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Thomas & Friends get new look

Thomas & Friends

US toy giant Mattel and Canadian studio Nelvana are working on new, 2D animated episodes of long-running children’s brand Thomas & Friends.

Seasons 25 and 26 of the series, totalling 104×11′ episodes and 2×60′ specials, will be a coproduction between Mattel and Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana Studio. The new episodes are expected to begin airing in fall 2021.

Mattel said the show was going in a “new creative direction,” including shifting to 2D animation and featuring comedic, playful stories and lessons told from Thomas’s point of view.

Executive producers for season 25 of Thomas & Friends include Fred Soulie, Adam Bonnett and Christopher Keenan at Mattel, as well as Colin Bohm and Pam Westman at Nelvana, which is the exclusive broadcast partner and licensing agent of the 75-year-old brand in Canada.

“Thomas & Friends’ enduring legacy and focus on the importance on friendship continue to resonate with global audiences, and we look forward to unveiling our new content to consumers next year,” said Fred Soulie, senior VP and general manager at Mattel Television.

“Nelvana is the ideal production partner for the series, understanding the importance of staying true to Thomas’s ethos and heritage while bringing the franchise to life creatively in new ways for today’s kids.”

Nelvana president Pam Westman added: “With stunning animation and fresh new stories, the 2D series allows us to play up the humour in the show while honouring the legacy of the world’s most adored blue tank engine.”

Thomas was first created in 1945 by Rev. W Awdry in stories for his son, Christopher. It first launched on TV in 1984.

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