By Christopher Keenan, Executive Producer of “Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go”
It’s been 75 years since the Rev. W. Awdry first introduced the world to Thomas the Tank Engine in his Railway Series children’s books. Since his introduction, Thomas and his stories have held a special place in the hearts of children across the globe and have been brought to life in many ways - from publishing and live events to toys and theme parks and, of course, the “Thomas & Friends” television series.
For the better part of the last decade, I’ve had the privilege of working on the “Thomas & Friends” television series and specials alongside some of the most talented storytellers, artists, producers and animators in the business. I’ve seen first-hand how Thomas and his core message about the value of friendship inspire a broad audience - children, parents and caregivers alike. These stories are both timeless and timely, with themes that continue to resonate with kids today.
We are announcing our latest take on the classic franchise through a new show – “Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go,” which will premiere this fall. Produced in vibrant, 2D animation in partnership with Corus Entertainment’s Nelvana Studio, the show will introduce an entirely new creative approach to Thomas & Friends content. With new art direction, much more physical comedy, and a greater range of character expressiveness, this fast and colorful show is crafted to appeal to contemporary audiences’ sensibilities while maintaining Thomas’ core brand ethos.
“Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go” will feature the following creative elements:
- Stories Told from Thomas’ Point of View – As the hero of his own adventure, Thomas will be center stage and we will see the world through his young eyes. More playful and relatable than ever before, his competitive spirit will be readily apparent as he strives to be the Number One Tank Engine through play, trial and error, and just enjoying being a kid.
- Purposeful, Playful Stories – Age-appropriate themes brought to life in a comedic and playful way have always been at the heart of our Thomas content and it’s something we know parents and caregivers value. We’ll continue to deliver these meaningful life lessons in all our content. For example, our first episode has young Thomas keeping a promise to Gordon, even if it means forfeiting a race with competitive Diesel. For Thomas, the “high road” isn’t always the easy choice, but it’s making that choice that positions him as a role model for our young viewers.
- A Penchant for Physical Comedy – Making the most of 2D animation, we are bringing the characters to life as we’ve never seen them before. Engines can shake, move, and wiggle out of any wacky scenario, whether it’s an avalanche or simply avoiding a family of ducks that suddenly appears up ahead. Audiences will see flips, flops and sensational acrobatics on a regular basis in this new 2D world.
- More Music Than Ever Before – Music has been a key element of “Thomas & Friends” and we’re continuing the tradition with more songs than ever before. Frequent songs advance the stories and invite our audience to sing along.
- Our Adventurous Cast – In addition to our hero, Thomas, the show features four additional young engines who make up Thomas’ tight circle of friends:
- Nia has an adventurous spirit. She loves to try new things and visit new places. She hails from Kenya, has traveled more than any of our friends and often has valuable insight into places Thomas has never been.
- Percy is Thomas’ best friend and quite a jokester. He has a lot of hidden courage (that not even he’s aware of!) and will do anything to help his friends.
- Diesel is Thomas’ competitive friend, always trying to one-up Thomas and inadvertently causes trouble for everyone in his quest to be “the real Number One Tank Engine.”
- Kana is an all-new electric high-speed rail train from Japan. She crackles with electric speed, lets out a sonic whistle and often causes the trees and telephone poles to bend in her wake.
“Thomas & Friends: All Engines Go” is a series 75 years in the making. We can’t wait for everyone to join us on this journey when we launch this fall.
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