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Disney Branded Television Reveals Massive Animation Slate at Annecy 2023

The slew of new projects, sneak-peek debuts, and current series expansion highlights shared with the festival crowd include ‘Disney Junior’s Ariel,’ ‘StuGo,’  ‘Primos,’ ‘Zombie: The Re-Animated Series,’ and ‘Playdate with Winnie The Pooh.’

Earlier today, folks from Disney Branded Television and Disney Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) strode across the stage at Annecy 2023 to announce a slew of new projects, debut sneak-peeks, and share highlights of current series expansions that will usher in Disney’s next 100 years of animated storytelling. The phrase “embarrassment of riches” suddenly comes to mind.

Titled “The Next 100,” the presentation centered on both Disney’s storied legacy in animation, as well as how the company is creating the next generation of successful shows. Hélène Etzi, country manager and general manager of media for The Walt Disney Company France, opened the presentation with Orion Ross, vice president of Animation for The Walt Disney Company EMEA, and Ayo Davis, president of Disney Branded Television, sharing several announcements.

Ross announced greenlights for the all-new preschool adventure series Magicampers, set to premiere globally on Disney+ and Disney Junior next year, and the original comedy series The Sunnyridge 3. He also revealed a first look at the official trailer for the highly anticipated sci-fi anthology Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire, premiering July 5 on Disney+. Watch the trailer and read more about the show here.

New episodes of Chip ‘n’ Dale: Park Life, coming later this year, were revealed, as were the latest artwork for the upcoming EMEA originals The Doomies and Dragon Striker.

Davis gave attendees a sneak peek of upcoming series and made several announcements, including the greenlight of Disney Junior’s Ariel, a new series inspired by The Little Mermaid. Executive producer Lynne Southerland answered questions onstage and previewed an early animation test featuring Ariel and fan-favorite character Flounder.

Davis also announced the new Disney Channel series StuGo, as well as renewals for four popular series: Season 4 of Marvel’s Spidey and his Amazing Friends, Season 3 of Firebuds, Season 3 of The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder, and Season 2 of Kiff. She also shared sneak peeks of several animated shorts, along with other announcements shown below.

Ross and Davis noted, “We’re delighted to be in Annecy announcing our continued commitment to working with leading studios and creators here in France and across the globe, to bring new voices, universal stories and brilliant animation to kids and family audiences around the world.”

Take a deep breath… here you go!

Disney Branded Television

Disney Junior’s Ariel (Disney Junior)

  • Executive Producer: Lynne Southerland
  • Producer: Ezra Edmond
  • Supervising Director: Kuni Tomita Bowen
  • Art Director: Chrystin Garland
  • Story Editors: Norma P. Sepulveda and Keith Wagner
  • Produced by: Wild Canary in association with Disney Junior
  • An animated musical series for preschoolers inspired by the beloved story of The Little Mermaid, the show follows 8-year-old mermaid princess Ariel as she and her friends embark on fun-filled, action-packed underwater adventures throughout their Caribbean-inspired fairytale kingdom of Atlantica and beyond. The series features fan-favorite characters, including King Triton, Ursula, Sebastian and Flounder, as well as exciting new additions like Ariel’s two best friends, mer-children Lucia and Fernie, and lots of other adorable sea creatures. The series is currently in production for a 2024 release across Disney platforms worldwide.

StuGo (Disney Channel)

  • Creator/Executive Producer: Ryan Gillis
  • Co-Executive Producer: Sunil Hall
  • Story Editor: Craig Lewis
  • Produced by: Titmouse in association with Disney Channel
  • The all-new original animated series follows six overambitious middle schoolers who are tricked into attending a fake academic summer camp by a mad scientist. Now they’re stuck for three months on a wild tropical island with mind-reading manatees, giant fighting fungi and fashion-forward mutants ― less academia than they’d hoped for, but a lot more adventure.
  • The newly announced cast includes Tania Gunadi as Pliny, Zosia Mamet as Merian, Gabourey Sidibe as Francis, Charlyne Yi as Larry, Zach Reino as Chip, Deborah Baker Jr. as Sara, and Lorraine Toussaint as Dr. Lullah.

Disney EMEA

Magicampers (Disney+)

  • Creator: Obie Scott Wade
  • Executive Producer: Sandrine Nguyen Tiet
  • Director: Daniel Dubuis
  • Writers: Ashley Mendoza, Simon Nicholson, Elizabeth Kamir
  • Produced by: Mikros Animation for Disney EMEA
  • Disney’s preschool original series follows the adventures of best friends Darly and Loomis at a day camp for magical creatures on a fantastical island. Darly is half-pig and half-Pegasus, Loomis is half-donkey and half-unicorn, and their young friends are also mythical mashups of all stripes. Every day they go on incredible journeys of discovery and dream of becoming legendary, having their stories told and retold for all time. At the heart of the series, Darly and Loomis will learn that becoming a legend isn’t about mastering magic powers or winning the biggest prize — it’s about understanding and accepting yourself and others and working together with all kinds of friends. The series stars a diverse young cast including with Emmy Award winner Uzo Aduba (Mrs. America, Orange Is the New Black) as nature spirit and camp leader Treena.

The Sunnyridge 3 (Disney+)

  • Creators: Stevie Gee and Essy May
  • Executive Producers: Chapman Maddox, Jen Coatsworth, James Stevenson Bretton, Jon Rutherford, Benjamin Lole
  • Director: Liz Whittaker
  • Head Writer: Jack Bernhardt
  • Produced by: Blink Industries and Boat Rocker for Disney EMEA
  • In the original comedy-mystery series, a trio of lifelong best friends investigate strange goings-on in a uniquely bizarre shopping center on the fringes of suburban London. Rose, Jeru and Wayne practically grew up at the Sunnyridge Mall, but this summer, the weirdness has gone to a whole new level. With their imaginations running wild, they will chase down any conspiracy theory no matter where it leads. Could it be werewolves, hauntings or an ancient curse? Robots, aliens or renegade AI? The trio will discover that the truth is always stranger than fiction in this unpredictable genre-bending mashup created by British team Stevie Gee and Essy May. Multiple award-winning U.K. animation studio Blink Industries (Dead End: Paranormal Park, Love, Death + Robots) produces, in association with multiple award-winning global entertainment company Boat Rocker (Dino Ranch, Love Monster).

Series Renewals

Disney EMEA

Chip ‘N’ Dale: Park Life New Episodes (Disney+)

  • Producer: Marc du Pontavice
  • Directors: Jean Cayrol, Frédéric Martin, Khalil Ben Namaane
  • Head Writer: Nicole Paglia
  • Produced by: Xilam Animation for Disney EMEA
  • The series stars Disney’s much-loved chipmunk underdogs in a nonverbal, classic-style comedy, following the ups and downs of two little creatures living life in a big city park. Combining the traditions of slapstick cartoons with contemporary, comedic character-driven narratives, season two introduces huge new adventures for the two tiny troublemakers. Nervous worrier Chip and laid-back dreamer Dale are joined in their perpetual pursuit of acorns by Donald, Pluto, Butch and other iconic Disney characters as they face down bullies, great and small.

Disney Branded Television

MARVEL’s Spidey and his Amazing Friends Season 4 (Disney Junior)

  • Executive Producer: Harrison Wilcox
  • Co-Executive Producers: Bart Jennett and Chris Moreno
  • Co-Producer/Story Editor: Becca Topol
  • Supervising Producer: Steve Grover
  • Produced by: Disney Junior and Marvel Studios in association with Atomic Cartoons
  • The first full-length Marvel series for preschoolers follows the adventures of Peter Parker, Gwen Stacy and Miles Morales as they team up with Iron Man, Hulk, Ms. Marvel and Black Panther to defeat foes like Rhino, Doc Ock and Green Goblin and learn that teamwork is the best way to save the day. Season four of the hit series will once again introduce even more new heroes and baddies for the Spidey team to interact with and be part of their adventures.

Firebuds Season 3 (Disney Junior)

  • Creator/Executive Producer: Craig Gerber
  • Producer: Craig Simpson
  • Supervising Director: Robb Pratt
  • Co-Story Editors: Krystal Banzon and Jeremy Shipp
  • Produced by: Disney Television Animation
  • From Emmy Award-winning creator and executive producer Craig Gerber (Disney’s Elena of Avalor and Sofia the First), the music-filled series follows a team of young kids who are the children of first responders, and their talking vehicle sidekicks, as they embark on adventures together and learn what it truly means to be a hero. Season three of the series will feature a water rescue theme.

The Proud Family: Louder and Prouder Season 3 (Disney+)

  • Creator/Executive Producer: Bruce W. Smith
  • Executive Producer: Ralph Farquhar
  • Co-Executive Producer/Story Editor: Calvin Brown, Jr.
  • Co-Executive Producer: Latoya Raveneau
  • Producer: Jan Hirota
  • Produced by: Disney Television Animation
  • The Emmy and NAACP Award-winning series follows the adventures and misadventures of 14-year-old Penny Proud and her Proud Family as they navigate modern life with hilarity and heart. The 2020s bring new career highs for mom Trudy, wilder dreams for dad Oscar and new challenges for Penny. Penny’s friends return, including Dijonay, LaCienega, Zoey and Michael, along with a couple of new faces, Maya and KG. Penny’s Suga Mama also returns, ready as ever to dispense tough love or a gentle hand whenever Penny needs it.

Kiff Season 2 (Disney Channel)

  • Creators/Executive Producers: Lucy Heavens and Nic Smal
  • Co-Producer/Story Editor: Kent Osborne
  • Producer: Winnie Chaffee
  • Produced by: Titmouse in association with Disney Channel
  • From South African creators and executive producers Lucy Heavens and Nic Smal, the show follows an optimistic squirrel, Kiff, and her chill bunny bestie, Barry, as they navigate school, relationships and their often-eccentric community in Table Town, a world where animals and magical oddballs tackle day-to-day life together. Inspired by the people and places Heavens and Smal experienced when they were growing up in Cape Town, each half-hour episode, comprised of two 11-minute stories, includes a new original song.

Sneak Peeks

Disney EMEA

Kizazi Moto: Generation Fire (July 5 on Disney+)

  • Executive Producers: Peter Ramsey, Tendayi Nyeke and Anthony Silverston
  • Produced by: Triggerfish for Disney EMEA
  • This action-packed animated sci-fi anthology presents 10 futuristic visions from Africa inspired by the continent’s diverse histories and cultures. Executive produced by Oscar-winning director Peter Ramsey, these 10 short films made by a new generation of directors draw on uniquely African perspectives to imagine brave new worlds of advanced technology, aliens, spirits and monsters.
  • Featuring stories from creators hailing from Egypt, Kenya, Nigeria, South Africa, Uganda and Zimbabwe, the series promises to take viewers on an unforgettable ride into Africa’s future, presenting visions of the continent as never before seen.

The Doomies (Disney+)

  • Creators: Andrès Fernandez & Pozla (aka Rémi Zaarour)
  • Producer: Marc du Pontavice
  • Director: Andrès Fernandez
  • Head Writer: Henry Gifford
  • Produced by: Xilam Animation for Disney EMEA
  • When best friends Bobby and Romy mistakenly open a gateway to another world, they turn their sleepy coastal town into a hotspot for terrifying creatures of doom. Roped into an epic supernatural mystery, they will cross paths with the so-called “Chosen One” and do battle with both literal and inner monsters. The show is a spooky comedy that combines thrills, chills and surprises with character-driven comedy from an odd couple of ordinary teens engulfed by extraordinary circumstances. Its fast-paced humor and high-stakes action take place in a quirky French town in the heart of Brittany, imagined with moody flair and graphic style.

Dragon Striker (Disney+)

  • Creator/Producer: Sylvain Dos Santos
  • Director: Charles Lefebvre
  • Head Writer: Paul McKeown
  • Produced by: Cybergroup Studios and La Chouette Compagnie for Disney EMEA
  • When the world’s most popular sport combines with magic, awesomeness escalates quicker than a dragon-powered strike! In this action-packed adventure full of comedy and high-stakes sports drama, elite players have magical signature moves they can use on the pitch. 12-year-old Key is a farm-boy fanboy who can only dream of entering the famous school where the greatest players train before joining the big leagues — until he discovers he has his own ultra-powerful spell and may even be the legendary “Dragon Striker.” Key joins a team of hapless underdogs who band together to take on the school champions, all the while fighting to prevent an ancient evil from resurfacing.

Disney Branded Television

The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse: Steamboat Silly (July 28 on Disney+)

  • Executive Producer: Paul Rudish
  • Producer: Philip M. Cohen
  • Director: Eddie Trigueros
  • Produced by: Disney Television Animation
  • The beloved Emmy Award-winning “The Wonderful World of Mickey Mouse” shorts culminate with a final episode titled “Steamboat Silly,” which follows Mickey Mouse and his friends as they must stop hundreds of old film reel versions of Mickey from wreaking havoc all over town. The short will debut July 28 on Disney+ as part of Disney’s 100-year anniversary celebration.

Primos (Disney Channel)

  • Creator/Executive Producer: Natasha Kline
  • Producer: Philip Cohen
  • Supervising Director: Shaun Cashman
  • Story Editor: Karla Sakas Shropshire
  • Produced by: Disney Television Animation
  • From Emmy Award-nominated creator and executive producer Natasha Kline, the series introduces Tater Ramirez Humphrey, an eccentric girl with big dreams, determined to find what makes her extraordinary. When her 12 chaotic cousins (“primos” in Spanish) move in for the summer, they help her discover her true self. The series is inspired by Kline’s childhood experiences with her extended multicultural Mexican American family.
  • The newly announced main cast includes Myrna Velasco as Tater Ramirez Humphrey; Melissa Villaseñor as Tater’s younger sister, Nellie Ramirez Humphrey; Michelle Ortiz as Tater’s mom, Bibi Ramirez Humphrey; Jim Conroy as Tater’s dad, Bud Humphrey.
  • The recurring cast includes Angélica María as Tater’s grandmother, Buela; Liza Koshy as Tater’s friend, Serena; and cousins Becca Q. Co (Lotlot), Cristina Valenzuela (Tere and Toñita), Elizabeth Grullón (Lita), Jonathan Melo (Scooter), Sarah Tubert (Cookita), Natasha Kline (Gordita and ChaCha), Nomi Ruiz (Tabi), Rick Simon (Big Nacho and Cousin Bud) and Ryan Anderson Lopez (Nachito).

Zombies: The Re-Animated Series (Disney Channel)

  • Executive Producers: Aliki Theofilopoulos, Jack Ferraiolo, Gary Marsh, David Light, and Joseph Raso
  • Producer: Melanie Pal
  • Supervising Director: Leah Artwick
  • Story Editor: Rachel McNevin
  • Produced by: Disney Television Animation
  • Meg Donnelly and Milo Manheim will reprise their roles as Seabrook’s star-crossed zombie/cheerleader couple, Zed and Addison, in Disney Branded Television’s next iteration of the hit Zombies franchise. Fans can first catch the Seabrook crew in animated form when Zombies: The Re-Animated Series Shorts premiere Friday, July 21, on Disney Channel, Disney Channel YouTube and DisneyNOW, and thereafter on Disney+. Next, Zombies: The Re-Animated Series, a new comedy-musical animated series, will premiere on Disney Channel.
  • The animated short-form series continues the adventures of fan favorites Zed, Addison and the Seabrook crew from the hit Zombies franchise. The shorts, which keep the spirit and jam-packed music of the movies, find the friends encountering new monsters — a carnivorous plant monster, horrifying mega-cricket and even evil clones — while dealing with school and new experiences like a never-ending summertime loop.
  • Reprising their roles are Ariel Martin, Chandler Kinney and Pearce Joza as werewolves Wynter, Willa and Wyatt; Carla Jeffery and Trevor Tordjman as cheerleaders Bree and Bucky; Jonathan Langdon as Coach; James Godfrey and Kylee Russell as zombies Bonzo and Eliza; and Terry Hu as outer space alien A-Spen.

Playdate with Winnie the Pooh (Disney Junior)

  • Executive Producer: Chris Hamilton
  • Co-Executive Producer: Elise Fachon
  • Producer: Greg Chalekian
  • Director: Jojo Ramos Patrick
  • Produced by: OddBot Inc. in association with Disney Junior
  • The show follows a young Pooh Bear as he enjoys playdates with his friends. Set in the exciting outdoors of the Hundred Acre Wood, these musical shorts emphasize collaborative play and the joy of spending time with others. Playdate with Winnie the Pooh is set to debut this summer in the U.S. and will then rollout globally.

Disney Junior Wonderful World of Songs (Disney Junior)

  • Executive Producer: Chris Hamilton
  • Co-Executive Producer: Elise Fachon
  • Producer: Greg Chalekian
  • Director: Henry Dalton
  • Produced by: OddBot Inc. in association with Disney Junior
  • These musical shorts for preschoolers celebrate the heritage of Disney with classic characters and songs from beloved movies, series and attractions that highlight the wonder and magic of the iconic brand. Performed by popular musical artists Rob Cantor and Genevieve Goings (“Disney Junior Nursery Rhymes”), the shorts feature reimagined versions of classic songs, including “Circle of Life” from “The Lion King,” “You Can Fly!” from “Peter Pan,” “How Far I’ll Go” from “Moana” and “It’s A Small World.” The shorts will begin airing on Disney Junior and Disney+ in the U.S. this summer as part of Disney’s 100-year anniversary celebration.

Source: Disney Branded Television

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Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.