Big Hero 6 Director Chris Williams to Helm Netflix Animated Movie

Netflix animated feature Jacob and the Sea Beast will have the directorial talent of Big Hero 6 and Moana helmer Chris Williams.

Netflix’s array of original content will soon see the addition of a major family-friendly feature, an animated offering titled Jacob and the Sea Beast. To prove just how major of a movie it has, the streaming giant has just appointed a director who’s banked serious accomplishments in the genre in Chris Williams.

Jacob and the Sea Beast has been announced today as a production of Netflix, which reveals the feature as a CG animated film. The movie will be the brainchild of Big Hero 6 helmer Chris Williams, who is set as writer and director. The feature will serve as Williams’s first solo run as a director.

The story of Jacob and the Sea Beast is officially described as “the epic story of a charming seafarer who sails into uncharted waters and discovers an unlikely ally in a sea monster.” Netflix’s VP of kids & family content, Melissa Cobb, elaborates on the plot in the company’s statement, explaining:

“Chris is one of the most talented filmmakers working in animation today and his distinct voice comes through in this touching tale of ancient hunters who struggle to capture a beautiful, mythical sea creature on the high seas. His is precisely the kind of grand, adventure-filled story with smart and nuanced characters that we look for in family animated projects at Netflix.”

The acquisition of Williams is quite the coup, since he’s achieved major accolades as co-director (with Don Hall,) of Disney’s 2014 multimedia franchise-spawning megahit, Big Hero 6; a feature that reached the top of the awards season mountain when it won the 2015 Oscar for Best Animated Feature. Williams would achieve success – again for Disney – as co-director (with Don Hall, Ron Clements and John Musker,) for the 2016 Polynesian princess animated hit, Moana. Before all of that, Williams burst on the scene as co-director (with Byron Howard,) for the 2008 Oscar-nominated animated canine hit, Bolt. He also worked as a storyboard artist on Disney’s pop-culture-invading animated smash, Frozen.

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Interestingly, the story of a Jacob and the Sea Beast seems to carry elements from both Big Hero 6 (a youth bonding with a fantastical creature) and Moana (maritime adventure), and that is reflected in Williams’s enthusiasm for the project. As he expresses in the statement:

Jacob and the Sea Beast is the kind of story I’ve always wanted to take on. It’s a tale of high adventure where our hero leaves the known world and ventures out into uncharted waters. As it turns out, I’m doing the same thing. I’m grateful for the opportunities provided by my former creative home and am excited to leap into a new environment. I feel a great energy at Netflix, as amazingly talented artists from a wide variety of backgrounds are coming together to build something new.”

Netflix expects Jacob and the Sea Beast to be produced in time for a 2022 release. We will keep you updated as the news arrives.

Joseph Baxter is a contributor for Den of Geek and Syfy Wire. You can find his work here. Follow him on Twitter @josbaxter.