Netflix is about to breathe life into Roald Dahl’s popular children’s books as the streaming service announced today a “new slate of original animated event series” based on the author’s iconic novels, including Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda, The BFG, The Twits, and more.
Many of Dahl’s books have been adapted to live-action before, including the epic 1971 Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory starring Gene Wilder (ands the decidedly less epic 2005 remake) plus the 1996 Matilda movie and Disney’s more recent, big-budget version of The BFG – but the Netflix deal will create animated versions of these properties for the first time.
Animated versions of Dahl’s stories seems like a natural step for Netflix, from a business perspective, to compete with the animated offerings of competitors like Disney (owner of Pixar and Disney Animation Studio) and Universal’s Illumination, which has already taken a similar approach by mining the works of Dr. Seuss in new ways, including the just-released The Grinch.
The full list of Dahl titles included in the Netflix deal are:
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator
George’s Marvellous Medicine
Boy: Tales of Childhood
The Enormous Crocodile
The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me
The Wonderful Story of Henry Sugar and Six More
Billy and the Minpins
The Magic Finger
Notably missing from the deal are Fantastic Mr. Fox and James and the Giant Peach, which have already been adapted into films. Also missing is The Witches, which was adapted into a movie in 1990 and has a remake currently in the works. Robert Zemeckis is reportedly set to direct, although few details have been announced.
Per Netflix’s announcement, the Dahl adaptations are set to be “event series and specials” rather than ongoing shows, with production set to start in 2019.
That format makes a lot of sense for Dahl’s work, especially some of the shorter books and the series format could also give some of Dahl’s longer work more room to expand.
Scott Snowden is MyM’s US Editor. Follow him on Twitter.
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