Jim Henson Co. developing IAmElemental action figure line as animated series

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Nov 7, 2017, 5:04 PM EST (Updated)

The all-female IAmElemental toy line will hit screens in a new animated series produced by the Jim Henson Company. Founder Julie Kerwin launched IAmElemental as the first all-female superhero action figure line in 2014, following a successful Kickstarter campaign.

The toys aim to promote a positive image for young girls. The line now includes 14 superhero characters as 3.75-inch action figures with names like "Ingenuity," "Curiosity," "Honesty," and "Persistence." Persistence, for example, has super-strength and the ability to push through any obstacles, while Ingenuity can shapeshift and transform herself. 

Since IAmElemental released its first line of toys, they've been showered with critical praise. Time magazine named them one of the best inventions of 2014. And IAmElemental has been a finalist in the Toy Industry Association's annual awards for the past two years in a row. 

The leap to television represents a strategy shift of sorts for the privately owned toy company. The IAmElemental characters are intentionally light on backstory to encourage young minds to fill the blanks with their imagination. "We felt that there weren't enough examples in the media of females saving the day, and we wanted kids to be create their own stories with females at the center of the story," Kerwin says.

At the same time, there's still a glaring shortage — DC Super Hero Girls aside — of female superheroes on TV that are geared toward young children. Kerwin hopes to rectify that gap. "It is important for both girls and boys to see vibrant examples of strong, healthy female protagonists across all types of media," she says.

The Jim Henson Company, of course, is best known as the creators of the Muppets. The production studio is also currently working on a new Dark Crystal series for Netflix based on the 1982 movie, along with a feature-length Fraggle Rock movie. "We took our time to find a partner that loved and understood our mission as much as we do,” Kerwin says.

Details are scarce on the new IAmElemental animated series at this early stage. The series will be targeted to girls between the ages of 6 and 12 years, and it will be executive produced by Lisa Henson (Jim Henson's daughter and chief executive officer of the company) along with Jim Henson Company president of television Halle Stanford. It's not clear yet when the animated series will be released, or whether it will be avaiable for viewing on broadcast or streaming platforms.

“Partnering with IAmElemental is incredibly exciting because it will be our first foray into the superhero genre with a cast of powerful young women at its core," Stanford said in the release.