J.J. Abrams and Mattel scaring up the franchise treatment for The Beastlies

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Feb 16, 2018

J.J. Abrams' Bad Robot has teamed up with Mattel to create a new franchise based on The Beastlies: tiny, colorful monsters created by artist Leslie Levings.

According to Deadline, The Beastlies will be the first in several family-friendly franchises that Bad Robot and Mattel are developing. Bad Robot will be in charge of film, TV, and digital content, with Mattel "building and marketing global consumer products."

The two companies wouldn't give any specific details on what they are planning, but there are some obvious content and toy tie-in avenues, considering the major players. Furthermore, Mattel president/COO Richard Dickson did reveal to the outlet that The Beastlies "has the potential to encompass merchandising, gaming and live event platforms."

Dickson first met Abrams on the set of Star Wars: The Force Awakens. "He presented this character concept he believed is aesthetically inspiring and creative, and then we got together the character drawings and creative conversations, and that brought us to the point where we could reveal the partnership and concept,” Dickson told Deadline.

None of this would have been possible without Levings' concepts. The Los Angeles-based sculptress created The Beastlies as "an ongoing line of small but expressive monsters collected by fans around the world." She has created "a few thousand" of these colorful creatures, and on her website describes how she was matched up with J.J. Abrams. The year was 2010, and she was working part-time at a comic book shop, where her Beastlies were on display. Abrams came in with his son and asked about the sculptures. Levings wasn't working that day, but luckily Abrams was serious about it.

I certainly wasn't expecting anything to come of it, so when JJ actually reached out to invite me to his studio, Bad Robot, to chat about the future of the Beastlies, it took me a few minutes to believe what was happening.

Development on The Beastlies franchise is expected to start in earnest in the fall. Levings is still hard at work on her original Beastlies, many of which she posts to her Twitter account, which offers a veritable treasure trove of Beastliness; here's some examples.