When A.A. Milne’s Winnie the Pooh entered public domain in January earlier this year, the first large-scale use of his beloved comfort characters arrived in a film trailer featuring Pooh on a killing spree that was, well, not so comforting. At least now a group of former DreamWorks creators who still value the sacredness of childhood are stepping in to balance out the playing field with a Paddington-esque Winnie the Pooh prequel.
“We’re telling the surprising origin story of the ‘silly young bear’ and his friends, when they were still kids, in a way designed to connect with 21st-century kids,” director John Reynolds, who will co-write with Mike de Seve, said in a statement. Reynolds previously dove into an animated spin on late-night TV as a writer on The Mr. Peabody & Sherman Show, while de Seve has directed the original Beavis and Butt-Head series and has worked on Over the Hedge, Shrek 2, and Madagascar.
The Winnie the Pooh film is expected to be released in 2024, with an animated television show following closely after to capture Pooh and co. from before their grand adventures first began.
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“A.A. Milne’s bear has aged gracefully in the last hundred years,” executive producer Charlene Kelly, formerly of DreamWorks, said. “But what happened, back when, that made him and his pals who they are in the book? A heck of a big adventure, that’s what — one that needs a big screen. Audiences will be transported to somewhere they never expected.”
De Seve added: “I think this unsinkable young cub is totally relatable for today’s kids, with his hell-bent craving for honey and his ludicrous schemes to get it. The whole gang is hilarious, and are even more hilarious as kids, we’re finding out.”