Pinocchio’s long, tortuous path to becoming Guillermo del Toro’s version of a real boy finally has a Netflix arrival date — or at least an arrival year. The red-letter streaming giant has revealed del Toro’s eternal passion project is coming to the small screen in 2021.
The Oscar-winning Shape of Water director is writing and producing the stop-motion Pinocchio musical, a reimagining of the classic story set in 1930s Italy. The Jim Henson Company is co-producing Pinocchio, with ShadowMachine (Bojack Horseman) in charge of stop-motion animation, and puppet design from The Corpse Bride’s Mackinnon and Saunders.
Netflix revealed the debut window for del Toro’s feature film alongside a big update for animated projects it has in the works, including six new titles. Among those, Maya and the Three, a limited-run series from creator (and previous del Toro collaborator) Jorge Gutierrez, sounds the most ambitious.
Set in a mythical Mesoamerican-inspired world, the female-led miniseries involves recruiting three legendary fighters in a quest to “save the world of men and gods,” according to Netflix. Gutierrez, who’s co-writing the series and also directing four of its nine episodes, told Variety his goal with Maya is to make “a Mexican Lord of the Rings, but hilarious.”
Maya and the Three will join Pinocchio at Netflix in 2021.
Also arriving in 2021 is The Willoughbys, a “highly stylized” CG feature punctuated by the vocal talents of an all-star cast including Ricky Gervais, Maya Rudolph, Will Forte, Martin Short, Alessia Cara, and Jane Krakowski. The movie follows the Willoughby children — four kids abandoned by their parents and forced “to adapt their old-fashioned values to the contemporary world in order to create a new and modern family.”
Written and directed by Kris Pearn from an adaptation of Lois Lowry’s Newberry-winning book, The Willoughbys comes to Netflix in 2020.
Netflix also revealed My Father’s Dragon, a new feature film based on the children's novels by Ruth Stiles Gannett. The 2D animated movie tells the story of Elmer Elevator, a “young runaway” who gets more than he bargained for when he goes looking for a captive dragon. Nora Twomey (The Secret of Kells) will direct, from a script written by Meg LeFauve (Inside Out, The Good Dinosaur), with story by Meg LeFauve and John Morgan. My Father’s Dragon is set to debut in 2021.
A new animated series titled Kid Cosmic also is on the Netflix new-projects list, with each episode following the adventures of a young protagonist known as The Kid. A young boy with dreams of being a superhero, he “stumbles across some cosmic stones of power” that grant him his powered-up wish — but also teach him that “the reality of being a hero vs. the fantasy of being a hero are completely different,” according to Netflix. Craig McCracken (The Powerpuff Girls) is producing Kid Cosmic, which is set to arrive sometime in 2020.
Finally, Netflix also has a pair of younger-trending animated series in the works. Arriving in 2020, Trash Truck will follow the escapades of Hank, a “free-range, dirt-covered 6 year old boy with a big imagination” whose best friend happens to be a “giant honking, snorting trash truck.” Coming sooner — as in 2019 — is Go! Go! Cory Carson, a series aimed at preschoolers that’s based on the Go! Go! Smart Wheels line of toys.