The new series updates the look and storytelling approach for Thomas & Friends and is part of an expanded collaboration with Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana Studio that was revealed last year. For the first time ever, stories will be told from the perspective of the titular Tank Engine as he becomes “the hero of his own adventure” alongside a tight crew of four additional young engines: Nia, Diesel, Kana, and Percy. Through playful trial and error, Thomas sets out to become “the No. 1 Engine” in the land.
In a new blog post by Christopher Keenan, executive producer of Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go, Mattel detailed the new creative approach for the 2D animated series which aims to connect with modern kids and families.
“With new art direction, much more physical comedy, and a greater range of character expressiveness, this fast and colorful show is crafted to appeal to contemporary audiences’ sensibilities while maintaining Thomas’ core brand ethos,” Keenan says, promising that the new series will include more music and physical comedy than ever before.
“Thomas & Friends is a brand with a deep content legacy that has resonated with families around the world for decades,” says Fred Soulie, senior vice president and general manager, Mattel Television. “The creative evolution of Thomas & Friends, coupled with the franchise’s iconic characters, has transcended generations and we look forward to working with broadcasters across the globe to bring Thomas’ latest stories to existing and new fans alike.”
Created as a fictional story for the Reverend. W. Awdry’s son Christopher in 1945, tales of Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends on the Island of Sodor sell more than 2 million books each year across more than 100 titles. Last year, Mattel celebrated Thomas & Friends’ 75th anniversary with new products from Fisher-Price and a 24th season of the TV series on Netflix.
In addition to the debut of Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go, Mattel Films is developing a live-action Thomas film to be helmed by Marc Forster (Christopher Robin).