Thanks to Disney’s recent presentation during France’s ongoing Annecy Animation Festival, we’ve got new looks at a trio of upcoming Disney Junior animated series. One, by the name of Vikingskool, will feature in the Europe, Middle Eastern and Africa market, while two more are set to air in the U.S. We’ve previously heard a bit about both The Owl House and the surprisingly youth-skewed take on The Rocketeer, but now we’ve got a little more to go on along with new images from each production.
Variety has the boots-on-the-ground, exclusive look at the trio of new animated series from Disney’s recent presentation at Annecy. In addition to these, which we’ll break down a little further below, the presentation from Orion Ross, Disney’s VP of Content for Animation, Digital & Acquisitions at Disney Channels EMEA, included the Disney Channel’s upcoming series Big City Greens and an update on 101 Dalmatian Street, a newly reimagined installment in the beloved franchise. In this series, the dogs–all named with a D–still live in Northern London, but Disney’s “take on North London [is] with super rich backgrounds and the black and white puppies in front of it.”
Disney also announced that Season 4 for both PJ Masks and Miraculous – Tales of Ladybug & Cat Noir are now in development for Disney Junior, which should come as good news for fans of those fantastic series. Other upcoming shows like Fancy Nancy, Claude, Paprika and Furiki Wheels had clips screened to attendees; the latter two are in the TV competition at festival this year.
Let’s take a look at the three aforementioned series below:
Though it was originally pitched for a more mature audience, Vikingskool will now be targeted to a more Disney-friendly demographic of 6-11 year-olds. Produced by Ireland’s Cartoon Saloon (The Secret of Kells, The Breadwinner) and France’s Samka Productions (Jamie’s Got Tentacles) and with post-production from Norwegian VFX company Storm Films, the series follows a group of young would-be Viking warriors in an elite Vikingskool. At the center of these humorous and exciting adventures into a mystical world are Erik, Arnie, and Ilba, each of whom come with their own strengths and weaknesses.
Ross spoke about the show’s production pedigree:
“There is a substantial Viking history in Ireland and Northern France. As a co-production we can say it’s the only Viking show made by actual Vikings.”
The series’ 26 half-hours are scheduled for broadcast at the end of 2019, but there’s no word yet on if it will make a go of it Stateside.
The Owl House
We previously brought you word on The Owl House, which hails from Dana Terrace, one of Variety’s “10 Animators to Watch,” and whose credits include Disney’s DuckTales and Gravity Falls. Executive-produced by Terrace, The Owl House is a horror-comedy series that follows Luz, a self-assured teenage human girl who accidentally stumbles upon a portal to the Demon Realm where she befriends a rebellious witch, Eda, and an adorably tiny warrior, King, who is looking to restore his former title and glory. Despite not having magical abilities, Luz pursues her dream of becoming a witch by serving as Eda’s apprentice at the Owl House and ultimately finds a new family in an unlikely setting.
Here’s what Nancy Kanter–EVP, Content and Creative Strategy, Disney Channels Worldwide, and General Manager, Disney Junior Worldwide–had to say of the 2D animated series:
“We loved the combination of magic and mystery in this other world, but it also had a heart to it that can sometimes be missing in shows that go to other worlds of monsters and goblins. We really fell in love with the main character Luz.”
The series is in pre-production, looking to launch in 2020.
Disney Junior previously announced that they have begun production on The Rocketeer, a new animated adventure series for young kids and their families that will makes its debut in 2019:
Inspired by Dave Stevens‘ popular comic book series,The Rocketeer follows Kit Seacourt, a young girl who receives a surprise package on her birthday revealing she’s next in line to become the Rocketeer, a legendary superhero who has the ability to fly with the help of a rocket-powered jet pack. Armed with her cool new gear and secret identity, Kit is ready to take flight and save the day with her gadget-minded best friend, Tesh, and airplane mechanic uncle, Ambrose, who join her on her epic adventures.”
The reimagined story, aimed towards kids 2-5 and their families, is a 3D, CGI series that will be set in the contemporary world and depart substantially from the original comics, according to Kanter:
“But it’s a piece of IP that is very alive at Disney, and we imagined who could be the Rocketeer for this generation of kids.”
Each episode of The Rocketeer will feature two 11-minute stories and include an original song. Nicole Dubuc (Transformers: Rescue Bots) is on board as executive producer, and the series will be produced by Wild Canary in association with Disney Junior.
Get ready to hear, “Never fear, I’m the Rocketeer!” over and over, parents!