Indie-mation, News, Studios

Amazon Studios Developing ‘Emily the Strange’ as Its First Animated Feature

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As I’ve mentioned many, many times before, it would appear as if every film studio with two quarters to rub together—either inside or outside the Hollywood system—is jumping into animation (film and TV). Now, with the rapid expansion of new media and streaming services like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, and Youtube, it’s now easier than ever for newcomers and projects typically considered too niche and off-kilter for mainstream crowds to get a spotlight. Speaking of which…

According to recent reports by The Hollywood Reporter and Cartoon Brew, Amazon Studios is the latest new face to step into the field, developing an animated adaptation of Emily the Strange as its first animated movie.

Dark Horse Entertainment is in negotiations to land the project with Amazon Studios. The character’s creator, Rob Reger, will produce with Dark Horse’s Mike Richardson and Keith Goldberg.

The project was originally set up with Universal Studios and Illumination Entertainment, with actress Chloe Grace Moretz and screenwriter Melissa Wallack (Dallas Buyer Club) attached at one point. However, the studio’s take on the property—which would have been live-action—failed to generate traction, and the film rights eventually reverted back to Dark Horse Entertainment as the company began shopping them to other studios.

(image courtesy of Cartoon Brew)

The titular character was created by Rob Reger around the early 90’s. She first began life as a design element on skateboards (fittingly as Reger was a professional skateboarder back then). Over the years, she began to grow in prominence as a modern-day ‘advertising mascot’ character. From skateboards, she went on to appear on clothing lines and fashion accessories, and from there to comic books, graphic novels, YA novels, video games, and a music video for a ‘virtual band’ titled Emily and the Strangers (the idea originated from a recent series of comic books).

Beyond just being a mascot character, she is also seen as a (fictional) representative of the goth subculture. Her distinctive traits as a character include her punky, razor-edge attitude, her outspoken interest in science and chemistry, and her entourage of four black cats—Sabbath, Miles, Nee Che, and Mystery.

For all her success in generating something of a media empire, the character wasn’t without controversy. One famous case was the legal battle over her similarity in appearance to a character in the children’s book series Nate the Great. This dispute was eventually resolved in August of 2009, when Rob Reger and Nate the Great creators Marjorie Sharmat and Marc Simont agreed to a joint settlement resolving all disputes.

Getting back on track, not much else is known about the upcoming film, other than that this version will “keep the authenticity and edge of the property.” A search for screenwriters is currently underway.

Outside of her core fanbase, Emily the Strange hasn’t had a mainstream profile in recent time (her popularity gradually fizzled after the 2000’s). However, if done well, the character’s entrance into feature animation couldn’t have come at a better time, now that animation studios are finally diversifying in terms of genre, tone, and subject matter. Also, projects like the recent animated adaptation of The Little Prince are proof that niche projects now have an opportunity to thrive like never before, and you can’t get any more niche than a teenage goth girl who always looks….strange!

What do you think? Are you looking forward to an animated Emily the Strange movie?

Edited by: Kelly Conley

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About Brandon Smith

Brandon is your average nerd with a love for nerdy things (games, comics, anime/manga, etc.). He also loves reading and writing and plans to be an author someday. For now, he writes with passion and curiosity about the world of animation. He lives with his family in North Carolina and is currently attending college.
  • This looks really cool and the design from what I see here looks super interesting I’d totally see this!!

  • Hmm, interesting that Amazon’s getting into the animation biz. I do like that animation is slowly becoming less of an exclusive field.

  • Jeremiah

    Verrry interested, this property is new to me but I’m all for being edgy and showing different personality types of kids.
    Was the Little Prince a success? How does one know, it did okay overseas but how do we know how it’s doing on Netflix?

  • Rachel Wagner

    This looks really fun! I’m excited!

  • Dante Panora

    I heard on podcast somewhere that streaming services like Netflix and Amazon aren’t looking for broad appeal hit tv shows and movies and instead are trying to produce original content for niche markets (Which is kind of odd seeing as how Netflix spent 100 million on that Sense8 series). Hopefully this means more unique and daring animated works will find on home on streaming services that they could not find elsewhere.