Mattel has given the green light to a series of 104 new 11 minute episodes and two hour-long specials for the Thomas & Friends television series over two new seasons. The latest update for the popular children’s series follows news released last week that a Thomas & Friends feature length film was now in development.
To produce the two new seasons of the hit pre-school series, Mattel has partnered with Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana Studios, an international producer and distributor of children’s animated and live-action content. The new seasons, starting with Season 25, will premiere next autumn.
The firm has hinted at ‘a creative new approach to the show,’ which promises to ‘contemporise the series for today’s families.’
The series will be animated in 2D, for a start, and will build upon creative elements that have resonated with Thomas & Friends fans over the year by featuring comedic, playful stories and lessons told from Thomas’ point of view. Nelvana will help to bring the new 2D look to life, expanding on Mattel’s existing relationship with Corus Entertainment.
“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.”
Pam Westman, president, Nelvana, added: “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.
“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.”
Executive producers for Season 25 of Thomas & Friends include Fred Soulie, Adam Bonnett and Christopher Keenan at Mattel, as well as Colin Bohm and Pam Westman at Nelvana.
Thomas was first created in 1945 by Rev. W. Awdry in stories for his son, Christopher. Today, the character is just as beloved by children as he was when he first chugged down the tracks. Thomas’ stories are currently told through the television series, toys, books, apps, live events and more.