magic Finger, Esio Trot, Dirty Beasts, and Rhyme Stew.
Netflix, in a statement, reveals its intent, saying that the project is designed to “bring together the highest quality creative, visual, and writing teams to extend the stories in this first-of-its-kind slate of premium animated event series and specials for audiences of all ages and for families to enjoy together.” It also emphasizes its plan to “remain faithful to the quintessential spirit and tone of Dahl while also building out an imaginative story universe that expands far beyond the pages of the books themselves.”
As Melissa Cobb, Vice President of Kids & Family Content at Netflix further explains:
“Immersing ourselves in the extraordinary worlds of Roald Dahl stories has been an honor and a massive amount of fun, and we are grateful for the trust the Roald Dahl Story Company and the Dahl family have placed in our team to deliver more moments of shared joy to families around the world. We have great creative ambition to reimagine the journeys of so many treasured Dahl characters in fresh, contemporary ways with the highest quality animation and production values.”
Of course, the endorsement of the Dahl family is quite present for this animated endeavor. As Roald’s widow, Felicity, expresses in a statement:
“Our mission, which is purposefully lofty, is for as many children as possible around the world to experience the unique magic and positive message of Roald Dahl’s stories.” She adds, “This partnership with Netflix marks a significant move toward making that possible and is an incredibly exciting new chapter for the Roald Dahl Story Company. Roald would, I know, be thrilled.”
News of Netflix’s Dahl Universe plans arrive as a number of other adaptations are in the works, notably live-action reboot movies for Willy Wonka/Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and The Witches, as well as a television reboot of the Dahl-adapting British anthology series, Tales of the Unexpected. The new projects will arrive in the aftermath of the most recent high-profile Dahl adaptation in director Steven Spielberg’s 2016 animated/live-action hybrid take on The BFG.
As far as the animated event series goes, Netflix states that production is set kick off sometime in 2019. – We will certainly keep you updated on its development.