Everything old is new again, as the long-gestating Popeye animated movie has found new life. Animation aficionado Genndy Tartakovsky was originally set to direct a feature centered on the classic character for Sony Pictures back in 2012. After quite a bit of development and work behind the scenes, the project was scrapped. Now, Tartakovsky has circled back to the property and will be starting from scratch with a new studio.
According to a new report, Genndy Tartakovsky, creator of Dexter's Laboratory and Samurai Jack, has teamed with King Features for Popeye. When the project was set up at Sony, it got far enough for an animation test to make its way online in 2014, only for the filmmaker and the studio to part ways the following year.
It's said that Tartakovsky will be starting from scratch, meaning that it will be back to the drawing board. So whatever was on deck for the previous version may be a thing of the past. It wasn't clarified in the report if this will be a CGI animated feature, or if Tartakovsky will go the 2D route, which he's done many times in the past with great success.
On the movie side, Genndy Tartakovsky has had a great deal of success. As director of the Hotel Transylvania series, he directed three movies that grossed a combined $1.37 billion at the global box office. A fourth entry is currently in the works. On the TV side, Tartakovsky directed the entirety of Samurai Jack, as well as episodes of Dexter's Laboratory and The Powerpuff Girls. Tartakovsky was also behind the 2D animated Star Wars: Clone Wars shorts the pre-dated The Clone Wars CGI animated series. Most recently, Tartakovsky wrote and directed the limited series Primal for Adult Swim, which was met with rave reviews.
Popeye has a long, rich history in pop culture. The character first appeared in a comic strip published by King Features back in 1929. He then began to appear in animated shorts starting in 1933. Since the, Popeye has been the subject of a number of animated projects on both the big and small screen. A live-action movie, directed by Robert Altman and starring Robin Williams as Popeye, with Shelley Duvall as Olive Oil, was released in 1980.
There is no word currently on who is set to write the new movie, or how soon work will begin. Genndy Tartakovsky is quite busy, as he also has two other movies in the works with Sony Pictures. Fixed, an R-rated animated comedy, as well as Black Knight, said to be an epic adventure along the same lines as Samurai Jack, are both on deck. It also isn't clear what studio, or perhaps streaming service, King Features aims to partner with for this adaptation, but it shouldn't have a problem finding a home. We'll be sure to keep you posted as further details are made available. This news comes to us via Animation Magazine.